A friend of mine has a daughter (S.) who is a senior at a private Christian school. Not the kind of private Christian school that I attended – I’m talking about the kind that has human beings riding dinosaurs in science books. I suppose it’s progressive – they admit that dinosaurs existed, but I just couldn’t take the curriculum seriously once I saw the textbook featuring a happy family giving their pet dinosaur a bath. I’m not making this up.
In her religion class a few weeks ago, they were discussing abortions. S. is a very loving girl. She doesn’t do well with hate and guilt, so she was really bothered by all the talk of murder and damnation. So, she brought up my story. To show that abortion is not a black or white issue, and that people can still have abortions and be loving, good, moral people.
And the result was exactly what I would have expected – she was told that I still murdered my baby, and insinuated that the devil lied on the ultrasounds in order to tempt me to end her life. The “teacher” told her that my life was worth nothing and that I should have died rather than terminate (granted, my life was not at risk, but I think it’s telling that this woman thought that I’d be better off dead).
S. went home and cried that day.
It reminds me of my discussion and reading of Dante’s Inferno, specifically the Wood of Suicides. I can’t believe for an instant that the Christian God would send someone to Hell for suicide. I get that life is a precious gift from God, but I know too many people in pain who have attempted suicide to believe that they would be punished for escaping a life of suffering and torment.
Likewise, I have a hard time that even if the Christians interpretation of the Bible is correct, I really don’t think that I would go to Hell. Personally, I live my life by doing what I know if right so I can be the best person i can possibly be, without fear of retribution or doing it because of some perceived duty. I want to be a mother for personal reasons, not because of a quote from the Bible.
I grew up in a rather liberal church and spent years going to Sunday School, church, VBS, confirmation classes, religious camps, and Bible class, and chapel every day in my private Lutheran school – but I don’t ever recall talking about abortion, Hell, or damnation.
I think the first time I was told I was going to Hell was when I was in college, by a prospective student’s parent. I told her calmly and cheerfully that I didn’t believe in Hell. In fact, through an organization I started, I once tried to talk to the Christian organizations on campus how to witness to non-Christians because threats generally don’t work well with me. I welcomed people to ask me about my faith (or lack thereof) – I would welcome the LDS missionaries to my apartment and talked to the people on campus who would pass out flyers asking if I was “saved” or if I “knew Jesus.” No one was ever really rude, but once I flat out told them that I wasn’t scared of going to Hell, all conversation ended. I supposed they didn’t know enough about their audience to continue a conversation with me, and we usually parted ways and headed off to class amicably.
I think the point of that digression was to emphasize that I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid of God. I’m not afraid of Hell. I’m not afraid of karmic retribution.
Thank you, S., for sharing my story. I’m sorry that not all people are as sympathetic as you are, and I hope you never lose that quality. Some people are are just mean and close-minded, and don’t understand what it means to sacrifice your only child to prevent suffering and pain.
You give me a smidgen of hope for humanity. 🙂