Ladies for Life

Define brave

Posted on: June 5, 2009

More and more I’ve been noticing a tendency in some circles, and in popular culture in general, to think of bravery as the commission of ‘something I’m not sure I could bring myself to do if put to the test’. Period.

Now, of course, few of us would consider a person brave if that person did something we’re pretty sure we’d have done under similar circumstances.

The problem is that too many folks these days unthinkingly stop right there. If they find themselves too afraid, or disgusted, or squeamish, to do something, they think that someone who steps over that line they personally don’t want to cross is brave simply for crossing over that line, and never mind if what that ‘brave’ person is doing is pointless, or stupid, or reckless, or unkind, or violent, or downright evil.

If you need an example, read William Saletan’s article “Tiller’s Killer: Is it wrong to murder an abortionist?”. (via Alliance Alert) You might want to send the children out of the room first. But afterward you might want to gather them around you and ask them to tell you what they think of as “brave”. The culture is sending them messages about ‘bravery’ via so-called reality shows, and articles like Saletan’s, and conversations with friends who are steeped in moral relativism or even unmitigated pragmatism (i.e., if it works, it’s good), and via all sorts of other channels. It would be no surprise if they were confused, at least to some degree.

You might also want to ask them to give you their definition of “noble”. Back when I was in college, and expressing doubts that I would ever ‘get an abortion’ (how blithely we used euphanisms like that!) even if I got raped, the more ardent feminists jumped at the opportunity to tell me how much more noble it would be for me to get an abortion if I wasn’t strongly supportive of abortion. Or if I didn’t want one. Or if I wasn’t sure it was right. Or if I thought I wanted a child.

No, really. If I had to push aside my own objections or doubts or dreams, then I was sacrificing something extra to the cause. Or so they said.

Luckily for me, my closest friends and I were moral relativists who would have nothing to do with sleeping around. We didn’t base this on anything like a solid foundation (God help us) – but our cobbled-together conclusions that sex before marriage was stupid, foolish, reckless, unhealthy, bad tactics, and beneath our dignity, kept us out of circumstances that would have put our equally unprincipled ideas about feticide to the test.

Speaking of unprincipled… In Saletan’s article, he seems to be unable to grasp why pro-life people don’t go around murdering abortionists. The ends, he seems to think, would justify the means.

As a Christian, I don’t – can’t – think that way. I didn’t even think that way as an atheist, for that matter, although back in those days the best I could come up with was “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

But, here again, it’s hard to take a look around in popular culture without intercepting messages that the ends justify the means. This is not good.

I hope that in your own family you’re resisting the temptation.

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2 Responses to "Define brave"

[…] Is your concept of bravery inadequate or amoral? Tags: ethics, language, morality, political vocabulary, vocabulary, […]

Murder is most definitely not bravery. The ends don’t justify the means. This is especially true in this case as this has given a new fuel to the pro choice movement. What people don’t understand is that each life is unique in itself. You cannot trade a life for a life. That implies that someone else’s life has more or less value then your own. That line of thinking leads to a very slippery and dangerous slope.

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Welcome. This is just another place for pro-life ladies to meet and share and offer support to one another.
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