My son Colin, home for the holidays, tells me that his friend Steve, who happens to be my favorite atheist, has a unique argument concerning abortion.
Steve says, "Of course the baby in the womb is a human being. You'd have to be blind not to realize that. So I don't say abortion is right because an unborn baby is not a person; I say abortion is right because people do not deserve to live, and it's fine to kill some of them."
Shocking as this sounds, it is, I believe, the actual argument underlying abortion in the Western world.
Steve is just bold enough to admit it.
It's not, "The unborn baby is not a person and has no rights."
It's, "No person has any rights. No person has any dignity. No person deserves to live."
We are no longer Christian, and so we no longer believe the core dogma that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and that God became man so as to redeem man and give him a priceless value.
This is what we used to believe. This is what built our culture, our hospitals, our universities, and informed all of our art. This is what made men brave and loyal and good, even when they didn't feel like being any of those things. This is what made a hero a hero. This is what made a parent a parent and a lover a lover.
But if there is no God - and my favorite atheist Steve is certain that there is no God - then man has no intrinsic value. Perhaps we like humans more than monkeys, but that's only our evolutionary desire speaking; objectively men are not as well suited to the environment as cockroaches, and men have no more value than cockroaches. If we value men, it's only a matter of taste, only a passing opinion - and a wrong one at that. It's only our pre-programmed biological chemicals making us feel this way. Loving man for the New Atheist is like loving woman - it's really just your gonads speaking. It's propagation of the species at best and a diversion from despair at worst - a benign illusion that those in the know can smile at.
So if we feel someone is inconvenient to us, to hell with him. Kill him if you can get away with it. There's no reason not to. He's inconvenient, for one thing; and no better than a cockroach, for another; in fact, he's worse from a "survival of the fittest" standard, for the lowly roach would survive ten nuclear holocausts, and we'd be lucky to get through one. And you'd bet a roach would have no compunction killing something that stood in its path, or simply eating it like a piece of tasty dung.
Therefore - and the logic is impeccable - since it's OK to kill born people, why not unborn? If the baby in your womb will make you fat and keep you from getting that second car or that iphone you want so badly, well, don't listen to those Planned Parenthood staffers insist that your unborn baby is not a human being - of course it is. But if it's in the way, kill it.
It has no value. It's only a person.
Just kill it.