Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saviour siblings

Andrew Brown has a few sharp and witty observations in response to a Telegraph comment by George Pitcher.

If little Leo (Blair) grows up to resent that he was the result of a contraceptive failure, he should get over himself. Isn’t the whole point of Christianity that god has a purpose for you even if it is invisible to the outside world, and to your parents? And, from a non-christian point of view, why should the world acknowledge any legitimacy to the teenager’s complaint “I didn’t ask to be born”? No one asked to be born and it’s absurd to think that your parents wanted you in particular. They took their chances at conception and hoped for the best. They may have got lucky. You and they may have collaborated to produce a decent human being. But no one could have foreseen which decent human being this would be at birth, still less at conception.

. . . How many Telegraph readers have had babies because they didn’t want their other one to be a lonely only child? How many have had babies because they wanted a boy, or a girl, and hadn’t had one yet? Isn’t it the duty of an aristocratic family to produce an heir? In all these cases and throughout human history, babies are born for the purposes of the family or the tribe to which they belong. In other contexts, Telegraph readers understand this very well. If some fifteen-year-old on benefits starts having babies just because she loves them, they see her as a threat to society. But sentimentality and cruelty have always gone hand in hand. Neither gives religion any credit. You would have thought, however, that an ordained priest like Pitcher would be familiar with the story of one baby who was born “for us men and for our salvation” with consequences generally agreed by Christians to have been wholly beneficial.

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