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Logic Dies at the Altar of Self

September 15, 2009

We must deceive them so as not to hurt them, and in that way, we honor them.

This logical gem was employed by Dwight Shrute in an episode of The Office (“Casino Night,” for fellow enthusiasts) to justify hiding the presence of one woman at a party from another and vice versa. Unfortunately, such logical travesties are not confined to sitcoms, but are all too frequently used to justify killing unborn children.

Take for example Ms. Smith, who was faced with the decision of what to do with “extra” embryos after IVF. The article outlined how she came to the decision to donate the embryos (her children) to medical research:

She … spent more than a year reconciling her choices with her religious convictions. … She considers herself pro-life, so donating to another infertile couple felt natural.

As well it should have felt natural – for a mother to preserve the life of her children. But…

[She and her husband grew more unsettled about it.] The questions she had were too big to be left unanswered.  She didn’t know if she’d ever stop searching crowds for little girls who looked just like hers. “It’s a life-altering decision,” she says.

Indeed it is, but Smith is concerned about her life which nobody is threatening to extinguish.

They eventually decided to donate the embryos for medical research, as a gesture of gratitude to a system that had given them their dreams. “We were ultimately still giving life, just not for those particular five embryos,” she says.

And there it is: logic dies at the altar of self.

I was struck as this article laid out the process that this woman underwent in reaching her decision. The tragedy beyond the obvious is that she knew better. When she was called upon to sacrifice (in the form of mere uncertainty) for her principles she jettisoned them. But she pacified those nagging conviction by convincing herself that her decision actually served her principles!

Why, what better way to put your pro-life convictions in action by destroying human life to hypothetically play a role in  prolonging the lives of others?

(Cross-Posted at Southern Appeal)

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