I saw this post on Josh Brahm’s blog and had to blog on it. It shows the kind of relationship that leads to a changed mind.
I want to bring relational apologetics to the pro-life movement. I’ve written and spoken previously about my dear friend Deanna Young. I’d encourage you to check out one of those two links to get the beginning of the story that I’m going to continue here. I’m so excited to tell you why Deanna now calls herself pro-life.
In case you didn’t click either of those links, Deanna was a pro-choice, atheist lesbian in Canada who befriended me in February 2013, through a YouTube message. Deanna was one of the most intelligent pro-choice bloggers I’d ever read. We exchanged nearly 120 philosophical emails, then started Skyping together.
I’m eager to share with you how my relationship with Deanna has progressed and the ways that her thinking has changed, but there’s a danger in this. It’s possible that some people would read this and interpret it as me telling you about a project of mine. It’s very important to me that you know that Deanna is not an object to me, a mind to be changed so that I can get another notch on my pro-life belt.
I have no shame in telling you that I love Deanna.
[...]When I say that I love Deanna, I mean what Jason Lepojärvi means when he defined love this way:
Love says that it is good that you exist and insofar as I am able I will contribute to your happiness, your existence, your flourishing.
Some of my pro-choice friends have not changed their thinking about abortion very much, but Deanna has. I want to share with you some of the changes in her thinking. Don’t read these as the reasons I’m friends with Deanna. Deanna will always be my friend, regardless of her views on abortion, her religion or her sexuality.
[...]Deanna would tell you that two things were necessary conditions for her conversion: rigorous philosophical arguments and a loving friendship with someone on the other side. The intellectual arguments were very important. I haven’t written very much about our initial email exchanges yet, but we got very philosophical, going back and forth on issues like bodily rights arguments, rape, the concept of intrinsic human value, concepts of harm and taking away the dignity of people in temporary comas, moral objectivism, utilitarianism, stem cell research, the “after-birth abortion” paper, and the use of graphic pictures.
It was through those lengthy emails that Deanna and I first became close. And after Deanna believed that most of her philosophical arguments had been defeated by better arguments, she completed her conversion upon realizing that a pro-life person loved her, even while she was an actively pro-choice blogger. I took my cue from Jesus, who, while I was yet a sinner, loved me anyway, and adopted me. (Romans 5:8.)
In the rest of the article he talks about their conversations about various arguments like the Judith Jarvis Thomson violinist argument.
I don’t think this would work with just any pro-choice person, you would need someone smart to argue her view strongly and have it answered strongly. I think when you get two smart people together for a long period of time, and there is mutual respect being built up, that’s when changing a person’s mind becomes possible.
I believe in one-on-one mentoring of people who are engaged in finding the truth about the issues that divide us. But I don’t know if I would be brave enough to form a loving friendship with someone so far on the other side. I would like to be able to do that, but it’s just really scary unless you are sure the other person can tolerate your honest views. I do believe in his definition of love, but it’s hard to find someone same who is very different from me. I think it’s easier with men than women, for a man.