I happen to have a friend on Facebook who is a staunch atheist. Most of his posts are brutally anti-religion, and are based upon the old tired argument that an omnipotent God would not allow suffering. He also likes to quote Bible passages in which God commands violence to be carried out on some group or another. I know quite a few atheists, so none of this comes as any shock to me.
But there is one thing about this particular atheist that is interesting. He is vehemently anti-abortion. Amongst all his daily anti-religion rants are also loads of pro-life posts. Now, of course, this may seem like a contradiction and, in some ways, I agree that it is. As Catholics, we know that the dignity of the human person, beginning at conception, is linked to the understanding of the human soul and that we are created in the image and likeness of God.
And, yet, there is something to be said about the understanding, even by an atheist, that the unborn must be valued and protected. It demonstrates that this understanding is something rooted in reason. Of course, we know that reason is perfected by faith. But even without the aid of faith, there are things we can know by virtue of reason alone. My atheist friend uses strictly scientific argument to make the case for life beginning at conception. Without saying as much, or even being aware of it, he also invokes natural law in putting forth the position that all human life, particuarly the most vulnerable and innocent, must be protected without exception.
It was recently brought to my attention by another friend that there is apparently a network of pro-life atheists out there. They say war makes strange bedfellows, but it certainly might behoove us to forge alliances with such folks. In doing so, we can not only sharpen our ability to make "non-religious" arguments in the battle against abortion, but also possibly help to bring some of these non-believers into the light of truth.