Even if you were never taught which fork to use at a fancy dinner, chances are, you learned that it’s good manners to avoid talking about politics or religion.
This makes abortion, a topic that is both a religious and political question, especially dangerous to discuss in polite company.
But an interesting shift has taken place over the last decade. The “new” way for us to talk about these issues “safely” is Facebook.
It feels safe to forward a pro-life article, interact with a “friend’s” comments, and defend your position on the issue from the safety of your screen. It feels safe because you can type, edit, and retype your thoughts before publishing. It feels safe to stand up for life without actually having to personally interact with those who disagree with you.
But I wonder if this isn’t a dangerous practice—one that, ultimately, may not help the Pro Abundant Life movement. What happens when most of our dialogue about abortion takes place on Facebook? We lose. We lose the opportunity to show God’s love while spreading God’s truth. And, we lose the opportunity to connect with people heart-to-heart because our conversations are with profile pictures instead of real people.
Here are three reasons to make sure we’re having important conversations about abortion and abundant life outside of Facebook too!
1. We Miss Truth
Last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that his company was clearly biased against a pro-life group, Live Action, and its founder, Lila Rose. In a closed-door meeting with U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, Zuckerberg confessed that this type of bias is an issue for the company. Live Action had been flagged as spreading “false news” because Facebook’s fact checkers, two abortion activists, decided to flag a story about why abortion is not medically necessary. Thousands of Facebook followers were sent push notifications saying the group was spreading false news. Facebook notoriously censors any group flagged in this way. As punishment, any future posts by flagged groups are only seen by tiny percentages of their total fans.
If we rely on Facebook to spread truth, our reach will be limited. Many who may be open to considering both sides of the argument will only see one. Likewise, Facebook and other social media sites can’t be trusted to give equal airtime to both sides of the issue.
2. We Miss Hearts
When our most meaningful conversations about abortion take place in Facebook comments, we miss the opportunity to connect heart-to-heart on issues of life. Facebook doesn’t facilitate the kind of deeper conversations that are needed to effectively shift both hearts and minds.
Though anonymous conversation with someone about pro-life issues on Facebook often feel safe, unless we are willing to go deep with people we know about these issues—talking about them with equal doses of grace and truth—our impact will be limited. Effective conversations require us to get to know the other person through listening before we attempt to “enlighten.”
Did the person you’re talking to have an abortion? Does the person experience guilt over encouraging someone else to have one? Has the person experienced pain in this area that they’ve not shared with anyone? Once you know and understand someone’s back story you’ll be better able to compassionately navigate a meaningful discussion about issues of life.
3. We Miss Jesus
Jesus didn’t talk at people; he talked to people. He called them up and out of their current situations and asked them to follow him. I doubt even Jesus would have relegated his most important conversations to social media, though he would have known the truth about every person he responded to.
Perhaps the most important conversations we need to have about abortion really start with a conversation about Jesus. Until someone is able to understand and accept his unconditional love and grace, it may be difficult for them to appropriately value life at every age and stage. Ultimately, it’s Jesus who softens hearts, enlightens us to the truth, and gives us the opportunity to experience abundant life.
Conversations about abortion without conversations about Jesus and the kind of life he offers will, ultimately, be limited in effectiveness.
I get it, these kind of conversations can be hard. But nothing good came without effort. Here's a link to a great free online course that is designed to help you have better conversations about abortion with pro-choice friends. Get your free course.
So, may we be bold in our defense of unborn life. May our words be full of grace and seasoned with the "salt" of truth. Most importantly, may we seek to make disciples for Christ, not solely get a few extra "likes" on our latest pro-life status.