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Author Topic: Abortion=Murder?  (Read 4220 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timos
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« on: November 18, 2005, 07:24:10 PM »

Yesterday I was discussing abortion with some friends and peers. All of them at the table besides me were all girls. They all seemed to think that abortion was ok. Hey if you go out with your boyfriend, and weren't protected, you can always get an abortion was their response.

In my opinion, abortion is murdering human beings. Just because these human beings are not fully developed yet does not make them any less human than I. In their opinion, the fetus is only a clump of cells.

I looked online @ some abortion pictures and I am sick to the stomach. I can't believe that this is legal. I am shocked...

What is the Orthodox church's view on abortion? I really respect the Catholic view which protects human life. Is it the same? what about if the mother's life is in jeopardy? It doesn' make it 'ok' but if a choice had to be made, the mother's life would be more beneficial to save right? (This is assuming that the baby is about to or is in the process of being born because any time before that the baby would probably die if the mother is deathly sick anyhow).

There is a popular 'modern byzantine' icon based on the scandal of abortion. It does not contain any live graphic images. It can be viewed here:

http://www.pitt.edu/AFShome/s/o/sorc/public/html/ocfellow/icons.html
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2005, 08:59:15 PM »

I was under the impression that individual cases are decided by the spirtual father, not people across the internet...
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2005, 11:01:45 PM »

I was under the impression that individual cases are decided by the spirtual father, not people across the internet...

While you are onto something when you intimate that people online are often too quick to offer personal spiritual advice, your impression on this point is incorrect.ÂÂ  There is an official Orthodox position that is not dependent on the spiritual father: direct abortion* in all cases is murder.ÂÂ  People on the internet are quite able to present this teaching.ÂÂ  A spiritual father's role might be to mitigate the penace of a woman who commits abortion after the fact, but he can never actually counsel an abortion--ever.

Anastasios

(* surgery to save the mother's life which results in the death of a fetus is not considered a direct abortion).
« Last Edit: November 18, 2005, 11:03:26 PM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2005, 11:09:22 PM »

On issues like these, a distinction has to be made. There is 1) the Church's general position, and 2) how we should respond personally when someone we don't really know does something.

Regarding the general position (1), the Church has always been against abortion. John Noonan argues that some early Christians gave some leeway based on how many days it had been since conception (ie. some supposedly thought that the soul didn't enter the body until a certain point after conception), but I've never seen any substantial evidence to back this idea up. In fact, already in the first century, the Didache specifically condemned abortions (Ch. 2).

However, regarding how we are to respond to someone who has an abortion (2), it's really not our place to condemn a person. That doesn't mean that we can't say "abortion is wrong," it just means that we shouldn't think ourselves able to pass final judgment on someone as though we are God. One thing that should remind us to think twice before opening our mouths is that there are exceptions that are sometimes allowed, for example when the mother's life is in danger the child may be lost (though this wouldn't be an intentional abortion so much as the loss of the child).

All abortions (spontaneous, intentional, and ones to save the Mother's life) all can cause great spiritual, emotional, and physical harm. It is our job to help a person in such a situation and pray that they can heal. There are people appointed to be "authorities" in the Church, who "watch over souls". It is they who have the responsibility of dealing with these tough issues, hopefully being led by God and a clear head.
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2005, 11:30:44 PM »

The Orthodox need a program like Project Rachel to address Justin's post immediately above. This program has done great work with Roman Catholic and Protestant mothers who have had abortions and now seek the Lord's mercy, often not finding it from their fellow men and women.

Anastasios
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Timos
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2005, 12:44:14 AM »

Thanks for your replies. As I thought thr church's pov is that it is definitely wrong.

Umm, maybe I wasn't clear. None of my three friends weren't pregnant or have ever had abortions and so I wasn't judging them. I was just shocked @ the non-chalant manner in which they adressed this issue...especially them being potential future mothers, I found the pov monstrous. I still respect them however since everyone is entitled to their pov.
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2005, 01:05:50 AM »

While you are onto something when you intimate that people online are often too quick to offer personal spiritual advice, your impression on this point is incorrect.ÂÂ  There is an official Orthodox position that is not dependent on the spiritual father: direct abortion* in all cases is murder.ÂÂ  People on the internet are quite able to present this teaching.ÂÂ  A spiritual father's role might be to mitigate the penace of a woman who commits abortion after the fact, but he can never actually counsel an abortion--ever.

Anastasios

(* surgery to save the mother's life which results in the death of a fetus is not considered a direct abortion).

Indeed, that is why I said all individual cases  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2005, 04:05:28 AM »

uh..uh..uh......My body my choice!... Roll Eyes
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2005, 05:13:34 AM »

uh..uh..uh......My body my choice!... Roll Eyes

In this case it would be the unborn baby's body, not yours.
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2005, 11:23:58 AM »

*sarcasm detector failure*

The Didache condemns abortion. So does scripture. It condemns what is usually translated as "sorcerors," which is not about magic so much as it is about people who prepared potions as abortificients. The word shares its root with "pharmaceuticals" and refers to someone who made poisonous contoctions that were used to achieve abortion. The bible tells of God knowing us while we were in our mothers' womb. It tells of John the Baptist leaping for joy in Elizabeth's womb upon meeting his Savior who was yet in the Theotokos' womb. There's a lot more, too.

We do have programs to help those who might be considering an abortion or healing for those who have procured one. It's called Zoe for Life.
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2005, 12:21:35 PM »


We do have programs to help those who might be considering an abortion or healing for those who have procured one. It's called Zoe for Life.

I'm glad to hear it--honestly, I never heard of it, even at seminary.  Angry  Do they have a link to a website? We'd be glad to link it in our upcoming site reworking.

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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2005, 12:40:47 PM »

*sarcasm detector failure*

Who here was being sarcastic Huh
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2005, 02:50:00 PM »

Nacho.
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2005, 02:55:21 PM »

Not sure how you never heard of it at Seminary....They're at most large scale functions with a display booth and are small, though hardly secret. The icon in my avatar is their icon.
http://www.zoeforlifeonline.org/index.html
If you ever attended the March for Life you would have met them. They are there to help women faced with crisis pregnancies. We could do more for women who have had abortions, but I imagine we're a little more quiet on that point because that sort of thing usually remains between a person and their confessor.
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2005, 03:23:27 PM »

Not sure how you never heard of it at Seminary....They're at most large scale functions with a display booth and are small, though hardly secret. The icon in my avatar is their icon.
http://www.zoeforlifeonline.org/index.html
If you ever attended the March for Life you would have met them. They are there to help women faced with crisis pregnancies. We could do more for women who have had abortions, but I imagine we're a little more quiet on that point because that sort of thing usually remains between a person and their confessor.


The four times I attended the March For Life were when I was Catholic and I attended with my parish, never having had a chance to meet the Orthodox participants there.

As for seminary functions, I was always stuck in the back of the bookstore working when those things occured. I was the tape replication guru Wink

Thanks for the link Smiley

Anastasios
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2005, 04:18:14 PM »

Anastasios,

I recall that you and I were discussing a form of “direct abortion” in the OO section, known medically as “therapeutic abortion” whereby the fetus is killed necessarily, for the sake of preserving the mother’s life. I left you with a few references from EO sources that seem to condone this, and you never responded. I know you're busy with alot of things outside the forum, so I just thought i'd remind you since i'm sure it just slipped your mind.

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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2005, 12:09:43 AM »

And whats wrong with condoning that? In this case, it is not a selfish act of the parents wanting to dispose of having the responsibility of caring for a child.

Also. when AFTER the sperm and egg meet, is the fertile egg considered to be turning into a human being?? Also, a friend of mine who supports abortion said that its not killing a human being because a being is somethjing or someone which can live apart from another source ie the mother.
It raises a good point but I don't see how a fetus is any less human than me or you.

What about if its a week after pregnancy. Is that still considered abortion? I mean its only a few cells...or is it the entire idea that one is trying to stop the potential life of a human from being born? I'm guessing the latter.
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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2005, 12:21:54 AM »

And whats wrong with condoning that?

I don't have a problem with it; Anastasios did as I recall.

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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2005, 12:39:21 AM »

Quote
Also, a friend of mine who supports abortion said that its not killing a human being because a being is somethjing or someone which can live apart from another source ie the mother.

But this idea of your friend opens up a whole different can of worms. Should we kill mentally handicapped children since they rely on others for support and would die without such support? Should we kill the elderly who also need support? Should we kill someone who needs support from medical equipment to stay alive? How about if they are confined to the hospital? Are we going to make distinctions based on the type of support (e.g., mechanical vs. organic), and if so on what logical basis can we hold to such a distinction, and what are the implications? It's a very difficult arena to enter into, IMO.
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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2005, 06:09:16 AM »

a being is somethjing or someone which can live apart from another source ie the mother.

None of us can live apart from God, therefore we are not beings in the first place.
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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2005, 02:42:08 PM »


Also. when AFTER the sperm and egg meet, is the fertile egg considered to be turning into a human being??

No....the fertilized egg is a human being.

Also, a friend of mine who supports abortion said that its not killing a human being because a being is somethjing or someone which can live apart from another source ie the mother.
It raises a good point but I don't see how a fetus is any less human than me or you.

I don't see any sufficient logical or scientific ground for your friend's "reasoning".  To me it just seems like an ad hoc justification of a stance made a priori according to selfish and/or belligerent-feminist whims.

What about if its a week after pregnancy. Is that still considered abortion? I mean its only a few cells...or is it the entire idea that one is trying to stop the potential life of a human from being born? I'm guessing the latter.

It's not a potential life.  It is an actual life.

Consider this: If we can abort the foetus at 5 minutes, then why not an hour?  If an hour, then why not a day?  If a day, then why not a week?  If a week, then why not a month?  If a month, then why not 3 months?  If 3 months, then why not 6 months?  If 6 months, then why not 8 1/2 months?  If 8 1/2 months, then why not the day before birth?  If the day before birth, why not 2 hours before birth?  If 2 hours before birth, then why not 2 minutes before birth? etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.  Picking some random time at which we can call the foetus a "human" becomes simply an arbitrary affair.  The only point in the timeline which doesn't seem to involve arbitrariness is the point where  precisely the sperm touches the egg.  At this point, there is such a fundamental difference between the phenomenal state before this point and that after it, that there is no question about there being a basis to draw a line at this juncture.
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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2005, 04:35:21 PM »

Oh ok that makes a lot mroe sense. But what about the people who say its ok because its just a bunch of cells which doesn't feel pain?

In my opinion, i nthat case, me too, I am just a bunch of cells, but one which can walk talk etc..I am msde up of "refined" bunch of cells in comparison to the phoetus.
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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2005, 04:42:21 PM »

Oh ok that makes a lot mroe sense. But what about the people who say its ok because its just a bunch of cells which doesn't feel pain?

Studies have shown that they might actually feel the pain of being aborted.
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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2005, 04:57:03 PM »

Being foolish, I did a search about Abortion on google.

As I scrolled down the page of a site, I saw a quick movie of the baby being aborted ( I didn't choose to watch it, as it began playing automatically. It started with a picture of the inside of a womb, and then you saw the spike go in through the vagina). I have never seen anything so disgusting and vile before. The worst part was, whether it be by nerve spasms or intelligence, the baby was still moving during the whole thing.

On that Abortion icon, I was wondering, do aborted children go straight to heaven? I'm just curious. For example, when the egg is only two cells, and it dies, it has no state of thought, but would it still go to heaven?
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« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2005, 05:01:06 PM »

Being foolish, I did a search about Abortion on google.On that Abortion icon, I was wondering, do aborted children go straight to heaven? I'm just curious. For example, when the egg is only two cells, and it dies, it has no state of thought, but would it still go to heaven?

Isn't it judging to say who goes where unless we have a sign? All that we can be sure about the cells is that they will be in the presence of the all-loving, all-merciful God, and that is as far a is care to expand on that.
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« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2005, 09:03:02 PM »

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Studies have shown that they might actually feel the pain of being aborted.

That doesn't matter to the left that puts forth such slogans as 'my body, my choice.' I really believe there are really wicked people that just will never see the light. They make it 'nice and clean' and put a smiley face on the evil they perpetrate unto the innocent. Goats & sheep people....goats & sheep.... Sad
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« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2005, 10:19:15 PM »

That doesn't matter to the left that puts forth such slogans as 'my body, my choice.' I really believe there are really wicked people that just will never see the light. They make it 'nice and clean' and put a smiley face on the evil they perpetrate unto the innocent. Goats & sheep people....goats & sheep.... Sad

The argument that "my body, my choice" is without foundation.  Medical science knows that the fetus had a separate body, DNA, and Blood supply.  It is a distinctly different unique person being supported by the mother via the umbilical cord which supplies nutrients. 

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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2005, 12:55:51 AM »

peope who support abortion remind me of people in the Middle Ages..not that I'm that old or anything  Cheesy People back then for example believed that if you kept your window open at night, evil spirits will fly through your window. They also often passed "medicine" as witchcraft. Just because a phoetus doesn't visually have arms and legs in its early growth stages, does not mean it is not a human.

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« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2005, 12:57:12 AM »

or should I say: specifically in Midieval Western Europe. I read that the Islamic countries and Byzantine court were well informed in such issues.
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« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2005, 03:22:24 AM »

Also. when AFTER the sperm and egg meet, is the fertile egg considered to be turning into a human being?? Also, a friend of mine who supports abortion said that its not killing a human being because a being is somethjing or someone which can live apart from another source ie the mother.

When the egg and sperm meet, both the soul and the body are conceived.  This is known as "generationism".  Here is an excellent article on the subject.

http://www.geocities.com/derghazar/GENERATE.DOC

Quote
The Generation of the Soul

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots. -Esias 11:1

I. Background

        Where does our soul come from? Did our parents conceive a lifeless corpse which was immediately infused with a soul created by God? This is the "creationist" view in reference to the soul and the one most prevalent in the modern Christian West. Yet many are surprised to learn that historically creationism was not the only dominant view in the Latin Christian West. Nor has it never been the primary view of the historic Christian East.

        The historic alternative to creationism is known as "generationism." Generationism teaches that rather than our parents giving us a body alone, our entire existence is generated from them. Thus our soul too is generated from our parents as an integral part of the humanity they pass on to us. It is believed that our body and soul are generated together and given us from our parents. This view is sometimes referred to as "traducianism" being derived from the Latin word “tradux” meaning “a branch or shoot.” Some writers make a distinction between the traducianism and generationism. Others use the terms interchangeably as I will be doing in this treatise.

        This ancient, biblical understanding of the generation of man is explained by the third century Latin writer, Tertullian. He writes that “the substances of both soul and body are formed and propagated together” from the parents (1). The term “traducianism” was utilized to describe this doctrine because of the familiar lines in Holy Scripture which refer to children as “off-shoots” or “branches.” Messianic prophesies also utilize this terminology in reference to the Christ’s human lineage (2). In the New Testament our spiritual rebirth and new status as children of God are described in similar terms (3). Such language points to the belief that our experience of being “re-generated” or “born again,” is similar to our original generation, only now spiritual.

        Byzantine Orthodox Father Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir Orthodox Seminary, elaborates on this historic teaching in several of his lecture series (4). Fr. Thomas roots the belief in generationism in the Eastern Christian understanding of "generational sin:"

"We actually inherit our life from our parents, literally. We do not have a teaching of infused souls. We believe we receive our pysche, our mental state, our soul, with our body and its connected to our body. You cannot act spiritually unless you have a brain. And we know for sure nowadays, for example, that if people are raging, depressed, bitter and unhappy they have different chemicals in their brain than other people. So when crazy, hysterical, unhappy people have children, they pass on brain chemicals to them that makes them have a propensity (what the Greeks call prolipsis), a predisposition to be bitter, angry, unhappy and crazy. If they're born HIV positive, if they're born with congenital heart disease, if they're born atheistic and blasphemous, you're going to be infected by that from your birth and its even going to show in your genes. Because we are not, as Fr. Florovsky used to say, "ghosts and corpses." We are incarnated beings. Our minds and our bodies are organically connected. And its all infected and poisoned by the sins of the parents, by the generation."

II. Reasons for belief in Generationism

        As Fr. Thomas Hopko explains above, according to Eastern Christian theology, the humanity we receive from our parents is not just damaged or affected by original sin "physically" or bodily. Rather, we have the potential of being affected by original sin in every possible way which pertains to our humanity. These effects are passed on from not only our first parents, Adam and Eve, but also from all of our forefathers, including our own parents. The effects can be obvious things like diseases, genetic malformities, chemical imbalances, chemical dependencies, and addictions. But this sin we receive from our forefathers, referred to as "generational sin" by Eastern theologians, can also affect us spiritually and psychologically. Things like strong inclinations to lust, homosexual attractions, a violent tempers, etc., are examples as well as other strong inclinations to sin.

        Yet there is a positive side to the belief in generationism as well. Our parents and forefathers can also pass on a better, holier humanity to us as well. Fr. Hopko gives examples of many families which were blessed with several saints as a result of the God-given holiness passed on from their parents. The greatest example of this reality of overcoming generational sin through the Grace and Divine Energy of God, is Sts. Anna and Joakim who passed on their holy humanity to their daughter, St. Mary the Immaculate Mother of God. This is not to say that we are bound to to obey the passions of the humanity our parents pass on to us. It simply means that we are given a certain "prolipsis" or predisposition by our parents, for better or worse, which each one of us have to deal with in this life. This, again, is because we receive our entire humanity from them.

        One may wonder why belief in the generation of the soul is so intertwined with belief in the transmission of original sin? This is explained if we consider that we receive original sin from our parents, and that this "sin" affects our entire humanity (body and soul). It follows then, that what we inherit from them is not merely a "soma" or body but rather that this inheritance is "psychosomatic" involving body and soul. Otherwise, if each of our souls were directly created by God and we simply received our bodies from our parents, it would follow that only our bodies would be affected by original sin, since it is from them that we derive this as well. Yet it is obvious that our souls too are affected by original sin. Therefore it is logical to conclude that we receive our souls too from our parents.

        How else can we explain our reception of a soul riddled by sin? If we adopted the creationist view, we must say it is God who infuses us with souls damaged by original sin. This would be heretical because we know God is All-Holy, nothing unclean or sinful dwells with Him and everything He creates is good. Generationism gives a satisfactory explanation to why our entire humanity is affected by sin.

        It is important to remember that this belief, as the name "generationism" implies, does not mean that our souls are "created" from our parents, as some mistakenly think. The most simple way to understand this point is by considering the other creatures of this world. They too have souls because they are living. The Latin word "anima" from which the word "animal" is derived means "a living being." Animals have souls because they are living. Yet God does not directly infuse their souls. Nor do their parents "create souls" for them even though they receive everything they have from their animal parents. We know that "in the beginning" God created everything. Now all His creatures "pro-create." So in generationism, humans are still considered to be created in the image and according to the likeness of God. God created our first parents and they, in turn, passed on that same humanity to us, only in a fallen, mortal state. It is also significant to recognize, as Fr. Thomas points out, in Scripture man is said to bring forth children after his own likeness (5). This speaks to the parental transmission of our entire humanity without any indication that God reserves the ongoing creation of our souls for Himself.

        It must also be pointed out that such an understanding of the reception of our soul does not in any way diminish our relationship with God. All life is from Him, and certainly nothing is pro-created without his knowledge and consent. In the gernerationist view, our body, soul and spirit are just as sacred as in the creationist view because we are still His unique and special creatures.

III. Other Arguments:

        “In support of generationism is the observation that Gen. 1:27 represents God as creating the species in Adam to be propagated "after its kind" (cf. Gen. 1:12, 21, 25). And this increase through secondary causes is implied in the following verse (cf. vs. 22; 5:3; 46:26; John 1:13; Heb. 7:9-10) and in the passages which suggest the solidarity of the race and its sin in the first man (Rom. 5:12-13; I Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:3). Traducianism, therefore, in which God's relation to individual conception and birth is held to be mediated, has had from the third century wide support” (6).

        Another reason for belief in generationism is the fact that it has fairly strong Patristic support, especially in the Christian East. The Latin Father Saint Jerome substantiates this. He writes that, in his day, "the majority of Oriental writers think that, as the body is born of the body, so the soul is born of the soul" (7). The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that "Gregory of Nyssa, Macarius, Rufinus, Nemesius... seemed to prefer generationism." It is also known that "Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, Saint Macarius of Egypt and others, taught that both substances -soul and body- receive their beginning and are perfected simultaneously: The soul is created from the souls of the parents, just as the body is created from the bodies of the father and mother. In this way, the parents participate with God in the creation of life” . There are also other Fathers like St. John of Damascus who in reference to the Theotokos wrote: "O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew" (Homily I in Nativ. c. A.D. 749). Such statements make good sense in the context of the generation of the soul.

        It is also important to note that generationism is historically not just the dominant view of the Byzantine Orthodox East. It is also the historic belief of the ancient Non-chalcedonian Oriental Orthodox East as well. For example, among the “errors” which the Latin Pope Benedict XII ordered the Armenian Orthodox Church to reject, as a condition for restored communion, was the “the doctrine that the soul originates from the soul of the father” (9).

        In the West, early Latin writers like Tertullian advocated this view. The great Latin Father, St. Augustine, too was sympathetic toward this belief. If fact, it wasn't until the rise of Latin Scholasticism in the middle ages that the West began preferring creationism over generationism. In spite of this, some writers of the West still support it.

In behalf of Traducianism it was said by the Fathers:

1. that it offers the best theory for the whole human race having been affected by the “Sin of Adam”;
2. that it is supported by the analogy of lower life in which numerical increase is obtained by derivation;
3. that it teaches that parents beget the whole child, body and soul, and not just the body; and
4. that it was necessary for Christ to have received his soul from the soul of Mary in order to redeem the human soul (10).

Thus, to summarize, the reasons for belief in the Generation of the Soul are the following:

In favor of traducianism:
1. God's breathing into man the breath of life is not said to be repeated after Adam (Gen. 2:7);
2. Adam begat a son in his own likeness (Gen. 5:3);
3. God's resting (Gen. 2:2-3) suggests no fresh acts of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing); and
4. original sin affects the whole man, including the soul; this is simply accounted for by traducianism (11).
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« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2005, 05:23:35 AM »

Thanks for posting that Theognosis. I found it very enlightening.
And welcome!
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« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2005, 09:25:17 AM »

Anastasios,

I recall that you and I were discussing a form of “direct abortion” in the OO section, known medically as “therapeutic abortion” whereby the fetus is killed necessarily, for the sake of preserving the mother’s life. I left you with a few references from EO sources that seem to condone this, and you never responded. I know you're busy with alot of things outside the forum, so I just thought i'd remind you since i'm sure it just slipped your mind.

+Irini nem makarismos

Ah yes, thank you for reminding me.  To answer the quote from Fr Matusiak:

Quote
As to abortion, the Church very clearly and absolutely condemns it as an act of murder in every case. If a woman is with child, she must allow it to be born. In regard to all of the very difficult cases, such as a young girl being raped or a mother who is certain to die, the consensus of Orthodox opinion would be that a decision for abortion might possibly be made, but that it can in no way be easily justified as morally righteous, and that persons making such a decision must repent of it and count on the mercy of God. it must be very clear as well that abortion employed for human comfort or to stop what a contraceptive method failed to prevent, is strictly considered by the canon laws of the Church to be a crime equal to murder.

He is clearly being wishy washy and inconsistent here; he states that abortion is always murder in every case, then goes on to say one might choose murder in certain cases, but then that it would still be a sin, that has to be repented of.  It doesn't seem right to suggest that you could condone a sin that has not even been committed. I think Fr John speaks here for his own opinion and not the teaching of the Orthodox Church, which he is obviously aware of (direct abortion in ALL cases is murder) but he can't come to grips with, so he is running around in a circle, perhaps trying not to offend people. We must certainly be compassionate in the two specific cases listed above with a woman who has gone through an abortion and come to the church to repent, but we can NEVER---EVER---condone an abortion before it has occured, thus giving a license to sin (the Church has no right to do this).

Quote
The Orthodox Church does not condone abortion for she holds human life as sacred. Only in the case of therapeutic abortion when the life of the mother is endangered can the possibility of abortion be considered

From this quote from Bp John (Kallos) of the EP, I would need to know what he means. If he means indirect abortion resulting from necessary medical proceedures to save a mother's life, then he is not strictly speaking talking about abortion in the sinful sense (medical terminology as I understand it refers to miscarriages as involuntary abortion or other such terms).  Now, if he means that a woman confronted with the possibility that if she doesn't kill her child she will die, but if she doesn't kill her child she might not die or she might die anyway, there is no way one could condone her murdering her child in order to save her own life. This goes against everything we know as Christians about giving our own life to save another's, and against the idea that God has a providence and a plan, it seems to me.  Again, I am not speaking in a pastoral role about what I would do IF a woman who had ALREADY done the deed in an emotionally charged state came to me as a priest in confession--I would show extreme mercy--but if someone came to me BEFORE hand and asked for me to bless an abortion--I would never do it, and the Church cannot do it.

After having come from a [Byzantine Rite] Catholic perspective, I must say that I oftentimes find modern Orthodox moral theology lacking.  The principles are all there in the fathers, but people are afraid to come out and just say what needs to be said oftentimes.  I wonder at times if some Orthodox theologians get their moral formation from the New York Times, because I could swear every time I go to a lecture on moral theology I hear catch phrases reminiscent of that news organization Wink

Anastasios
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2005, 09:28:08 AM »

This, I think should be our model when forming our conscience on this complex issue: http://www.gianna.org/ http://www.saintgianna.org/
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« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2005, 09:58:38 AM »

This is because the Orthodox Church recognizes that moral issues are not black-and-white or set-in-stone.ÂÂ  The Catholic Church, however, pretends the opposite.ÂÂ  This is why people are starving in Third-World countries because of the unspeakable horrors attributed to a set-in-stone no-contraceptive canon.ÂÂ  Also, the Catholic Church seems to cross the line from telling us what is right and wrong to telling us what political party to vote for.ÂÂ  The Orthodox Church knows better than to cross that line.

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« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2005, 11:18:08 AM »

This is because the Orthodox Church recognizes that moral issues are not black-and-white or set-in-stone.ÂÂ  The Catholic Church, however, pretends the opposite.ÂÂ  This is why people are starving in Third-World countries because of the unspeakable horrors attributed to a set-in-stone no-contraceptive canon.ÂÂ  Also, the Catholic Church seems to cross the line from telling us what is right and wrong to telling us what political party to vote for.ÂÂ  The Orthodox Church knows better than to cross that line.


I think this is one of the most unhelpful posts to come from you yet. Your blatant prejudice is not contributing anything to this discussion.  I think that no one would assume that I am a crypto-Catholic but at the same time I really believe in being fair in argumentation and the above is anything but.

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« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2005, 01:54:42 PM »

I really like what Fr. Hopko had to say.( I actually had the chance of hearing him speak @ a Lenten conference. He was pretty good and captured the audience's attention). It puts the issue into more of a (Orthodox) Christian perspective. Since we believe the soul is born along with the begining of the human body atthe moment of conception, it is indeed a human beingm just not fully developed. It's a shame we can't use this argument against atheists or secularists.
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« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2005, 10:06:34 AM »

True, the soul is united to the body at the moment of conception and the arbortion at even 1 minute past conception is the murder of an innocent life. However, I will support the general concensus by agreeing that a child dying as a side effect of saving a young mother of child bearing age is not the same as abortion. Further, many times the baby might be saved at the expense of the mother, this is also not a murder or a case of abortion. The church walks a fine but well defined line on its stances of abortion. Now to continue, i also agree that judging someone who has or is contemplating an abortion is wrong. We can offer advice and opinions, but we can't judge a person based on those actions. What I will offer into the conversation and disagree on is what happens to an aborted child (e.g. heaven, hell, etc.). While it is true that no one has ever come back to tell us about the life after our human existance, we can be pretty sure that a child who is aborted will indeed be taken up to heaven. Since the baby is not capable of conscious thought on a complex field, we can be reasonably assured that the child is guilty of no sins of its own and only experiences the effects of original sin, so as a result, the child would be taken to heaven. Further, I have seen cases where a priest has baptised his child (it was a still-birth) at the moment it was born. I can offer some more insight into abortion by giving a link: http://www.oclife.org/   This is a website for the group OC-Life which is a pro life support group of Orthodox Christians. They are very active around the US and annually attend the March for Life in D.C.
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« Reply #37 on: November 23, 2005, 12:48:52 PM »

I am surprised this is even an issue for us Orthodox:

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/FathersAbortion.htm
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« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2005, 09:58:59 PM »

Anastasios,

Quote
He is clearly being wishy washy and inconsistent here; he states that abortion is always murder in every case, then goes on to say one might choose murder in certain cases

I see no reason to interpret him as being “inconsistent”; isn’t it just called formulating a general standard rule, and then recognizing exceptions to that rule?

Quote
direct abortion in ALL cases is murder

This legalistic thinking isn’t very impressive, and I could give you a very simple legal argument of my own that would in fact challenge such thinking.

If we were to define murder as the actus reus of killing a living being coinciding with the mens rea of intention or recklessness, then in a case where therapeutic abortion is under consideration, the end result is “murder” either way. The doctor either intends to kill the foetus for the sake of preserving the mother’s life, or he intends to omit from acting in a manner to preserve the mothers life, with the knowledge that she will in fact die without the necessary action of a direct abortion. Either way, in a strictly legal sense, it is murder — and there is no valid distinction between an omission and a commission of a certain act, especially when there is a duty of care involved.

Quote
From this quote from Bp John (Kallos) of the EP, I would need to know what he means.

Thereapeutic abortion is a very specific medical term relating to the surgical practise of necessarily directly aborting the fetus for the sake of preserving the mother’s life i.e. the mother will die unless such direct abortion is carried out.

Quote
I think Fr John speaks here for his own opinion and not the teaching of the Orthodox Church…

Are Bishop John Kallos, and Fr. Stanley Karakas, also maintaining their own personal opinions? Wink

I would be interested to see if an Eastern Orthodox authority has specifically addressed therapeutic abortion in a negative sense. Pointing to open blanket statements regarding “direct abortion” does not necessarily prove anything for such statements may be made in ignorance or disregard of this specific circumstance of abortion — a circumstance never being in mind or contemplation, upon the making of such a statement.

+Irini nem makarismos



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« Reply #39 on: May 01, 2006, 12:28:58 AM »

Quote
In my opinion, abortion is murdering human beings.

Like any other time that a life is lost, it depends on the situation. I have expressed very strong Pro-life beliefs on this forum over the years, and I still hold to that position. Nonetheless, pro-lifers do many times have a tendency to dismiss abnormal situations out of hand because they don't want to deal with them. If someone brings up the Mother's life being in danger, for instance, pro-lifers will respond that that is only when there is an ectopic prengnacy (a demonstrably false statement), and that only a very few women experience that. They say this because pro-choicers are trying to use these exceptions as an argument for allowing all abortions, but the problem is that pro-lifers go to the opposite extreme.

I believe that there is a similar problem with calling abortion murder. This sounds more like a reaction to pro-choice rhetoric than an honest, gentle, Christian attempt to prevent something bad from happening. It is especially insensitive because 1) there are people who must terminate the pregnancy or they will die, and 2) many times women will regret what they did later on. But how is it helping anyone by making the women in these two groups, who have already gone through a tremendous amount of pain, feel even more guilty for what they did? If you want to say it's wrong, then say it's wrong, and I'll agree. But we should not use terms which imply that everyone who gets an abortion is a wicked person (aren't murderers at the height of wickedness?) who wasn't careful enough and now is going to murder their child to cover up their sin.
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