Faith Is Important
But Only If It Is An Option
And Not An Imposition
After my wife and I retired, we did what many retirees do which is whatever we wanted. We went where we wanted, whenever we wanted and we sat around watching TV snacking as we pleased. It was great at first but the downside became apparent rather quickly.
Not having a schedule or a plan got old and we couldn’t figure out how to get paid sitting on the couch so we decided to look around for some temp work.
The casual lifestyle also caused another problem. All the snacking created a need for a new wardrobe.
About the time we were coming to our senses, my wife noticed an ad for a local charity and it seemed like a fit. It was seasonal work and it paid a little so it met our criteria. We weren’t looking to be consumed by a job so this was a way to work a bit, get paid a little, and in this case, it was a way to give back too.
We had to fill out applications which is fairly standard. What we didn’t know is the application also involved a level of scrutiny not usually associated with part-time, casual, no-skills-required work.
It wasn’t long after submitting the paperwork before we got a screening call. It was a surprise. There was no advance notice of a call and the caller abruptly hit us with two questions we didn’t see coming:
One, do you believe life begins in the womb?
And two, do you believe the Bible teaches marriage is only heterosexual?
The wording was a little different but that was the essence and it really bothered me. The questions were offered in the spirit of interrogation like the caller was daring me to disagree.
But aside from being irritated, I actually had a question of my own (more than one) which I didn’t share in the phone conversation but have thought about ever since.
- In what way do these questions qualify anyone to do charity work?
- If the people who do charitable work must qualify in this way are the people who receive the charity required to think this too?
- If so, must they agree before receiving charity? Are material goods dangled scintillatingly before the eyes of the needy till they comply?
In other words, is charity provided to meet genuine human needs or is it used as leverage to force a point of view on unsuspecting but needy people?
This conversation didn’t sit well with me. I’d spent over thirty years doing missionary work in South Africa and had witnessed first-hand religious groups preying on the desperation of very needy people, providing material goods just to maintain social/religious control. That type of charity is neither biblical nor liberating.
Jesus certainly never did anything like that.
The caller and the questions came across a little heavy-handed and my wife and I decided to give the job a miss but we did go through the in-person interview which was the next step. We wanted to put eyes on the people and organization that took this approach. I wasn’t going to just call and say no thanks although I would have been in my right to do so.
This experience also provoked a deeper dive into a bothersome issue.
In the past, I had always just gone along with the fundamentalist ideas about abortion and marriage.
I differed on some issues and moderated on others marginally, and had shared a few ideas about those differences with others but when it came to abortion, I had usually acquiesced to popular opinion.
Before anyone becomes too judgmental about the apparent prevarication, consider the fact that religiously, people aren’t given the option to choose freely what they think. Thinking is generally not allowed. Compliance is required. Anything else is heresy.
The phone conversation, as I said, didn’t just irritate me, it motivated me to do a deeper dive and look at the issues more closely. Unfortunately, I can’t say I came up with the absolute answer. In fact, the conclusion I came to was there is no absolute answer and that is important. We can’t just motor on in the same vein unless we can dispel every possible doubt. Uncertainty must be factored into the discussion.
The Real Question
What I realized is we’re actually asking the wrong question. The question we got was “do you believe life begins at conception?” That’s a fair question but it isn’t the right question.
The right question is at what point do you believe the fetus becomes a living soul? Life is one thing. A living soul is another. [Read more…] about Abortion: It’s Not What You Think