Once a month or so, the Secular Pro-Life blog features a short interview with a pro-life atheist. (See the full series of interviews here.) Although Secular Pro-Life is not exclusively for atheists, historically atheists have played a key role in the organization. As atheists become more prominent in the pro-life movement generally, we’re excited for the opportunity to share their stories. This month, we welcome Ron C.!
How did you arrive at the anti-abortion position?
I was seven years old in 1973 and Roe v. Wade was a news story I was hearing about on TV news when my parents watched. I don’t recall my parents ever saying anything about it but, I do remember thinking about it on my own. Because I was the youngest of four siblings, my Mom always called me her “baby” and the topic of abortion was about killing babies, so I always saw the issue from the baby’s point of view.
I sometimes say “being Pro-Life is in my DNA” and that’s the way I feel because there was never a time when I failed to comprehend that from the very beginning of life at conception, that’s YOU, the person you are, always have been and always will be comes into existence in that moment. Even when you’re too young to know anything at all, in the first minute of your existence, that’s you.
I won’t go into any personal detail here except to say at that young age, I was very well aware of how wrong and how terrible human beings are capable of being toward each other and how especially cruel people were capable of being toward children. I knew what it sounded like to hear people make excuses for doing horrible and hurtful things to children and I saw abortion as being just one more of those disgusting things people do to children. To this day I often refer to abortion as the worst form of child abuse.
How did you arrive at the atheist position?
I never “arrived” at being an atheist because I’ve always been one. My parents weren’t church goers but they were religious. My mom was always disappointed that I didn’t believe but she never pressured me and we sort of joked about it. I’ve just always been a natural born skeptic who understood that people unfortunately believe many things that simply aren’t true. The wrong beliefs people have are probably wrong and yet they’re willing to go to war, torture and murder each other over those beliefs and so unless there was some kind of proof of what people claim (about religion or anything else) that I don’t believe they have any way of actually knowing, I have a natural tendency to decide what’s true.
The first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a scientist, I ended up being an artist but I like to think that I still think like a scientist/philosopher. My skepticism makes me a rare bird because I don’t believe in the “big bang theory” and I also describe myself as “spiritual”. I use words like “soul, spirit and supernatural” in a secular context because there simply are no words I can find with a purely secular origin that adequately describe the living beings we are inside our minds and the mystery of the nature of consciousness. I figure if science cannot yet tell us the nature of conscious awareness… that’s what “supernatural” is. (It’s natural and it’s super.)
How do you contribute to the cause of saving lives in the womb?
I can’t afford to contribute to the cause financially and I don’t go to demonstrations. (I’d probably get into fights so, it’s probably not a good idea for me to go.) I work as an artist in the entertainment business in New York and so it’s not a good idea for me to be very public about my anti-abortion views. I have reason to believe that my political views have already harmed my ability to get jobs in this business.
I recently had an idea about how I can contribute using the skills I have as a movie special effects artist.. I’ve watched the cartoon animated videos of how abortions are performed that are online and I’ve seen what a big impact they’ve made for the Pro-Life movement. I’m currently working on making a very realistic version of what those videos show using realistic practical special effects using real props (not computer animation) and so the end product is something I’m hoping to make unnervingly realistic.
Because this is a self-funded project, I had to pick the most impactful and yet easiest to create stage in the pregnancy for me to create and so it will be a child that’s approximately 14 weeks old. That’s because at that stage the baby’s eyes are closed and has no visible hair, so I don’t have to deal with those elements. My hope is that if this video makes any kind of an impact, maybe it will become possible for me to raise funds to make similar videos of abortions that take place at other points in a child’s gestation.
I know it’s possible that this video might damage my career if people I work with connect me to it but hey, I’m 58 and this is something I feel strongly compelled to do enough for me to accept that risk.
What words of wisdom do you have to share?
Back before Roe v. Wade, it wasn’t at all unusual to see the topic of nurturing your unborn child in women’s magazines and daytime TV talk shows. There were discussions about pregnant women teaching their babies by reciting the alphabet, counting out loud, singing to their child, talking to them and emotionally bonding with them in the womb. I remember when the first portable music players (Sony Walkman) came out, it was very popular to place the headphones on a mother’s belly and play music for their baby.
After Roe v. Wade, that entire topic vanished from the magazines and TV shows because it became taboo to speak about unborn children in any way that suggested they are alive and listening to the world outside. The loss of that topic has created a popular belief that the unborn are to be completely ignored and in reality, emotionally and intellectually neglected. Abortion is damaging not just to the children who are killed, it even harms the children who are wanted because society has taught their mothers that their babies aren’t really alive until birth.
We as a society need to reintroduce the cultural understanding of the importance of beginning loving, caring and nurturing relationships with our children all through pregnancy for the health and wellbeing of mothers, their babies, their whole family as well as humanity.