Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sanctity of Life Sunday

This Tuesday marks the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that led to the legalization of abortion across our country. Since then, nearly 50 million of our nation's children have been killed via this 'procedure'.

In reading about abortion this year, I found this interesting article that talks about who has abortions. I was pretty surprised actually. It notes,

In American pop culture, the face of abortion is often a frightened teenager, nervously choosing to terminate an unexpected pregnancy. The numbers tell a far more complex story in which financial stress can play a pivotal role.

Half of the roughly 1.2 million U.S. women who have abortions each year are 25 or older. Only about 17 percent are teens. About 60 percent have given birth to least one child prior to getting an abortion.

Really a different category of people than I think I picture. It certainly is valuable to be familiar with what the face of abortion truly might be, especially as we consider it politically.

This year, due to the election, I'm sure abortion will remain in the news. As I've said before, it is my most important issue, and so I will certainly be watching closely to see how it is discussed in the campaign season.


Chairman said...

Westy - Is abortion exclusively a spiritual issue to you, or is this also a practical issue? Obviously, there are tremendously different arguments for both types of issue.

I'm still up in the air on the spiritual side. Have any of us in our little blog circle figured out what our faith believes happens to fetuses after they're aborted (specifically, when souls are formed, and what happens to those souls after the abortion)? And if so, what was the basis of that position?

Westy said...

I would say both.

Practically I think it's murder.

Spiritually, I am hard-pressed to think that souls are 'added' at some point past conception. When would that be?

What happens to children who die at a very young age? Certainly a tough question. I definitely respect what Piper has said on the matter.

Chairman said...

Okay. I've heard that argument as well, and I'm okay with that outcome that children who are aborted go to heaven.

By chance, do you know what do the reform theology folks say about this? I seem to recall that Oneway was very against this notion that all aborted souls go to heaven.

Robby said...

Spiritually, I am hard-pressed to think that souls are 'added' at some point past conception. When would that be?

Perhaps when it is virtually impossible to determine whether or not conception has actually occurred is soon enough. Perhaps even up to the point when brain function starts or when "pain" is actually felt which is around 3-6 weeks from what I remember.

I'm not positive but don't most morning-after pills work pre-conception but possibly interfere post-conception. Are you okay with use of those pills? Would it entirely depend on whether they worked pre or post conception? Are you okay with the use of contraception? Even if there's a 1 in a million chance of a murder post-conception? 1 in 100?

Even if you define a fetus (instantly after conception) as a human you still may have situations where you would be unable to determine whether a murder definitively took place, right? Perhaps a punishment is still necessary but certainly not the same as 8-months along which, ridiculously enough, current laws can both make murder completely legal or completely illegal depending on who commits the murder.

Robby said...

Would not taking a drug that would improve the chances of a post-conception fetus surviving from 10% to 90% be as bad as eating the wrong foods or taking drugs that decreased the chances from 80% to 50%?

Westy said...

...what do the reform theology folks say about this?
I guess I don't know what oneway has to say, but I would consider Piper one of the preeminent 'reformed' theologians today.

I'm not positive but don't most morning-after pills work pre-conception but possibly interfere post-conception. Are you okay with use of those pills? Would it entirely depend on whether they worked pre or post conception? Are you okay with the use of contraception? Even if there's a 1 in a million chance of a murder post-conception? 1 in 100?
These are certainly the questions most young Christian couples we know and discuss this with are wrestling with. Certainly my own goal is to not cause a death, even unknowingly.

Should the punishment be different at that young age? Tough to say. While it is difficult to determine what happened, if causation and intent was there, God knows.

Chairman said...

Hmmm... Fair enough about Piper. That's sort of how I've assumed it worked, based on what I picked up about God's judgment of those who have never heard of Him.

My next question is whether or not you link this with what you believe about how Heaven and the end-days work? I have to say that I'm definitely in need of more knowledge of what theologians say about those matters. It makes sense that what you believe about how the afterlife works, then it will influence what you believe about things of the earth (environmentalism, evangelism, materialism, etc.).

Also, do you see the spiritual/practical arguments as being separate, or are then intertwined? And how do you link them together?

Westy said... end-days work?
Whoah, huge can of worms. I suppose Wikipedia isn't a bad place to start. They do a pretty good job of at least comparing the different schools of thought. I haven't looked into it enough myself to give any legitimate answers. So, I suppose I'd find a good book. Piper recommends:
Basic Guide to Eschatology (Erickson)
Crucial Questions about Hell (Fernando)
The Bible and the Future (Hoekema)
The Blessed Hope (Ladd)

Also, do you see the spiritual/practical arguments as being separate, or are then intertwined? And how do you link them together?
I suppose that depends on whether people see the question of 'When does life begin?' as a spiritual one.

Chairman said...

I wasn't as curious about the general school of thought as I was about what you thought. Regardless of whether or not I agree with an opinion, I'm intrigued by how people with strong opinions form them. You've obviously got a lot strong opinion on abortion than I do, so I'm just curious about how you've formed those views, especially on a spiritual level.

I've heard some interesting thoughts about building your faith backwards, from what you believe about how the afterlife works, and using that to drive what you do in this life. It's an interesting take, as some of the common perspectives are thrown backwards. However, this may be one way to try to reconcile world views with the attempt to see things through God's eyes.

I have a suspicion that when it comes to things of a theoretical nature that don't directly apply to me, I tend to implicitly use this sort of equation. Unfortunately, I'm not particularly trained in this area of knowledge, so my application is pretty much haphazard.

Westy said...

So what do you think about what I think?

Chairman said...

I don't really know, for two reasons. You said that you hadn't really completely formed thoughts about how the issue of abortion links with other issues, so I'm not exactly sure what you think. And more importantly, I'm not really sure what I think about it.

My thought is that spiritually, abortion is just like any other problematic issue, like hunger/poverty, health, ethnic cleansing, etc. There's some underlying sin involved, and the sin itself is problematic. I've always believed that that the way to minister to sinful people is individually, from the ground-up, rather than through doctrine or other top-down approaches. The most successful (or at least the most inspiring) missionary stories seem to be those where hope and redemption are offered to individuals, not where faith is enforced from the ruling class.

With regard to the outcome of abortion, from a completely worldly perspective, if you assume that the probability that someone's existence offers a net benefit to society is equal to the probability of a net detriment, then the outcome of abortion is sort of meaningless, so long as stable population levels are present. And when you do the Freakonomics thing and look at who is having abortions, then the probabilities skew further.

So, overall, to borrow from my guy Huckabee, I'm more worried about the folks already here than the folks who may or may not get here. My focus has always been on the conditions of those who exist today.

But, this is a good divergence from what your opinions seem to be. From a Kingdom perspective, it's likely good to have a robust set of opinions driving behavior. If everyone in the Kingdom were to believe the same thing, then only those things would ever get done. When there's a healthy diversity of opinion, then many things get done. I don't know if your position works for me, but I'm glad that you have it (though I do believe that being a one-issue voter marginalizes your vote).

clauff said...

So Roland, I can clearly see the perspective you are beginning to take on abortion. I agree that the potentially more successful approach to meeting people where they are at and helping them turn from sin is "individually", however, the Church as a whole has done a poor job of doing it. Most people would rather sit in their ivory congregations and proclaim that their faith says that it's wrong without really doing anything to lessen the problem. Faith without works is dead after all.

Having said all of that, I see the issue of abortion as having larger implications than just the unborn, however. When a society allows the murder of the unborn, it is flirting with adopting the perspective that all human life is somehow less valuable than what God intended it to be. You can see it creeping into the Terry Schaivo case and the elderly. I can't help but wonder that it might begin having wider applications that as a society, we should be sickened by.

This still doesn't address the need for the Church to address sin at the individual level on a much wider level, and put away the handed theology from the top that serves only to alienate the lost from the Bride of Christ.

Chairman said...

C-Lauff. See, I don't see the Terry Schaivo thing as being bothersome at all. When I read stuff like John 10:10, that isn't what I envision. When I see stories in the Bible about folks like Elijah being swept up by God, I like the idea that God had a plan for Elijah, who had no more to give. You see over and over again when those who attempt to thwart God's plan being swept aside, both en masse (see Egyptians + Red Sea, Exodus), and as individuals (see Ananias and Sepphira, Luke), in both the OT and NT.

Honestly, I don't believe that human life is particularly special on its own. I think that the more appropriate statement is that God only loves human life if it glorifies God. I don't see Terry Schaivo's life as being glorifying to God, but something more akin to hubris. I am generally okay with old, lonely, sick people wanting to retire from this weary world because their social circles and their institutions failed them.

This is generally why I'm less concerned about abortion and the like.

Westy said...

I don't believe that human life is particularly special on its own.
I don't think I can let this one lie.
The Bible teaches that human beings are created in the image of God and therefore have dignity and value. Human life is sacred and should not be terminated merely because life is difficult or inconvenient. The Bible also teaches that God is sovereign over life and death.
I have to think that taking one's life is the final selfish act a person can do. Trying to again wrest control from God as we try to do all our lives.

Chairman said...

Westy - The single most fundamental building block of Christianity MUST be that God values His glory over ANYTHING else. If that is not the case, then the case that God exists becomes very tenuous, tantamount to idolarty.

This is a very subtle distinction. We learn that God is capable of hating, and there is evidence that God created some to be made examples of. So, while extreme, we see that God doesn't "value" every human life in the way that you'd think about in Sunday school.

But I don't think that the theological point is the most important here, as practical ones are compelling.

The Terry Schaivo case is one where someone is kept "alive" because we have the machines available to maintain a heartbeat. There was no life there.

The suicide point is much more controversial. But death always happens. We can choose to accelerate it (or make it instantly arrive) or we can chose to slow it down as much as possible.

I'm reminded of an old story, whose name and author I can't come up with right now, but the story is old - probably translated in the oral tradition from centuries ago.

Essentially a man is with his dog, hunting in the Siberian wilderness. They are 2 days from anyone else. They have no supplies. A blizzard hits, sending temperatures down. They weather out the storm, but have lost their bearings. Everything is covered in white. They are lost. Death is inevitable. He chooses to simply lay down with his dog and go to sleep, knowing that the cold will take him to his death.

Do you fault him for not giving up, not walking as far as possible before dying? Do you fault him for choosing the most comfortable end - the last bit of warmth coming from his old friend?

This fellow was not wrestling with God for control. He was simply letting the world around him happen.

clauff said...

Roland, very much agree with the idea that life is to be spent magnifying and glorifying God. However, when you say that God created some to be made examples of, you could also turn that on it's head...Let me explain. It seems to me that that you are saying that God doesn't "value" every human life like we might have been taught in church, however, what if Terry Schaivo's life is to be used to glorify God through a miraculous turnaround and a complete healing? So while she was being kept "alive" by our standards, there are plenty of other stories where God has performed miraculous healing at the point when people were breathing their last breath. That she was being kept "alive" by artificial means and that somehow it is ok to take that person off of that machine could be extended to people with Stage 4 Cancer, Aids, etc. But, where there seems to be certain death, God provides hope. If He can raise a man from the dead like Lazarus, can't He certainly take someone who is brain dead, and turn them into a healthy human being?

But anyways, my point wasn't necessarily about Terry Schaivo, although I feel strongly about it. My point was even more about how the Terry Schaivo case causes a bigger problem in that we as a culture begins to devalue any life that doesn't meet our human standards. Some could take the next logical step and say, "Shouldn't we euthanize anyone who has mental disabilities because they are forced to rely on others to function daily?" Where do we draw the line as a society if we decide that abortion and euthanization is OK? I think that's a pretty scary world.

""The suicide point is much more controversial. But death always happens. We can choose to accelerate it (or make it instantly arrive) or we can chose to slow it down as much as possible."

I have a problem with this statement because it assumes that we are in control of our own lives and certainly, we are not. It is not up to us to choose when death comes to us, regardless of whether or not death always happens.

clauff said...

If you want to see the future where this slippery slope phenomenon already exists, read the article. It's a few years old, but it's still a scary picture of what we could be facing if we begin to not remember that God created us and that he is the sole authority on who lives and who dies.

Chairman said...

C-Lauff. Your link didn't seem to work. Care to e-mail that to me?

I understand how you're feeling. Now that you're in the twilight of your life, you want to hang on for as long as you can :-) I don't blame you one bit. I'm sure that once I hit 30 this summer, I'll feel the same way. But since I'm still young and still have my mental faculties, I'll indulge you.

With regard to the first point, folks like Ahab, Jezebel, Pharoah, and Saul (in the OT) seem like folks that God chooses to make examples of. Ditto for the hundreds of thousands of nameless soldiers of the armies that are struck down in the OT. My point is that if you assume that the man-to-God relationship is the focal point of glory, you miss the mark. That's a man-centered view. The argument for glory must remain solely for God, and NOT in "God through man."

With the Terry Schaivo case, certainly God was glorified through her life. And He was glorified in her death. I don't believe that he was glorified when people interjected with theological interpretations and prevented the seamless transition that seems to be a part of nature. When you still need machines to keep the heartbeat going, to feed the body, and you still don't have brainwaves? How is that a glorification of God?

If the argument is that God could perform a miracle, the observation that no miracle was performed after the tubes were pulled from Terry Schaivo allows for two possibilities. 1) God could not perform that miracle or 2) God could perform that miracle, but chose not to. If you accept 2), and I'm guessing that you do, then you must assume that God did not do so because not doing so glorified him. Do you have reasonable interpretations for that?

Much of this seems to parallels the Problem of Evil/Sin. How could a just God allow (blank)? That, I have no answers for.

But very few things are ever black and white. Sure, you could go down euthanasia route. But flip it for a second. The absolute counterargument could be made. For any person that was dying, we could slap them onto an artificial system to keep the blood flowing. We can keep anyone from "dying." That hardly seems like the natural world that God created.

Regarding the second point you make, my point was not that we are in control of our lives. However, we have entire control over whether or not we choose to die. Death happens, regardless of our whims. However, we can choose to accelerate it by, say, jogging blindfolded on the Dan Ryan. Or, we can choose to slow it down by eating well, choosing beneficial friendships, etc. Suicide is just an extreme example of acceleration that we have control of, whether it is right or not.

clauff said...

So Roland, I think we've strayed away from the original intent of the blog post. I didn't mean to derail us. We could argue a lot about Terry Schaivo and whether or not her death was just or not. And I would be happy to continue to debate that. But, this post wasn't about euthanasia. We were talking about abortion.

I think it's pretty clearly supported in the Bible that abortion is considered a detestable and sinful thing in God's eyes. Outside of the "Thou shalt not murder" reference in the Ten Commandments, there are many references that are pretty clearly speaking out against the idea of abortion. Since you love the OT so much, I'll share a few verses that make a strong case:

First, the Psalm 51:5 tell us that life begins at conception - "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me." This verse says that our sinful nature was inherited at the moment of conception. How, then, can someone be sinful but not alive at the same time? We can't, which means that God considers life to start at conception.

Westy also talked about the verse in Psalm 139 which says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." To intervene, interrupt and undo God's workmanship, to try and diminish his role as Creator, seems to bring God less glory, not more glory, no?

Secondly, the bible clearly teaches that we are to seek the protection of the weakest and most vulnerable members of humanity in Psalm 82:4. "Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked." If you agree that Bible teaches that life begins at conception, then it seems reasonable to apply the above to the unborn. Consider Exodus 21:22-25 which says, "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." What the second half of this verse says is that if a woman gives birth prematurely and the baby dies, then the assailant is to be given the death penalty. What God seems to be saying here is that the value of a man is equal to the value of an unborn fetus who was injured enough to die. God equates the loss of an unborn baby as the loss of a life - "you are to take a life for life..."

Lastly, Proverbs 6:16-19 states: "There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers." Notice the part of the verse in there that talks about hands that shed innocent blood. Seems pretty clear that this could be applied to the unborn, who are the most innocent, and most indefensible of all.

There are more verses, but these seem to be the clearest. Since we are in total agreement on the fact that we are created to give God glory, it seems clear to me that abortion is an afront to who God is, not a magnification of who He is.

John Piper says it pretty well. "Abortion is evil because what is happening in the womb is the unique person-forming work of God, and therefore abortion is an assault on the Creator-rights of the King of the Universe to bring eternal persons into existence...To attack the human being in the womb and kill him or her is to assault God. God is making the child. God is weaving a unique image of his divine glory with the purpose of imaging forth that glory into the world. Killing the child is an attack on God's glory and is treason against the Ruler of the universe."

Just wanted to turn our discussion to what the Bible says, because it's easy for all of us to talk about platitudes that really get us nowhere as serious Christians.

Chairman said...

It's a fair enough point to turn this back to abortion. We'll keep it within the realm of a Christian, Bible-based argument. I'm not suggesting that everyone should have mandatory abortions. Though, I am very much in favor of people being required to be licensed before having kids, that that's neither here nor there.

But what I'm suggesting is that abortion is not a "special sin." In fact, I would suggest that the notion that any sin is "special" is very much a creation of man, perhaps with the exception of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which varies on interpretation. I would argue that any non-Holy Spirit blaspheming sin is equally detestable to God. But in any case, look at that list that you offer in Proverbs 6. I would suggest that God hates all of those things.

With regard to the Psalms... I think that it's a bit problematic to use these as points of doctrine. Lots of them are laments from David, which I believe that Psalm 51 is one of them. I have a hard time with accepting that line as being evidence of anything beyond David lamenting his own sinful nature and God's omnipresence. And certainly, I like Psalm 139:13, but continue reading on through 16. God sees, knows, and has known, even before there were any days. What does this say about those that are aborted? Did God not know them and their plan? Again, the notion that any human act will thwart the workings of God seem to be shaky. And the laws of the OT say a lot of things, many of which are ignored. Particular the ones about meat and dairy and the ones about eating pigs, given that I just had a ham and cheese sandwich a few moments ago.

I love the OT for sure - but the lessons that I tend to draw from are from the recorded behaviors of people and their interactions with each other. I'm not suggesting that David's laments or Solomon's musings should not be in the Bible at all. But I think that the context in which those things are written must be examined.

So what am I getting at? From a spiritual perspective, abortion is just another sin. In an earlier comment, I suggested that the way to combat sin is to reach individuals, not to legislate from the top down, which I still believe. In fact, I may even put it out like this:

Is it more effective to minister to an individual so that they are loved enough to not commit (insert any sin here), or is it more effective to legislate a law such that committing (insert the same sin here) is made illegal? Go down the list. Haughty eyes. Lying tongues. Hands that shed innocent blood. Hearts that devise wicked schemes. Feet that are quick to rush into evil. Bearing false witness by pouring out lies. Stirring up dissension among brothers.

Will legislation outperform ministry to individuals?

The example of the NT suggests that this is not the case. The letters from Paul are examples where one man's personal ministry influenced many. Now flip the script. Look at the examples of, say the Jews taking 40 years to escape Egypt. Lots of laws were present, but insatiable hearts left the individuals rebellious. And throughout Judges and Kings, we see instances where the people failed over and over, despite having the Law with them.

If anything, the argument that we need laws to enforce a fight against sin takes us back to the OT, where the Law and subsequent sacrifice was reconciliation with God. I would suggest that the sacrifice of Christ and the subsequent presence of the Holy Spirit suggests that we no longer need reliance on the Law, but are called to facilitate the Holy Spirit.

I think that Jesus rejected the notion of himself being the head of man's laws, but rather at the head of God's Law. In the OT, we see notions of giving to Caesar what is Caesar's, and giving to God what is God's. The distinction seems clear, particularly when contrasted with what those goading Jesus were trying to do, namely intermingle the laws of man with the Laws of God. And even past that, we are called to minister to people individually. We aren't told to fight for laws that are just. We are told to love the individuals that are there. The Christian narrative is made to be a very personal one. That's why it has done so well with those who have little, those who have had others spite them or pity them. It is a narrative of better times ahead, of hope in things unseen. Throughout the NT, there is virtually nothing on ruling over others, creating laws, with perhaps the exception of Peter being established as the rock upon which the church is built.

I don't disagree that abortion is an ugly action. Very few people would, I believe. But to treat it as a special sin doesn't seem to make sense, and I still think that legislation from the top down can be divisive and ineffective.

Robby said...


I'm glad to see you expressing libertarian ideas.

Robby said...

legislation from the top down can be divisive and ineffective

In my opinion this is almost always true. From Roe vs. Wade to special government-granted monopolies.

Chairman said...

Robby. I've commented to Ryan in passing that I think that if you were to put us on a scale from -1 to 1, if you were a .9, I'd be something like a .85.

That said, I'm not a fan of the secular, libertarian movement in this country, as it has taken relatively unattractive form, along the lines of "leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone."

What I'm proposing here takes the notion of allowing for a ground-up movement, but also includes a mandate from above to serve the poor, the weak, etc. However, what I'm suggesting is taken within a system of church-governance. Here, the central goal is to allow the expression of faith and glory of God, a decidedly different goal than ones taken on by governments, which tend to be the "greater good."

If you were to ask me about how we should model society with the "greater good" as a goal, I'd bet that social and genetic engineering would play a heavy role, as would a strict enforcement of laws regarding birth :-)

Robby said...


I suppose that depends on whether people see the question of 'When does life begin?' as a spiritual one.

Why would there ever be a separation between the physical and spiritual? If we could conclusively define the physical start/end would there ever be people that thought the spiritual start/end were different?

Westy said...

Why would there ever be a separation between the physical and spiritual?
I agree, they should be the same. But some people claim that when life begins is a spiritual issue, not a physical one.

And chairman, your last long post was good/great. That said, while I agree with the notion of doing what we reasonably can to reduce abortion outside laws, I do not necessarily think an improvement in our laws as it relates to this issue would be unproductive. Would it be more productive to remove the laws against murder from the books? You note our calling,
...includes a mandate from above to serve the poor, the weak, etc.
This obviously would include the unborn child in my book.

Chairman said...

Westy - Laws are intended to keep order, to keep some structure in society. With regard to laws against murder, it's something that you can easily see serves the greater good. There are very few rational people that would like the idea that I could simply strangle someone because they had something that I wanted, or if they disrespected me.

However, abortion is something that has been very divisive. I don't know if enacting laws would be productive or counterproductive on the whole. And the question of whether you will achieve your goals is still in play. Who will benefit from the law? And how do you enforce the law?

Robby said...

includes a mandate from above to serve the poor, the weak, etc

The problem with this is that by allowing these mandates you are saying it is OK to use the government to steal from some and give to others. Then it is easy to assume that the government will take care of all the problems and you don't need to be charitable on the local level. This quickly evolves into a situation like today where all of us are forced to pay for things we feel are morally wrong. For me this includes funding abortions for those who can't afford them, the Iraq war, enforcement of drug laws that ruin communities, etc...

I would be able to accept the idea of people having different morals and getting an abortion if they paid for it. The fact that I'm forced to help them pay for it is absurd.

Chairman said...

Robby - My comment about a mandate from above was regarding church-governance, i.e., the call of Christ to the individuals that comprise the church. It was not about the secular world.

However, with regard to your comment, there is always a cost to membership in a group. In any group, there are times where individuals must give up something that they want so that other in the group benefit. Sometimes, this is in the form of membership fees. Othertimes, it's in the form of non-monetary costs (which, of course, economists place a value on). But there is always a cost. You can label it as "stealing" or you can label it as a cost of membership.

The problem of not having accepting socialized groups is that you devolve into a might-makes-right situation (see Kenya, 2008). In an environment where either a) situational morality exists, or b) phenomenon are not covered by absolute morality, things devolve to "look out for #1." If people only paid for what they felt was morally right, then eventually no one would pay for anything. Part of this is explained by what is commonly called The Tragedy of the Commons. And the other half is a simple outcome of individuals maximizing their utility. And if you throw out the rules by letting each person do what they believed to be morally right, you end up with chaos.

Robby said...

A mandate from a church group is fine. Membership is voluntary.

If people only paid for what they felt was morally right, then eventually no one would pay for anything.

This doesn't seem likely.

The Tragedy of the Commons

This mostly applies to areas where property rights are not properly defined and/or the government assumes all control. The government inevitably fails and somehow capitalism is blamed. Water, air, radio frequencies, etc... are all property and should be defined better than they currently are.