IMPORTANT: Do girls need “fantasy”?

The most common objection I face when critiquing the Twilight Saga is “it’s only fantasy!”  In other words, any of the disturbing questions raised about the series are irrelevant and need not be addressed because the genre  of “fantasy” makes them intrinsically harmless.

Is this true?  Let’s look more closely at “fantasy”. 

“fantasy” – 

  1. The creative imagination; unrestrained fancy. 
  2. An imagined event or sequence of mental images, such as a daydream, usually fulfilling a wish or psychological need.

If we look at the uses of the word “fantasy” given above, how would we apply them to The Twilight Saga?  Well, it seems #1 could be applied to Meyer herself – the experience of writing the series.  I would say that #2 is what fans often engage in when reading or thinking about the series.  (For those who enjoy the series, I would ask if you think #2 applies.)

Now, have a look at this assessment 
by Steven Earll, MA, MS. LPC, LAC in his article Signs of Trouble: Five Criteria for Addiction Assessment :

Fantasy

All addictions and compulsions involve fantasy. If an addiction or a compulsion does not divert a person’s mind from reality, it’s not worth doing. For the addicted person—or the person starting down addiction’s path—life’s stresses often feel overwhelming or unbearable. Fantasy is a method of survival that allows mental escape from pressures.
Fantasy creates excitement and anticipation, which, in turn, often triggers an addiction episode. James 1:13-15 is an excellent description of addiction. 
When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire (fantasy), he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
People are enticed by their own desires, or fantasies, which stimulate the need to act out the addictive behavior. When fantasy is nurtured, it takes on a life of its own. The fantasy about engaging in the addictive act and the emotional rewards resulting from the addiction behavior become a preoccupation. This preoccupation is so strong that many times it triggers physiological responses in the brain and body.
In other words, what people think about, their bodies treat as real. The addict begins to physically respond to the addiction when they fantasize about the physical act involved. A sex addict will experience excitement and arousal by thinking about a sexual encounter or anticipating looking at pornography. A drug addict can begin to feel the warmth and euphoria of intoxication by anticipating the drug use. Preoccupation about food can turn off the physical hunger response of an anorexic. The hardest part of recovery from an addiction is taming the mind and controlling the fantasy process. The power of fantasy is the enduring power of addiction.”

Fantasy is not intrinsically harmless.   But The Twilight Saga – please – how bad can this be?  Let’s recall our attention to comments by Robert Pattinson, star of the movie version of Twilight, regarding the reaction he is receiving:
“How is the Twilight fandom is different from the Harry Potter movies? I think you’ve mentioned that the sound of the screams is even different.
It’s different because I think it’s almost solely females of a certain age group, and they have a very specific tone. It’s much more to do with the sort of sexuality aspect of it. So many girls made this guy [their ideal], so when they see you it’s like all of their energy is projected onto you. It’s a really strange experience. I’ve never been in an experience where people just want to touch you — it’s like being in a boy band.

Is it weird to have girls that are so young have this incredibly sexualized thing around you?
It’s weird that you get 8-year-old girls coming up to you saying, “Can you just bite me? I want you to bite me.” It is really strange how young the girls are, considering the book is based on the virtues of chastity, but I think it has the opposite effect on its readers though. [Laughs] “

 

Is this really something to laugh about?  
Well, we have this article by Rob Jackson, MS, LPC, LMHC, NCC which suggests not:

“Many of the men I talk to who are addicted to pornography had childhood experiences which “sexualized” them sooner than they might normally have experienced. Did you have any sexualizing events early in your life? 
Anonymous: Yes, several different types, in fact. First of all, my family did not practice much modesty or personal boundaries. I regularly was exposed to my Mom completely undressed and my Dad wearing only his underwear. I remember in third grade even drawing a picture of my Mom naked and getting in trouble at school. I was asked to bring toilet paper to my Dad as he used the bathroom quite often, and used the sink and mirror as he showered behind a translucent shower door. There were many other instances like this, which aroused a great deal of curiosity in me about the human body.
RJ: Did your parents give you any teaching about sexuality?
Anonymous: None at all. The subject was “taboo” and made them very nervous. I learned quickly that you didn’t ask questions about sex at our house. This lack of information coupled with my curiosity seemed to fuel in me a compulsive search for sexual information.
RJ: Where did you find information about sex?
Anonymous: At first I would look up the words “sex” or “reproduction” in every dictionary and encyclopedia I could get my hands on. Then, I discovered a stash of explicit romance novels at my grandmother’s house. Whenever I would spend the night over there, I’d stay up all night just overwhelmed at the feeling I got when I read those passages.
RJ: How old were you at the time you were reading the novels?
Anonymous: About nine or ten, I guess. Some of it I didn’t understand, but there was enough I did understand that I could kind of put the rest together in context. I had grown up seeing my parents and one grandmother watch soap operas religiously every day—I remember the days before I started school, our day’s schedule revolved around it—so the dramatic, romantic stories in the books already had a familiar appeal to me. I was an advanced reader, so I just took to them like a fish to water.
RJ: Did this material cause you to seek pornography in other forms or places?
Anonymous: By the time I was eleven or so, I started babysitting. Every single house I went into, I would search to see if there was any explicit material. Whether it was a medical dictionary at a doctor’s house or more romance novels, I would find them.
…RJ: Did you ever try to act out the things you were seeing?
Anonymous: When I was about eleven, I was approached by an older teenager in my youth group who was kind of a misfit and happened to be overweight and adopted like me. I realize now, as an adult, he was also addicted to pornography. He started telling me how beautiful I was and would offer to “teach” me about sex. I wanted more than anything to be adored like those women in the novels, and, even though I fought off his advances because I knew it was “wrong,” I kept wanting to be with him because I wanted to feel loved. 
After several weeks, he forced himself on me even though I was crying and telling him to stop. Even then I continued to see him because I thought being loved was worth performing sexual acts for him. Of course some of the sexual behavior created pleasurable responses in me, so I almost felt betrayed by my own body because I didn’t want him to do these things to me, but I liked them.”

…And this is where “fantasy” becomes reality.  Harmless?
For more worthwhile discussion in these issues see http://www.pureintimacy.org 

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Luke 12:34

“What a pity to be killing time when time is a treasure from God!”  – St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge #706

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50 Comments

  1. […] IMPORTANT: Do girls need “fantasy”? […]

  2. […] IMPORTANT: Do girls need “fantasy”? […]

  3. […] IMPORTANT: Do girls need “fantasy”? […]

  4. Two things to say.

    1) AGE, AGE, AGE. Age is everything. What is appropriate for 15 year olds isn’t appropriate for 10 year olds. There is a world of difference between those two ages. Even between a 9 year old and a 12 year old is a lot.

    For all that I read, I can still name all the times that I read books that were significantly above my age level. While a lot of the books fascinated me intensly, despite (not really because of, it was always the advanced plot and characters that enchanted me) rather disturbing sexual scenes (at least from the POV of a 10-year-old) I always am glad for the logic that I used when deciding to stick with books for my age – that I can always read those when I’m older, but I won’t be able to read kid books any more, and enjoy them as much.

    You can’t blame fantasy so much as age appropriate fantasy. Now, the same books that I had to spend hours convincing myself not to reread and then find like books no longer seem to hold the same amount of power. I’m older now, and better read.

    2) I forgot what my second point was…

  5. Ah… yes. I remembered my second point. Or at least summoned up the courage to write it. It took a while, but some things are difficult to say.

    Fantasy is necassary, for me at least. Its ranked slightly below oxygen, food, and water.

    When I was going though extremley painful sort of a custody battle (not really, because there were child abuse charges thrown in – you can not imagine how painful it it to have to testify against one’s own parents, but it was really between that and comiting suicide).

    Not something I mention, ever, but since you don’t know me, it doesn’t really matter. I had a childhood like the one the person in this article described, only I had some molestation thrown in by my stepfather.

    And fantasy was the only thing keeping me sane. It was always “unrestrained fancy” that let me cry myself to sleep at night and smile in the morning.

    And after I finally couldn’t take in any more (no, that’s a lie, I could have tolerated it for another three years, but circumstances came around so that I would either have to admit the abuse or come up with some lies to tell my dad) fantasy is pretty much all I remember of the first few months, between the testimony’s, and the therapy, and the court hearings.

    Because fantasy doesn’t come in black and white – people screw up a lot. There is no right choice between allowing sexual and emotional abuse to happen, and testifying against one’s own parents, who, for all that they abused me, in their twisted way (they were both, from what I have determined from their arguements and stories, both abused as children, much worse than me) they loved me.

    While my mother never hesitated to tell me how much she loathed me and what an awful person I was, she took care of me physically and intellecually better then 95% percent of parents. While my stepfather took advantage of me sexually, he always protected me from my mother in one of her fits of rage, spent time doing normal father/daughter activites, picked me up from anyone of my various lessons and summer camps, even if he had to leave work early. They cared, in the only way they knew how to show it.

    There is no right answer, no correct choice. Not for me. While everyone is telling me that I made the right decision, I don’t think I would do it again if I could change time.

    Fantasy – it doesn’t fix the problem, doesn’t make it go away – but it fills all the gaps, for long enough for them to get filled in, piece by piece. I can practially graph my recovery based on how much fanfiction I wrote, and posted. Every chapter that went up, my heart felt a little lighter. The figments of my imagination were out there, and simply knowing that fanfiction was something that I would have never written if I hadn’t gone through the whole custody/abuse thing, made everything much more worth while.

  6. Dear Teenage Girl –
    Thank you for having the courage and generosity to post about your own experience – even though I’m sure it was very difficult. I hope you have a good counselor.
    Getting through experiences like this is really, really hard – recovery takes a lifetime.
    You’re a smart and talented girl. God isn’t going to let you slip away – He is going to be right there for you to help your recover from the injustice you have experienced. The people in your life have committed horrible injustices against you and violated a sacred trust. No one escapes justice – if they sin and do not repent, they will not inherit eternal life. However, when people repent, God does forgive them – but they need to seek His mercy.
    We all have free will – including those who hurt you. God gave us free will as a gift – there is no love without choice – but some people abuse the gift. Forgiveness is hard – but as you say – they experienced worse than you. Just the fact that you have said that shows that you are a forgiving person – but healing is still important.
    When we indulge in fantasy it is usually because there is too much pain in the reality of our lives. We use it as an escape. My hope and prayer for you is that you will find healing in your life that makes fantasy unnecessary. It will take time and hard work and facing pain head on at times – but hopefully you have a counselor who will lead you to wholeness in a gentle way. I have posted a prayer for inner healing on the website. I think you said before that you are a Christian, so it may be something you want to check out. Jesus is THE Healer. He knows suffering, rejection and torture. He gave His Life to spare all of us eternal suffering and to make it possible for us to have the grace to choose good over evil. I – for one – am so grateful for this, because without God’s grace I would be an insanely bigger wretch than I am now.
    I wish you well and I will pray for you today.

  7. I’m a devout catholic, raised by great catholic parents and could not imagine having a greater life than I have. I’ve never had a very traumatic experience in my life, no one abused me. My parents teach NFP and I know about sex and chastity and how precious of a gift it is. I love the twilight series and have read each one twice. I’ve never read or watched harry potter and don’t intend to, mainly because of it’s connected to the occult and such. I honestly think that for the proper age, twilight is not harmless at all. I do believe there is a pro-chastity and life theme in them and, if I ever have a lot of down time, would probably read them again.

    And what about lord of the rings and the chronicles of narnia. That’s fantasy but can you honestly tell me they’re bad?

  8. In response to Catholic:
    First of all, I don’t want this to sound like criticism or an attack on what you posted. In fact, you kind of remind me of one of my best friends – her parents teach marriage/NFP classes and she, too, LOVES the Twilight books. : ) I’d just like to point out something – you avoid Harry Potter because of it’s connection to the occult . . . then what would you call Twilight?! It’s a story about vampires and werewolves (not to mention incubuses – I stopped reading for a while when I got to that part, because it scared me to death)! My grandfather is a rather well-known, very well-respected priest, and he has read the Harry Potter books and loves them! However, I think that if he ever read the Twilight series, he would ban every one of his grandchildren from ever even thinking about them! I’m just saying.

  9. Dear Catholic –
    No, I do not believe that Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia are bad.
    The word “fantasy” can be used in various ways and in this post, I am referring to #2 above. I don’t think LOTR or the Chronicles fall into that category. I see them as allegories. True, the Twilight Saga is an allegory as well – but the types in Twilight are anti-types of Christian imagery. (I go into that more in the post “Is Twilight Anti-Christian? Yes.”). My point is, there are really two levels to the Twilight Saga, and I think both are unhealthy. There is a deeper allegorical sense in which the types used turn Scriptural understanding on its head – but there is also a much more superficial level… the level at which the books are reaching young girls. How young? Well, at our grade school, girls as young as 4th grade. These girls will not be grasping the allegory intellectually in any detailed way – although, I do think they will pick up the broad themes. My more immediate concern for them is the eroticism. There are multiple scenes in these books (especially Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) where the words on the page are written to arouse erotic feelings and desires – and it is obviously working. We only need to look at fan merchandise to see the amount of lust that has been unleashed in response to this series… that is not a promotion of chastity. “Edward can bust my headboard, bite my pillows and bruise my body any day!” Those are elements directly from the text which fans are relishing. If a girl wants to lust, she finds plenty of opportunities to do it when she reads Twilight. The same is not true of the other novels you cite. Can girls lust after LOTR characters? Sure. But it would be extra-textual. It would not be substantiated by the text. It would be her imposition upon the text. Do you see the distinction?

  10. I came across this website while doing research for a college paper and I’ve always been intrigued by these kinds of theological debates. On one hand, I can see your side of the argument. Twilight definitely evokes some pretty erotic images–though I don’t know that anyone younger than 13 would see it that way. Though girls are being encouraged at younger and younger ages to look ‘sexy,’ that doesn’t actually mean that they understand what sexy is or why it is important. They dress the way older girls dress and want to read what the older girls read. It’s closer to playing dress up than corrupting minors.

    But I digress.

    It seems to me that if Twilight is a metaphor for abstinence then Edward (and thus Vampires) represents sex. So sex becomes the demon that must be resisted–just as it is in society; while it pervades your existance and you alternately crave and fear it, eventually you have to decide how you are going to deal with sex. By protesting Twilight, it seems more like you are objecting to women making their own choices. I’m sensing strong undercurrents of chauvinism in this blog as it is–as though girls are the only ones who need to be ‘protected.’ Would your sons be allowed to read Twilight, then?

    And finally, regarding Bella’s characterization–which I believe you adressed in a different post. I agree it was weak, though I believe it was deliberately so, but it’s no worse than any other historical romance heroine. In order to have a hero sweep in and save the day, thus completing the fairytale, you need a damsel in distress. Bella has to be the wilting flower of womanhood or the story would never work. She’s forgiving to the point of madness, self-sacrificing, a regular Angel of the Hearth–she’s a transplanted Victorian housewife. And yet, wasn’t Shakespeare’s Helena the same? “I am your spaniel, and Demetrius, the more you beat me I will fawn on you. Use me but as your spaniel: spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me, only give me leave, unworthy as I am, to follow you.” ~A Midsummer Night’s Dream And yet everyone thought that was painfully romantic–possibly because in those days it was still legal to beat women. …ah, the good old days.

    If it helps, you could stop thinking of Twilight as a fantasy and start thinking of it as an historical romance where the hero has a skin disorder and likes his venison really, really rare.

  11. Dear Hillary –
    Your final sentence cracked me up. It’s nice to have a little levity around here. Interesting take on the blog.
    In my own daughters’ school these books have made it down to 4th grade (10 years old). They know much more than you would think they know. They are not buying t-shirts that say “Twilight is a fascinating book!” No. It’s t-shirts that say “Why am I covered in feathers?” (It seems you have read the books – you’ll know that reference to Edward’s behavior on the honeymoon.) Putting that on a t-shirt not only says something about yourself, it provokes a reaction in others as well. Young girls are reading it. Young girls are getting it. Older girls and women are reading it and fantasizing as well. That is disturbing too.
    I don’t think Twilight is a metaphor for abstinence – but if anyone wants to discuss that, it is fine with me. If Edward did represent sex, that would be sad, I think. Sex is not monstrous. It is not to be feared. It is sacred and must be respected. What do I mean by that? I have written about it in the post on why making out is unjust. If abused, sex can be used to hurt you and others – really badly. There is a slogan “Guns don’t kill people – people kill people.” (My daughter sent my husband a bumper sticker on Facebook which reads “Guns don’t kill people – dads with pretty daughters kill people”. I thought it was funny – but I digress.) The point is – sex can be used as a weapon – and a powerful one. That is sad – because it is meant to be an act of total self-gift from one spouse to another. As I heard it said once by a married couple – our love is so real that in 9 months we had to give it a name. Exactly. If young people respect themselves – which necessitates respecting their sexuality because we are sexual beings – they will never have to fear sex because they will reverence it and treat themselves and others accordingly. I wrote a post on “What is Virginity Worth Today?” because it is a classic example of a woman who does not reverence herself – she is, in fact, selling herself to the highest bidder. Did you have a chance to read it? This woman has NOT made a liberating choice by any means.
    A side note on the topic of fear – part of the reason I do not think this is a “pro-life” book series is because Meyer gives an absolutely horrific account of pregnancy and childbirth, too – like that is something to be feared as well. It’s not.
    I would be interested to know what you are referring to when you mention “strong undercurrents of chauvinism” on the blog – because I would very strongly refute that. Part of the reason I started writing this blog was to provide an outlet for strong young women – junior high and up – who are often disgusted by the the expectation that they a) cannot be accepted by their peers if they do not join them in reading (and I am going to use a judgmental word here) trashy novels; b) get dismissed as “teeny boppers” by a culture at large that does not respect the maturation process of young women; c) need to look to “romance” as their source of fulfillment, etc. I could go on – but that is what the blog is for. Would I let my son read Twilight? No. Why? Because bad ideas corrupt. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female. Bad ideas corrupt. Having said that, I do think that the books operate on different levels and the most immediate eroticism is written by a woman for women. In other places on the blog, I have suggested that the novels play a role akin to soft pornography. Pornography (and here, I am referring to images, since males respond to visual images) is targeted most often at males. Similarly, romance novels are targeted largely at females – who respond to the first person descriptions of things. (BTW -I think there is a terrible double standard at work here and it is based on sexual differences. A boy’s pornographic images would be rightly chucked out of a school, but a girl can bring the equivalent of pornography into a school under the guise of literature. I think that is wrong.) On that level, I think they are more harmful to girls.
    On other levels, however, I think the novels are just as harmful for boys or girls. The typology is seriously problematic, and as I have said elsewhere, I think Bella is pathetic and is used – as well as uses – the people in her life. Your statement regarding women making choices… like I would object to that? Very strange. Are you are using “choice” as a euphemism for sin – in which case, I would certainly advise anyone against choosing sin – be they male or female. Should a woman choose to sleep around? No. Should a man choose to sleep around? No. Can any human being make a choice against their own dignity and the dignity of others? Of course they can. But I would advise them against it.
    And just for the record, I am not a big fan of fairytales.

  12. OMG! get over yourselves.
    It’s the bible that should have an age restriction. Not twilight.

    And as for my good friend Mr. Jesus, I reckon Edward could teach him a thing or two about life in general.

  13. I don’t get you people who love to revel in your own empty righteousness. You only get one life and its there for you to enjoy. And if that means reading something other than the story of moses, then great.

  14. Dear Buckbeak –

    Thank you for your comment. I think the attitude you display in your support of Twilight will assist parents in making an informed decision.

  15. Dear Buckbeak –

    I’m not really sure what you mean when you say “love to revel”, but that’s ok.
    “Righteousness” (and by this I am assuming you speak of the attempt to live a moral life) is not an empty thing. It comes from the fact that certain things are right and others are wrong – and we have a duty to do what is right. Striving every day to live a life of love as opposed to a life of selfishness is what God asks of us – and He provides the grace to do it if we can humble ourselves and ask Him for help. You are right. We only get one life. How are we meant to enjoy it? By doing whatever we want to do at any given time? Is that freedom? Because those who believe that freedom is doing what they want any old time eventually find that their desires are going to come up against someone else’s and – bam – there’s going to be conflict. How do you resolve the conflict? Whose freedom prevails? The person who is bigger and stronger? Because if life is just about having fun and enjoying maximum pleasure, not everyone is going to be able to do that. Someone is always going to win out over someone else. If there are no moral absolutes (right things and wrong things) how can we tell the rapist who enjoys raping people that he doesn’t have a right to do what he enjoys because it crushes the freedom of his victims to enjoy their own life? Take some time and think about it.

  16. Buckbeak – come on, give me some support here! Somebody, anybody! Is no one capapable of giving a solid arguement for Twilight? Do I have to stay and defend it all by myself?

    … some of these days I wish I hadn’t said things about me that I don’t want people who actually know me to know… otherwise I could just give this website to some debate team kids, and they’d actually be able to formulate a good arguement… as opposed to me who can never actually stay on topic…

  17. I’ll do my best to defend Stephenie Meyer’s honor. In the hands of feminism is chivalry resurrected… ironic.

    Well, for as many girls who are buying “Why am I Covered in Feathers?” there are many more buying plain “Team Edward” shirts (or “Team Jacob” for you werewolf fans) and thinking nothing of it. Moreover, just because a ten-year-old, or even a fourteen-year-old wears that shirt does not mean that she gets the underlying meaning or–if she does get it–that it means the same thing to her as it would to someone who was older. And in any case, that scene was post-wedding and written very tenderly with a great deal of respect for the institution. Frankly, I would hesitate before I called it arousing at all–more romantic than erotic. And one can hardly escape being descriptive in a novel, whether one is writing about a murder scene or a romantic embrace. The words have to evoke the feelings that the characters are experiencing. Writing that can’t evoke isn’t any good–what’s the point?

    Is there a way to portray romance that you can approve of? It’s a vital part of a young woman’s life and impossible to expect that there won’t be any novels depicting it–just as there will be novels about murder and highschool and catastrophe.

    I think there is something innately fearful about sex–it’s just about the scariest thing out there. Whether you are afraid you won’t be good at it, afraid it will hurt, afraid the other person won’t love you afterwards, or afraid just because it’s something new–it’s seriously scary. I’m certainly not claiming that Natalie Dylan is striking a blow for feminism, but I can say that letting her auction herself is a good thing. If I could convince her it’s a bad idea, I would, but if I could snap my fingers and make it illegal for her to do it, I most certainly wouldn’t. What choices individuals make are ultimately less important than the fact that they have choices–provided those choices don’t infringe on other people’s rights.

    And as for pregnancy, that’s got to be right up there on the list of fears. Forget the nausea, cramping, back aches, and the pain of labor. Forget the fears of such a heavy responsibility, of change, of financial instability, of giving birth to a sick child, or of not being a good mother. When it comes right down to it, pregnancy can kill you–in America 600 women die in childbirth each year. It doesn’t sound like a lot, considering the numbers who survive, but who wants to be one of the unlucky ones? The fact that Bella’s pregnancy was so bloody and horrible must be balanced out by the fact that it was so short–and remember, she did fight for her baby’s life when others wanted to abort it to save her. That’s a pretty strong message on Meyer’s part.

    The undercurrents of chauvinism I was referring to mainly have to do with the way you keep insisting that girls need to be protected or saved from this series. Some of your links also lead to sites with what seems to me blatantly anti-feminist leanings. For example: True Manhood’s “Security in Purity” wherein women’s self-worth is discussed. It puts a label on women who dress in a certain way, as though clothes can tell you everything about a woman. If I wear a revealing shirt on a date because I want to show a man that I’m attractive, does that make me insecure? What I do should matter more than what I wear. Yes, clothes send a message, but they don’t tell a complete story. I frequently wear slinky tank tops and low-rise jeans and I haven’t had a boyfriend in almost 4 years, nor do I consider myself unattractive, less religious, or less of a feminist for it. There needs to be less of an emphasis on what girls shouldn’t do to encourage boys to think of them sexually and more on what everyone should do to show that they respect every human being-regardless of gender. Separating this issue into ‘boy issues’ and ‘girl issues’ only makes the problem worse. It treats boys as prizes and girls as treats–objectifying both.

    I would love to debate sin here. It’s one of my favorite topics. This post is getting too long already though, so allow me to just sum up my viewpoint: The fall from grace was planned by God, just as everything that happens is a part of his plan. Nothing God does is bad. Therefore, the fall of man was good for him. It allowed us to choose between right and wrong with full knowledge of good and evil. It means nothing to choose to be good when there is no option to be evil. It’s an empty gesture, eliminating faith from the equation entirely. Sin is therefore necessary to man in order to make him worthy. It is not good to sin, but the existance of sin is good.

    I look upon fantasy, and thus Twilight, less as a moral signpost and more as a diverting ‘what-if’. I honestly cannot believe anyone takes it seriously. It’s a vampire novel; no one models their life after “Undead and Unwed” either. As these girls get older and experience more–read more, for that matter–they’ll realize that too. Any girl who doesn’t probably never had much of a chance even before she picked up Meyer’s saga. It seems like a lot of fuss over an ultimately meaningless issue. If you want to debate the cultural ramifications of romance novels on women, or whether they reflect women’s social norms, or if young girls really do use them as sexual guides–that would be worth arguing about. Yet targeting Twilight as the source, even holding it up as an example, seems wrong. Twilight is a slightly-kinkier-than-normal teen romance with a bit of the action/horror genres mixed in. Nothing more. It is undeserving of any special attention.

  18. Dear Hillary –

    A few thoughts. OK – where to begin?
    Let’s start with the post-wedding feathers issue. You claim to be a feminist. Yet, you say the post wedding scene was written very tenderly. Do you include in that assessment the fact that Bella was covered in bruises – and yet stated none the less that the whole experience was perfect? I don’t think that scene was erotic. I’m referring mostly to pre-wedding scenes. Twilight fans (unfortunately) could probably tell you the page numbers.
    You are right – storytelling that doesn’t evoke isn’t any good. Then it is just a matter of what is being evoked. For example, I think the Lord of the Rings is wonderfully evocative – but it evokes noble sentiments (to return to your chivalry theme): every person has a role to play in the grand scheme of things – even the smallest person changes the world; we need to work together to accomplish good; even if we live in difficult times, we must respond to those times by choosing to do what is right in spite of hardship. In contrast, more often than not Twilight is evoking lust.
    I do think it is possible to portray romance in an uplifting way. A big part of that is keeping it real. It is also best not to glamorize dysfunction. One of my favorite movies is “Cinderella Man”. (WARNING: There is a lot of bad language in it and a fair bit of violence, because it is the story of a boxer – his coach is foul mouthed and the boxing scenes are hard for me to watch at times.) It is incredibly romantic because it shows how a married couple copes with the Great Depression from the depth of their love. It calls them to great sacrifice, but in a real way – and they choose wisely. A much more family friendly movie is (and don’t laugh) is The Sound of Music. It is incredibly romantic. And you see that by the end of the movie, Maria and Captain von Trapp end up marrying for all the right reasons. The scene in the garden where they end up performing the Austrian folk dance together has to be one of the most romantic movie scenes of all times – but it is not overtly sexual. (I say not “overtly” because there is a sense in which everything we do as human persons is sexual because we are created male and female. We cannot escape our maleness or femaleness. Nor should we want to. By “overtly” sexual, I am speaking of erotic. Their dance is romantic without being erotic.)
    I think people find sex fearful because our society lies about it and pretends that it is a form of casual recreation. Sex is meant to be reserved for marriage. Most of the fears associated with it come from taking it out of its marital context. If it is thought of as a performance (something you have to be “good at”); if you are afraid the person may not love you afterwards; if you are afraid of getting physically hurt – these are issues stemming from the fact that you are trying to make sex something it is not. It is not to be engaged in if you are not in a life long, unbreakable marriage bond. (And yes, that means you should not do it until after the wedding. Period. Not even during your engagement.) A virginal couple who love each other aren’t going to be making comparisons on their wedding night. Also, they will love each other afterwards. And – they will not hurt each other.
    I think you are wrong about the case of Natalie Dylan – not that you think that what she is doing is good, but that you think choice itself trumps the goodness or badness of a choice. She thinks it is ok to sell herself. What if we changed the equation and it was not about sex. What if she was a person of color who wanted to sell herself as a slave. I think a lot of people would be rightly indignant – that lowering herself that way was not only bad for her, but brings others down with her. Any time we act in a way which contradicts the dignity of the human person, we hurt the entire human race. The choices we make ARE important – MORE IMPORTANT than “choice” itself. You know that! It doesn’t matter how many values clarification sessions we go through in school… the bottom line is that some choices are right and others are wrong. If I can’t say that, then I can’t criticize Hitler, because there will be some people crazy enough to think that Hitler was good for Germany. There are tons of people in this country today who defend a right to choose abortion. Does that “right to choose” infringe on the right of the child? Of course. Bottom line is, when people want something enough, they will dehumanize the victims (in Hitler’s day, they dehumanized Jews – we dehumanize the unborn – in order to defend our violence) so that we deny them rights. Then, we’re not infringing on anything, right? That is rationalization, and sinful human beings are good at it.
    Regarding pregnancy – yeah all those things you mention – I can’t forget them because I have been through it many times! There is no question that the gift of life is a gift of love. It is not easy. But the death statistics… at the end of the day, who cares. We’re much more likely to die in a car crash – but I’ll keep on driving.
    Some girls DO need to be protected or saved from this series. Some boys do, too. But in this case, the scales are tilted towards girls. Children are not tried as adults in the criminal justice system because they lack judgment. (Unfortunately, some adults lack judgment too – but they are held to a higher standard none the less.) There is no question in my mind that a large part of a parent’s function is to shield a child from danger until he or she is mature enough to deal with it on their own.
    If you wear a revealing shirt on a date to show that you are attractive, I do think it says that you do not value your true dignity. Many girls are not taught this today. A woman who values her personality and intellect and moral integrity needn’t use her cleavage as a lure. If she does, she is playing into the “treat-me-as-an-object” culture. Now, I think some women do it because they think it makes them powerful. They think they can control men by using their sexuality as a weapon – and in some cases, they probably can. However, that will not lead to true fulfillment in a loving relationship built on mutual respect. Hillary, people don’t make clothes a sexual issue. It is a sexual issue. A psychological, biological and spiritual issue. Men and women are equal, but they are not identical. Men are visually aroused. That is a simple fact. I’m not making it a boy issue. It is a boy issue. Part of respecting men (I am assuming here that we believe men are worthy of respect, too, right?) is to dress in a way that isn’t distracting.
    You’re right that this post has gone on for a while – very quickly – your theology of sin is false. It would take me another hour to explain it. You are right that we cannot have love without free will – but that does not make “sin” a good. I can discuss it some other time when I have time. God bless.

  19. I’m not condoning women being abused here, but Bella knew that having sex with Edward might be dangerous and chose to undertake it anyway–thus accepting the risks. It’s like deciding to go parachuting–it’s dangerous, but it’s hardly fair to blame the ground if you get a little roughed up on the landing. I can see how someone might confuse Edward’s actions with abuse, but with his extreme reluctance to consumate the marraige and the guilt he felt for hurting her at all–I’d say there is a world of difference between him and a wife beater.

    I think it is pretty much impossible for sex to be truly casual, no matter what the circumstances. No one really views it that way, no matter what they may profess. (Ed. note – Hillary, I took a little of this out not because there was anything wrong with your argument but because I want to keep things a little less pointed for the younger kids reading.)

    The fact is though, that most people are not both virgins on the wedding night–and while I’m not trying to be sarcastic here–the idea that even half of U.S. populous believes in saving themselves for marriage is but a beautiful fantasy.

    Prostitution is the oldest profession for a reason–it’s the hardest one to combat. Women have always known that there is an easy way to get what they want from men, and that is to trade them something that men want. Natalie Dylan made a bad choice, I’ll even go ahead and call it wrong, but choice is more important than right and wrong. Choice allows for a right and wrong, instead of just inevitability.

    I don’t think there are many women out there who didn’t think long and hard before they chose an abortion. As de-humanizing as you may find the process for the baby, it is equally dehumanizing to the mother to force her to serve as an unwilling incubator. And if women can no longer choose when they will carry a child, what’s next. Car accidents, as you said, are considerably more of a risk for the fetus–will pregnant women no longer be allowed to drive, to work at stressful jobs, or to go out at night, all in the interests of protecting the child? What about women’s rights?

    People most certainly make clothes a sexual issue–most of the time it’s not about covering up skin at all. I could be clad from head to toe in–let’s just say–a skin-tight leather catsuit, yet this is perceived as sexy despite only the outline of the body being visible. Do you know how hard it is to take off a leather catsuit? It’s a very un-sexy process. Not to mention the fact that you can’t feel anything through leather; it’s hot; it chafes. It’s too stiff to be comfortable and it comes in very few colors. Despite these very real facts, leather catsuits are ‘sexy.’ People link them with all sorts of deviant sexual behavior not instinctively, but because of our culture.

    And finally, the real issue I have with people who tell me I should not show my cleavage or wear short shorts is that invariabley they bring up this males-are-visual-creatures argument. I already have two arguments for you. If we are acknowledging that men have a primitive side that ‘distracts’ them when they see breasts, I’d argue that women have a primitive side too, which pushes them to use their appeal in order to claim the mate they want. Therefore, I am following my instincts and men should accomodate me. If you are saying I should want to help men make the right decision by not ‘tempting’ them, I am saying that the burdern of the male libido cannot be thrust upon the woman simply because they can’t be bothered to exercise self-control. Men will always be tempted and it is not woman’s responsability to take over where their mother’s left off

  20. Dear Hillary –
    Just time for a couple of comments.
    1. Fortunately, right and wrong is not decided by public opinion. I am not naive about the extent of pre-marital sexual activity – or even extra-marital sexual activity, for that matter. Even within the Catholic Church, scores of people – most, I would say – dissent either intellectually or in practice, or both, from Christ’s teachings on human sexuality. The Church is not made up of out of touch and clueless human beings who deny that this is the case. Sit in a Confessional for hours every week as Priests often do and, trust me, they know the depths of human depravity. They hear it all. There is not a stitch of Pollyanna in them. What they do know, however, is that sexual exploits do not make people happy. That sexual sin destroys peoples lives. That people who stay in a state of grace and live in accord with the moral teachings of Christ are happier. Get this statistic – the “Catholic” divorce rate is the same as the general population – 50%. However, the divorce rate for Catholics who actually believe and live the Church’s teaching on sexuality is 3 to 4%. Did you catch that? 46 – 47% more marriages among Catholics survive when they follow Christ’s teaching on sexuality. That is HUGE. So – I don’t propose what I do because I think it is popular. I don’t propose it because people understand (often they don’t even try). I propose what I do because it is right. So, the Catholic Church proposes the truth in season and out of season – whether the numbers are with us or not. Is it easy? Of course not. Especially in the current climate where Priests today, living heroic and virtuous lives, are unjustly written off due to some horrible atrocities committed by some men among their ranks. 96% of all Catholic Priests have never had accusations of abuse made against them (and even to be accused is not the same as being declared guilty, BTW) – yet from the media’s accounts and the way people treat the Church today, you would think the statistic was reversed. People have a vested interest in dissing the Church and the Priesthood because they want to discredit the Church’s moral voice.
    Also – I do not “find” abortion dehumanizing for babies. It simply is. The fact is incontestable. Either the child IS dehumanized as a means of justification for the unthinkable (the unthinkable being killing a baby) or people just say that a woman’s life is more important than the life of her child. Either way, the child is dehumanized. Even if I were to concede that it is dehumanizing to force a mother to serve as an “unwilling incubator” (BTW – that language is also dehumanizing to the child. A mother has the privilege of nurturing a human child. “Unwilling incubator” is more like how I would term hosting the e-coli bacteria.), carrying a child for 9 months is simply not, factually, equivalent to deciding it is ok to kill someone. If it were true, people who oppose the death penalty (I do) should be just as opposed to prisons (I’m not).
    I’ve got to go, but I’ll try to write more soon.

  21. I’m sorry, but I can’t trust your divorce rate data for two reasons. One, if these are truely practicing Catholics in every way, then they can’t get divorced because the Catholic Church doesn’t believe in it. Thus divorce rates are not indicative of the happiness of the marriage. Second, I don’t agree with the idea that a destroyed marriage= a destroyed life. Some marriages are better off when they’re over.

    I know it’s been said before, but that doesn’t make it less true: carrying a child is basically akin to being infested by a parasite. They drain you of vitamens, minerals, and energy. Your body never completely recovers and when the child is born you are looking at eighteen years of indentured servitude. They give nothing back until they’ve reached the age where they can have children of their own, and when they do, all their energy goes to taking care of their kids. Unless you enjoy children-and not everybody does–then there really is no pay off. For women who don’t want children, the privilege of pregnancy is more like a sentence to nine months of hard labor while the partner in crime gets off scott free.

  22. “I know it’s been said before, but that doesn’t make it less true: carrying a child is basically akin to being infested by a parasite.”
    I’m sorry, Hillary. That is one of the most disgusting things I have ever read. You do not know what love is. (Ed. note – update.) I am praying for you now – I prayed for you last night, I will continue to pray for you throughout Lent. Your heart can know what love is – but it needs healing – and that process begins when you can admit that no human being should be viewed as a “parasite”.

  23. From a scientific point of view that’s accurate… rather cold and unfeeling, but accurate nevertheless. Sometimes people wish to express things in pure scientic terms… and science isn’t meant to calculate in emotions.

    Just a question. Do you have any friends that are genuine atheists (not the “I have no opinion on the existence of god” variety… the “god does not exist, PERIOD”, hard core version)…

  24. From a paper I wrote…
    “so-called objective spirituality” based solely on reason is not enough – a claim both Ratzinger and Pius see supported in Scripture through Ephesians 3:18 which speaks of “the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge”. Benedict tells us that the Fathers “considered heartlessness to be the primary vice of the pagans”. The scandal of a crucified God is folly to those seeking wisdom without the involvement of the passions. If we are to believe in a God Who would love His children to the point of being put to death on their behalf, reason is not enough. This is because, says Ratzinger, it is the passions that make the Passion possible, for “suffering presupposes the ability to suffer, it presupposes the faculty of the emotions.” And so faith itself requires insight into the hub of the Passion – the Heart of God.
    Science is utterly insufficient in understanding the human condition. Heartlessness, as seen above, is a VICE – namely, the root of viciousness – and contrary to love. Thus I reiterate – if Hillary can refer to a child as a parasite, she does not know what love is.

  25. Dear Hilary,
    On the very day you posted your comment my child in the womb was born dead.

    She was very sick while in my womb. My body had to work extra hard to keep her alive and this made me more tired than usual. I was sick most of the time. Before the doctor told me how sick she was, I already knew it because of how much effort my body was using to keep her alive.

    Have you ever loved anything? A pet? A boy? A parent? A friend? Have you ever loved anything so fiercely you would die for them?

    When I saw my baby girl playing in my womb that is how I felt. I would die for her.

    I had 20 weeks until she was due. My belly grew heavy, my back was sore, I was grew more tired and more sick. My friends said to me “Surely you should get rid of her! Save yourself!” But, I would rather die than kill my ittle girl. So, I continued on.

    Sweet little Clara made a final act of love. She worked as hard as she could to get her head down so my delivery would be easy. And then she curled up on her little arm and died.

    On March 13 I gave birth to a dead baby. My heart is broken. I would trade anything for those years of servitude that you spoke of.

    Would you give your life to be with the one you love?

    You are smart. No one should make a baby if they don’t want a baby. Sex makes babies. When I don’t want a baby, I don’t have sex with my husband. When I long for my lover and I to become one and I long for a child to be created from our passion then we have sex.

    If you ever succumb to a man who wants you for his pleasure, and you become pregnant, what will you do? Will you kill her right away? Because if you look in your baby’s eyes and kiss her little nose, how do you know if you will be able to give her away? I held my little girl and wished with all my heart to breath life into her soul and keep her.

  26. I said a child was akin to a parasite. It meets the definition and you can’t blame the English language on me. Religion doesn’t negate science and disciplines like Sociology, Psychology, and Neuroscience do help us understand the human condition.

    par·a·site (pār’ə-sīt’) Pronunciation Key n.
    1.) Biology An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.
    2.) One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.
    3.) One who lives off and flatters the rich; a sycophant.
    A professional dinner guest, especially in ancient Greece.

    What about seriel killers, welfare bums, gold-diggers, pimps, thieves, and drug addicts–all parasites? What about 40-year-old, unmotivated sons who still live in their mother’s basements? Now that’s disgusting.

    I also notice that you didn’t say anything about the Church’s anti-divorce stance.

    I do feel sympathy for your situation, but let me paint you another picture:

    At fourteen years old, you’re walking home from school when a man in a hoodie pulls you into his van. After he rapes you, he kicks you out the back door and drives away. You’re bleeding and crying hysterically–someone runs over and asks you what happened. They call your parents who rush you to the hospital, but you’re so scared you refuse to tell anyone anything–even though you can tell from their expressions that they already know.

    You miss school for a couple of days and when you go back, somebody told your teachers, who told other people, and the entire class has figured it out. A few months later you start throwing up, feeling dizzy, and are tired all the time. They take you back to the doctor and you admit that you haven’t had your period in two months.

    You freak out, spiral into depression. You stop caring about school or friends–you cry all the time. Finally, after another two weeks, you wake up in the middle of the night in a pool of blood. Your body couldn’t retain the pregnancy under all the stress and you suffer a miscarriage. It’s the first good thing that happened to you after all this time and you cry again because you’re so relieved that it’s over. But when you go back to class a week later everyone still treats you like you’ve done something wrong and you realize that it’s never really over… you aren’t even sure it ever will be.

    ~~~~~~~

    Not everyone wants a baby. Not everyone believes that sex is only for procreative purposes. Not everyone believes babies are gifts. And here’s one for your side, not everyone belives in abortion. That’s why it’s important to have choices–so that everyone can do what they believe is right. What if the government forced you to have an abortion after the first two children. That would be wrong. The same outrage you would feel at that kind of a declaration is what pro-choice women feel about people who want to take away their rights.

    If there really was an abortion performed in the first four weeks of the pregnancy, the thing that came out would be about .014 to .04 inches. You wouldn’t be able to see its eyes or kiss its nose–I’m not even sure it has a nose at that point. Furthermore, I think it’s really disrespectful to use this kind of experience to attempt to shame someone else into agreeing with you just because of your personal tragedy. I feel bad telling you this stuff, but I’m not going to let you use emotional blackmail to get your way.

  27. Dear Hillary –
    Are you considering yourself shameful for using the personal tragedy of the raped young woman to present your opinion? Is speaking of rape when you know that most abortions have absolutely nothing to do with rape emotional blackmail? Perhaps you should examine your own argument and your willingness to exempt yourself from the critique you have leveled against Christy. I don’t think Christy attempted to shame you here. Christy presented her personal experience. I don’t think you answered any of her questions about love. I’m waiting for your response. Nor did you address my post about heartlessness as a vice.
    Shame is not something someone can force another to feel. No one can “shame” another person. The claim is false. To give an example – if I gave you countless reasons why owning a red car was shameful, you would not feel shame. Why? Because owning a red car is not shameful, therefore, I am incapable of shaming you. If I say abortion is intrinsically evil it is because no human being has the right to take the life of another. This is something written in our hearts. As a consequence, a human being feels shame when advocating the unjust killing of others. That shame is not imposed from the outside. It is something that wells up from within.
    I did not address marriage because I did not have time.
    I will spell out the Catholic teaching once. Marriage is a natural contract which Christ elevated to a sacrament. If you do not know much about sacramental theology, I won’t be able to explain it all here – there are 7 sacraments and marriage is one of them. The point is, when a person enters into a sacramental marriage and it is consummated, it is a covenant made with God that no human authority can dissolve. In other words, only death dissolves a consummated sacramental marriage. That is why those entering into marriage have, on average, at least 6 months of preparation, psychological testing, etc. before they can be married in a Catholic Church. If something goes wrong later, an investigation can be conducted by ecclesiastical authorities to determine if it was a valid marriage. For example, I know a case when a man had been hospitalized multiple times for mental illness prior to representing that he was capable of entering into a sacramental marriage. He did not divulge these hospitalizations to his bride to be. When he subsequently had a mental breakdown several years later, the bride was able to launch an ecclesiastical investigation to establish whether or not the marriage was valid. Why wouldn’t it be valid? Because one of the essential components in a sacramental marriage is full consent. The question was this – is a bride capable of giving full consent to a sacramental marriage if the groom did not reveal his known mental illness? The answer was no. The bride was rendered incapable of giving full consent to the groom because essential information was withheld from her during the decision making process. Thus – their marriage was “annulled”, which means, they received a declaration of nullity which states that a sacramental marriage had never taken place. Is this the same as divorce? No. Civil divorce cannot dissolve a consummated sacramental marriage. On the other hand, civil divorce proceedings can be used to legally clear up financial, custody matters, etc. for a marriage declared null by the Church.
    Also I should point out that this only becomes an issue when remarriage is involved. Any Catholic may separate from and ultimately civilly “divorce” a spouse for serious reason – however – that legal declaration does not impact the validity of the marriage in the Church’s eyes. If someone who has been validly, sacramentally married pursues civil divorce proceedings, he or she can never marry again as long as the other spouse is alive – or that is committing adultery. Their marriage remains a valid sacrament in spite of the civil divorce as long as both spouses are alive. On the other hand, if the other spouse dies, the civilly “divorced” remaining spouse is free to marry again. So – I was not avoiding the question – it is just very involved. Most do not understand the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage. That is why the preparation program is so long. And yes- my stats on divorce remain valid. Read about NaProTechnology here and you will begin to see why: http://www.creightonmodel.com/advantages.htm

  28. Just to back up what I said above, here is a direct quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The numbers given are paragraph numbers.

    IV. OFFENSES AGAINST THE DIGNITY OF MARRIAGE

    Adultery

    2380 Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations – even transient ones – they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely. The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.

    2381 Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union.

    Divorce

    2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law.

    Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”

    2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.

    If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

    2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.

    2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

    2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.

  29. The difference here is that the personal tragedy of the raped young woman is a story, not a testemonial. Since it never happened, it can’t evoke the same kinds of emotions that “Christy” is trying to use. Furthermore, most abortions have little to do with women killing babies, but you don’t seem to care about the truth here… or science… or apparently, logic.

    Christy is clearly attempting to shame me:
    QUOTE:
    “If you ever succumb to a man who wants you for his pleasure, and you become pregnant, what will you do? Will you kill her right away?”

    She deliberately uses ‘you’ to personallize it when she addresses me–the same way newspaper writers do. She phrases her question as a false dilemma (a type of logical fallacy where two choice are presented as the only options) and uses a specific, gendered pronoun. Her intention is obvious. An here’s my reply: How about I succumb to a man for his pleasure and don’t get pregnant. What if I succumb to him, he asks me to marry him, and we live happily ever after? What if I blow him off and go get Chinese food with my friends?

    I took your comment about me being heartless to be another logical fallacy–personal attack. I didn’t respond because I didn’t want to encourage you. Besides, you can’t quote your own paper as evidence–that’s not professional at all–and for all I know those quotes are completely out of context.

    And speaking of quotes, I loved this one, by the way:
    “Thus I reiterate – if Hillary can refer to a child as a parasite, she does not know what love is.”

    Logical fallacy number three, a Deductive fallacy. (And rather presumptuous)

    So if I tell you that I don’t feel shame, despite an admirable attempt by Christy, does that mean that for me abortion is right?

    That link has nothing to do with divorce statistics or how many Catholics are happily married, or anything that I was talking about. And, once again, you are citing information with a known bias. At the very bottom of the website, in very tiny print are the words: “Copyright 2006, Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction. All rights reserved.” I’m am just totally, completely shocked that yet another medical facility has come up with results that exactly support their founding member’s belief structure. Seriously. Shocked.

    Actually I do understand the way the Catholic marriages work. I’m interested in Comparative Theology on a general level. However, neither Bella, Edward, nor I are Catholic. The only reasons I was asking about them was because you claimed that totally virginal couples in Catholic marriages were happier–and as a result divorced less–than any other type of couple. Of course, I’ve just realized that Catholic statistics would only count actual civil suits as divorces, so their numbers would conveniently leave out ‘annulments.’ It’s likely they’re even more biased than I originally thought.

  30. I try not to voice a strong opinion on abortion in geraral – but I will comment that my best friend (who regularily works at a center for disabled children) is strongly against abortion (we were having an debate about abortion and its legality/morality and when I suggested the only case in which I would have an abortion would be if my baby had Down Syndrome, she completley freaked out on me…)

    She also LOVES Twilight… I watched the movie with her, and we mush have spent two hour afterwards going over the best and worst parts…

    Everything else that’s just been discussed feels somewhat over my head, at least at this time of night, but I will comment on one more thing.

    “Science is utterly insufficient in understanding the human condition. Heartlessness, as seen above, is a VICE – namely, the root of viciousness – and contrary to love.”

    What you’ve just said is roughly parallel to claiming that mathamatics promotes violence… Seeing as the most passive people I’ve ever met are on math team, I’m a little skeptical about that.

    Comparing science to religion is like comparing math and English…

    Passionate belief in something or anger is actually the root of most violence – in general, people who don’t care wouldn’t bother killing someone… Strong emotions cause violence, not the lack thereof.

    There are exceptions to that, but mostly it’s people who believe in causes that commit murder.

  31. I had to just throw in my own two cents.

    I have a story to tell. You see, I have two little siblings in heaven. My mom has lost two babies to miscarriage, once when I was about nine and another time when I was around ten. I remember that she tried so hard to make sure that those babies survived. I loved the idea of having another little sibling in the house, even though when they get a little older, yeah, they get into your stuff, but you know that you would be lost without them. So anyway, it was to no avail. My mom lost those babies. And I cried – oh, I cried. Sometimes when I think about them, I still cry. I remember having a small burial service for one of the babies. I refused to look at the coffin as it was lowered into the ground. How could I? I was only ten, but I was so heartbroken that I stood behind the car and cried while they lowered my baby sister Isabelle’s body into the ground. I will never see her until I get to heaven…my little brother and sister who are with God are not parasites. They’re people. If you call a person a parasite, you basically just condemned yourself, too. Everyone started out as an embryo, even Jesus. Does that mean that Jesus was a parasite? No.

    OK, and about babies conceived in rape. Should the baby really have to pay for the father’s crime? Yes, the father did something terrible and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But the baby is an innocent party. Just because the baby was the result of a rape doesn’t mean that that baby isn’t loved eternally by God. God still breathed a unique soul into that baby and has a special plan for it. And even if this baby inconveniences the mother for a little bit, I’ve read stories of mothers who say that after you’ve been raped, the worst is over, and the baby is actually a key in the healing process. If the mother aborts the baby, the abortion will strain her body, especially if she’s a younger mother, possibly to the point where she’ll never be able to conceive when she wants to get pregnant. Secondly, the emotional scars of the abortion will add to the emotional scars of the rape, making the mother an eternal emotional mess. Abortion doesn’t bring healing, and it’s not women’s healthcare. No one would kill a five-month-old “wanted” child that was born prematurely. But of course, if the child is unwanted, all of a sudden it’s not a baby. This doesn’t make any sense. As one of my friends brought up, have you ever noticed that if a pregnant mother is killed in a car crash by, say, a drunk driver, it’s considered a double murder? If people keep contradicting themselves like this, no wonder we’re so confused.

    So….a baby is not a parasite. A baby is a person that needs to be loved and cherished because it’s weaker and more vulnerable than we are. A baby has an eternal soul, created by God for greatness and eternal life. I hope that everyone who reads this can see that.

  32. Teenage girl, I have a friend who has a little sister with Down syndrome and she’s an amazing, happy girl. She’s about 9 or 10 years old now. She’s got a life worth living, as does every child with Down syndrome. Killing children with genetic disorders is sick because just because someone’s sick doesn’t mean that you should kill them. If anything, it means that you should step up to the plate and resolve to do everything in your power to help and take care of them. And if I ever got pregnant with a baby with Down’s, I would love it just as much as any other child. God still willed for this baby to live. I’m not going to play God. Just a thought.

  33. Okay, Catherine—so what you’re saying is that your mother wanted children. She chose to have a baby and then she was devastated when—against her will—she miscarried. Part of being pro-choice means you can choose not to abort as well.
    Still, being sad when a planned pregnancy fails is not the same as choosing to abort an unplanned child.
    And yes, all babies are parasitic in nature. When Jesus was in the womb, by definition, his existence was parasitic. You are attaching way too much emotion to the word ‘parasite.’
    Okay, you’re asking whether a child should have to pay for the father’s sins. I’d like you to tell me why the mother should have to pay for them? She didn’t do anything wrong and yet she has to live with a visible reminder invading her body for nine months.
    Secondly, for many women, the actual rape is the easiest part—the worst is what happens after. The fears of contracting a disease, the stigma of being a victim, the pitying looks, being treated differently, and yes, even pregnancy. Not everyone attaches value to their fetuses. If they are not attached, then there are no ‘emotional scars’ attached to the abortion. You’re making wild assumptions based on how you would feel if you got an abortion—but not everyone is the same. Many women have abortions in their twenties and go on to have children later, when they’re ready to support them.
    The reason the media calls it ‘double murder’ is because sensationalism sells.

    Quotes from:
    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/07/12/pro-choice-and-pregnant/

    “Sex is to rape as a wanted pregnancy is to an unwanted pregnancy.”

    “NO life, no matter how advanced it is, is ever of the value that its right to life includes a right to be kept alive by another person against that other person’s will. Right to life means a right to breathe and not be forced to stop breathing–to not have one’s own autonomous survival interfered with. If one can’t survive autonomously, one can become dependent EITHER on a machine (which has no opinion on whether it wants to support a person or not) or a volunteer (an organ donor, a woman who wants to be pregnant, etc). You can’t force a woman to support a fetus she doesn’t want, any more than you can go up to a random stranger with your blood type and demand he donate you a kidney. Having someone use their body to keep you alive is not a right. It is a privilege, granted or not granted by the person who inhabits that body.”

    And Catherine–stop trying to make teenage girl feel guilty. Taking care of mentally disabled children isn’t the kind of future everyone dreams of–if you do have a child with Down’s Syndrome you will essentially be caring for them for the rest of their lives. Even people who want children are usually only in it for an 18-20 year commitment.

    And unless she is making time run backwards or raising aborted babies from the dead, she’s not playing God.

  34. The issue with the term parasite is that people think of it as akin to “bad” or “evil” – it’s a science definition. It doesn’t take into account good or bad or beauty or love. It’s a set of facts and observations. A baby lives off the energy of it”s mother. Fact.

    That being said, I think it’s more accurate to say that a fetus behaves “parasitically”, then to claim it’s a parasite. While a fetus matches the definition of a parasite pretty closely, some definitions specify that the parasite is of a different species then its host.

    As for Down Syndrome – Catherine, I aleady got read the riot act by my friend. Not entirely convinced either way, but since I’m not pregnant, or going to be pregnant any time soon, much less pregnant with a disabled baby, I’m just going to let that hypothetical rest.

    And Hillary, thanks for the defense, but I’m pretty thick-skined when it comes to debating things… me (passionate Obama Democrat) and my friend (die hard Republican) accuse each other of being Communists and Fascists every time we have a conversation. I tell him he thinks all homeless people should die because theyre a burden on society, and he tell’s me I want to eliminate all individalism and have the government run everything, thus destroying the world economy. Then we compare English notes and study together for the next test.

  35. Hi Hillary: I, too, love to debate the topic of sin, so I will indulge you

    It is very different to state that “the fall of man was good for him” than to state that “God can bring good out of anything, even the fall of man, which was itself evil, the result of choosing evil when presented with the option of choosing good or evil.” We can easily see that good comes from the existence of sin through God’s goodness and omnipotence, but that does not mean that sin itself is good. This is a common deductive fallacy: just because good is found as a consequence of sin does not mean that good is caused by sin. The causal connection is being asserted without adequate evidence; there is room for another agent (in this case, God) to cause the good.

    Yes, it is completely true that nothing God does is bad. And God does not sin. Men (and women) sin. God gave us “free will” which enables us to choose good, or to choose evil (any other notion of free will is nonsensical, I am sure you will agree). But that does not mean it doesn’t matter which one we choose. It DEFINITELY matters which one we choose! Evil choices always have painful and evil consequences – for ourselves, and sometimes also for others who may be innocent of that particular choice, but suffer anyway.

    However, if we choose evil, God can overcome the resulting evil with good consequences. As an aside, please note that God does not overcome the evil choice itself and force us to choose something else – that would negate our basic understanding of free will – but He can overcome the evil consequences of evil choices, which proves His ultimate goodness and omnipotence.

    I totally agree with you that the choice to be good is meaningless without the option to be evil. That is the eternal blessing (and curse) of free will! When we choose good, then we have in fact done Something. It is not meaningless. Likewise, choosing evil is not meaningless and it has consequences too. One of the worst consequences of evil choices is the evil that results to others who had no part in the original choice. Talk about UNFAIR. It is one of the infinite mercies of God that He can bring good out of any evil situation, whether it was caused by one’s own actions, or the choices of another person.

    To take one example from my own life, I had a parent who had an addiction problem and refused to face up to it, and because of that problem and that refusal to seek assistance (a sin), was unable to care for my youngest siblings sufficiently during my teenage years. I could see that they needed love and tender care and instruction and all the things that young children require to grow healthy and strong physically, emotionally and spiritually. I offered those kinds of love to the best of my ability (not the best ever – I was just a teenager and made mistakes like everyone else does).

    As a result of my choice to offer my help, they received tender loving care during a critical time in their lives, and I received an unbelievable amount of God’s grace through learning to put myself second to their needs, learning to listen to them without prejudice and ego/pride (such an important thing for children to experience, and for everyone to learn how to do), and learning how human nature exists in its imperfect state (just spend a couple of hours with a two year old, and you will have NO DOUBT WHATSOVER that humankind is fallen from grace!). Never mind that I was simply too busy to make some of the bad mistakes that I would DEFINITELY have made if I had the free time to do so…

    I know that I have addictive tendencies (e.g. addicted to coffee starting at age 14) and I would most likely have followed in the footsteps of that parent to a full-blown addiction and also, most likely, refusal to seek assistance, had I not been given the opportunity to step instead into the role of mini-parent and offer love and guidance to the little ones I already loved since they were my family. I might easily (not kidding) have ended up a homeless crack addict as an adult, yet I am a reasonably well-adjusted (ha) and productive and happy member of society instead. And all because the opportunity to love a child was presented to me, as a result of someone else’s bad choices, at the time in my life when I needed exactly that to preserve my own sanity (ha! ha!) and to avoid so many evil things I could have/would have chosen instead.

    Anyway, that is just one small example of how God can bring great goodness out of someone’s terribly bad choice. I am deliberately not using any example that is controversial or tremendously emotionally-wrought, as I believe the argument stands on its own strength – I just think it always helps to provide examples when discussing things like this. It helps to make sure people are discussing the same thing since words can have many meanings, and it avoids a lot of unnecessary confusion.

    Through faith we believe in the goodness of God, and of His creation as such – recognizing that the creation is now fallen and imperfect, but insofar as it was/we were created by God, creation is/we are good and worthy of love. Therefore we desire to participate more fully in God’s goodness by choosing good and avoiding evil. By choosing good and avoiding evil, we perfect our inner natures as God’s children and draw ourselves and others closer to Him, the source of our very existence and therefore of our innate goodness, and ultimately we dare to hope for Heaven in spite of our sins. Christ chose to suffer the evil consequences of our wrong choices, and that is how God has brought ultimate happiness within the reach of every single sinner. Though He never forces it upon anyone – it is simply there for the taking, available to those who choose to take advantage of it (again, He respects our free will since He made it free in the first place).

    In terms of conferring worthiness on man, it is not really sin that makes us worthy. I will grant you that sin makes us more aware of our worthiness (and lack thereof) by showing us clearly the alternative to worthiness. Our inner human dignity is something conferred upon us by God as He loved us and created us to His image and likeness, and even though we can (and do) choose to turn away from the source of our dignity, we can never lose our natures as sons and daughters of God. It is always possible for us to regain our knowledge and understanding of our own and others’ innate dignity, no matter how it may be hidden by the consequences of past sins and wrong choices. God is always waiting for the Prodigal Son to return and reclaim his place as an honored child of the household, but the sons who did not depart for a life of debauchery and wickedness are no less sons because they did not fall into the fullness (or emptiness) of sin.

    Speaking of the Prodigal Son, I would also like to add that my parent who had the addiction problem has made tremendous strides toward recovery over the past few years, which is a miracle in itself (there is no biological basis for recovery from a physiological addiction), and might even constitute a new proof for the existence of God? Of course I am just kidding – but it certainly does show that one must NEVER give up hope, that God is always waiting with open, welcoming arms for every sinner to return to Him. And I choose to believe that having children who are loving to each other and reasonably well-adjusted (ha again) instead of addicts as well, was not a hindrance to her choices that brought her back from the precipice of addiction, which suggests the power of our loving actions and choices to bring healing even to those who have harmed us. Who’d have thought? Yet, you can see how that might be considered the ultimate in power.

    In summary, I agree that it is not good to sin, but I further believe that the existence of sin is not itself good, but does provide many opportunities for God to demonstrate His infinite love and mercy by bringing good out of evil situations that are caused by sin. Not to mention it allowed the opportunity for Christ to suffer and die to expiate our sins and demonstrate that there is truly nothing God will not do to show His love for us. Without sin, that sacrifice would have been unnecessary, so we would not have had the comfort of knowing just how far God will go to rescue and protect His children. Furthermore, without Christ’s death, there would have been no need for His Resurrection, which serves to show us that God’s omnipotence even over physical death.

    So what do you think, Hillary? 🙂

  36. Hillary-
    To comment on your comments…. and maybe clarify any doubts…

    First of all, let me say this: I’m not attaching emotion to the word “parasite”; that is, I wasn’t writing strictly out of emotion. I was just treating the word, usually used to express something very unpleasant, in the proper light, especially considering that you are using the term to describe a baby, a child of God (and I realize that not everyone believes that but that’s besides the point, I do and I’m the one who’s writing). You may be using not enough emotion when tossing around a word like “parasite”. You seemingly fail to realize that according to your definition, you are a parasite. All human beings are parasites. Every time a person goes out to eat, buys clothes, gets loans to pay for school, a home, etc. they are acting “parasitically” because they are relying on someone else for their basic needs. So does that mean that we should kill them? You may argue, “Well those people aren’t ‘taking over’ the body of a poor, innocent mother.” The mother should have waited until she was married to have sex, or until she and her husband were financially capable to care for a child. That was selfishness on her part. Or maybe, like you brought up before, she was raped. But there are many families nowadays who would love to have their own children but can’t. Would you deny them those “years of servitude” for a “fetus” just because you didn’t want it? Does sacrifice mean anything to you, or to anyone else nowadays? The kindest, most selfless and Christian thing you could ever do for someone is give them the chance to live and then take care of them, no matter how their life turns out to be. For most women, this is an instinct inbred by God. To lose this instinct would be a sad, sad thing. It would reject a part of the femininity of woman.

    You said that not everybody believes that sex is for procreative purposes. Well, like it or not, that’s why God created sex in the first place. Why do you think sex makes babies? That was God’s intention when he created sex – otherwise, He would have the storks deliver the babies, such as in “Dumbo”. Don’t want babies, don’t have sex. It’s that simple. It takes a little self-control and chastity, and a lot of prayer, but it can be done. Chastity is not for the fainthearted – you need to believe you’re worth something and not just some guy’s plaything.

    You told me to stop making “Teenage girl” feel guilty. All that I will say is if aborting an innocent “special needs” baby was a good, moral, healthy choice, she would have no reason to feel guilty.

    Also, it is not true that women only have emotional scars after an abortion if they are “attached to their fetuses”. Why? If a woman was that “attached to her fetus”, she would not get an abortion in the first place. And, if you want to check out what you’re talking about, go to http://www.silentnomore.com – it’s not completely run by Catholics and it’s not biased. It’s women and men who have suffered the aftermath of abortions coming clean and admitting the murder and infanticide that abortion really is. These women and their partners are now scarred for life, no matter how “good” their intentions were.

    And did you know that abortion can kill women? If one of those forceps or knives punctured a woman’s cervix, she could bleed to death. And the materials they use in an abortion can stretch a woman’s uterus out of shape so that later in life it is impossible for her to bear children, even if later they may be “wanted” (there is no such thing as an unwanted child, there are lots of waiting lists of people who want to adopt a child – yes, even special needs children, and if you want statistics I will look them up). Abortionists have raped women in the operation room. If you claim that there are no emotional scars after an experience like that, then I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to see what abortion really is, watch the video “The Silent Scream”. This shows abortion for what it really is, and it graphically depicts an 11-week abortion. You can see the video at this website. http://www.silentscream.org/

    You say that many women have abortions in their 20s and then go on to have kids later. Based on what I’ve read and been taught about abortion, I really don’t trust those statistics. How many is “many”? Do you know these women personally? You say that I’m jumping to wild conclusions, but unless you have the stats I wouldn’t jump to conclusions either.

    God decides who lives and who dies. And, I’m sorry to say, it’s just common sense to say that ordering the death of an innocent human being because you want to be selfishly carefree or promiscuous is certainly playing God.

    Before you argue on the side of something as serious as abortion, it’s best to know the facts beforehand. The fact is, abortion kills 4000 American citizens a year (and did you know that the founder of Planned Parenthood was racist against blacks and a eugenicist? Today, Planned Parenthood takes money from donors who want to specifically target minority groups) and to be at the replacement rate for our country every woman would need to have 2.1 children. We will be far below replacement rate if abortion doesn’t stop. If a woman didn’t have a child for any other reason, she could at least have the child to keep the country going (and pay off all of the outrageous taxes that the younger generation will, in fact, have to pay off) and then give it up for adoption to parents who would really care for, nurture and cherish it.

    If you want statistics, I will gladly give them!

  37. I made a mistake – abortion kills 4000 American citizens a DAY, not a year.

  38. For the definition of parasite – only fetus’s behave in a truly parasitical manner.

    “Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between two different organisms where one organism, the parasite, takes from the host, sometimes for a prolonged time.”

    Infants are somewhat parasitical, but there really isn’t a “host”, because more then one person participates at this point, not to mention the child is no longer phyisically draining it’s host.

    Same with children, except by then, they’re no longer even completley dependent on their parents.

    Adults are usually not parasites, because they usually have to DO something in order to get food, shelter, ext. They aren’t just being given it.

  39. In response to Catherine ~

    First, in response to your comment that anyone who buys a house or eats something is a parasite. This is incorrect. A parasite contributes nothing to its host. A person buy a house contributes money to the bank. A person who buys a necklace at an art sale contributes money to the craftsman. And as for eating something – that plant/animal was most likely raised by humans, thereby the human contributed to the plant’s/animal’s life before it was harvested/slaughtered. THere is an equal exchange going on. An unwanted fetus gives nothing to the mother, unless one counts distress

    As for ‘sex is for procreation’ that may be your belief, but it is not mine, and the history of the world is also in my favor. I think we can both agree that prostitution is not about procreation, and yet it has existed since time immemorial and even exists among certain animals (there’s a study about penguins engaging in a sort of prostitution to get rocks for their nests – look it up, I’m sure you’ll find it quickly.) I am no virgin and feel no regret in regard to it, as most ‘studies’ you are likely to find tell me I should. ANd I’ve read most of them, having gone to a Catholic school and been reared in a Catholic household (I am what you would refer to as a pagan now). Oh, and as for prayer and chastity being the only way to refrain from sex, (Ed note – deleted the rest of this. You are describing a sexual act, my friend. That is not abstinence.)

    I also find your saying that a woman who has sex is the ‘plaything’ of a man both rude and inaccurate. It hinges on the idea that a woman is always pressured by the man or does not respect herself. I have been the instigator in many of my romantic encounters and I am a happy, hale young woman who is very self-reliant and independant.

    Some people have abortions and feel awful afterwards. Some people do not. Humanity as a whole is a very diverse being and the opinions of one person or group are never the opinions of everyone.

    As for abortions killing women, so does childbirth. I could have died while having my wisdom teeth extracted but I still opted to have them removed before they rammed all the rest of my teeth out of line. Risks are inherent in any operation, no matter how apparently simple. Sometimes the accidents are consequence of inept surgeons, sometimes complications that could have been foreseen, but things do happen without warning, rhyme, or reason. I’ve heard the horror stories from my parents, both of whom are doctors. Things can go intensely wrong and doctors are only human.

    In response to the stats on abortions killing people all I have to say is this: People die. We die from all sorts of things. We die from allergies and age and starvation and trying to shake free drinks out of soda machines. We die from smoking and drinking and stressing and spontaneous combustion. By giving those stats you aim to make Hillary think that abortions are more likely to kill her and therefore deter her from getting one. But the fact is that we all run a million risks every day and all without thinking about it. I could stay at home and die in a fire or from a broken gas line. Or I could go out and risk getting hit by a car. If I were pregnant and didn’t want the baby I could run the risk of dying from an abortion or dying when I give birth. And even if none of that happens time will kill me as surely as the rise and fall of the sun.

  40. Friends
    Sin darkens the intellect and weakens the will.
    Grave sin kills the life of grace in the soul.
    A life of sin leads to an inability to see the truth and an inability to love.

    It is Lent.
    Lent is the perfect time to go to Confession and be reconciled to God.

    In general – those who would like to have fruitful discussions on this site, let’s do it… for the people coming here to talk about truth, beauty, goodness, faithfulness, love, and how to get by in a world gone mad, I want to support you. If you want to argue that fornication and abortion are good things, you are missing the point of the discussion.

  41. See, Therese, your whole philosophy doesn’t make sense, because that implies one of two things: that God didn’t know when he created Man that he was going to fall (casting doubt on God’s omnipotence) or that God deliberately created a Man who was capable of falling (casting doubt on God’s nature as a just and loving God). If he made us capable of falling without, knowing we would if given the choice, then we were essentially made to suffer through life, victim of our own innate inadequecy to measure up, while God stands high above us, casually predicting each move, like a scientist observing a rat in a maze.

    That’s not the God I envision.

    Good doesn’t cause sin any more than darkness causes light. Light doesn’t cause darkness either. By the same token, heads doesn’t cause tails nor left cause right. Choice causes everything. Without choice, we’d all have to make right turns every day for the rest of our lives, tiny, pointless, clockwise circles.

    Free will gives us the ability to choose, but not necessarily the choice. We had free will in the Garden of Eden, but until we had the opportunity to choose, it was meaningless. Which, I can only assume, is why God put the tree there; without that tempting tree we’d have been stuck in a world with no choices, no option to sin, no knowledge of what sin was.

    And once again, I’m not saying choices don’t matter, I’m saying it isn’t as important as the ability to choose. Nowhere near as important actually, It is comparatively insignificant–unless maybe you chose to blow up the world, that might be around the right level, something that would impact every living creature in the world.

    I can’t believe you accused me of a cause/effect fallacy and then used a cause/effect fallacy to try and prove a point. It’s like irony to the tenth power. Your decision to parent your siblings saved you from possible drug addiction, but you made the decision before you became addicted to drugs (no, Coffee doesn’t count because society doesn’t attach the same negative label and stigma to coffee drinkers). Thus there is no way to logically prove that the children saved you from addiction. It is much more likely that your decision to parent them was evidence of your already responsible personality. I’m not saying God didn’t help you out here, and it’s a good story, but it’s not a relevant argument.

    And to Catherine:

    The definition of parasite includes not giving anything back, so if I give someone money, I’m compensating them for the clothes/food/etc. However, I am willing to admit that as a child, I was a parasite.

    I love how keen on love you are when talking about the fetus, but you have absolutely no sympathy for the mother. You should become a rape counselor: “Sorry you were viciously attacked, but why don’t you think about someone else for a change–by the way, that’s what you get for having sex before marriage.”

    I have to challenge this whole ‘instinct’ women supposedly have for nurturing things. It’s more like ‘social conditioning as a result of semi-ambiguous, arbitrary sex organs.’

    Also, if sex were purely procreative, why isn’t it 100% effective 100% of the time? I’m glad you’re here to tell me what God wants. Next time you have him on the phone, ask him if he can create a rock so big that even he can’t lift it?

    I actually told you to stop *trying* to make her feel guilty–which goes right along with how you should stop making yourself look like an idiot.

    Yeah, Silent No More, a completely unbiased group of people which just happens to be: “A Project of Anglicans for Life and Priests for Life” organizations. Riiiight.
    Once again, you can only have emotional scars if you are attached to the fetus, if you assign it value and personify it. The only people who regret abortions are people who a.) are told how wrong it is and internalize those social strictures, which manifests in guilt or b.) did not realize they had attached signifigance to the fetuse before they aborted. Either way, they made a choice, for good or bad, and their regret does not mean they get to take away other people’s choices.

    Did you know that broccolli can kill women? Sometimes they choke on it and die. As for statistics:

    The risk of death associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy, from one death for every one million abortions at or before eight weeks to one per 29,000 at 16–20 weeks—and one per 11,000 at 21 or more weeks. Compare this to the number of women that die from birth. The US maternal mortality rate rose to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2004, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Before Roe v. Wade in the US, In 1936 it was estimated 5,000-10,000/yr 1960s, with antibiotics, down to 1,000/yr. Don’t forget the women, that didn’t die but lost their uteruses or something equivalently bad.”

    So less women die now that abortion is legal and the number of fetus’ aborted stays the same. win/win

    And I’ve seen your Silent Scream video, a piece of pro-life propaganda, biased and factually inaccurate when it was produced, and now dated as well. Look at the language the presenter uses to talk about it: ‘unborn child’ and the title ‘silent scream.’ Ridiculous.

    Yes, I know two women personally who had abortions and then had children later, when they could afford it. I’ve also done some research on it, but off the top of my head, there’s a piece in The Concious Reader that I can recall–I believe written by Mary Gordon–called “A Moral Choice.” You should read that–it sums it all up nicely.

    Abortion is not the reason birth rates are down–most of it is the poor economy. These days most people would rather have a flatscreen TV than a kid–at least you can turn the TV off.

    Are you suggesting we should stop abortion so that we can force those ‘future citizens’ to pay for our irresponsible spending? And who is going to raise all these unwanted children? If all these babies were dumped into the Foster Care system it would quickly become impossible to provide care for any of the children. There aren’t resources to provide for them.

    And Spes Unica

    I am fully enjoying this debate. I find logic to be beautiful and one of the best things God gave us. I just wish more people appreciated it.

  42. […] IMPORTANT: Do girls need “fantasy”? […]

  43. Please continue this discussion here: https://spesunica.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/selfishness-vs-love/

  44. Dear Hillary –

    I’m glad you find logic beautiful. We’re going to continue this discussion on the link I posted. Just a couple of things, though. You bring up good points – not always correct. First, a lack of foreknowledge of the Fall would deny God’s omniscience, not his omnipotence. Secondly, creating humans capable of falling is not the same as predestining them TO fall. There is quite a lot of discussion that surrounds the relationship between free will and predestination – it is a huge topic – but suffice it to say for now that humanity was capable of the Fall, and God had foreknowledge that they would Fall but they were not created TO fall. In any case – as it says during the Exultet at the Easter Vigil “O happy fault!” – if anything, the Fall shows us that God is just and loving. He gave us freedom, we abused it and then he not only gave us a second chance, but he actually made things even better than they were before the Fall by sending us His Son and uniting Himself to our human nature.

    Re: addiction – negative labels/stigma are exterior to the reality here. An addiction is something internal. It is not defined by other’s reactions. There are many socially accepted practices that are none the less addictions (shopping, eating, etc). In fact, there was quite a furor over getting tobacco companies to admit that nicotine is addictive. It was just as addictive during WW II as it is now – even though smoking was very much socially acceptable then.

    The lack of resources for unwanted babies argument is a fallacy. Please check out adoption statistics.

    Also – I won’t let you get away with blowing off others arguments with statements like “ridiculous”. If you have an argument, make it. Dismissive language isn’t an argument.

    You have yet to show that anyone defending “fetuses” (note to self – this word is used to dehumanize children in the womb so that those who defend abortion don’t feel bad) do not love mothers. I noticed the use of the rape argument again. If you know about abortion legislation, you will know about the “exceptions” clauses. I think they are wrong because human life is human life, regardless of HOW the child was conceived – and human life is intrinsically worthy of protection… nevertheless, the regulation of abortion in this country is habitually made with three “exceptions” – rape, incest and life of the mother. Of course, Doe vs Bolton brought “health” of the mother into the equation as well. My point is merely that using the rape argument is flawed both statistically (here’s a quote: “The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research group affiliated with Planned Parenthood, conducted a comprehensive survey in 2004 to find out why women have abortions.Asked to list the most important reason for the abortion, just 4.5 percent of women cited rape, incest or the pregnancy causing life-threatening or severe health problems. Just .5 percent of women said the abortion was because they were a victim of rape.) and in terms of legislation. Logic, Hillary!

    Finally – I wanted to touch really quickly on something brought up before. The Pope Paul VI Institute is not affiliated with the Catholic Church. The founding Doctor is a Catholic and the research institute was named in honor of Pope Paul VI due to his authorship of Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) – but there are a vast number of medical professionals involved with the institute and who are medically trained through them. It is as much a part of the Catholic Church as John Wayne Airport (named after him in Orange County, CA) is affiliated with John Wayne. It isn’t. It’s just named after him. And it’s a great airport.

  45. Hi Hillary and spesunica,
    if that’s how you spell it… I’m not a fan of the twilight series and I am a Christian. I just wanted to let you two know that i agree with both of you in some ways
    i agree with spesunica on the abortion issue, babies are not parasites, if i thought of them that way i would never ever have one, but i understand what you mean hillary, but wouldn’t children be parasites then?? If we depend on each other so much to live then we’d all be parasites living off of one another… so i understand what you mean but i think you might have said it out of anger and not really thought about how errrrm poorly thought out that sounded.

    I also agree with you on the choice thing. Having a choice and freedom is VERY important to me i am a very independent person and very free spirited, or i’d like to think so at least. But you talk about abortion being about choice also, but in my opinion it’s taking the BABY’S CHOICE away from the BABY,on whether or not they want to live. If choice is so important to you shouldn’t the baby have the first say on whether it wants to live or not. And i know babies can’t think like that in the womb that early so maybe when they are birthed and a little older you can ask a child whether or not they want to live, and they will most likely say yes. To me a mother aborting her child without the child’s consent is like going up to someone you don’t know and shooting them in the head, for no reason, you knew nothing about them and they knew nothing about you. It’s just wrong…i love being able to choose, and i know people and friends that have had abortions and i don’t like that they did it but i don’t disown them or tell them they are horrible. i still love them and council them. I just think that an individual should be able to choose their right to live, not someone else.

  46. i also thought of something else i wanted to add about abortion

    a lot of people have abortions for pretty i don’t want to say good reasons but reasons that make a little bit of sense, not that i would want anyone to have an abortion. A lot of people have them because they were raped or they don’t want their parents to find out or because it will shame them, or they were forced to or drunk when it happened and lots of other things. I just think that none of those are very good reasons to take a life, i just know i wouldn’t.

    I’m just scared of the future, and what the word abortion is going to mean then
    Will it become something that happens a lot and most women do it?
    Science is becoming advanced enough where we can tell what our baby will look and act like.
    and when we can choose will women abort their babies because they don’t have blue eyes?? Or maybe because they are mentally handicapped or they are autistic or physically impaired.
    I know it sounds inhuman, but it just scares me, it scares me to think the MY mom could have made that choice and i wouldn’t even be typing this comment right now, i wouldn’t even know what it felt like to breathe for the first time.

  47. um i actually do know a couple of teens and twenty year olds that have had an abortion or two and now have children, and one of them was because of her promiscuous behaviour, she was my aunts best friend. She is a christian and we advised her against it but she did it anyway, just to let you know that it does happen often spespunica

  48. Original post —

    The irony!

    The bible is, to those not indoctrinated to that particular dogma, a book of fiction and fantasy… just as every other religious book is to you.

    Do you think you are really best placed to offer advice?

  49. I’ve read adult horror novels and erotic material since the age of ten, but have remained voluntarily celibate throughout most of my life – I was neither abused, nor engaged in any sexual activity as a teen. It has nothing to do with morals, as I don’t think that sexually active people are bad or sinful, I just have always had very little interest in it, physically speaking.

    Possibly related, the first sexually explicit material that I was exposed to as a very young girl came from the Bible. It’s what made me interested in erotic literature in the first place.

    I love reading fantasy, and I do not think it has negative influences for all of its readers – imagination is not an inherently bad thing, neither is creativity. I think that anything – ANYTHING – even the Bible, has the power to influence someone in many ways, not all of those ways being good. I would not fault the book for that.

    That being said, I’m not a Twilight fan at all – I read the books to have a laugh, but I don’t begrudge someone the enjoyment of them. Do I think they have some flaws? Sure. Most books do. Just because they aren’t to my taste doesn’t mean they are evil, of the devil, and full of sin.

  50. I’ve read and reread the original post. My response is two-fold.

    First, fantasy defined as “[a]n imagined event or sequence of mental images, such as a daydream, usually fulfilling a wish or psychological need” does not necessarily lead to obsessive behavior. When I was 16, I imagined what it might be like to finally finish high school and go to college, in other words, a “fantasy” about the future, an imagining. I graduated from high school, then college and found new dreams to dream.

    Is there danger in obsessive or addictive types of fantasy? Sure, but I would take a guess and say that fantasy itself is not the problem for the people who actually find themselves involved in addictive behaviors. There are all sorts of factors one would have to control for to determine if it was fantasy itself at fault for the dangerous behaviors. . . . family, environment, culture, social support system . . . fantasy as it’s defined here does not deserve the rap for the kinds of damage that have obviously been done to the people who engage in same. In those cases, I would suggest that fantasy is a symptom of a much larger issue. What in these people’s lives is so broken that they feel the need to escape repeatedly for extended periods of time?

    Second, and I say this as a strong critic of Meyer’s series, while there is little of redeeming value in the books, it is, in my opinion, more important to teach young readers to read critically than to simply pronounce books “bad” or “evil.” You’ve read the books so you know exactly what the faults are thematically within the text to say nothing of the shoddy writing and character development. How did you reach those conclusions? I’m thinking you read it critically filtering it through your knowledge base and belief system and rejecting it. Would it not better serve younger readers to teach them to do the same rather than just outright forbid access to it? I’m not saying turn a 9 year old lose with it. I firmly believe that children should be allowed to be children and too much knowledge too soon is not healthy for development. But, a 14 or 15 year old with supervision could read the series and actually learn a lot about how not to behave and what isn’t alright with regard to interactions with others. The realist in me sort of knows that the majority of parents aren’t that hands on with kids at that age. Oddly though, it’s an age when a little supervision and some communication can go a long long way.


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