Friday, March 16, 2012

Induction of Fetal Demise

Regardless of whether you are a feminist or not, and regardless of whether you believe in God or not, you are a monster if you think that is is OK to induce fetal demise (stop the baby's heart), dismember its parts and the pull then out piece by piece like some heartless Nazi. I can't imagine how people can get self-righteous about "reproductive rights" in this context, and talk in a cool, cold way about inducing fetal demise. Here's a quote from the abstract of an article from a "Society of Family Planning" journal":

"For decades, the induction of fetal demise has been used before both surgical and medical second-trimester abortion. Intracardiac
potassium chloride and intrafetal or intra-amniotic digoxin injections are the pharmacologic agents used most often to induce fetal demise. In
the last several years, induction of fetal demise has become more common before second-trimester abortion. The only randomized, placebocontrolled trial of induced fetal demise before surgical abortion used a 1 mg injection of intra-amniotic digoxin before surgical abortion at
20–23 weeks' gestation and found no difference in ... etc."


"In the literature describing induction termination, there have been multiple case reports of unintended live births"

"By ensuring
demise before the termination is begun, live birth cannot
occur, thus avoiding entirely the problem that faces the
provider, the team of caregivers and the patient undergoing
induction or D&E if the patient were to expel the fetus with
signs of life"

"Providers are also
concerned about potential legal ramifications from an
unintended live birth"

"Inducing fetal demise before induction termination
avoids signs of live birth that may have beneficial
emotional, ethical and legal consequences"

Also, look at another medical site:

"As discussed above, standard methods of pregnancy termination via labor induction do not ensure fetal demise during the procedure. A live birth in this setting can be psychologically and emotionally difficult for the family and staff; feticide removes this possibility."


And I am not a right-wing nut. Even though I am a Catholic, I am, like most Catholics, all for condoms and birth control pills.

Mortification and the Catholic Church

The Catholic church teaches about structured self-mortification – not as a masochistic endeavor to snuff out the lower nature, but to assimilate our egocentricity and our physicality to our higher, spiritual nature.

Self-examination and mortification are meant to put innocent physical things (food, sex, warmth, wine, coffee, exercise, health, walks in the woods, movies) in the category of the “things that will be added unto us” if we first seek the “Kingdom of God and His Glory”, rather than being ends in themselves.

Babylon or no Babylon, I think Swedenborg is closer to Catholicism (praise the Lord!) than to sola fide Protestantism.

Hell and the Possibility of Universal Salvation

You are legally and morally obligated to keep your promises but not your threats. If I, as a landlord, threaten my tenant that I will increase her rent if she does not mow the lawn and if I, out of my own sovereign will, for any reason, do not actualize my threat, then I am not a liar nor am I guilty of a breach of promise. Ditto for God. God can threaten all He wants but if he commutes his sentence out of His sovereign will then we cannot accuse him of falsehood or perfidy, not can be get angry at Him (as Jonah did). 

Another way to look at Hell is that it is our ground state, our state without God's inflowing grace. In this sense, all of us deserve to be in Hell and Hell is real as where we SHOULD go minus the grace of God. But grace is a journey as well as a moment of light. Even if I deserve to go to hell today, today is just a slice of time in my journey. God can lead me and everyone else on the road to Damascus. We might think we're going to Damascus to commit a specific atrocious act, but God might be leading us to Damascus to do other things for Him. Thus our destination, Damascus, which was a hell of egregious perfidy is transformed into a heaven of godliness - all by the Light of God.

Property in Heaven

In heaven, there is plenty for all. Property , becomes a construct of convenience, and not of conflict. It is no longer defined at the tip of a spear. It is like on all-you-can eat that has been paid for, and where there is access to the food from all sides. What you take on your plate is yours, but not one else needs - or covets it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sex and Marriage in the Afterlife -- and Jesus' words

When Jesus said there will be no marriage in heaven, he was referring to a very specific definition of marriage in which, according to Jewish law, which still holds for Orthodox Jews:
1, A man could divorce a woman for any reason or no reason, and still be within the bounds of ethics and morality
2. A woman could not divorce her husband. So if he left her without divorcing her, she could not marry another man.
3. Adultery was something contingent on the marital status of the woman, and not of the man. A married man could consort with a whore if he wished and would not be guilty of adultery.

In short, marriage in the halakhic sense meant meant that the man possessed (owned) his wife as property. This is the kind of marriage you would not have in heaven.

But you would have a marriage of equals, or the conjugial love that Swedenborg mentioned.
Earthly marriage includes reproduction and child rearing. That is the main purpose of marrage.
A permanent male-female sexual relationship that did not include child bearing and child rearing would not be earthly marriage in any sense. You might call it heavenly marriage, or marriage-prime, and it would be holy in its own way.

Here’s a link outlining the difficulties of a traditional halakhic marriage, which has not changed since Jesus’ day.

This also explains the Gospel’s restriction of divorce (no divorce except for infidelity) - Jewish law allowed men to divorce their wives for any reason, and it did not allow women to divorce their husbands. This law is almost identical in orthodox Judaism and in Islam today - divorce is something that men do to women, and not vice versa. If wives are their husbands’ property, then it is up to the husband to release (or not release) his property. Property does not release its owner!

So the question regarding the woman who married seven brothers, each dying after the others was - whose property will she be in the afterlife? And Jesus' answer was - no one's. Per the definition on marriage in the minds of the audience, there would be no marriage in the afterlife. Not their kind of marriage. Not even an egalitarian, earthly marriage since that implies childbearing and child rearing. We're like the angels in the afterlife. Do angels marry? Do they exist in space? In time? No, no and no. But they do have something else equivalent to marriage - let's call that marriage-prime, for want of a better word. And they ave their own equivalent of the spatial and temporal dimensions - let us call those space-prime and time-prime.

The problem is reading Jesus' words without understanding the historical context.

St. Patrick - ridding Ireland of snakes

I wonder why St. Patrick chased the snakes out. They are a necessary part of our ecological balance.

As are, perhaps, the snakes of hell. Without evil to test us, we would not grow. So evil is a necessary part of our spiritual ecology.

The trick is to keep it within balance. Yes, the right word is ecological balance. An ecology or an Ireland that is overrun with snakes is toxic to other species of flora and fauna.

So if St. Patrick had not been drunk with green beer, he would have probably not chased all the snakes out of Ireland. But they didn’t know of ecological balance then, did they?

Before our current ecological consciousness came to be, wise people talked of draining marshes and getting rid of frogs willy-nilly. I guess they did not know that if we drained all the marshes, killed off the bats and the toads, and planted lovely gardens with swans we would be unbalancing the environment – as we often do with the lovely green lawns of suburbia.