• PO Box 95007 Saddleridge, Calgary, AB, T3J 0E3
  • +1 403.689.5890
  • info@faithbeyondbelief.ca
In Canadian Apologetics Coalition,Contending for Life and Sexuality

Lives Worth Contending For

by Jojo Ruba – faithbeyondbelief.ca

A few days before my 37thbirthday, I was at the University of Calgary handing out pro-life literature to students as they passed by.  I was part of a display put on by students who want to talk about abortion with their classmates.  Having engaged university students all across Canada, I thought I’d be used to their reactions: Some take the information, while others ignore us. Many come and talk to us or just stare at the pictures on our display.
But I wasn’t prepared for what one student said as he passed by. Whispering under his breath to a buddy, he looked at our display and said, “Why are those people here? What’s that middle-aged man doing on our campus?”
My first reaction was of course to look around to see which middle-aged man he was referring to. But realizing that I was the oldest pro-lifer at the display, I knew that he had to be talking about me.
Putting aside a wounded ego, his comment got me thinking: what was I doing on a university campus at my age? Most of my peers are already working their normal 9 to 5 jobs while raising their own children, not talking to young adults about their reproductive choices.   
Besides, many Christians argue that dealing with issues like abortion or homosexuality are “political” issues that have little to do with the “spiritual issues” of sharing or defending the faith.  As one Christian Facebook commentator recently told me, it’s none of our business to judge people outside the church.
But that kind of thinking ignores a simple truth: God, if He is God, is God of everything and everyone. That means he has something to say about all the issues that affect us – including our sexuality and the personal choices we make.  When Christians abandon publically discussing issues just because they are also in the political arena, we deepen an already wide chasm in the minds of most Canadians: that religious values can provide no reasonable guide to how we should live.
Some Christians justify this chasm by stating that we can’t impose Christianity on others – and that’s true in a sense. As Evangelicals, we believe that we are to evangelize by telling others of the gospel so that they can accept it. Any conversions by force of law would then be false. But that speaks to what CS Lewis said about divorce. There are some morals we just can’t legislate, even if as Christians we know that these morals would be for our benefit.  Banning homosexuality or birth control creates laws we simply can’t enforce.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t speak on those issues. Christians have to demonstrate that the Biblical worldview has something to say about these issues because God cares enough to tell us how we should live. And that’s at the heart of Christian apologetics: that there is no chasm between our day-to-day lives and the God of the Bible – He is immensely practical and personal.
More importantly, it isn’t the case that we can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians – at least on the most important of moral truths. We expect non-Christians to obey laws against murder, theft or rape just as much as we expect Christians to and those laws have their genesis in the Pentateuch.  In fact Western society as a whole is founded on moral ideas that have been heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian thought.
If laws did not reflect the idea that human beings are inherently valuable and their freedoms worth protecting, then Western society as a whole would collapse.  Even the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges the supremacy of God. Why? Because human rights can only be universal rights if they are grounded in eternal values that are not limited to time, space or the current will of the majority. Otherwise, what we have in law aren’t “rights”, just wants or needs that government has no duty to respect.
This is why Christians need to talk about issues like abortion. The debate, as political as it has become, touches on two foundational ideas that form the crux of western society: that moral truths matter and that one of those moral truths is that human life is inherently valuable.
Anyone engaging in an abortion discussion with the average Canadian, especially on a university campus, will learn right away how these ideas are questioned. In fact, at the U of C display, often the first thing I had to explain to students was that pro-lifers are making objective moral claims not preference once.  Several students said that I had no right to tell people what to believe. Of course, I simply responded that they were doing the very same thing with that statement!
What is more disturbing is that an environment where all moral or religious claims are regulated to “personal preference” can never fully grasp the historical claims of Jesus. In other words, Christians can’t evangelize if we don’t learn how to explain what moral truth is to our culture and why it still matters. Talking about issues like abortion or homosexuality help us do that.
In fact, when we don’t know how to explain the truth of what we believe, Christians themselves struggle. A recent study of over 2000 Canadian young people found that the majority of those who leave the church are upset with their church’s position on homosexuality. [1]  In other words, homosexuality has become a spiritual stumbling block to many believers, whether churches deal with it or not.
But much more grave is that as soon as moral beliefs become mere preferences, then every moral idea, including the one that values human life, become arbitrary too. The abortion debate crystallizes that problem perfectly.
Remember, the Bible never says when human life begins. It doesn’t say that preborn children are human persons just like born persons. But neither does it say that Dutch people or that disabled people are valuable human persons either. Rather it is biology, not the Bible that tells us that we are all members of the human family, including preborn children.
What the Bible does tell us is that every human life made in God’s image and every human being is therefore valuable to God. No one has a right to take a human life except God, who gave us life. If human beings aren’t valuable, then there would no basis for evangelism or apologetics.  The belief that God has endowed humanity with special value as we are made in His image is the reason why sin is so egregious and why our salvation is so necessary.
Yet, when I chat with students at U of C or even their parents on Canadians streets, the idea that all human beings are valuable is questioned.  They believe that a person’s life can be taken away based on their circumstance (a product of rape or finances) or simply because their mother does not want them. Now many of these arguments are raised because they don’t believe preborn children are persons. But that’s not the case always. Many are willing to say that they would kill or be killed based on such subjective criteria. One American student once told me that she wished she were aborted to avoid the pain of being sold by her mother for drugs.
And that’s exactly where Peter’s words on apologetics rings true: that we are to provide good reasons for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). When Christians ignore debating issues like abortion and homosexuality, we ignore the people who are struggling and searching for hope.

Our blog coalition put this series of blogs together because we believe the Christian worldview is comprehensive – that God is sovereign in all areas of our lives.  More than that, we believe His plans for humanity are always for our best and for our protection. His laws matter because they reflect how much our lives matter to Him. Even if we don’t expect all human laws to reflect such truths, we do expect that people still need to hear those truths.

It’s the same reason why I was at U of C a few days before my birthday. Hearing that young man ask what I was doing there reminded me that we speak out in the public arena, including on-line, because his life, and the life of all Canadians, matter to God. Theirs are lives worth contending for.

[1] [1] Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and When Canadian Young Adults are Leaving, Staying and Returning to Church, James Penner, Rachael Harder, Erika Anderson, Bruno Désorcy and Rick Hiemstra, 2012.

  • Anonymous

    @Jojo Ruba: That was something worth reading..
    God helps every child who wants to live his life in a proper way. There’s always a way out to every problem. But ending life is not a solution in any of the circumstances.
    Apologists should be talking on these topics. Will be looking forward for more posts from you.

  • Hi Jojo
    Fine article. There is a very good discussion about Natural Law (in laws that everyone ought to obey), The work is by a Christian Theologian who was professor of the history of Institutions at the University of Bordeau in France. It is called The Theological Foundation of The Law. I Have a New Book I hope to submit soon entitled Humanity Most Precious. Love to get together for coffee sometime soon and have a good chat.