Jonathan Dudley gives the first of two talks this fall giving historic and scientific perspectives on the pro-life movement in the US. Dan Williams will give the second talk on October 3, 3:00 - 5:00pm.

As evangelicals went to the polls in 2016, many embraced a utilitarian ethic: the end of combating abortion justified the means of elevating an unusually controversial candidate to a position of immense power. This logic results largely from a widespread belief that full moral life begins at conception, but Dudley will argue that belief itself is poorly supported by historic Christianity, the Bible, and modern science. While historic Christianity has featured consistent opposition to abortion, the form of that opposition has varied significantly, with most theologians stating that full moral life begins at some point later than conception. The claim that the Bible teaches life begins at conception, meanwhile, is based on exegesis that was not widespread among Christians until the 1980s. In advocating for their goals, pro-life organizations have made inaccurate claims about medical science and pursued policies that increase the abortion rate. Dudley will conclude by advocating an alternative approach to political engagement that doesn’t require subordinating other convictions, and that has a stronger claim to represent historic Christianity by pursuing anti-abortion policies that are based on scientific evidence.

Jonathan Dudley is the author of “Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics,” published by Random House. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University Divinity School, where he studied evangelical Christian political activism, and holds a medical doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His writing and political activism have been featured in the New York Times and he has appeared on CNN's Newsroom with Kyra Phillips.

Co-sponsored by Calvin College’s History, Political Science, and Biology Departments, the Sexuality Series, and Christian Perspectives in Science Seminars.


September 2018
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