Thursday, 16 June 2011

The slaughter of the innocents

I have heard an objection to Matthew's account of the slaughter of the children in Bethlehem.

The objection is that such a slaughter would have been recorded by secular historians and we don't find any record if this in any other source than Matthew's Gospel.

I think the objection is misguided in a couple of ways: first, it supposes that there were historians who simply made it their business to report on the news, but of course that wasn't why they did history.  They only reported on things if they had a reason to, if they had a point to make. 

Secondly, it assumes that this would have been big news back then, but the reality is that Herod had, according to Josephus, been guilty of loads of murders.  The killing of what was probably very few children probably wouldn't have ranked on his top ten list of atrocities back then.  You can look here for more information on this episode.

But someone may say, "But surely the killing of any innocent children would spark rebellion and outrage!"  And I would simply ask, "Would it?  Does it?"  There are almost 200,000 innocents killed every year in Great Britain on the NHS (see here). 

Does this make the news?  Does this provoke outrage?  No, because apparently it is all right to kill a baby if it is in the womb and the mother wants it done. 

When it comes to the arguments for or against abortion, there is only one question that needs to be addressed - what is the unborn?  If the unborn is not human then no justification for abortion is necessary, but if the unborn is human then no justification for abortion is adequate because we do not kill human beings for the reasons people have abortions.  Think about it, you would not be allowed to kill your toddler because of financial pressures or because she was disabled or any other reason.  The fact that your toddler is less developed than you doesn't make it OK to take her life; the fact that your new born is dependent on you for survival doesn't make it acceptable for you to kill him.

So what is the unborn?  Well, scientifically what else could it be but a human?  It's not canine, bovine or feline.  It is a genetically complete human from the moment of conception - all of the child's traits such as gender, hair colour, eye colour, etc. are all determined at conception.  There is no point during the pregnancy at which you can say in a non-arbitrary way, now the child is human (see here and here for more on this).

So the fact that ancient historians didn't record the slaughter of a few children in a little town doesn't really surprise me in light of the fact that modern reporters never mention the slaughter of the hundreds of innocents every day in our own country funded by our Government.