*This is a rapid fire piece. I have so many ideas backlogged and I want to put something out each month, but I just can't bring myself to write a ton of full-length pieces. I decided to start a less formal format where I quickly lay out some thoughts I had. These pieces are often first thoughts, and should be taken with an even bigger grain of salt than pieces I've spent more time on.
In my group's mind, justifying, overlooking, or dismissing "minor" evils like sexual assault, mysoginy, racism, denigration, mistreatment of immigrants, and all that stuff - it's all ok because even if we combined all those evils, they pale in comparison to the egregious issue of abortion. Abortion has killed tens of millions of humans in the past fifty years.
One of the main problems with a consequentialist ethic is that we recognize its moral reprehensibility when we apply it to other situations. My favorite go-to example is from the book of Kings, when two mothers plan to cannibalize their children to save both of their families. From a consequentialist standpoint, murdering two kids to save two whole families sounds like the perfect moral plan. Numerically speaking, the equation is flawless. Two lives are lesser than, say, ten lives. But we recognize that such an action wouldn't be justifiable - unless, perhaps, one of the mothers was running for president.
But let's take another example here - one which would lead to infinite quantities of good being achieved. If, as most non-Reformed, and many Reformed Christians believe, children who die before a certain cognitive function are elect and go to be with God when they die, then why not allow abortion and advocate for a theocracy in which all children of non-Christians (and perhaps wayward and mediocre Christians as well) are killed? Think of all the souls who would immediately experience bliss rather than the fires of hell? What is the murder of a temporal life in comparison to the saving of a soul for eternity?
Of course such a thought is reprehensible because we recognize that it's evil. Regardless of the good that would be brought about - the infinite good for billions of people - we can't justify such good by participating in evil. Despite an Augustinian view one might take which justifies actions through motivations, we can't justify evil with any intent, even the best ones.
What strikes me as particularly revolting about Christian consequentialism is that it is fine trading on other sins and evils for an unguaranteed "greater good," yet it refuses to trade on sins and evils for a known good. We can compromise morality in voting to obtain power which may or may not lead to the short and long-term goals we have in view, yet we refuse to embrace evil for a known infinite good we could accomplish for billions. If Christian morality includes consequentialist ethics, we're novices who are refusing to do great good. But if Christian morality doesn't include a consequentialist ethic, we're unfaithful subjects to the King who are determining good and evil for ourselves because we don't think our Lord is able to produce good results out of mere faithfulness. We have made ourselves kings, and in doing so, have exposed ourselves as fools.