Atheism to me defines only what I don't believe in. 

Figuring out what I do? What I stand for? The conclusions I come to based on my observation of human behavior?

Slightly more complicated. 

Ok. Much more complicated. 


We don't get a user manual. We don't have dogma to follow or holy men to tell us what to do or how to think. As an American, I'm sort of used to that and looking to fill a void. 

With my OWN conclusions! 

How dare I?!



When a thought pops into my mind that needs a little turning over (usually because another has pointed out a flaw in my logic) I honestly do my best to remove my inner voice and knee-jerk reaction controls to examine the issue as neutrally as possible.. 

I admit I still have hang ups. 

I fucking hate the world right now and pretty much anyone in it. 

But I hate fairly. Or at least I try to. 

Bigotry to me means hating someone because of a choice they did not make. 

Bigotry to me means hating someone because of a choice they did not make. 

Bigotry to me means hating someone because of a choice they did not make. 

This is my conclusion in life thus far. 


You can't pick your skin color or family or sexuality or nationality or gender. 

You can pick your religion, your education level and in some cases your income level (Yeah, that one is still up for debate in my mind and very dependent on where you were born, actually. In many cases that's a gray area, I admit.) 


Reproduction around the world is viewed so differently... so amazingly differently in every place. 

I realize I give some 'nicer' religions excuses for anti-choice legislation. I wonder if it's just because I like them better I give them more leeway. 


I also realized I'm doing it based on notions that may or may not even be correct. 


So in my ongoing battle against self-ignorance, I'm looking for a little perspective. 


This is my opinion at the moment. It's one that's still in development. It's one that I honestly want to explore without malice or temper. 


I believe that Islam is against abortion because they value the life of a potential male fetus more than the life of a woman. 

I believe that Christianity is against abortion because the education level of anti-choice Christians in the U.S are not sufficient for them to think for themselves or look up medical facts. (Let alone Biblical addresses. ) I believe that anti-choice Christians in Ireland simply want to stick their heads in the sand by keeping the 'law' in their country while encouraging their girls to hop a ferry for what needs done. That is cowardice. I have less respect for Ireland in that regard than my own country and that's saying something after the Planned Parenthood defunding debates. 

I believe that Buddhism is against abortion because the under educated masses really honestly think a fetus is baby and everyone loves babies! If you dont' want your own, you can give it to someone else. (From my experience living in Thailand, btw. I am not assuming this is the opinion of all types of Buddhism or all peoples practicing. This is of course confined to my experiences in S.E Asia, not world wide.) They also make birth control VERY easily accessible. So the attitude towards accidental pregnancies are very sum num naah. 

I honestly don't know enough about Judaism or Hinduism to comment on their opinions. 

If anyone wants to educate me, I'm willing to listen. 


Please share your opinions respectfully, folks. 

We are called a community for a reason. :)


Views: 44

Comment by Nathan Hevenstone on July 17, 2011 at 5:15pm

Judaism has a rule: the health of a person is the most important; so important, you can break a holiday rule like fasting on Yom Kippur if fasting is detrimental to your health.


Every Rabbi I've ever talked to about the subject, from the Secular to the Orthodox, recognizes that there are cases when abortion is, quite simply, the only option.


A Chasidic Rabbi told me that he is, as they say, pro-life. He does not support abortion, does not like it, and even discourages it in his congregation. But I brought up a scenario to him:

A husband and wife already had a son, and it was very nearly fatal for the mother. She survived, but, of course, not easily. This did not remove their sex drive, however. Of course, they took all the precautions necessary to protect against another pregnancy, including male and female condoms, the pill, inserts for her, and so on. But after a number of years, for whatever reason, they failed.

This pregnancy, if carried to term, had only one outcome: both the mother and the baby die; there was no gray area here... no other possibility...

Or, she could get an abortion, and while her baby would die, she would survive.


Turns out, the Rabbi had dealt with this very issue, and, despite his general stance against abortion, in this case, he had advised the couple to get the abortion and save the mother's life, as their first-born was still young, and needed her mother; God would understand, and forgive them.


I asked him about the case of rape. This was not a situation he had dealt with, and he conceded that he would be hard-pressed to come out against an abortion in the case of the rape victim.


This, I would say, is a pretty good idea of the Jewish view. Jews, even the most religious, tend to recognize gray areas a lot better than most other religious people. So while Judaism may maintain a generally anti-abortion stance, it recognizes the exceptions to rule, and will grant the gray areas the time they deserve in considerations, including science.


The tl;dr version: as far as I can tell (since I'm surrounded by Judaism every day), Judaism is against abortion in general, but understands that it is not used as a willy-nilly method of birth control, and recognizes when it may be the only option the mother-to-be has; and will support it in those instances.

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on July 17, 2011 at 5:22pm

My experience with Judaism is pretty limited to the folks that are genetically Jewish as opposed to religiously Jewish. Many of em jump through the hoops and even eat kosher but only see it as ties to their family and heritage. Hell, a few self-identifying Jews I know are actually atheist but like the traditions. They've actually told me "No. I do not believe in life after death or the supernatural but I like being Jewish." 

Whatever that means. 

Thanks for the education on that matter. I was honestly curious. 

Comment by Nina van der Roos on July 17, 2011 at 6:04pm

Just acouple of quick thoughts on this because, rather appropriately I am just about to have to leave to go and deliver a baby over in Valkenburg aan de Geul.

The abrahamic religions all seek to control women and female sexuality by various means. This is because all those religions are inherently misogynistic, but it is the extremes of those religions that are obsolutely terrified of female sexuality. Islam seeks to simply oppress women at every level, la-la-land christians seek to force women to have pregnancies if it is likely to end up killing them or is the product of rape.


No religion should have any say over a woman's body, its time they all just stopped trying to control us and left us to make the tough personal decisions that we so often have to make in the face of poverty, poor health, violence, and feckless partners. We might not always make decisions other like but more often than not we DO take the hard decision that NEEDS to be taken, and others should butt out of what are personal issues.

I am a mother, and a midwife, I adore children and take great pleasure in bringing babies safely into the world and into the arms of parents who will welcome the baby, but if a woman says to me she needs a termination I will trust her to have come to that request though much soul searching and comply with her wishes and not pass any judgement.


Comment by Nina van der Roos on July 17, 2011 at 6:11pm
Just noticed a few typos there, sorry, was in a rush. Ciao.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on July 17, 2011 at 6:22pm

Nina- Kudos for being such a wonderful woman! 

No worries about typos in my blogs! I'm usually pretty baked when I write em, anyway! Thanks for your contribution and thanks for participating. 

Hope you have a wonderful time today. Congratulations to the new mother-to-be. 


I agree about the institution of religion fearing female sexuality. I am curious as to the origins of this happening. I mean, I don't see behaviors existing and surviving for very long unless they are beneficial to the species at least in the short term. Any opinions on that? 


As for the people that practice the religions, I have to say that there are a lot of good hearted theists out there who wouldn't admit to such feelings and probably don't harbor them to begin with. I can't say every anti-choice woman is anti-woman. I just think they are ignorant as to medical fact and personal experience. 

Abortion is something you nod your head about in America

-Until you need one.


That's why I think most American Christians are ignorant as opposed to malicious. 

Not sure about Italy, though. 

Care to shed some light on your area when you get the time? 





Comment by Nathan Hevenstone on July 17, 2011 at 11:03pm

My experience with Judaism is pretty limited to the folks that are genetically Jewish as opposed to religiously Jewish. Many of em jump through the hoops and even eat kosher but only see it as ties to their family and heritage. Hell, a few self-identifying Jews I know are actually atheist but like the traditions. They've actually told me "No. I do not believe in life after death or the supernatural but I like being Jewish." 

Whatever that means. 

Actually, Judaism is the reason my antitheism will always be somewhat tempered and I'm not prepared to accept the idea that faith alone is a virus (despite the compelling personal experiences I've had that suggest otherwise). I rather like Judaism, and aside from keeping Kosher and how I feel about circumcision (100% against it), I rather enjoy the holidays, some of the customs, the language, tallit, reading Torah, and, when I can go of my own free will, the services (which can be quite musical). In fact, even though I think the problem in the Middle East is religion, and I do support the creation of a Palestinian state (I want a two-state solution), and I think Israel's policy of overreaction is beyond pathetic, I love, and support, Israel.


Judaism is not a religion. It's a culture. It has its own language, style of dress, food, traditions, customs, history... religion is only a very small part of it. This is why "Atheist Jew" (Jerry Coyne, author of "Why Evolution is True", considers himself one) is not a contradiction like Atheist Christian would be.


However, this is not the thread topic, and I apologize for going off...

Thanks for the education on that matter. I was honestly curious.

No problem. Glad I could help... but, obviously, it's not the whole story. My experience is with Reform and Conservative Jews mostly, and I've been told that the few Orthodox and Chasidic Rabbis I've interacted with are sort of exceptions to the rule.

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on July 17, 2011 at 11:56pm
Hey. Fair is fair. I'm asking for all information. That's personal experience included. I'm not limiting it to statistical numbers or hard evidence!
Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Nina van der Roos on July 21, 2011 at 2:59pm

Abortions, or terminations as they should be called have been legal here in the Netherlands for some 100 years with various modifications to the law in that time. The last updated came in 1982 The law came into effect on November 1, 1984. The states that termination is a crime, unless performed at a clinic or hospital that has an official abortion certificate issued by the Dutch government. The woman asking asking for the termination must declare she considers it an emergency situation. In our typically Dutch pragmatic fashion this declaration is allowed a fairly wide definition of emergency and we take the humane view that if the woman considers her situation an emergency then who are we to question her view of HER situation.


There are 111 general hospitals certified to perform terminations, and 17 specialized termination clinics. These differ from American clinics in that you do not need to wear a bullet proof vest, have armed guards or any special measures - we are all sensible enough to understand the life can be messy and complicated. Some 92% of terminations take place in the clinics before 13 weeks, with the hospitals handling those for medical reasons.

Terminations are allowed at any time up to 24 weeks, personally I feel that in the light of advancing medical knowledge, and improved sex education this does need to come down to 20 weeks. Many other think so as well and currently it is being debated. If the termination is being requested after the first trimester, then two doctors must consent to treatment. As a result of the current debate, terminations are only rarely performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Since the law changes in 1984 terminations rates have decreased and are now at some 31,500 per year which is some 1.8 per 2,000 of population, slightly below the European average.


I would like to mention sex education because I see the effects of good sex education in my work as a midwife. In the early 1980s The Netherlands introduced a comprehensive sex education programme which over the years has been refined. I know it's frankness and completeness shocks most Anglo-Saxons rigid but it does empower youngsters. As a result youngsters start experimenting with sex on average two years behind most western countries, When they do start they take much more active steps in using contraception and as a result we have very low STD rates and a teen pregnancy rate that is some 7.5 births per 1000 female of teen years (USA has some 55 per 1000). 


One other effect of really good sex education is that it makes the job of home births midwives much easier, but that is another subject.



Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on July 21, 2011 at 3:34pm


Can I just move there, please?



Comment by Nina van der Roos on July 22, 2011 at 2:58pm
LOL, as you are a non-EU citizen then you would need a job offer complete with signed contract. If you wish to stay here then you would need to take a citizenship test and learn Dutch, but those things done and you are good to go !


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