The Necessity of the Imago Dei Principle
Pro-Lifers Need Not Shy Away from Bringing Religion Into the Conversation
Written by Elizabeth Marbach, Director of Communications for Ohio Right to Life
A common argument used to dismantle the pro-life position is the assertion that it forces religious beliefs onto others. Some claim that the pro-life position is mere personal conviction grounded in religious dogma, completely absent of any objective truth that holds weight in modern secular society. They state that while it is acceptable to be personally against abortion, it is morally unjust and downright tyrannical to expect others to adhere to pro-life morality.
This assertion shows complete ignorance of the pro-life argument and the very premise of the issue itself. The pro-life movement is not against abortion because we want to control women or interfere with private matters. We are against abortion because it has been known since ancient times that it is a human life in the womb. We are against abortion because abortion is undeniably murder, proven by science. Atheists, agnostics, and religious people alike have all agreed since our country’s founding that we are against murder as a nation, and it’s never simply a “personal choice” to purposely end the life of another innocent human being, even in difficult situations.
Nevertheless, it is no coincidence that most pro-lifers are indeed Judeo-Christian. We adhere to a biblical worldview, which is the foundation for why we are adamantly against the murder of the unborn, just as it is the foundation for why we are against the murder of the born. Pro-lifers need not shy away from that. Without the Judeo-Christian worldview, our fight against all murder falls short.
The Judeo-Christian worldview teaches that human beings are made in the imago Dei, the image of God; because of that, every human has inherent worth and value. We did not end up on this earth by happenstance or by mistake; our ancestors were not fish or apes with no purpose other than to survive; we are made with intention and for “such a time as this.”
The same all-powerful, all-knowing, and sovereign God that paints the stars in the sky and spins the earth on its axis also created every one of us in our mother’s womb. We do not get to pick and choose which humans are worthy of dignity or equal treatment. We are all granted the right to life and equality simply because God created us in the imago Dei.
Under an atheistic worldview, there is no moral foundation to protect anyone against injustice. If we believe that we are mere accidents and there is no God by whom we were created, then why is anything illegal? Why can’t we murder someone if they have no ultimate purpose or inherent worth? Why can’t we steal something from someone else if we feel like it? Why shouldn’t we do whatever it is we please whenever we please?
The belief in the imago Dei compels us to acknowledge human rights, challenges us to control our impulses, and ultimately creates a culture of equality and justice for all. Therefore, while it is lazy argumentation by the pro-abortionists to portray the pro-life stance as merely one of religion—absent of facts, science, and secular reasoning—pro-lifers should not buy into their presupposition that Judeo-Christianity is not a solid enough force in and of itself to prove the pro-life position is the correct position. Without it, there is no foundation for any moral judgment or reasoning.
Therefore the more secular our society becomes, the less moral obligation we feel toward fellow neighbors, which is what we are seeing now. Many pro-abortionists will now admit that they know the preborn child is a life, and they still believe they should be able to kill him or her. That is where we are headed in a secular society. We must teach both science and morality if we are to build a culture of life. A culture merely built on science will quickly abandon all morality in pursuit of its desires. Religion, and the principle of the imago Dei, give us a foundation to understand why each human being deserves fundamental respect and rights, beginning with the right to life.