I read something deeply disturbing this weekend. Some of you may be familiar with Emily Letts (the woman who videotaped her abortion). She was interviewed by Cosmopolitan magazine about why she filmed her abortion. Emily is an abortion counselor and admits she wasn’t using birth control when she was impregnated by someone she describes as not involved. She is a true believer in abortion and believes that she is helping women by counseling them to have abortions. So it was quite natural for her to choose to have an abortion. She videotaped the abortion so that other women could see how safe and “painless” abortions are.
What struck me in the article was the lack of guilt that she felt. She didn’t feel any responsibility for the pregnancy, even though she had sex with someone and didn’t protect herself. She said this “I didn’t feel bad. I do feel a little irresponsible and embarrassed about not using birth control. I mean, Emily, wake up! What are you doing?” The atheist philosopher Fredric Nietzsche believed that we would reach a time when we no longer had guilt. Many believe that this is part of human evolution and that belief in God leads to guilt, so when you no longer believe in God you are no longer guilty.
This concept is reinforced by Emily “Our society breeds this guilt. We inhale it from all directions. Even women who come to the clinic completely solid in their decision to have an abortion say they feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Even though they know 110 percent that this is the best decision for them, they pressure themselves to feel bad about it.” Is guilt the last vestige of our primitive past or is it a sign that we no longer have a conscience?
If you follow the logic of Nietzsche then we should not have guilt over anything we do as long as we can justify it. So if our parents are old and a burden killing them would be logical and we should be guiltless. Or if we believe that there are too many humans sucking dry the resources of the planet and spewing out carbon emissions, than eliminating people is justified. There should be no guilt in our sexual relationships, or if we lie or cheat in business, or if we steal from our employer.
I believe that if we feel no guilt then we have no conscience. I was thinking about sinful things that I have done in my past. The memory of those things is painful. But, those sorrowful memories help to keep me from repeating those sins. The conscience is not a bad part of our primitive past it is a sign that we have God’s imprint on our lives and the result is that we are better people instead of more debased.
Emily Letts mentions in the article that she has received threatening emails and ugly comments. The scripture tells us to “be angry but do not sin”. It is good to be angry about the evil we see in the world, but our response should be in love. My hope is that Emily will feel guilty, not because I want her to suffer, but so that she could be set free.