Since the most holy of weekends in the Christian calendar has now passed, the folks at Outreach Media
have decided to shift their focus form worshiping the death of Jesus, to look at the topic of birth and conception. This month's poster reads:
"You knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13"
The acompanying piece is all about how the writer has no idea how she (I'm assuming it's a she since she says she was pregnant) has no idea how to put things together in her womb to create a child. She says:
"Pregnancy and childbirth has been one of the most astounding experiences of my life. However, as I followed the weekly updates of what was happening within my womb I became strangely aware that I wasn't really in control. I didn't know how to put a lung or a kidney together, or when to start making the fingernails. Though my body was doing the work there was someone else masterminding the whole process - God."
I wonder how much thought she put into this statement before she wrote it. It seems to me that, instead of looking into what processes take place in the womb to decide whether or not they are natural, she has already decided that "God did it". I wonder if she has the same reverence for her food digesting; does she have control over deciding how her hot-dog from lunch is digested, or whether her coffee from lunch will absorb enough caffeine for her to stay awake for the afternoon? Probably not. She would probably just as well account this all to "biology", if she believes in such things. But the building of a human body needs the guiding hand of God.
Without making too much of a big deal over this, I also wonder what her thoughts are about cell regeneration, or the conception and consequent birth of a "lesser" creature like a rat, or a dog? Is God guiding that too, and to what end?
The article gets really interesting with this paragraph:
"What does it mean to you that you have been handmade by God? Psalm 139 says it means you are wonderfully made. You aren't a mistake. Even if your parents didn't "mean" to have you, even if you have a disability, so-called poor genetics or ill health, even if you don't look the way society says you should, or have an IQ people are impressed by, nothing about you is a mistake. God has carefully and thoughtfully made you exactly the way you are."
Whoah! While the message here is in intention to tell you that you are unique and special regardless of your situation, it actually points at something odd, and probably not intended by the author. The phrase "...even if you have a disability, so called poor genetics or ill health..." is interesting, because there are some shocking cases of disease caused by problems with DNA or genes harlequin-type ichthyosis, in which the sufferer is born with skin that continually cracks and causes very painful infection. What could possibly possess a god to "knit" something like that together, and for what purpose? Suffering an entire (albeit short) lifetime? What about people born with proteus syndrome, like Joseph Merrick (also known as John Merrick or the"Elephant Man"), who was born with a genetic disorder which eventually caused his death by neck fracture when his head became to heavy to support? Was God sleeping as he knit these unfortunate cases together? How can these be accounted for? There are so many disorders that can happen to a child in the womb that don't point to any kind of "hand at work", and it all points to one rather poignant realisation, and it may be an outcome rather than an intention, but valid nonetheless.
When you say that God "knit" us together you do two things; you proclaim that life begins at conception, and by doing this, you limit the freedoms of women to have control over their own bodies. This is the real crux of the situation.
If God made us the way we are, even if it means living a life of pain, we should not intervene in any way, and allow the creation, no matter how abominable, to live to full term and be born. This attitude is incredibly archaic, and with our understanding of what actually causes defects in-utero gaining ground constantly, pieces of this argument are chipped away every day.
Let me ask you this hypothetically: If you were pregnant, and one of the routine checks showed that your baby was horribly deformed, and would live a life of extreme pain gor 25 years for you to look after, unless you let modern science intervene with a simple in-uterine operation, would you allow it? Or would you say "it is God's handiwork, we mustn't interfere." I guess you would have to make that call if an when you came to it, but I can bet you would opt for the simple operation. What would this say about the idea that "nothing about you is a mistake. God has carefully and thoughtfully made you exactly the way you are"?
By implying that God is "knitting" together babies in the womb, it is implied that to tamper with it, or to destroy the thing growing in there, is to go against God. This is nonsense, a woman should have the right to choose the fate of her own body and its organs without the Church stepping in and claiming to know what is right for them. It goes back to the idea of control over women, and whether this is the intention of the passages above or not, the outcome is plain; women should not choose what they do with their own lives. Now I aks this, again, hypothetically: If the foetus growing inside you was growing in such a way that not only you, but your child would definitely die, would you have an abortion, or hark back to the idea that it was God's intention that you die? Your death, and the subsequent suffering of your family could be avoided with a simple termination of the pregnancy.
The final question is this: How is the termination of a pregnancy any different from any other disorder that would require surgery? Especially when a life could be saved, how does the technology behind modern medicine, which can save lives of pregnant women, any different to the pacemaker, or cancer treatment, or cataract surgery? If we are made according to God's plan, then I'm assuming that anyone who believes Outreach Media's stance would forego the possibility of a longer life because "this is what god intended". We live in a technological age, one which includes advances in medicine, and slowly we see the mysteries of life being revealed to us. The further the curtain is drawn back, the more we see that the wizard behind the curtain does not exist.