Saturday, March 24, 2007

Taking the Roof Off

Here's a pro-abortion ploy. How would you answer this?

Pro-abortionist - "Where does an aborted fetus go - heaven or hell?"

Christian - "It's true that the child* even in the womb carries the mark of original sin and is therefore sinful before God, but the aborted baby* has certainly not reached the age of accountability where God holds us accountable for realizing our sinfulness (estrangement from Him) and recognizing our need for Jesus as the only way He has provided to cover our sinfulness and restore the relationship. So, I guess the answer to your question is the aborted baby* goes straight to heaven."

Pro-abortionist - "Well, if there's a chance the baby*, when it grows up and passes this so-called age of accountability, may not find your way to god and end up going to hell, then aren't we doing the child* a favor by aborting it and sending it straight to heaven? You should be in favor of abortion!"

You may be already thinking, "What do I say?"

There are several different approaches you could take here, but let's look at just one. Francis Schaeffer (famous and influential Christian apologist of the 20th Century that you really should know) advocated a tactic called Taking the Roof Off. Basically, he said people will find all kinds of excuses to hide under to support what they want to believe -- even when what they believe is irrational. This idea of hiding under, he likened to the snow/avalanche shelters built in the mountains of his native Switzerland to protect hikers.

Schaeffer's tactic to help the person see the irrationality of their position is to take the roof off their position and allow the rocks and boulders of truth to pelt upon them. You do this by carrying their position/belief to its logical conclusion and outworking.

Taking the Roof Off in this particular case might go like this, "If, in your opinion, abortion gets babies* to heaven and getting to heaven is a good thing, then getting more babies* to heaven is a better thing, right? So, why not abort every child? Everyone goes to heaven! What do think? (always end with a question - throw them the ball)"

It will probably dawn on the pro-abortionist that this is really not such a good idea. After all, if the government legalized killing every child in the womb, who would be around to pay into Social Security for the pro-abortionist to be able to draw out of the system? And it may even dawn on them eventually that the end result of their idea is the extinction of the human race.

The above is somewhat tongue in cheek, but you can definitely expect the pro-abortionist to protest your misunderstanding of what they said. This gives you the opportunity to allow them to more fully explain their position ... which gives you the opportunity to use the Take the Roof Off tactic again or use another tactic. The main point is that you can stay engaged and make the other person think.

I must confess I have never heard the above argument used by a pro-abortionist, but it would not surprise me! Also, I am not using it as a strawman (easily defeatable distortion of a person's viewpoint) but as an example for using the Taking the Roof Off tactic. This is not the only tactic that could be used here, but it does lead to an interesting conclusion. I also used this argument for its shock value. Since you probably never heard it either, it made you think - like finding a shuttered window you had never seen in your home and throwing it open to reveal a new vista.

You may also have picked up on another fatal flaw in the argument. It reasons there are three winners in an abortion - 1) the woman having the abortion (implicit), 2) the child who goes to heaven, and 3) the Christian who should be happy another soul has gone to heaven. Now, after using the Taking the Roof Off tactic as above, the pro-abortionist would probably back pedal furiously to make the point that she/he is not proposing that sending children to heaven is the reason justifying abortion but that it is a collateral benefit that should make Christians happy. But should this make Christians happy?

Isn't the pro-abortionist confusing reward (heaven) with the purpose of life? And the purpose of life is? (You do know, don't you?)

The most succint statement I have found is from the Westminster Shorter Catechism: "What is the chief end (purpose) of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever."

It's like the man who buys a new car off the showroom floor and takes it straight to the junk yard. Afterall, that is the car's eventual reward -- but is that what a car is for? Has the car fulfilled its purpose?

I'm not going to develop the argument here, but you can see where this is leading -- a witnessing opportunity about the meaning and purpose of life. And, it's leading back to the central question of the abortion issue - What is it? (that abortion kills).


* there is another tactic related to the words in green I will explain in another post - here

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