Archive for the ‘Dostoyevsky’ Tag

Shooting an Elephant; Aborting a Fetus   6 comments

Orwellcovercopy

This is from the blog Oceans Never Fill:

George Orwell wrote the poignant essay Shooting an Elephant in 1936 and effectively criticized Imperialism and its inevitable destruction of both the oppressed and the oppressor. The tyranny of one party is a destructive force to those whom he rules over by forcefully taking their freedom, and it is a destructive force to the tyrant himself by passively taking his freedom as he fits himself into the expectations of being a despot.

Orwell was called the conscience of his generation. I think, perhaps, if we look carefully at his words we can see that he may speak as a conscience for our generation as well.

Consider his quote,

The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly[…] I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys […] He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things.

Now, let’s modernize his words, let us see how they may prophetically speak today,

The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their millions of wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. I perceived in this moment that when the woman turns tyrant it is her own freedom that she destroys. She wears a mask, and her face grows to fit it. I had to abort my child. I had committed myself to doing it when I read the pregnancy test. A woman has got to act like a woman; she has to appear strong, to know her mind and do definite things.

The Pro-choice narrative purports that it is a woman’s right, her power, her freedom to choose life or death for the baby within her, to choose motherhood after her child has come into being. It is an embodiment of all that Feminism has sought for as it culminates in a woman’s right over motherhood. A woman’s reproductive rights are about allowing her the same borderless freedom afforded a man who can decide not to sire the child he has brought into being, a man can run from an unwanted pregnancy, and through abortion a woman can too. Equality of the sexes it seems, must be achieved through irresponsibility and murder.

But is that the kind of equality we want? Does it really free a man when he runs away from the woman he impregnates and ignores the existence of his flesh and blood? And will women be free if they are given the same opportunity to shirk responsibility? Is that freedom?

If we follow along Orwell’s line of reasoning, the answer is a resounding, no, it is not freedom, it is enslavement to impulse and a loss of humanity. It is an enslavement of the mind where one is so entrenched with the expectations of feminism and the pushing and mob cry for sexuality without consequence that urges a woman to kill the life within her, to make her the mother of death.

Dear sisters, you have been lied to. The narrative surrounding abortion is trying to sell you death, that you will find freedom from whatever desperation may strike if you see those twin pink lines. But the reality of tyranny is, and always has been, destruction. And the action of abortion makes you the despot. You become the tyrant, as though your greatest desires can only be achieved through the death of a child. You will find no freedom there, you will find only pain, and you will strip yourself of your own humanity as you hold your own power over the one who is weaker than you.

Because abortion is about power, the power of the woman over her own body, and ultimately about her power over the child within her. She has the power to end life. She has the power to choose the fate of another person. Abortion makes women tyrants over their own children and it leaves a path of bitter destruction, with seared consciences, broken hearts, and severed hands. But even as abortion asserts empowering a woman to choose her own fate, it simultaneously victimizes her. A woman is weak and a slave to her impulses, she is a victim of biology and unplanned circumstances, and so she can only be powerful if she takes control and undoes biology, a woman must murder to have power.

But power isn’t the same thing as strength. Power abuses, and asserts self over others. Power manipulates. But strength? Strength is courage in the face of the unknown or unplanned, strength is choosing justice regardless of personal outcome, strength is having integrity regardless of circumstance. Despots wield power and destroy. But people of strength are freed by conviction of moral obligation to justice.

The Pro-Choice narrative speaks nothing of strength and has instead echoed the ethic of Svidrigaylov–the pitiful nihilist of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment who excuses his immoral behavior and apathy toward suffering because of his own victimization at the hands of fate –“am I a monster or am I myself the victim? What if I am the victim?” Somehow, we have deflected the responsibility away from ourselves like Svidrigaylov, claiming our own victimization as we assert our power over the fate of another. We women are supposedly strong, intelligent, and equally human, but we have made our crimes into the necessary result of our victimization, as though we have no strength to face the unplanned with justice from our own hands. As though we are the ons being oppressed as we pay to have someone rip the child from our womb piecemeal. The Pro-Choice ethic subtly suggests that we are too weak to have moral obligation and incapable of the strength to pursue justice.

But sisters, if we choose to be victims who must rescue ourselves through despotic power over another, we are monsters.

But we don’t have to be.

There is one who came to rescue the oppressed, and he also came to rescue the tyrants. Jesus deals a deathblow to power, he tells us not to pursue it, but instead to embrace the weak, and to find strength in him. Unplanned pregnancies are terrifying, but, they don’t have to create tyranny within us. We can choose instead to find strength in the one who promises rest despite circumstances, who pleads that we pursue justice, who demands that we defend the weak, and who died to make it possible.

The Pro-Choice narrative is tyranny, and tyranny is enslavement, but Jesus offers us freedom. Orwell (whether fictionally or not) saw no escape from shooting the elephant without being made a fool, he was trapped by his own pride and fear and violated his own conscience, he was a slave to the impulses of the crowd and his own pride and power. Jesus came and confirmed that alone, we are indeed fools who are nothing but slaves to the very impulses that harm us, but he offers us a nail-pierced hand as a means of escape, he offers us a way that leads to life and strength, instead of the inevitable death that comes with pride and power.

Truth Matters
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Flip Benham at a City Council Meeting

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Rock Springs, Wyoming to Barstow, California   Leave a comment

Dreams from the LORD 2007-2010
7 March 2008

A little over a week ago, I was walking south of Rock Springs, Wyoming on U.S. 191 when this vehicle pulled over. This guy was Pastor Rich Carlson and we had some pretty intense fellowship for the fourteen miles of a ride he gave me. Pastor Carlson prayed for me and gave me a little money for the road.

I walked for three or four miles and this truck driver picked me up. I got in the cab of the tractor-trailer and he looked at me and said something like, “Aren’t you done hitchhiking all over the place and spreading the Word?” I recognized him right away; he had picked me up over a year ago on the same stretch of road. He later told me that he was a pagan. We didn’t talk about much. Later, just before he dropped me off, we talked a little about Dostoyevsky, and things Russian; he told me how to properly pronounce “Dostoyevsky” and “Karamazov”—at least, how the Russians pronounce it.

He dropped me off in Vernal, Utah where I slept in the post office that night. It got down to maybe ten degrees that night, so it was nice to sleep in a warm place for the night. Somebody phoned the police that I was sleeping in the post office because I was woke up around eleven that night by a couple of police officers. They checked my ID and let me sleep in the post office that night. I told them that I would leave as soon as possible the next morning.

I then hitchhiked from Vernal and made it to Helper, Utah where I stayed at a shelter for three nights. From Helper, I made it to Mexican Hat, Utah where I slept in a junked pickup camper for the night. The next day, I got good rides through Kayenta and Tuba City to Flagstaff, Arizona where a guy named Tim picked me up.

He was driving one of those big motor homes from Iowa to southern California. Tim said that the motor home he was driving was worth $270,000.00. He told me that he was in a car crash up in Iowa that involved the car he was riding in and two tractor-trailers. He said that this tractor-trailer ahead of him on the interstate had jack-knifed and the guy driving their car lost control and the car began spinning around and this tractor-trailer came up from behind them and it looked like they were going to be crushed. If I remember right, Tim said that this powerful force threw their car into the ditch. Tim said that his mind still had not accepted the fact that he was still alive. He thought for sure that they were going to be crushed to death by the two tractor-trailers. I told him that the Lord preserved him in that crash because He had plans for him. We stopped to eat near Kingman, Arizona. Tim dropped me off just outside of Barstow, California where I slept in my tent just off Highway 58.

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