Dependency does not mean we can kill you
The fact that the unborn human depends on its mother for survival is not a principled reason for saying we can kill him.
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 Hello everyone, Scott Klusendorf here, president of Life Training Institute. Welcome to the podcast, The Case for Life, where we help you equip yourself to defend your pro life views effectively in the public square, especially in a post Roe world. And that leads to something else I want to mention. Be sure to visit us on social media.

I’m not just saying that because I want a number of likes. We want you to go there to get tools for equipping yourself to engage. I’m gonna preach for a second, but here goes. We are living in a time right now where pro lifers face a tremendous uphill challenge with a culture that does not agree with us on basic worldview premises that undergird the pro life view.

For example, the culture does not agree with us that moral truth is real and knowable, that we can make contact with it. They think of moral truth as being a preference. You like chocolate. I like vanilla. Let’s not judge each other. And certainly not on an issue like abortion. We also live in a culture that does not think that human beings have intrinsic value.

It’s a culture that thinks. Humans have assigned value, or what we call fundamental, um, functional value, meaning we’re only valuable for the functions that we can perform, not our nature as human beings. If you don’t equip yourself to engage those kinds of worldview assumptions, you’re going to be at a distinct disadvantage as you’re trying to talk to friends, fellow church members, and dare I say, even some Christians that ought to know better.

We have to be equipped and that’s why I’m encouraging you to visit our social media sites to get resources, their videos, links to articles, show notes, and even a link to the new book, the case for life second edition that is now out. I really encourage you to get this. You can get a copy through our. Our sites, I’ll even sign it for you, uh, which might devalue the book, but we’ll be glad to do that for you.

But there’s a reason why we plug the book and why we plug the sites. It’s not about us. We’re not trying to make this about, Hey, let’s make Scott popular. We want you to be equipped. That’s the reason for it. So please do visit us on social media. and take advantage of the resources that are there. I want to today wrap up our little series here.

We’ve been doing a mini series on why we use the SLED acronym to make a case for the Pro Life View. And just to give a short review, we do not argue that the SLED acronym is a slam dunk, end all arguments on abortion type device. That’s not why we use it. We use it to simplify The larger worldview divide that’s going on in the culture right now.

The worldview divide is this on one side. There are pro lifers who argue what we call the endowment view of human value, meaning that humans have value because they’re endowed with purpose and value from their creator. It’s a view we find in the Declaration of Independence. It’s a view we certainly find in scripture, and it undergirds the philosophical foundation of the pro life view.

Humans have value not because of what they do functionally, but because of what they are by nature intrinsically. That is not the view of the secular culture today. The secular culture that we are part of today has a dramatically different worldview. that does not account for human equality and cannot account for why any of us have intrinsic dignity or rights.

That view is known as the performance view of human value. And that view, that view says, excuse me, that you are not valuable because of what you are. You’re only valuable for what you do functionally. For example, having an immediate capacity for self awareness, maybe viability. Maybe being independent of another human being or maybe it’s that you can feel pain.

Whatever it is they arbitrarily select as being decisive. They are borrowing from a view of the human person known as the performance view that grounds human dignity in what we do, not what we are. Now, of course, the obvious problem here is you can know that philosophically. But you don’t have time to explain all that when you’re talking to somebody in a 25 to 30 second conversation, or maybe a conversation that is a minute or two long.

What you need to be able to do is illustrate the deficiencies of the functionalist performance view of human value. And one quick way to do that is to use the SLED acronym. To show that the basic things people pick out as being decisive don’t hold up when you scrutinize them. They don’t account for human dignity.

They end up, uh, dehumanizing people outside the womb. In other words, these arguments that people put forward based on performance end up proving way more than people want them to. They prove too much. And the SLED acronym can help you illustrate this. So again, we’re using this tool. to show the deficiencies of the performance view of human value.

We’re not using it as a slam dunk, shut up all critics type tool. The truth is, no, nothing does that. You’re going to have to engage people over time, go back and forth with arguments. But there are some things that can be very helpful. to quickly illustrate your own position or the deficiencies of your critic.

And that’s why we use the SLED acronym. So today we want to look at the final letter in that, S L E D. Size, we looked at size, that body size doesn’t determine We looked at L for level of development, that your level of development doesn’t account for what you are and your value, because if you ground human value in your level of development, two problems follow.

Number one, development doesn’t end at birth, it keeps going, so that would mean those with more development have a greater right to life than those with less, which means we’ve got a huge equality problem. Then you have the issue of, uh, environment, where you are. Yeah, you were once in the womb, and now you’re out.

But how does where you are determine what you are? That has to be argued for, not merely assumed. A lot of people just want to assume that being in the womb matters, while being outside does not. That needs to be argued for. And we can show that that’s not a good argument at all. And I used the example last time of fetal surgery.

You can have a child in the womb with a herniated diaphragm, for example, and physicians will operate on the child by removing him from the womb. repairing the herniated diaphragm, putting him back in the womb to be born at the normal time, 39 to 40 weeks in that range. So does that child go from being a non person just before the surgery while he’s still in the womb to briefly becoming a person with value while he’s outside the womb and undergoing surgery?

and then go back to being a human being with no value and no personhood status after the surgery when he’s placed back in the womb. These are the absurd consequences that follow from this performance view of human value. Today we want to look at a different category, and that is degree of dependency.

Because a lot of people will say to you, well, as long as you depend on another human being, you don’t have a right to life. That child in the womb depends totally on the mother for survival. And therefore has no right to life. And my first question is always this. How does dependency on another human being mean that we can intentionally kill you?

Um, I’ll use a couple of examples here to illustrate why this is deficient. You can think of two twins, and I hope I get their name right here. I think they’re Their names are Brittany and Abigail, and their last name escapes me at the moment, but they are conjoined twins. Oh, I know, the Henschel twins.

That’s right, Brittany and Abigail Henschel. They are, uh, literally joined at the waist. If you look at these two girls, you see one set of legs, and then from the waist up, they branch out into two body trunks. Two shoulders, two heads. And the, the question is, given they depend on each other entirely for survival, their bodily systems are intertwined, they share organs, they, the circulatory system is all distributed between them equally.

You can’t separate these girls, is the point I’m getting at. If you separate them, you kill them. They depend on each other. They’re now in their early thirties, I believe. And the question is this. If dependency on another human being means we can kill you, then the question is, do either of these girls have a right to life?

Because they clearly depend on each other. So does it follow they can be killed because they can’t live independent of each other? That’s the absurd consequence that follows here. I’ll use another example, this one’s a little more earthy. I live in a town not far from where they film the television series, The Walking Dead, or did film it, the series is, is over now.

But for 11 years, they filmed The Walking Dead, and they did so in a town not far from where I live. In fact, they filmed a lot of it in my town. And the storyline of The Walking Dead, so that you know what it is, it’s a zombie series. It’s about zombies. that are infected with a virus, that when they bite humans, the humans they bite also become infected with the virus.

It’s not a demonic series. It is graphic, so I’m not giving you a green light endorsement here. I’m just trying to tell you what the series is. But the idea being that if you get bit by one of these zombies, you turn into one. You die. And then you come back as something else, as a zombie. It’s really not you that’s coming back, it’s a zombie form of your body.

Well, the hero of the story for most of the series was a character named Rick Grimes. And Rick Grimes is a sheriff. And in Season 1, Episode 1 of The Walking Dead, that sets the stage for the entire series, Rick Grimes, a sheriff, is out on a call with his buddy Shane, and they get into a a gunfight with, with, uh, crooks and while they’re shooting it out with these crooks, Rick gets hit and he’s hospitalized and he ends up in a coma for a month.

And while he’s in the hospital during that 30 day period, the zombie apocalypse breaks out. And his buddy Shane, recognizing the, the apocalypse was coming, locked Rick in an isolated room of the hospital while he was in a coma to protect him from the zombies who undoubtedly, and did, come through the hospital.

And to protect Rick, he isolated Rick in this room. Well, Rick’s in there for a month. And nobody is there to care for him. In fact, he wakes up a month later and has to figure out, what happened to the world I once knew? Where’s my wife? Where is my son, Carl? Where’s my buddy, Shane? Where’s the people I once knew?

My wife, Lori, for example. And season one is about Rick. Figuring out what happened to the world he once knew. Let’s change that script just a little bit. Suppose one doctor had stayed behind to care for Rick, and during that month long period while he’s in a coma, Rick depends totally on that physician to sustain his own life.

Would it be permissible for that doctor to slit Rick’s throat because Rick depends totally on him for survival? I think you can see that as a matter of principle, dependency is not a good reason for saying we can intentionally kill an innocent human being. And the same would apply to the unborn in the womb.

The unborn’s degree of dependency is not a good reason for saying we can intentionally kill him. That’s the key point to zero in on. And again, I want you to keep the big picture in mind. We are using this SLED acronym to try to illustrate to critics that their view of the human person, their performance view that says our value is grounded in what we do, not what we are, That worldview has severe deficiencies and ends up leading to absurd conclusions like the ones we’ve looked at as we’ve looked at this acronym in total.

Look forward to seeing you next time. Again, be sure to visit us on social media. We want to keep you equipped in this post Roe world to make a difference. And if you can, go to Amazon, pick up a new copy of the second edition of The Case for Life. We deal not only with that SLED acronym, but we unpack the performance view of human value in even greater detail than we are here.

We look at the major thinkers that are promoting this view, what’s wrong with their thinking, and how you can respond effectively as a pro life apologist. We’re all apologists now, folks. We all have to know how to defend what we believe. So please, visit us on social media, pick up a new copy of the second edition of The Case for Life.

and equip yourself to engage. Look forward to seeing you next time.