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A New Moral Argument for Human Personhood

Editorial Note: Dr. Joe Miller is a member of CFBU’s Academic Advisory Council. He is the co-founder of the Center for Cultural Apologetics and the More Than Cake website. This post was originally published through Reasons to Believe. It is reprinted here with permission.

The word “personhood” is being redefined by abortion rights activists in a way that is not dissimilar to how it was redefined a hundred years ago, to disqualify Black people from full human rights. This way of moral reasoning goes against Holy Scripture and the historic Christian faith. For the Christian, the unborn are both fully human and full persons. However, our culture is engaging in a dangerous shell game of separating these ideas and redefining what it means to be a person. Biblically faithful Christians must stand against this.

Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Charles Darwin’s theory of origins reinforced the dehumanization of black peoples in the West. At this time in history, the consensus among the most influential scientists, philosophers, academicians, politicians, and even leading theologians, was that natural selection kept blacks enslaved to nature—a brutal master whose unguided selection relegated them to the lower rung of the evolutionary ladder.

A century later as Western culture continues to grapple with how to ensure human equality, a new argument against this kind of dehumanization comes from what I call the moral argument for human personhood. The structure of my argument is based on what is commonly known as the moral argument for God.

Grounding Morality in God