Challenge: They’re Going to Die Anyway

Posted: October 5, 2010 by Amy Hall in Do the Right Thing, Weekly Challenge

This week, Brett will be taking some high school students on an apologetics mission trip to Berkeley, so Alan will be answering this challenge. That being the case, I thought we’d head into Alan’s specialty and do some pro-life apologetics.

How would you respond to the following argument from a friend who supports embryonic stem cell research?

You know I’m against abortion because I think human life is valuable and we don’t have the right to kill unborn babies, but this really seems different. We’re not taking any future life away from the embroys–they’re going to die. Isn’t it better for them to do some good before they die by helping scientists find cures that will help lots of people?

Take your best shot, and Alan will be here on Thursday to let you know how you did.

  1. Adrian Urias says:

    um ok, wow. im not really sure what to say to this. the first thing i would do is give them a look of confusion. if that doesn’t draw out the inconsistency, then I would go ahead an highlight it.

    ok, first, and this probably isn’t utilizing my time, but i would like them to clarify their stance on abortion. perhaps give me a sketch of an pro life argument. but like this person said, theyre against abortion because “human life is valuable”. This cedes that the unborn baby is a human and has a life. but then the contradiction arises in the next sentence with, “We’re not taking any future life away from the embroys” I’d simply point that out. If said person is against abortion because its wrong to take a life…and then immediately says your not taking the any future life…i dont see how that isn’t immediately apparent.

    Concerning FUTURE life, when one dies is morally irrelevant. Slippery slope. I could die of a heart attack after an hour after I post this, doesn’t give anybody the right to abuse me or attempt to kill me. No matter the condition I’m in, I’m still a person, which the person cedes if theyre against abortion, and I still have rights.

    As for searching for cures, well, Nazi scientists did experiments that are better left imagined than described on Jews who were dying anyways. Does it justify the Nazi doctor in killing them since they were going to die and they could have done medical research? Don’t think so. So yeah, that’s my answer.

  2. Adrian Urias says:

    does it take a while for my post to go up? or do you have to approve them? or did i not appropriately click post?

  3. I would first have them explain further to me their stance on abortion, like Adrian. If they repeat what they said and go into further detail, I can then get a better idea of what they consider life.

    The primary question here is “when does life begin”. If it is wrong to have an abortion, but not kill embryos, then this person believes the line of life begins somewhere between those stages. It would not be that difficult to point out the impossibility of making the distinction at some arbitrary line. Over time that line has changed in the scientific world, and there are some who still believe that it is at birth. So who’s right?

    I would then ask them if they believe that God is the ultimate authority on all things. If they say they do, then pointing out to them what God says on the subject is the simplest way to win them over. If they do not believe God is the ultimate authority on all things, this becomes more difficult.

    I would then go to Psalm 139:13-16 and discuss it with them.

    God formed each of us, and is forming those who are not yet born. He knows his plan for that life. Do we want to decide that our plan for that life is more important then what God is doing? That our plan for ourselves is more important then what God desires? If we decide that what we think is right is better then what God is doing we are wrong, and nothing can justify that.

    If one does not want to believe scripture points out what God is doing in the womb, then I would point out the scientific evidence as well. Mainly, that we are not genetically different now then we were at conception. The only change is in how that DNA appears to us on the outside, and that is still going to change. As we change our DNA remains the same, and it is our DNA that makes us human verses something else. So from the moment of conception all the way to death we are human. Killing humans is wrong, no matter the age of the human or the excuse used to justify it.

    In addition stem cells are available others ways, it just takes more work to get them. Doing things the easy way is no excuse for sin.

  4. Chad says:

    Well…. Adrian kinda stole the show on that one. 😉

  5. Sam Harper says:

    It sounds like the argument is that since the embryos are going to die anyway, we might as well get some use out of them.

    But this argument proves too much, because the same reasoning could justify killing anybody who had a terminal illness. In fact, since all of us are going to die anyway, it really justifies killing anybody whatsoever as long as you can put their body parts to use.

    I would probably point this out to them by asking, “Do you think we would be justified in taking the life of a terminally ill cancer patient as long as we could put their good body parts to use? Or what about the elderly who appear to be on their last leg?” If they say “No,” then I’d say, “Then it isn’t really true that we are justified in taking someone’s life just because they’re going to die anyway, is it? And if it’s not true, then we can’t use that to justify embryonic stem cell research.”

  6. Ryan Page says:

    In order to be persuasive, you can side-step or temporarily punt the “they’re going to die later” objection and first and foremost show to your listener that with human embryos we are talking about human beings in the earliest stage of development.

    As I good Ambassador for Christ, I would start off the conversation by asking my debating foe if I could clearly spell out my case without interruptions. Simply bring up to her that “I know these types of conversations are heated, so I think it is best that you spell out your case without interruption, and then I will go without interruption. Fair enough?” Once you’ve gained the audience, with ground rules in place, then have at it.

    In order to do this properly, you have to ask the most vital question to this entire discussion — “What is the unborn (or embryo)?”

    Next, ala Scott Klusendorf or Gregory Koukl, you can ask your questioner, “Imagine you’re at you kitchen sink and your 5-year old comes up behind you and asks Daddy can I kill this? Now you cannot see him, as your back is turned? What do you say? What is the only question you can ask at this point?”

    What is it? Of course. That is the only question you can ask, What is it?!

    By asking this most important question, this can lead into a discussion on the human embryo being a human being / person.

    To the one who would object to the human embryo being a human being / person you can advance the S.L.E.D acronymn to show that the human embryo differs in only 4 ways from you and I. Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependency. Each of these 4 differences show that none of them are acceptable to taking the life of an innocent human being, like a human embryo.

    Secondly, you can “trot out the toddler” to get right back into the objectors point that “they are going to die anyways”. So, if I had a room full of Chinese orphans, who were unwanted and were going to “die anyways”, could I kill them? Of course not.

    Thirdly, you can show that many infertile couples are willing to adopt human embryos or “snowflake” babies. So the “they are going to die anyways” objection immediately disappears because the demand for snowflake babies are so great that studies have show there are more desiring infertile couples waiting to adopt than there are “leftover embryos”.

    If this isn’t enough to persuade your debating foe, then you can simply summarize as you’ve thanked them for allowing for a proper discussion on such important topics like human embryos being disposed of.

    Lastly, pray, pray, pray that they have “eyes to see” and “ears to hear”. Plead with the Holy Spirit that the words you spoke would change their inmost parts (heart and mind).

  7. Um, they’re going to die as a result of human action. Specifically, the human action to create life outside of the natural environment. Imagine you grab a fish from the ocean and then start dissecting it for science, then say “it’s going to die anyway”. It’s going to die because you deliberately put it somewhere dangerous, compared to where it would normally be.