Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chuck Colson on Peter Singer

Not surprisingly, our former Watergater now born-againer dots the by now familiar i's, while his Senior Partner in the clouds crosses the lower-case t's. Today I thought I'd zoom in on some loaded and subtly deceptive phraseology which seeks to make antinatalism what it is not.

This time, Singer is considering the idea of not just getting rid of the elderly or the disabled, but total human extinction.

To start with, tying the word 'extinction' to the phrase 'getting rid of the elderly or the disabled' is problematic, inferring an active elimination of already living beings. Human extinction by way of procreational attrition is a far different thing. Applying Colson's logic to the personal, we are then obliged to define any successful attempt at preventing a pregnancy as murder.

'Extinction' is a buzzword these talking heads get a lot of mileage out of. With it, they conjure up images of the Gulag, people forcibly marched into ovens, and the general damage and violence brought to bear in an attempt to exterminate a large number of people. Admittedly, such forces might be utilized in a farflung future where antinatalist doctrine holds political sway. However, violence isn't a necessary component, and could be avoided completely if everyone simply recognized the suffering they were inflicting upon the newly conceived.

On the other hand, there ARE examples of the kind of violent extinction Colson is afraid of; all he has to do is leaf through the bible under his arm to find them.

Utilitarianism seeks to increase happiness and reduce the amount of pain. Nothing reduces pain like eliminating everyone capable of feeling it.

Again, Colson is using the word 'elimination' here to generate a defensive feeling, as if Singer (Benatar) is promoting violence to rid the planet of people. Others have even gone so far as to label antinatalism 'genocide'. All this for advocating a voluntary act i.e. non-procreation. We're not talking about elimination. The very process of life takes care of that on its own. We're talking about circumventing the process altogether, thus SAVING lives, not eliminating them.

Then again, Colson's God seems to be one of those pack rat types who saves EVERYTHING, including that majority of souls He disapproves of. That's why He prefers stockpiling them in His basement and sticking needles in their eyes for eternity, rather than just living and letting live. Or die, as the case may be.

Sure, the remaining animals would could still feel physical pain, but every animal's pain, i.e., being eaten, is more than balanced out by the happiness being felt by those doing the eating. The net increase in happiness would be undeniable in a "kumbaya/circle of life" way of thinking.

And of course, animals, many of whom abandon their young before they are actually born don't feel guilt about what they are doing to future generations. It's great to have a selfish gene.

I found this particularly amusing, since the system he's disparaging is the one his God set up. By the way, Chuck, 'kumbaya' is a spiritual song, and literally means 'Come By My God'. You know, 'Yah' as in Yahweh.

They could do it because they had already decided that there wasn't anything inherently sacred and worthwhile about human life.

Bypassing a discussion of what 'inherently sacred and worthwhile' even means (nothing, in my view), what's this got to do with voluntarily NOT having children? Being a devout Christian, I'll assume the Chuckmeister doesn't believe in a backlog of souls floating in the void, waiting for their chance to take the stage. That being the case, just how much sacred and worthwhile human life is necessary to fill the quota? I mean, God plans on putting an end to this earthbound production pretty soon, anyway...doesn't He? And is every adjuration to 'pull out and come on my stomach, sweetie' a slap in the face of sacredness, then?

Then again, there is this. Whoops! My bad.

To them, the future lay not in God's hands but in their own—they, not God, decided who did and did not have a future.

So all family planning is out, then? Leave it all in God's hands, and God'll decide when enough is enough? Is this the way it works in your Christian community, Chuck? Christians just keep on squirtin' out them youngin's until God, in His Infinite Mercy, finally renders them barren somewhere in their mid to late fifties? Puleeeze! And conversely, if people actually ARE allowed to make their own decisions regarding the number of children they have, might one of those 'allowable' numbers be 'zero'? Or is there a minimum requirement for every Godfearer on the face of the Earth? I'd like to see that chapter and verse, if you don't mind.

As I said, Singer is "nicer" than that. He's not a monster. Instead, he wants us to imagine being monsters together

Thus spaketh Chuck. Hear and obey, oh ye faithful of the Lord. And remember, if you're not popping them out like bunnies, that.makes.you.monsters. Straight from the horse's...


Sister Y said...

Jim, maybe you can explain this to me. Why do Christians pretend that conception is the province of God, when it seems to be clearly causally linked to human activity? It's not like we don't know where babies come from. There's no mystery.

And Christians don't pretend that God performs other processes by "miracle" - e.g., fermentation. God doesn't make booze, people do - so why not babies?

metamorphhh said...


It's all part and parcel with the fuzzy inconsistency of Christian doctrine. When you've supposedly got a human mind interposed with thoughts and edicts coming from both God AND Satan, who is who, and which to choose?

Of course, a Christian might respond with "that's why we have the bible'. But the same problem remains, since you never know which source the interpretations might be emanating from. In short, your sensible question cannot be answered from a Christian perspective, because Christianity is a patchwork of mythic and philosophical fragments which often compete with and contradict each other. It's a fucking mess! LOL!

Ann Sterzinger said...

God makes conceptionz and not fermentationz for the simple reason that babies are easier to boss around than beer is.