He thought he had me. I had presented a scientific case against abortion, but then he popped the question: “Wait a minute... are you a Christian?” “Yes,” I answered. “I get it,” he said, “It’s your religious beliefs that drive your thinking. The only reason you’re against abortion is because you’re a Christian.”
Is that true? Am I really against abortion just because I’m a Christian? Actually... yes. That’s true. If I wasn’t a Christian, I wouldn’t be against abortion. That’s because the Christian worldview can explain how humans have value. It teaches that God made man in His image (Gen. 1:27). Human beings—even those still in the womb—are therefore intrinsically valuable and deserve to be protected. That’s why Christians are typically pro-life.
Atheism, on the other hand, denies God’s existence. Therefore, if I was an atheist, three things related to abortion would logically follow.
#1: I would believe killing the unborn is morally permissible. After all, atheists can’t justify the belief that human beings are valuable. They don’t believe humans are made in God’s image. Their worldview teaches that humans are ultimately stardust, accidental products of a mindless and valueless process known as evolution. The same mechanism that led to the emergence of rats also led to the emergence of humans. On the atheistic and evolutionary worldview, humans are no more significant than a swarm of mosquitos. That’s why many atheists are abortion-choice advocates.
#2: I would believe killing born human beings is also morally permissible. Think about it. If there’s no value-giving Creator, then nothing is ultimately valuable. Born human beings are just as value-less as unborn ones. There’s no reason why killing them would be prohibited. In fact, every person will die one day and eventually the universe will end in a thermal heat death. No one will exist at that point and it won’t matter because nothing ever mattered.
#3: I would believe that nothing is morally wrong. Not only would killing unborn and born humans be morally permissible because they have no value, but killing them would not be wrong because nothing would be ultimately wrong. Since there’s no God, on the atheistic worldview, there’s no moral lawgiver. Without a moral lawgiver, there are no objective laws. Everything goes. What’s right and wrong would be relative to each person, culture, or country. Those standards could change based on the whims of people, lawmakers, or the head of state.
But because I’m a Christian, I don’t have to adopt the above absurd conclusions. God provides an objective standard for morality. Every act we commit can be measured against that standard. Good deeds are closer to the standard, whereas bad deeds depart from it. Regarding abortion, God’s moral law is clear: killing innocent human beings is wrong. Plus, He’s indwelt human beings with value by making them in His image. That’s why killing them is wrong.
Here’s the key point. If a person wants to disqualify my view against abortion because it’s based on my religious beliefs, they’ll have to also disqualify the view that killing anyone is wrong. Because once you get rid of God, you get rid of the foundation for why anyone is valuable or anything is wrong.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying atheists believe killing humans is morally permissible. Nor am I saying that they can’t act morally. Rather, I’m claiming their worldview can’t explain how humans have value or why anything is right or wrong.
So, am I against abortion because I’m a Christian? The answer is a resounding yes. Christianity provides a framework for being against the killing of human beings, even those who are yet to be born.
That doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t make a scientific case against abortion. Most times when I present the pro-life position to a secular audience, I give a scientific and philosophical defense for my view. I don’t need to give a religious rationale. Most people—even non-Christians—agree with me that it’s wrong to kill innocent human beings. My only task, then, is to show them that the unborn is also a human being, using the science of embryology.