A picture is worth a thousand words
Abortion images convey truth in ways that words never can, and pro-lifers are foolish not to use them.
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 Hello friends. Welcome to the Case for Life podcast. I’m Scott Klusendorf, your host President of Life Training Institute. I invite you to visit us on social media at scottklusendorf.com caseforlife.com, and of course, prolifetraining.com. Our life in Our Life Training Institute website. Would love to see you there.

Because we want to equip you, there are resources there that will help you. Please visit us there for those resources. I want to take a minute before I dive into today’s topic to tell you about an exciting new development we have. My course, the Case for Life course, is now online and you can join in and benefit from it.

This is a 10 session course that walks you through pro life apologetics from beginning to end. Here’s exactly what you’ll get if you take the course. Number one, you’re going to know how to simplify the argument and bring clarity to it. Number two, you’re going to know what the pro life argument is and defend it persuasively.

Number three, you’re going to have a working knowledge of the worldviews that are driving the abortion debate so that you can engage those worldviews and help people who are struggling with those preconceived worldviews they bring to the table. Fourth, and this is very exciting to me, We take a deep dive into some of the big thinkers on the other side.

You’re going to learn what Peter Singer thinks, what Michael Tooley thinks, what Kate Griesley thinks, what David Boonin thinks, and you’re going to learn how you can respond to the specific arguments that they’re making. This is important because if we don’t know who the people are driving thoughts on the other side, It’s tough to know what to say when we engage these ideas at the street level.

And then fourthly, this is something really helpful for your church. There’s a whole new section in this course on what your church should look like as a pro life church. And we even have a panel discussion. with some leading pastors and thinkers who talk through what it is to have a pro life church and what goals and objectives you should hit.

So I really encourage you to go to scottklusendorf. com or prolifetraining. com and register for that course. It’s worth every dollar you’ll put into it and you will come out having mastered the pro life view. And if you think that’s not important in a pro, in a post Roe culture, you have another thing coming.

Our critics are getting nastier. They’re trying harder to cancel the pro life argument. You must be confident in what you believe, and this course is designed to do just that. Help you be a confident, persuasive pro life apologist. Well, today I want to jump into a question that is controversial in pro life circles, but it came up recently and I thought, you know what?

I’m going to go ahead and revisit it. And that is the whole idea of pro lifers using imagery. that depicts abortion. Now, our critics have always opposed this. They’ve always tried to shut down the use of the pictures. And you can understand why. Because, as Greg Cunningham aptly points out, when you show pictures of abortion, abortion protests itself.

I love that quote. When you show abortion, Abortion protests itself and what he means is this that in today’s postmodern culture where people want to say There’s no truth that can be known on moral issues sometimes what we need to do is get past their cognitive thinking and and go right to their moral intuition, show the images that speak directly to what abortion is, and bypasses all the excuses they might bring to try to nullify a pro life argument.

By the way, this is nothing new. This was done in the 19th century. When slavery was the issue, abolitionists began circulating imagery of slaves that had been tortured and beaten in slave ships and on the American continent. And both in England and in the United States, these early drawings of what slaves were going through when they were tortured and enslaved.

Had a tremendous impact on the culture as a large and fueled the efforts to abolish slavery. And the same is true with abortion today. When you show pictures of abortion, you really drive home what’s going through and you engage at the moral intuition level. not just the cognitive argument argue, or the, the cognitive argument level.

And it forces people to deal with abortion at a visceral level, and that is very helpful to our cause. Now, to be clear, we are not using pictures in place of good arguments. We’re using pictures as valuable adjuncts to good arguments. For example, nobody in their right mind would fault a university professor who showed imagery of the Vietnam War, for example, pictures of children, naked children running from a village that’s just been accidentally napalmed.

We’ve all seen those imagery. All we’ve all seen those images, I should say, and nobody says, Oh, you shouldn’t be showing that. That’s academically dishonest. No, we recognize immediately that these pictures convey truth in a way words never could. The same is true with World War II imagery. When you watch a documentary that shows bodies stacked like cordwood in a Nazi death camp, we don’t say, oh, that’s awful, how dare they show those pictures.

We say, hey, that’s the brutal reality, we all need to see this. Movies like Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, um, Hacksaw Ridge, We And many others are very gruesome, but they convey the truth of what went on historically in ways that no words ever could. And we readily recognize how important this is.

Well, the same is true with abortion. There are millions of our fellow citizens that will continue to think of abortion as a mere preference issue, like choosing chocolate ice cream over vanilla. until they see it. You are not being academically dishonest to show the pictures. You’re actually helping the Socratic quest for truth because you’re taking in all the relevant evidence and looking at it.

But let me briefly run through some reasons why. Pro lifers in particular will shy away from these pictures. The first is they say, well, we’re already perceived as being mean and we need a softer marketing approach to people if we want to win, if we want to win them over to our side. This is not a good argument and let me tell you why.

The hardcore activists on the other side of this issue hate you. You are not going to win them over by appearing nice. They don’t want you to be nice. They just throw that up as a smoke screen. They want you to surrender and adopt their view. And until you do, You’re going to be hated. The abortion debate is not about who’s nice and who isn’t.

It’s about a fundamental question that comes down to this. Who counts as a member of the human family? They say the unborn don’t count. We say they do. And until we adopt their view, they’re going to hate us. So let’s be done with this marketing nonsense that somehow we’re losing because we’re not nice enough.

No, we’re losing because the culture disagrees with us on the fundamental issue that the unborn are one of us. And because they say they’re not one of us, they hate those who argue that they are one of us. So don’t be surprised at their rage. The second thing I would point out is some pro lifers say, Well, we don’t want to use these pictures because they’ll lay a guilt trip on men and women who’ve participated in abortion.

This isn’t an invalid concern. I get it. We don’t want to unduly cause pain for anyone. But let’s be honest here. The sin of abortion is not made okay by pretending it’s not a problem or by covering up what’s really at stake. What really matters is helping people see abortion for the sin that it is, and then pointing them to the gospel that’s found in Jesus as the only solution.

to their post abortion guilt and pain. We don’t do them any favors by covering up what abortion is. We do them a favor when we show them what it is and then lovingly say, guess what? You don’t have to live with a condemnation of that. There is a savior who came and died in your place. He bore the condemnation you deserve for the sin of abortion and every other sin you and I have done.

And the good news of the gospel is that if your trust is in him, you can find the forgiveness you need. for the sin of abortion. We’re presenting a cure, but that cure is only good news for people who fully understand the bad news of their own sin. Not just sin in the abstract sense, but sin in the concrete sense of, hey, I intentionally shed innocent blood, which the Bible forbids.

We give the good news on the heels of the bad news. And the pictures help convey. the bad news so we can point people to the good news. A third objection you’ll get is, these pictures are just emotional, and emotion shouldn’t have any, any factor in this debate. Well, I love what feminist Naomi Wolf points out.

She is pro abortion, she supports abortion, but she addresses the issue directly of pictures depicting abortion. She says, look, If these images are true, and she argues they are, she says we shouldn’t exclude them as evidence because feminism, at its heart, should be about what’s true. And if the pictures are true, we ought to look at them and acknowledge what abortion is, that it involves a real death, not an imagined death, a real death.

So here’s a woman who’s post abortion herself, who says, These pictures have academic and virtue value because they convey the truth of what abortion is. Therefore, we ought not try to censor them. Let’s look at them and be honest about what abortion is. Now, she goes on to argue for abortion in ways that I don’t find persuasive, but I got to give her a salute for being honest about the evidence.

Yes, we should look at all of the evidence. And by the way, It is not true that courts never allow juries to see graphic images in a court case. Yes, they do. In fact, when you think back to the Andrea Yates issue, this was a woman who killed five of her children by drowning them in a bathtub back in Texas.

This was probably a decade ago or so. The jury was shown pictures of those children after they had been drowned. Why? To manipulate them emotionally? No, because the evidence was relevant to the case at hand. And if abortion is no big deal, why are we bothered about pictures that depict it? Others will come along and say, well, those pictures are fake.

And here’s my question. I always put to them. If these pictures of abortion that I’m showing are fake, What do real abortion pictures look like? In other words, you can’t accuse me of showing fake pictures if you have no idea what real ones look like, and I’ve never gotten a satisfactory response to that.

So, when it comes to showing the imagery, you are not substituting emotion for reason. You are not engaging in something that’s designed just to make people feel bad. Yeah, it makes them feel bad, but so that we can point them to the solution that will make them feel better, the gospel. And we’re not doing this in a way that’s just manipulative emotionally.

No, what we’re doing is we are conveying the truth. And if we are committed to the Socratic quest for truth, we should pursue all the evidence, even that which we find That’s why we use pictures. I say more about that in the course, and I hope again that you will go to scottklusendorf. com or prolifetraining.

com and register to take the course. I promise you, after 10 weeks, you will have mastered the pro life position, and you will be equipped to engage a skeptical culture in ways you weren’t before. I hope I’ll see you on the course, and I look forward to seeing you the next time we join.