Health and Fitness

Why Not All Pro-Lifers are Celebrating

Why Not All Pro-Lifers are Celebrating

Like the prophet Jeremiah, a biblical lament for abortion is neither apathetic nor triumphant.

Colloquially, English speakers often use two words to mean “indifference”: ambiguity and ambivalence. But if you consult a dictionary, neither of these words actually means a lack of feeling. Ambivalence means “having mixed feelings” while ambiguity signals a general “lack of clarity.”

Part of the confusion lies in how we often cope with both mixed feelings and uncertainty. In the first case, you can become indifferent as a way to resolve conflicting or paradoxical ideas. In the second, you can become indifferent because you can't identify your precise feeling about something. And when we feel overwhelmed or uncertain, it’s often easiest to simply ignore our feelings altogether.

It seems to me, however, that learning to live with the ambivalence of conflicting feelings and ideas is necessary for spiritual maturity—especially in an era when debates are raging and hot takes are abundant.

I recently reread the book of Lamentations and was struck by the prophet Jeremiah’s ambivalence. Recounting the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., the entire book is awash with emotion, gut-wrenching realities, and seemingly disparate truths.

For years, the people of Israel had rebelled against Jehovah, disobeying his commandments and “crush[ing] underfoot all prisoners in the land, to deny people their rights before the Most High, to deprive them of justice” (Lam. 3:34-36). Jerusalem finally succumbs to her enemies in judgment. The siege is so desperate that women are driven to consume their own children (Jer. 19:9) in an attempt to survive (Lam. 2:20).

Throughout the book, Jeremiah voices the agony of the people as well as his own.

He …

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