Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Doritos Ad and How To Disagree With Each Other

The reaction of the National Abortion Rights League (NARAL) to the Doritos Super Bowl ad in which two expectant parents see their child by sonogram was strange. They lamented how the ad "humanized" fetuses.

In a post on his blog, Russell Moore argues that it isn't parents who humanize the children they observe in a mother's womb, but God.

Then, Russell gives a warning against self-righteousness by those who consider themselves "pro-life":
...it would be easy for those of us who are pro-life to see this as merely more evidence of how abortion advocacy sears the conscience and blunts even common-sense moral intuitions. But our response here should not be self-congratulation. This small window into the way moral reasoning works ought to serve as a warning to us.

We cannot “humanize” what is already human, but we can certainly dehumanize the humanity around, or within, us. The abortion lobby wants the “fetus” to be thought of only in clinical language, as though he or she were merely an “it,” tissue to be disposed of. Those who oppress the poor want them to be thought of merely in economic categories, as drains on the “system,” not as image-bearers of God. Those who want to “consume” pornography want to think of those on the screen as images, not as people with stories and hurts and families. We too often want to think of our enemies—whether on the geopolitical stage or in our office coffee-room conflicts—as exemplars of total evil, not as each one a representation of God’s creation wisdom. We want to be justified in our actions, by reassuring ourselves that there’s no judgment to come.
He continues:
When those we dehumanize are seen, despite our best efforts, as human, we either repent or we become angered. That’s why Jesus’ hometown was enraged when he pointed to the truth that God, through his prophets, went outside the bounds of Israel to minister to a Syrian soldier (Lk. 4:27-28). I fear that some of us would have a similarly angry response to a sermon about ministry to a Syrian refugee.
In our sin, we want to keep our illusions–whatever they are–that enable us to silence the conscience within us. We want to, in short, walk in darkness. But Jesus is the “light of the world,” the light from Galilee that illumines the nations and ultimately the entire cosmos.
Abortion is a serious issue. And while there are times when it may be seen as, in the words of a statement from a Lutheran body that no longer exists, "a tragic option"--such as in the cases of rape, incest, or when a mother's life is in danger--it's sad and sinful when it's used as nothing but a belated form of birth control. A fetus is formed in the womb by the hands of God. And like all human beings, every fetus is made in the image of God. So, I think it's right to be horrified by the inhumane response of NARAL to the Super Bowl ad.

But the furor should also cause all of us, as Moore suggests, to be circumspect about how we view those who disagree with us as evil. Sometimes the people with whom we disagree are simply people with whom we disagree.

We are all sinners and none of us has any hope of anything like moral clarity apart from our submission to the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ. That realization should incite all of us to treat others with the love and consideration I believe is owed to babies in their mothers' wombs and to all people, no matter who they are.

For Jews and Christians, the obligation to love our neighbor is part of God's greatest commandments.

And for Christians, the ability to love others despite our differences is the litmus test of whether Christ really lives in us. When that happens, we can humbly listen to others' points of view, even when we disagree, and say with the apostle John, "We love because [Christ] loved us" (1 John 4:19).
[Thanks to my son for posting a link to the Moore article over on Facebook. Please read Moore's really good piece.]
Here's the "controversial" ad.

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