Why Contraception is a Bad Idea #2 — Scripture Prohibits It

The use of artificial contraception is clearly prohibited in Scripture. Of course, if you view Scripture in the same manner I view Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion — with a deep sense of skepticism and a distaste for prosaic, old men on ego-trips — then perhaps the fact that contraception violates the natural law is an argument better suited to your tastes. If, however, you are of the radical belief that Sacred Scripture is sacred, do read on:

I begin with a rather obvious point, that if one were to approach an ancient Jew and give him any variation upon the theme of “I prefer my women infertile,” he would be mocked. Our contraception-uber-alles culture would be utterly incomprehensible to the ancients, simply because the Israelites were forever recovering from, involved in, or avoiding near annihilation.

And when you’re a race constantly enslaved, warred upon, kicked around the Mesopotamian Basin, and generally given a hard time, the last thing on your mind is, “Dang, how to reduce our numbers?” It’s more like, “Dear Jesus, I hope I survive long enough to procreate.” Without the Jesus part.

So there exists no commandment specifying “Thou shall not place snakeskin wraps around thy genitals, nor put poison nor wool in thy wife’s birth canal” (as Egyptian civilizations were wont to do), because it was a given. Duh Lord, we want kids. Who else is going to slit the throats of our enemies when we’re old and crippled? Who else will take care of us? Who else but our children will continue to be your chosen people?

Thus it is made clear throughout Scripture that having children was considered a blessing: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children on one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).

But there still exists a clear rejection of contraception in the Bible:

“Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also” (Gen. 38:8–10).

So there you have it. The practice of coitus interruptus was prohibited. Now it may be argued that Onan was not punished for his contraceptive act, but for his refusal to raise offspring for his brother’s widow. But the biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). Public humiliation as in “his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face.” (Which we should bring back.)(Dammit woman, give me back my sandal!)(Admit it, having a singular sandal sounds mightily emasculating.)))

But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. So the Bible-believing Christian is left with two choices. Either God inexplicably broke his own law and and killed a man –and thus God is a tyrant — or Onan was being punished for more than just a failure to fulfill his duty to his brother’s wife. I hold that God was punishing him for his act of contraception, for having all the pleasure and none of the procreation — For distorting the natural end of sex. To which there may be the following complaints.

A) But Jesus changed all that!

Really, where in the Bible does he take back this particular divine action? The Early Church certainly couldn’t tell:

“Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2).

“…on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful [certain Christian women who had affairs with male servants] want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, [so] they use drugs of sterility or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered” (A.D 255, Hippolytus of Rome, Refutation of All Heresies 9:12).

B) But the Early Church was all corrupted by Catholicism, Martin Luther reformed all that!

Actually, Martin Luther was much meaner about the whole contraception issue than any one I’ve read so far.

“[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 5, p.332)

C) But John Calvin–

Nope. “Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is doubly horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family…” (John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis.)

D) But John Wesley–

Stop that. “Those sins that dishonor the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lord—and it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls.”

E) But some one –

No. Not one, single Protestant denomination before the 1930′s held that the use of artificial contraception was anything but sinful. May I ask, what on earth has changed, besides the fact that we now live in a culture that really, really wants birth control?

D) But I —


(For a more in depth explanation of why this punishment must be seen as a direct result of Onan’s contraceptive act, go here.)


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  • Anna Ahlbin

    love it. keep on with your awesome!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GLNXUVHD5D2F6UBDOUZYC5E644 John

    Just watched a great, related presentation the other day on DVD. Professor Michael Barber does an awesome job talking about procreation, family and the kingdom along much of these same lines in “Jesus, the Bible & the Kingdom” http://www.saintjoe.com/prodinfo.asp?number=5563DVD

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=22410055 Jason O Gealbhain

    how about the millions of people that die every year from starvation?

    • Ben

      I don’t understand how this bears upon the objective sinfulness of contraception.

    • http://thecatholicsciencegeek.blogspot.com/ The Catholic Science Geek

      Lack of infrastructure within certain regions, corrupt governments, lack of food transport, wars, and the refusal of others to help them during famine, war, and economic downturns…that’s why people die every year from starvation. We live in a world where excess food can be destroyed in order to be kept off the markets in order to regulate prices of certain goods.

      That’s why people die every year from starvation. Don’t blame it on children being born. Blame it on selfishness, greed, and the lack of willingness to interfere with injustice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730520187 Aaron Lopez

      While millions die from starvation, millions are playing the latest Call of Duty ($59) for hours on end without a care in the world for their neighbours.

      Your comment is a non sequitur.

    • Feeneyja

      While everyone says this, there is no basis for this argument. You really should read the following paper:


      Interestingly, this paper is NOT an anti-contraception stance. And it STILL finds that there is absolutely no basis to the too many mouths to feed rhetoric AND that contraception does nothing to alleviate hunger. If anything, the way it is being pushed on many cultures actively ruins their standard of living and is a violation of their human rights.

      The original population problem rhetoric stems from a pro-eugenic campaign that flourished util just after Roe v. Wade. THAT was the reason everyone was pushing contraception. Interestingly, it was found the the best way to advance the the abortion cause was to reframe the argument from population control to freedom of choice. Abortion was considered the ultimate contraception. Planned Parenthood had a big meeting in ’73 where they rewrote everything..marketing, fundraising, etc. It was suggest to further the the cause of availability of abortions and contraception, they needed to take a different approach. Hence freedom of choice.

      See http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/27.2/ziegler.html

      And see: http://www.rockarch.org/publications/resrep/ramsden.pdf

  • Brett McAullif

    These posts should be published. These are the best arguments against contraception I have ever read! Thank you!

  • http://catholicunveiled.wordpress.com/ Michelle @ Catholic Unveiled

    Fantastic :) interesting how contraception became “less sinful” after it became widely available and socially acceptable.

  • Anonymous

    “But but but…”


  • TheRealAaron

    “kicked around the Mesopotamian Basin”
    I might start using that, as in “I kicked him square in the Mesopotamian Basin” and he deserved it.

  • Jamison

    Well put, and honestly, I find this argument much more compelling than your natural law one.

    However, you do ask the question, “what on earth has changed, besides the fact that we now live in a culture that really, really wants birth control?” There’s a simple answer to this, namely that children living to adulthood is the norm now, instead of the exception. Until modern medical techniques, life expectancy was much more limited, and many children died young.

    So the difference now is that if we have 10 kids, mostly likely they’ll all live to the ripe old age of 80. Even in the days of John Wesley, the chance of 10 kids all even living to 30 was a rare occurrence.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730520187 Aaron Lopez

      I think when Marc asks the question ‘What on earth has changed?’, it’s a moral/spiritual question, not an anthropological one.

      So whether 10 kids live ’til 80 where they previously didn’t is actually irrelevant at this point, and, incidentally enough, this is where the argument for natural law *perfectly* compliments what is revealed in Sacred Scripture. Natural law would contend that it was always the purpose for 10 children to live to a ripe old age. To prevent ten children from doing so (by means of contraception) goes against the way of the world.

    • http://www.facebook.com/techmage89 Paul Fox

      Why do you think everyone really wants contraception? That doesn’t make it right.

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        Some men – and many boys, doubtless, like Marc – do not want contraception.

        That the vast majority of women want to be able to continue to have intercourse with their chosen partner without the threat of an unwanted pregnancy is incontestable.

        And obviously, everyone in the world who wants to diminish the number of abortions will actively and pro-actively want everyone to have free access to contraception and to use contraception unless they want to conceive. This blog seems to have gone suddenly and passionately pro-abortion.

        Equally obviously, contraception is right because it prevents unwanted conceptions. You just can’t get righter than that.

        • Swift

          Wow, this cannot be more scandalously twisting of the truth of contraception.
          “Contra” (against) “ception” (the beginning) is clear as day that you are against the beginning of life…..BUT, of course you want “all that pleasure” and “bonding” that actually is the glory of what is meant NOT to be separated with the bringing forth of a new sacred life. Eventhough you may not conceive if the wife is not fertile, you are still not depriving the “act” in the way God made it to be. Instead, you are removing your creator-slamming the door shut in His face, and basically saying “I dont want you, but just the physical gratification of this”.

          The two, 1)conception and 2)bonding are exactly what distorters of the the natural moral law want to divide to your own liking, instead of following God’s plan of them remaining together in every single marital act.

          So yea, I understand. You want the pleasure of it, the good feeling, the indulgence of it….. but not the natural result of it in which it is tied to. You will do everything in your means to distort that for the sake of that “pleasure” . You will let your “girlfriend”, “wife” to take some mod-medicine meant to suppress her natural cycle, her “HEALTHY” and NORMAL hormonal cycle, neglect the whole moral aspect as well, and yeah, pretty much turn the whole thing into a “I use you, you use me…for pleasure”.

          NOw you twist the reality of the contraceptive pill and say it reduces abortions! It cant get any more twisted than this.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “”Contra” (against) “ception” (the beginning) is clear as day that you are against the beginning of life…..”

            Right, that would explain why the vast majority of women and men who use contraception have children.

            “NOw you twist the reality of the contraceptive pill and say it reduces abortions! ”

            Well, it does!

          • Swift

            Show me facts bro. It does not reduce abortions. History has taught us this, sadly after many millions of abortions already. In fact, the reason why abortion “was” legalized in this country is ‘because’ contraception became widely available. Why? because obviously the pill does fail and so if it fails, you have to resort to ……abortion!!

            “Right, that would explain why the vast majority of women and men who use contraception have children.”

            “contraception” does mean against the beginning. And in fact, it does its work to prevent life from the beginning. It suppresses a most healthful natural state of a woman’s reproductive cycle. The reason why people who have been on contraception before and now have children is because they had to empty their bodies of all those nasty steroids/pig hormones that were destroying her natural hormonal cycle. And so, when she can bring her reproductive system back to “NORMAL” then she can conceive. So, yes contraception does mean “against the beginning” and causes a woman and man engaging in sex to be just that…against the beginning.
            One of the striking realities women face today who use contraceptives is that they cant get pregnant easily, they need fertility drugs, or their wombs have become sterile. Wake up bro! you are living a lie!


          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “It does not reduce abortions. ”

            Oh, yes, it does. You can check the facts yourself. Everywhere in the world, no matter how easy and legal it is to get an abortion, if contraception is readily available and people are encouraged to use contraception… . woo, the abortion rate just falls.

            Everywhere in the world, no matter how expensive or illegal it is to get an abortion, if people don’t have access to contraception… the abortion rate rises.

            Those are the facts.

            One of the ways in which it’s easily demonstrated that the prolife movement in the US is not anti-abortion is that the prolife movement in the US is all about arguing against contraception: indifferent as a movement to preventing abortions.

            “It suppresses a most healthful natural state of a woman’s reproductive cycle. ”

            Interesting. Taking the contraceptive pill fools a woman’s ovaries into thinking she’s pregnant and so shouldn’t ovulate. That’s how the Pill works: it prevents ovulation. So you’re arguing that being not-pregnant is ” a most healthful natural state”? Well well.

        • Kim

          The fact that most humans are selfish and self-serving is also incontestable.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            I’m sorry that you have such a sad, bad, and mistaken view of humanity.

        • Tally Marx

          Men have just as much reason, if not more, to want contraceptives than women.  If their girlfriend becomes pregnant, they can’t have sex with her and they can’t (technically) force her to have an abortion or to put the child up for adoption.  If she decides to keep the kid, and they can’t convince her otherwise, they are stuck supporting a kid for the next eighteen years.

          You think illegalizing abortion won’t reduce the number of abortions.  That is silly, considering that legalizing it increased the number 15x (Bernard Nathanson, “Aborting America”).  As long as abortion is seen as a viable option, easy to obtain and okay to do, it will be freely treated as an easy and acceptable option.  You think that if contraceptives are used enough, there will be no need for the option.  But contraceptives fail (most women who have abortions have it because their contraceptive fails) and always will.  Abortion is and always will be Plan B.  It may even be–and has been-Plan A.  

          Will Illegalizing abortion bring the number down to 0?  No.  No law is ever 100% effective.  However, contraceptives won’t bring the number down to 0, either.  You cite the experience of the Netherlands, which brought their abortion rate down to 33,000 for a population of 16,847,007, which would be 610,855 for the United States’ 311,800,000 populace.  The best you could do, Eye, is advocate both Illegalizing abortion and promoting contraceptives.  But you won’t do that, because you don’t think abortion is wrong and don’t believe in the right to life.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “Men have just as much reason, if not more, to want contraceptives than women.”

            Agreed, as I said. A man who cares for a woman will not wish to force her into an unwanted pregnancy nor an unwanted abortion.

            Marc isn’t a man yet: he’s just a boy. He cares for no woman deeply in an adult way.

            We already went through your belief that abortions can stay high and there’s no need to try to prevent them so long as they’re illegal. I see no need to repeat the conversation here.

          • Alexandra

            We don’t believe in your definition of the right to life, no. When you say that to us it carries very little weight. To you it’s a profound statement, but to us it sounds like “you don’t believe in magic.” I know it does to me. It’s like well of course I don’t believe in that, that wouldn’t be reasonable.

            The idea that an embryo has rights that supersede those of a woman is completely ridiculous to most people who do not believe in a deity. 600k abortions/year isn’t something that alarms me. That’s not 600k babies, that’s 600k women who made the choice for themselves that they could not give a child the life it deserves and therefore didn’t continue with the pregnancy.

            That’s women who weren’t forced to carry a pregnancy to term and become a mother when they weren’t ready. That’s women’s ability to have lives outside of motherhood and giving women equal chances at achieving their goals in the world instead of being controlled by their biology.

          • Tally Marx

            Alex: deity, shmeity. I have never introduced religion into a choice v. life debate, and yet I have still never found a single person who could tell me why the unborn isn’t a human individual, doesn’t have the rights or has less important rights than a human individual. The first stance can’t be proven scientifically, or the last philosophically/logically, without being either downright wrong or absurdly arbitrary. And Eye doesn’t believe in the right to life for anyone, unborn or born.

          • Alexandra

            How is conception any less arbitrary than viability?

          • Tally Marx

            Viability is a stage in the development of a single organism that existed as an organism before said stage.  It is like any other stage in development (toddler, adolescent, adult, etc.).  

            Conception marks the moment when two non-organisms (egg & sperm) join together to make a single celled organism called a zygote–a new and unique organism.  It is an organism because it has its own unique DNA and whose internal function is self-directed.  An organism is, by definition, an individual life form.  This life form did not exist before conception, but was created during it, and will be the same organism to undergo viability, toddlerhood, adolescence, adulthood, etc.  It has human DNA, and is therefore human.  Thus, the zygote is a human individual and conception is its very beginning.

            Viability is arbitrary because it assumes without basis that, unlike other stages of development, the organism before it is something inherently different from the organism after it (which from a biological standpoint simply isn’t true). Placing conception as the beginning of a human individual is not arbitrary because it is scientifically accurate.

          • Bill Bannon

            Tally Marx
            Your intentions are good but up til around day 14 the cells are totipotential…not committed to being this organ or that organ and as a result identical twinning can occur in the cell mass dividing into two individuals (or more). Therefore an individual soul could not have been present for about 14 days since Aquinas said a soul cannot divide.
            The rare chimerical person presents a different problem. Two eggs are fertilized and should become fraternal twins but on the day of conception(s) they are too near each other and they fuse and become one person…the chimeric…who has one soul. Ergo again, ensoulment at conception would have meant a vanishing soul.
            John Paul was unaware of these two problems specifically in section 60 of Evangelium Vitae which by the way infallibly condemns abortion in section 62. But as a theologian later remarked: the Church has not defined infallibly “the front end” of abortion. Is it day 14 or day 1 as you are suggesting (and which John Paul favored but did not declare infallibly)?

          • Tally Marx

            Bill Bannon:


            The second the cells split, another organism becomes present.  It would not be impossible for a soul to be given to this second organism the moment it comes into existence. It would also not be impossible for the soul to leave the second organism as its body is absorbed into the first.  This latter scenario would be like death, not a vanishing soul.  I doubt we will ever be certain what exactly does occur, theologically.  Scientifically, the “ensoulment” of a human individual cannot be proven at any stage of development.  From a secular standpoint, there is no ensoulment and so no inherent rights-affecting difference in the organism before [insert developmental stage here].  It’s a non-issue.  From a religious standpoint, we are obligated to err on the side of caution. 

          • Bill Bannon

            But to convert the world outside of the obedient, it must make sense. Aquinas stated that the soul fills the receptor:

                 Go to the Summa T. (Part I/Question 76/ article 8) here: 

            ” But since the soul is united to the body as its form, it must necessarily be in the whole body, and in each part thereof. For it is not an accidental form, but the substantial form of the body. Now the substantial form perfects not only the whole, but each part of the whole. For since a whole consists of parts, a form of the whole which does not give existence to each of the parts of the body, is a form consisting in composition and order, such as the form of a house; and such a form is accidental. But the soul is a substantial form; and therefore it must be the form and the act, not only of the whole, but also of each part…. on the withdrawal of the soul, no part of the body retains its proper action…”

            Therefore in the chimeric case, Aquinas sees destruction and decay to the matter on the withdrawal and death of one soul (see final sentence above). He also sees destruction and decay as the cell mass partly leaves the permeating-all-parts soul in the dividing on day 14.
            My point is that prolifers lose when they grab for everything in this debate especially when many educated non Catholics know that delayed ensoulement lasted more centuries in the Church than immediate ensoulment…to include two Fathers (who both had contradictory quotes on this area) and Aquinas who consistently followed the delayed ensoulment of Aristotle and who could be the reason delayed ensoulment is explicitly in one part of Trent’s catechism (article on Incarnation) and immediate ensoulment is implied in another relating to contraception. Oddly Trent’s catechism had the bifurcated view of Augustine and Jerome. But is theological sources are going to be contradictory, people are going to follow science instead…which is why the Vatican should have had scientists working on this at Castel Gandolfo since 1930 instead ofnthe odd choice of having astronomers there
            apparently as a ploy to convince the world we were scientific but cool about it.. We need to be scientific and involved not aloof…involved with the issues we are pontificating on.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            At the risk of further excessive nesting: the astronomical observatory at the Vatican is far older than the 1930s.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            To have a soul is to be alive. In the case of identical twins, you have a division into two organisms, both of whom are alive, having, therefore, their own individual lives, their own individual souls.

            The organism divides into two organisms, but each has its own life, its own soul.

            You are making a Cartesian mistake, treating the soul as some kind of independent substance.

            If the organism did not have a soul for fourteen days, as you say, then it could not develop at all, because it would by definition be dead. To say that an embryo has no soul through its earliest stages of development is to talk nonsense.

          • Alexandra

            The issue with your argument that conception isn’t arbitrary because that’s scientifically when the possibility for a particular individual starts assumes that there is an intrinsic value in creating new humans that necessitates removing a woman’s right to control her own body.

            Forcing a woman to continue with a pregnancy is using her body against her will. That is not something that contributes to equality of the sexes, and is ultimately a detriment to society. If you consider a zygote’s right to life the same as the woman’s you forever have women in a subservient role in society.

            The idea that that zygote is special and worthy of protection is a religious one. Not all human life has the same worth. The idea that human life is all equally valuable is a religious idea. Killing that zygote will only affect the woman and her partner, but ultimately it is her body and it is her choice.

            If the zygote becomes a fetus can be removed from that woman and survive on it’s own then yes it is a life that is worthy of protection, but until it can live outside of a woman’s body she has every right to say I’m not going to keep this in my body.

            Assigning the unborn the same rights as a woman limits women in their roles in society. If the Catholic want to live in that world, that is fine, but they have no right to take away other women’s rights to live in the secular world where not all life is of equal worth. Move to a religious nation if that’s what you want, but American is a secular one.

          • someone inferior to you

            “Not all human life has the same worth. ”

            You may no longer call yourselves eugenicists, but you sure still think like them.

          • Alexandra

            Being pro choice is not being a eugenicist. Throw it around all you want, but there is a huge difference between the two.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Then why do your arguments look so similar? You have just been found saying that it’s better to kill a baby than “give it the life it deserves,” and claiming that not all human life has the same value. Perhaps you are not a eugenicist in the sense that you want the blacks and Jews wiped out, but your arguments in favor of atrocity are the same nonetheless.

          • Tally Marx

            “If you consider a zygote’s right to life the same as the woman’s you forever have women in a subservient role in society.”


            I could just as easily say that if you consider the woman’s right to her body to supersede the zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus’ right to life, you will forever have that latter human individual in a subservient role in society.  We have two human individuals whose rights are at odds.  To point out that they are at odds as proof that one can’t have rights is really arbitrary, and really just silly.  The argument that “So-and-So can’t have rights because their rights infringe upon mine!” would not be given any consideration if the speaker was a father paying child support and So-and-So was his kid.  The father’s right to his own property and the body which he used to earn it does not supersede the child’s right to food and shelter.  In fact, there are numerous instances when the rights of two people are at odds.  My right to free speech may be at odds with your right to privacy.  My idea of happiness may include your death, but I can’t say you have no rights because my right to the pursuit of happiness is at odds with your right to life.  The only basis you have for your assertion that the unborn don’t have rights is your already established *belief* that women are more important than them.  If I believed that the unborn were more important than women, I could just as easily say women are the ones without rights.


            “Assigning the unborn the same rights as a woman limits women in their roles in society.”


            I don’t *assign* rights.  You *assign* rights.  I believe that all human individuals have rights, no matter their race, age, sex, location, religious affiliation, hair color, eye color, position in society, ability to contribute to society, or any other characteristic they may happen to have.  Unless you can prove that race, age, sex, location, religious affiliation, hair color, eye color, position in society, ability to contribute to society, or any other characteristic *you* may happen to be fixated on at the moment is inherently essential for *other* human individuals to *possess rights*, you cannot say that any human individual does not have rights.  If you do attempt to prove that your *belief* as to what matters, factually matters when it comes to possessing rights, please don’t use an argument Hitler would have employed.  I will not hesitate to point it out as such an argument, and will debate the matter no further.  Now, if you want to suggest that the unborn have rights, but the right to life of one human individual does not supersede the right to liberty/the pursuit of happiness/what have you of another human individual, I would be happy to discuss the matter.  The idea that all human individuals possess human rights is not a religious idea.  But this mentality that human individuals only have rights if someone else thinks they possess a certain quality is a eugenicist belief which I will not tolerate or discuss. 

          • Alexandra

            Just FYI, when you bring Hitler and eugenics into this argument people lose respect for any of your arguments.

            I’m not actually here to convince you of anything, I’m just here to hear some arguments and gain some perspective on what the anti-abortion activists think. If those are the arguments you want to use, you’ll never convince anyone who is pro-choice of anything but that you are completely out of touch with reality.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Whenever anyone attempts to justify evil, he will always elevate some lesser good over a higher, as here.

            “Assigning the unborn the same rights as a woman limits women n their roles in society.”

            There you have it, and it’s not even disguised: personal freedom trumps human life.

        • Jmsteve4

          Everyone in the world who doesn’t want abortions will teach women how to avoid pregnancy. The condom and the pill cause more problems than just figuring out how your freaking cycle works. Because condoms don’t always work, and the pill doesn’t always work (and has some brutal side effects), but abstaining does. So why would you push something that isn’t always efferctive when there is an option that is cheaper, healthier, and almost 100% effectve? Why do you assume no one has self-control? Why do you assume human beings are irrational animals who need you to give them condoms and pills? Why do you say we’re being brainwased when you never, ever consider our side?

          • Alexandra

            You know abstinence doesn’t prevent pregnancy 100% of the time, because the plan to use abstinence only fails a lot. People who plan on abstaining often give into temptation and make mistakes. If you really want to prevent pregnancy, you need to have a back up plan because not everyone is capable of never making mistakes. I know countless Catholics who planned on waiting until marriage, and made one stupid mistake that they regretted that left them with an STD and/or an unwanted pregnancy.

            Is the proper penance for pre-marital sex an incurable disease? Beyond that, you cannot really expect that people who do not believe in your god will use your methods of birth control. Birth control is an important part of modern society, and the Catholic judgements of the morality of it are simply archaic. I have no problem with Catholics choosing to use it themselves, but imposing your opinions on other people is unforgivable.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            You know abstinence doesn’t prevent pregnancy 100% of the time . . .

            Please tell me you didn’t just write this.

            I have been abstinent 100% of the time, and guess what? I have NO CHILDREN.

  • Michelle Hughes

    Awesome post. Thanks for this. These arguments drive me crazy!

    Your writing and perspective surprise … how is it that an 18 year old kid can grasp this stuff when millions of people “older and wiser” just don’t get it? Nice work.

    • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

      Marc “gets” the idea that contraception is wrong because he’s an 18-year-old boy. He’s never cared for another woman in an adult way. And if he goes on comparing prospective girlfriends to cows, he may never get the chance! No man who cared deeply for a woman would want to force her to choose between endless unwanted pregnancies or abortions. Marc’s still a boy, so I’ll give him a little pass on this one: hopefully he’ll grow up.

      • http://twitter.com/CrunchyConMom Crunchy Con Mommy

        Oh brother. I guess that’s why no married grown-ups believe this…oh wait. I’m pretty sure it was adults who came up with these arguments in the first place and this “boy” is simply rearticulating those positions. Positions that millions of Catholics and however many “quiver-full” protestants exist all agree with.
        There’s are options other than “endless unwanted pregnancies or abortions”. There’s self-control, for one thing (as in not having sex unless you’re open to new life). There’s also being grateful for pregnancies and treating them like the gift they are.
        You wouldn’t plant a seed in your garden and then be angry that it grew and douse it with pesticides. That would be pretty dumb.

        • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

          “I guess that’s why no married grown-ups believe this…oh wait. I’m pretty sure it was adults who came up with these arguments in the first place ”

          Yes, indeed, but no married grown-ups came up with this line of nonsense! Celibate men put forward the case why women shouldn’t be allowed to go on the Pill… and Catholic women, for the most part, responded with a big “Yeah, so what?”

          “There’s are options other than “endless unwanted pregnancies or abortions”. There’s self-control, for one thing”

          Yeah, that works. Not. Look, Crunchy, you may not like sex. Your husband may not like sex. Two not-liking-sex adults may have got together, and that’s cool! And you call this “self-control”… but most people just like to have sex.

          “There’s also being grateful for pregnancies and treating them like the gift they are. ”

          What, you’re seriously trying to argue that the vast majority of women who use contraception to ensure they only have the number of children they want to have, are somehow “ungrateful” and don’t appreciate being pregnant when they want to be?

          I guess that just sums up why the pro-life movement will always be a tiny little group of fanatics. Your nastiness and illwill towards all women who don’t share your views, your ugly condemnation of the vast majority of parents, is typical of a fanatic cursing everyone who doesn’t belong to your tiny little movement.

          • AttentionDeficitCatholic

            Yeah, I normally just browse through the comments and keep my mouth shut, but I felt prompted to respond to this one.

            First of all, the pro-life movement is not, as you say, a “tiny little group of fanatics.” That is to say, we are not tiny. Just because we get next to no media coverage due to bias and willful ignorance on both sides of the political spectrum does not mean we are tiny. We don’t become insignificant because you ignore our existence.

            Just two weeks ago, there was a march in Washington, DC to protest abortion. This march has been going on yearly for decades now. This year, there were 400,000 people. At one march in DC alone. That’s not counting similar marches that were going on at the same time in other cities around the country. Of course, it got practically no media coverage, due to the bias of the mass media, but that does not mean it did not happen.

            A second thing to note is that we do not, as you say, have “nastiness and ill-will toward women who don’t share our views.” If you paid attention to the pro-life movement, AT ALL, you would realize this. We have said, from the very beginning, that women are victims in this. They are lied to, used, and endangered so that corporations can make lucrative amounts of money and men can have sex without consequence or responsibility. We do NOT harbor ANY sort of “nastiness or ill-will” towards these victims. Certainly, there are some hateful people within the movement who say and do hateful things in the name of being pro-life, but that comes with any kind of belief, system, or any gathering of humans whatsoever.

            However, you are right about one thing. The pro-life movement is a group of fanatics. We cannot be anything less with such a vast multitude of innocent lives at stake.

            That is all.

          • Alexandra

            That’s how ingrained it is in you. You don’t realize that opposing a woman’s right to control her own body is nastiness and ill will against women.

            The thing I’ve realized from talking to people on this blog is that there is no reasoning with any of you on that point. That as long as you believe in your god you won’t see how oppressive the Catholic viewpoint is to women. Catholic women don’t even see it. There’s nothing wrong with Catholic women making the choice to live their lives by the Church’s teachings, but it is wrong to try to make other women make those same choices.

            From the secular point of view Catholic teachings are horribly oppressive to women, and I don’t think that it’s really possible for most Catholics to grasp it as long as they believe in the Church.

          • Jmsteve4

            So not having sex isn’t controlling my body? But taking a pill that is slowly poisoning me and still may not prevent pregnncy is? Phew. Glad I got that all figured out.

          • Alexandra

            You can chose to control your own body by not taking the pill, but other women have the right to chose to take the pill if they want to. Just because you buy into the idea that it’s bad doesn’t mean that other women don’t deserve the right to use contraceptives without judgement.

          • Jmsteve4

            Wanna know what’s funny about that? As Catholic, I’m taught not to judge people. I can know that they’re doing something bad, but I’m not allowed to take it out on them. It’snot my job. All we can do is inform them of alternatives and give reasoning. Hate the sin, love the sinner. =)

          • Mary

            “There’s nothing wrong with Catholic women making the choice to live their lives by the Church’s teachings, but it is wrong to try to make other women make those same choices.” <– this is your strongest argument here, and one that speaks most clearly to the current political state of the U.S. and health care.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “First of all, the pro-life movement is not, as you say, a “tiny little group of fanatics.” ”

            You’ve got Crunchy Con Mommy saying that most parents are “dumb” and “ungrateful”, and you think that’s a majority position?

            “. We do NOT harbor ANY sort of “nastiness or ill-will” towards these victims. ”

            You should tell Crunchy Con Mommy and Swift that – cause they’re BOTH expressing those views right here on this blog, absolutely unchallenged by any prolifers here.

          • TheHammer

            Mary and Joseph were truly married, yet were celibate. They had self-control. They are the perfect examples for married couples who are not ready to have children. They still were in love, and this did not diminish their relationship. We can aim higher and not be slaves to earthly lust. This is coming from 40+ year old adult. Young people get it so much better than older adults. Maybe some of you “so wise” older adults should start learning your faith and stop living in the world. Set your sights on the next world, Heaven, and you will start living the life the Lord called you to live in this one.

          • Bill Bannon

            According to Aquinas, Mary had no concupiscence after giving birth and Joseph seems to have been old. That particular avenue might not be so apropo as a template for other human beings. Contrast their reality with I Cor.7:5 which tells more physical Christians not to leave sexuality too long lest satan enter their marriage. Fr. Bernard Haring made the point that I Cor.7:5 is very ignored by Catholic writers traditionally…and who are the Catholic writers on sexuality prior to Von Hildebrand in the early 20th century? They are celibate clergy…for whom I Cor.7:5 is incomprehensible or at least distant from their reality.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Joseph seems to have been old.

            But that is by no means certain. If he were a typical newly married man of his time and place (though we don’t know that he was), he would have been around fifteen or sixteen.

            At any rate, last I heard, older men are not magically free of concupiscence.

            . . . Catholic writers on sexuality prior to Von Hildebrand in the early 20th century? They are celibate clergy…for whom I Cor.7:5 is incomprehensible or at least distant from their reality . . .

            Hogwash. I am celibate, yet I understand and appreciate 1 Corinthians 7.5. And certainly nobody who wants to find an excuse for contraception or abortions can look to the happily married yet ascetically minded von Hildebrand to help his case.

          • Barefoot Mommy

            Look, Crunchy, you may not like sex. Your husband may not like sex.

            Are you kidding??? Like Crunchy, self-control has been part of our marriage. I don’t particularly agree with QF philososphy, since I pretty much believe that God gave us an amazing body and expects us to prudently use the signs of fertility that He is so generous with. I’ve been married for almost 20 years and according to those silly stats concerning intimacy and satisfaction, we are intimate much more often than those liberated young folks and the average married couple ;-) We prayed for and purposely tried for each and every one of our children – and would love to have had more than the 5 we were granted.
            Women deserve to be respected – and deserve to know how their bodies work. I’ve met many non-religious natural moms who were furious that fertility knowledge was denied them by the medical profession. Artificial hormones are not good for you! You deserve better.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Celibate men put forward the case why women shouldn’t be allowed to go on the Pill…

            This is a form of ad hominem sometimes called poisoning the well, pretending that a person who does not have a particular experience you would like him to have is therefore incapable of making arguments.

            It’s also false. Many people who actually have sex are making these arguments. You just haven’t paid attention.

            Look, Crunchy, you may not like sex. Your husband may not like sex.

            Perhaps, instead of pretending you have mind-reading powers, it would be a good idea to ask Crunchy whether or not she and her husband like sex. Even better, you should not bring up her personal enjoyment or lack thereof at all, since it is irrelevant.

      • Anonymous

        Marc’s still a young man so he hasn’t had time to see a woman as a physical object for his sexual pleasure such that he must control her body so he can have her when he wants? Sounds like a good thing to me.

        Any man who insists I take birth control to destroy my natural life-giving tendencies tells me he doesn’t love me *exactly* like I am, and he’s getting kicked to the curb. Why should I be with a man who needs to “protect” himself from me or believes I need protection from him?

        • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

          Then you and Marc should get together. My guess is as a relationship it won’t last very long, but it sounds like you are exactly as grown-up as he is.

          I doubt it will last past your first abortion, though. Best wishes.

          • Anonymous

            Strangely enough, my previous three-year relationship didn’t contain an abortion. Or pre-marital sex. And Marc already has a girlfriend. It turns out we have more self-control than your average unneutered dog. But you keep on demonstrating your own maturity with ad hominem attacks. I’m sure it will take you a long way.


          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “Strangely enough, my previous three-year relationship didn’t contain an abortion. Or pre-marital sex. ”

            If you set out to have a relationship with someone you love and firmly intend not to have sex with, then odds are, at some point, you’re going to have unplanned sex… and get pregnant and need to have an abortion. Statistically, that’s what happens when prolifers decide they’re going to depend on mutual celibacy instead of contraception.

            I shouldn’t have personalised it, though, and I apologise for that.

          • Jmsteve4

            Can we see those statistics please?

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            . . . odds are, at some point, you’re going to have unplanned sex . . .

            Ridiculous. I have (alas) had several girlfriends, and had sex with none of them. If I am ever so blessed as to marry, I will go to the bridal bower as a virgin. This claim, cleverly phrased as if it had data behind it, is derived from nothing but the baseless modern assumption that a man is somehow, in spite of free will and intellect and all that, incapable of keeping his penis in his trousers.

          • Swift

            Oftentimes Edinburgheye,
            when you fight so hard against what is obviously wrong, twisted, so immoral (as is contraception…. the pill, condoms etc) it is for a reason. Now, Im not trying to hurt you, but simply say….the only reason to go so deep in the direction of defending a dead false cause, a complete lie….because facts and statistics you have posted are wildly inaccurate, is because of 1 thing……”guilt”. Guilt can do a 180 on the soul sometimes, by leading one to justify the ‘wrong’ no matter how true it presents itself as intrinsically evil. That, my friend is a sign of guilt. The obvious truth on the detrimentality and atrocity of contraception is that it ‘does’ lead to abortion, that it ‘does’ create the very mentality that “a man ought have recourse to a woman whenever, “WITHOUT” having to answer to her very awesome beautiful natural body, her cycles and of course in the way it is directed……….TO THE very awesome CONSEQUENCES of it…..” pregnancy”. See, my friend, you see pregnancy as a disease, as an inconvenience, as something “separate” of the sexual act. It is not, it is a blessing, and to turn away from that reality and act upon the contraceptive mentality is to condemn all those awesome blessings we have as part of our nature, and to become so proud that we distort them for our own likeness. That is the distortion you have bought into, and the guilt overtaking you to the point of having to justify all the simple snakeness that contraception make one into is violence against the structure of which sex was always and always has been meant to be in. You are not free to destroy that, because inevitably, you will destroy yourself in trying to.

          • Alexandra

            With the bad punctuation/capitalization, lack of paragraphs, and wild unsupportable claims this really reads as if it’s the ravings of a crazy person.

          • Guestasaurus

            You are one cruel troll, you know that? Discounting someone for being young? Being older gives us more life experience, yes. But it also means you’ve had more time to make mistakes. Your constant references to Marc’s age give you the appearance of desperation, grasping at straws to force your square peg logic into a round hole. Knock off the personal attacks and debate like someone who can think critically at a fifth-grade level.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            I actually think that being young is the best excuse for some of the views held here. The idea that human beings shouldn’t have partner sex unless and until and only if they want to conceive, is something that I can imagine a naive teenager without any experience actually thinking would work.

            It’s not something I can take seriously, but I can’t exactly blame a kid for having ridiculously immature ideas, can I?

          • Jmsteve4

            You know that being 18 means we have raging hormones right? Logic tells us to have on permanent partner. Our hormones tell us that weshould use eaxchother for our bodies. Shouldn’t older people be more in favor of not using each other just for sex?

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            To me, your thinking appears backwards. I am in awe that Marc is so wise at the age of eighteen. Would that I had his insights when I was his age.

      • AverageJoeCatholic

        Allow me to suggest something truly radical here. Marc, as many youth of his generation (I am one of them) are doing, gets the idea that contraception because he’s perceptive enough to realize that humanity is meant for greener pastures. He understands that, as Pope Benedict XVI said, “The world offers comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for Greatness!” He sees the world as it is, and has the audacity to take up Catholicism’s bet that it has a better way. We, the young and Catholic, are sick and tired of mediocrity. We’re sick and tired of the lies and deception of modern society. We’re sick and tired of the blatant abuses of our bodies as hyper-sexualized objects, and we’re tired of our unborn brothers and sisters being regarded as anything other than a sign of God’s hope for the world. Forgive us for being dreamers, we just want to live like God wants us to.

        • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

          “Marc, as many youth of his generation (I am one of them) are doing, gets the idea that contraception because he’s perceptive enough to realize that humanity is meant for greener pastures. ”

          So you’re saying you’re also a boy who hasn’t yet grown up? A kind of Catholic Peter Pan?

          • Del

            E-Eye — We can’t tell if you are young and stupid, or if you are old and stupid. But if you think these young people are going to be persuaded your insults, then you aren’t very wise.

            You’ve just read two brilliant posts by young Marc concerning the errors of contraception. One based on Natural Law, for those who respect science and reason; and one based on Scripture, for those who respect faith and revelation.

            There is only one argument that you can offer to refute these, E-Eye: That most people are stupid. Like you, the masses refuse to consider the teachings of Faith and Reason. They will continue to enjoy the poisons that ultimately kill them.

      • Anonymous

        And no man worth his salt would think that self control and honoring his wife’s fertility cycle is “tedious” and “too hard” in order to prevent those endless pregnancy you seem sooo concerned about. Any man who cares deeply for women would also realize fertility is not a disease and kiss the ground his wife walks one because she actually has infertile periods, unlike his body.

        • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

          “And no man worth his salt would think that self control and honoring his wife’s fertility cycle is “tedious” and “too hard” in order to prevent those endless pregnancy you seem sooo concerned about. ”

          Well, that I agree with. If the couple both want to use NFP. But that’s not what Marc’s saying. Marc is promoting the idea that contraception is wrong – that a woman ought to get pregnant whether she wants to or not – and the only answer then is for an unwanted pregnancy, is for her to have an abortion.

          • AttentionDeficitCatholic

            Again, do not usually reply, but making an exception (dang, I guess you kinda get on my nerves! but I forgive you).

            Marc is saying that contraception is wrong, to be sure, but WHERE exactly does he say that NFP is wrong? Because if that is what he is saying, you are completely justified. But if it is not (which, if you read previous posts in his blog, is is 100% in favor of NFP), then, well, an unwanted pregnancy followed by an abortion is NOT the only answer, but NFP is a possibility as well.

            Also, does nobody else find it amazing how few people seem to realize that adoption exists?

          • Alexandra

            And how many children have you adopted?

          • MC

            I am the wife of a student and already the mother of a four-month-old. However, if I were able to stop an abortion by adopting the baby, I would do so in a heartbeat. I know many other pro-lifers who would eagerly do the same. There are Catholic adoption agencies which cover the cost of adoption if the mother was considering abortion as an option, and infertile couples are waiting in line to adopt those babies. What do you think is in all those pamphlets that the people praying outside of abortion clinics hold? Adoption information. Don’t throw that tired line in our faces, you have no idea what we would sacrifice to save the life of a child.

          • Alexandra

            Well there’s still kids in foster homes that haven’t been adopted. So until all of those kids are in homes, I’m going with that Catholics aren’t actually ready to adopt all of the babies that were aborted.

          • Jmsteve4

            Well maybe you should go out and tell people to adopt kids instead of just insulting people you don’t know here. Or do you think we should kill them now beause they were unplanned?

          • Momto29

            I am a Catholic foster mother. I have taken care of 27 children in seven years and adopted two of them. The children in foster care are not available for adoption — the point is for the family to become stabilized so they can go home.

            You would be amazed at how many Christians are foster parents. It is one of the few government positions that is dependent upon volunteers (because $12/day is not a salary and doesn’t even pay for their food).

            Unlike teachers, you have them with you 24 hours/day, often for years.

            So in answer to your question, “how many children have you adopted?” the answer is four.

            I am encouraged that you are on this site and commenting. The Holy Spirit is at work here.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            This is pure ad hominem, and obviously absurd: you’re “going with” the opinion that Catholics are hypocrites until all foster children are adopted? Are you serious?

            Moral arguments, or for that matter any arguments, are not right or wrong based on what you can accuse the person making them of doing or not doing.

          • emma wright

            And if they DID adopt them you’d probably accuse them of creating another ‘stolen generation’ catholics can’t win. Never mind the stolen generation that didn’t even get a glimpse at the world. It’s so hard to adopt now, the government probably doesn’t think most catholics have enough money to raise an adopted child, you have to be a millionaire these days…

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Don’t answer a question like that, MC; it’s irrelevant, and none of her business. The personal behavior of someone making an argument says nothing of the merits of the argument.

          • AttentionDeficitCatholic

            Unfortunately, I have not adopted any children (I do think think I am old or mature enough yet to care for a child), but I know many MANY families who have adopted.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            Marc is arguing (with apparent sincerity!) that it’s wrong for humans to think they can control conception – that God will strike you dead if you try. If you read the story of Onan as literally and as directionally as Marc is reading it (and wrongly I believe – see my first comment on this thread) that applies to NPF as much as to any other form of contraception.

            Plus of course NPF can hardly be said to be universally effective. (The most near-to-100% form of contraception would be for a man to use condoms, each time every time, and for a woman to use some other form of contraception, independently for him.) Any restriction on contraception means more unwanted conceptions, and therefore more abortions.

            So yes, Marc has suddenly gone pro-abortion.

            “Also, does nobody else find it amazing how few people seem to realize that adoption exists? ”

            Forcing a woman to have a baby so that the baby can be taken by a wealthier couple is usually called “surrogacy”.

            I assure you that a woman who thinks through her options and decides to have an abortion is undoubtedly well aware that she could, assuming good health, instead have the baby and give the baby to some other set of parents. She just decides not to. The majority of women who have abortions already have children: they know exactly how horrible it would be to have your baby taken away from you after birth and never given back. No legal right ever to meet with your child again.

            Adoption is a major industry in the US, but it is still appalling to me how many people will happily argue for low-income women to lose their babies to wealthier parents as an “alternative” to allowing those women to choose abortion.

          • Jmsteve4

            First off, not all adoptions have to be no-contact I wouldknow I’ve met my romate’s birthnumber as well as her adoptive parents. And if they loved the kid, truly loved them, why wouoldn’t they allow them to have that better life instead of no life at all?

          • Anonymous

            Yes, adoption is appalling compared to committing murder, or just having self control.

            What is appalling is the disregard for the human being within the womb and the real violence done to the woman in order to “make it go away.”

          • Alexandra

            Forced surragocy! That’s exactly what it is. That point seems so obvious but I had never found the words to describe what it is.

            It all really comes down to whether or not you want to live in a society that thinks women are incubators. As long as people believe that she must incubate what has been created inside her women are not equals in society. The religious can call abortion murder, genocide, or eugenics all they want but the fact remains that that’s not what abortion is and opposing abortion and contraceptives is oppression of women.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            In other words, we must close our eyes to reality and pretend that women are men.

            Mothers are, by definition, women, and therefore their obligations as mothers are peculiar to their sex. Fathers are, by definition, men, and their obligations as such are peculiar to their sex. Mothers and fathers are not the same thing.

            Yes, a woman has an obligation to a human life she is carrying. It is a privilege of her sex to be able to carry such life, but it of course comes with responsibility. Why is that abhorrent to you? She has no more right to kill the child in her womb than to smash the brains out of the child at her breast.

          • Richard

            “Forced surrogacy”? Barring rape, sex resulting in pregnancy is still the woman’s choice to some degree. In cases of rape, we already do something about that- punish the rapist with the full force of the law, which also ought to act as a deterrant against it.

            And if you want to argue abortion is not murder (or its moral equivalent), it falls on you to back up that argument, not assume it. Because if you are wrong, what is worse- what you call oppression of women, or murder?

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Adoption is a major industry in the US, but it is still appalling to me how many people will happily argue for low-income women to lose their babies . . . as an “alternative” to allowing those women to choose abortion.

            This statement utterly flummoxes me. I cannot imagine what train of thought would lead you to the conclusion that it is better to murder a baby that give it to someone else to rear.

          • Anonymous

            I may be wrong, as I often am, but I believe Marc has supported NFP in previous posts. He’ll have to speak to that himself. NFP is not really contraception because there is no frustration of the natural act of intercourse.

            I’ve heard of people complaining about its use with a “contraceptive mentality”, but unless those individuals are evaluating their own hearts, that judgement can’t be made of anyone else since it is a reflection of a person’s conscience. There is not “list” of when NFP is permissible other than to say couples should have a “grave” reason for avoiding pregnancy. But the Church doesn’t presume to tell all couples they must conform to specifics in regard to what is and isn’t “grave”.

          • Bill Bannon

            The term “grave” is the result of personal interjections by private Catholics in this area. Humanae Vitae in the Vatican website uses “serious” and the Catechism in #2368 uses “just”…

            “A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality…”

            “Grave” is manipulative in this context and seems to indicate that if your country is not facing famine, you must give birth.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you for clarifying the use of the term. I agree that “grave” sounds very narrow. I suppose I’ve always heard it that way. “Just” is far more definitive of what the Church teaches and I shall try to utilize that word in the future.

          • Bill Bannon

            Because the internet is not monitored by the Magisterium, human nature ( whether over strict or lax) is too big a factor. I actually believe the Magisterium should assign a moderate cleric with a Phd. in dogmatics to monitor the Catholic blogs.
            P.S. You’ll find “serious” in chapter 10 of Humanae Vitae.

        • Guest

          That is beautiful. God bless you.

      • Swift

        “No man who cared deeply for a woman would want to force her to choose between endless unwanted pregnancies or abortions. ”

        The error in this reasoning is that it deny’s life as a blessing, nor does it position itself to take care of oneself and one anther in order to protect an unborn life. This line of reasoning has no problem with murdering an unborn child or putting his “lover” aka girlfriend/wife on contraceptives which are none other than potent steroid’s. Steroids that radically change the purpose and healthful function of a woman’s natural reprodcutive function.
        This is the false reasoning left behind by the sexual revolution/moral relativist culture.

        • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

          So like Marc, you think of women as cows and men as farmers? Yuck.

          • Tally Marx

            Marc doesn’t think that, and you really should go read his post on veal again. The point was that the girl cared more for unborn cows than she did unborn humans. But you’ve been told that already, and ignored it.

          • Alexandra

            She cared more about full term unborn calfs than a woman’s right to choose what happens to the embryos and fetuses that cannot live outside of her body. She may have even considered abortion immoral but she recognized that it wasn’t her place to tell other women what they can and cannot do with their body.

            Not that I agree with her position, but it wasn’t as black and white as babies vs calves.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            I’ve re-read his post on how he compared women to cows to a potential date, several times now. It really doesn’t get any better on repetition: I’m not surprised she dumped him.

          • Swift

            You like to twist things into falsehoods and lies. The reality I see in all your comments is that they are dishonest, emotionally strange, and non other than perverted…… it is the very work of defending “guilt”. Im not going there in analyzation, but all i’ve got to say is…..contraception is not only intrinsically evil, leads to abortion, but it causes a man to see a woman in a distorted way, it causes the very woman to see herself in a way she was not meant to be seen or live. She was meant to be respected the way her creator made her, by understanding and respecting her body and soul, not to take her and do what you wish. Contraception does that…it distorts the very ends of a woman to the lifestyle of non-consequential behavior, and turning sex into something it is not. New life is a “blessing” not an accident, not “disease”….
            Your line of arguing in all your comments is all about justifying putting women on steroids so that she may become “available” for pleasurable sex with no consequences. “Pleasurable sex with no consequences”. TOTAL INSANITY. …. then of course you have to continue defending, treating her pregnancy as an accident that needs to be terminated, fixed, avoided.
            This is clearly the train that ends up crashing in a revine knowing and seeing the end of the tracks ahead.

          • Alexandra

            You know an ellipse is just three dots…

          • Jmsteve4

            Excuse me what was the point of that? Is now really the time for comedy? Or were you just trying to insult them so you didn’t have to defend your position?

          • Alexandra

            The point was that the way that Swift types indicates that perhaps he/she doesn’t realize that an ellipse is just three dots. The way Swift writes doesn’t give him/her ideas a whole lot of credibility, and using ellipses properly would be a great way to make a dent in the issues with the way Swift presents his/her words.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Correct as your grammar and punctuation may be, pointing out errors in such in the midst of an argument is still ad hominem, a means of discrediting your opponent without actually addressing his arguments.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/6TMWGADCHW3VVQNLI3PRTGFSRY Cynthia

            Swift, your earth reality is very different from my earth reality. As a mature woman who has been on birth control for long periods of my life, I have had three long-term committed relationships. I’ve never had casual sex. I don’t have children, but my sisters and nieces, who are all married, are on hormonal birth control. They’ve had 2-3 children each when they felt they were ready.

            This all or nothing “contraception is evil” is just wierd. And your phrasing. “putting women on steroids” so that she may become “available” for pleasurable sex with no consequences,” implies that women didn’t choose birth control themselves, that they weren’t the active agent in the process. This is ridiculous. I am the active agent here. I choose pleasurable sex without pregnancy.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/6TMWGADCHW3VVQNLI3PRTGFSRY Cynthia

          “or putting his “lover” aka girlfriend/wife on contraceptives which are none other than potent steroid’s.”

          This is a very interesting line of reasoning. It assumes somehow that the action for initiating and taking contraceptives is the man’s; this is far from the truth. Among my female friends and relations the woman is the one who decides to take hormonal contraceptives. She is in control of her reproductive cycle. My friends and relatives are not Catholic, however. Are you saying that when Catholics take hormonal contraceptives, the man takes the initiative and makes the decision?

          “….healthful function of a woman’s natural reprodcutive function.” We don’t need to be reminded, do we, that a mere 100 years ago many women died in natural childbirth? At the beginning of the 20th century, for every 1000 live births, six to nine women in the United States died of pregnancy-related complications. The healthful function of a woman’s natural reproductive function is, well, naturally dangerous for women. Of course, with modern medicine that “radically” changed the natural reproductive function, it is far safer. However, we’re currently seeing a very troubling trend: the lifetime risk of maternal deaths is greater in the United States than in 40 other countries, including virtually all industrialized nations. In addition, women can also suffer from hypertension, prolapsed uteruses, and soft tissue trauma to the vagina.

          In discussing the risks of hormonal contraceptives, an honest argument would also evaluate the risks of pregnancy.

      • Anonymous

        Snobbish fallacy. His age is irrelevant to the validity of his argument.

      • http://andrewensley.com/ Andrew

        Someone drank their idiot juice.

        I know, I know… I couldn’t resist.

  • Anonymous

    But I…


  • Jay E.

    Man, I love you for this…

  • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados

    Saying something dogmatically doesn’t make it so.

    The Scripture cannot clearly prohibit something it doesn’t clearly address. The best we can do is ascertain the principle from the past and then practice it in a way that honors God in the present. For example, the Bible does not clearly prohibit pornography. What it does clearly prohibit is the looking on a woman to lust after her, which we rightfully apply by not viewing pornography. That’s the way we apply the Scripture, we understand the principle and then apply it to our modern lives.

    So the question is does the story of Onan speak to contraception or is it trying to teach us something else.

    Your premise that he could not have been struck dead for failing to father a child on behalf of his dead brother because it would cause God to violate his own law is difficult to sustain. For example, King David was in God’s hand when he ordered the death of Uriah the Hittite after committing adultery with Bathsheba. If your standard is applied, God has no choice but to kill David, but He does not. Instead He kills Bathsheba’s baby (which by your standard would put God in company with Pharoah and King Herod). Or we could look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who are slain for “lying to the Holy Spirit.” (Acts Chapter 5) The penalty for lying is not death, yet they are struck dead. Again, if one applies your standard, God is bound to react in accordance to the Law. What you do not understand is that the Law is created provide us a “schoolmaster” in the words of Paul (Galatians 3) to make us aware of our sin. It applies specifically to us not to Him. God is by definition transcendent, that is He is not dependent on His creation nor bound by it. The Law is a reflection of His character in principle, but He transcends it in essence. When He acts in a way that to us appears inconsistent with His written Law, that does make Him a tyrant, but a King, it does not make Him arbitrary but Sovereign. The point is Onan may very well have been punished for disobedience not coitus interruptus. All the Scripture says is that God was displeased with Onan. It does not specifically state the reason. It is certainly less than “clear.”

    You also need to carefully consider the natural conclusion of your argument. If Onan was killed due to contraception, then God views contraception more seriously than the rape of an unmarried virgin, which only requires that the perpetrator pay the appropriate compensation (50 shekels of silver) to the father and then marries the victim without the possibility of divorce. (Deuteronomy 22) There is a high price to pay for the literalism you are applying to the Torah.

    I’ll assume your final argument will rest on Church authority. Let me say at the beginning that that is your most compelling line of reasoning.

    Good luck…

    • http://www.facebook.com/techmage89 Paul Fox

      Practically all historical interpretations of the passage about Onan interpret it as a statement against contraception. I think pretty good reasons are needed to argue that that is not a valid interpretation.

      • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados

        That’s a pretty broad statement. I’m aware that Origen, Augustine and Aquinas as well as many of the reformers support the traditional view. My argument is not that they are necessarily incorrect, only that the text is not explicit. Most historical Jewish commentaries do not support such a view and many historical Protestant commentaries deviate from it as well.

        One would expect the authority of the Church to influence historical Catholic thought lending itself to great consistency in interpreting the text. However, one does not find that consistency in Protestant and Jewish thought. Again, I am not arguing that the Church is incorrect only that the text provides for different conclusions.

        Thanks for the comment.

        • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

          Keep in mind that the Catholic view of scripture is not the view of Protestant sola scriptura. It is a part of a wider Church tradition.

          But I am of the opinion that, in moral arguments, there is little point in discussing what the Bible says. All the great teachers of the Church were expert philosophers trained in logic. The Catholic view of ethics is exacting, rigorous, and logical. We don’t depend on appeal to scripture.

          • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados


            Thank you! That’s my point. There’s no need for Marc to argue from the Scripture as a Catholic. He has Church authority and tradition on his side. As a Protestant, I may view those with skepticism, but if I were a Catholic, I would willingly submit to them. The challenge for the Catholic Church is not to convince me, but to convince their own. As I speak to my many Catholic friends, I’m amazed at how many disregard the authority of the Church (especially in this area). That simply doesn’t make any sense to me. In what meaningful way are you Catholic if you are not submitted to Church authority? You might be a fine Christian, but you are a poor Catholic. I think my goal if I were Catholic would be to be a fine Catholic as it would necessarily make me a fine Christian.

    • Romulus

      For those who insist, there are most certainly biblical prohibitions against contraception.

      In Galatians 5:20 and St. John’s Revelation 18:23 we see “sorcery” condemned as a grave sin and the downfall of a mighty civilization: the Greek word used in both verses is pharmakeia, a term referring primarily to drugs of a purgative nature, most especially those associated not with restoring health, but with the black arts, including abortifatients.

      Jerome’s Latin rendering of the word is veneficia, specifically indicating potions of a poisonous nature.

      The first-century Didache also forbids pharmakeia, immediately preceding its prohibitions of abortion and infanticide.

      • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados

        I appreciate the comment. I have no issues with your exegesis, but as you stated pharmakeia refers essentially to what we might call witchcraft today and describes many practices. To be clear, I am absolutely not arguing for a posteriori contraception (i.e. abortion). You and I will be in complete agreement that such a practice is contrary to divine principle. I’m not even arguing for a priori contraception; only that to assert it’s prohibition from the Scripture is shaky. I’m still waiting for the argument from Church authority, which to my mind is the most compelling argument, particularly in Catholic theology. Thanks again…

        • Romulus

          Tony, according to the Oxford Greek lexicon, the dominant sense of pharmakeia is purgative. I do not think Paul was thinking of emetics or constipation when he compiled his list of sins for the Galatians to ponder. Abortifacient drugs were known to the ancients, as Juvenal attests.

          • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados


            The application of purgative medicine is much wider than abortifacients (check the Oxford handbook of Hellenic Studies) and was considered an essential part of restorative medicine. To limit it to abortifacients is simply not being honest with the text. Paul is not singling out contraception, but the application of drugs in idolatrous religion. I suppose limiting it to abortifacients is convenient if you’re trying to prohibit a certain practice but that is simply not an accurate reflection of the text.

            Take care…

          • Romulus

            I am not limiting pharmakeia to abortifacients; I am saying that specific sense was common in the classical usage, and that in the context I’ve mentioned it’s tendentious to impose a contrary interpretation. What Paul and John both are condemning is the use of purgative drugs for an evil purpose. What purpose do you suppose that most reasonably would be?

          • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados


            We’re getting into deep water here. Ogden’s, “Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds” and Collins’ “Magic in the Ancient Greek World” would be great resources for you to understand the connection between pharmakeia and the occult as well as the litany of practices it applies to (i.e. divination, the raising of the dead, etc). If you are a student or academic of Hellenistic culture, Ogden is preferred. If you are a non-specialist, Collins will do the job. He wrote the chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies.

            One other consideration is St. John’s use of the word in the 18th Chapter of his Revelation where he says that all the nations were led astray by Babylon’s sorcery (pharmakeia). It is unlikely that all the nations were led astray by abortifacients. What then is he referring to? I appreciate your tenacity, but the limitations you are placing on pharmakeia in the text reflect church dogma more than classical Greek scholarship.

          • Romulus

            It is unlikely that all the nations were led astray by abortifacients.

            Is it? Look around you. The demonic hate for human life as image of God and called to a share in his life, manifests itself in multiple ways, not excepting evils coming to the fore for the first time in our own day. The determination of globalist elites to impose pop con measures in every way imaginable is not to be underestimated.

            As the summit of creation, it should not surprise that Man is targeted for destruction and perversion. I’m not getting all end-timey on you; just pointing out that the Revelation is a mystical vision of evil opposed to good, from which our own times are not exempt. It is entirely plausible to imagine these words having something to say to our age: “the voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in thee no more; for thy merchants were the great men of the earth, and all nations were deceived by thy [pharmakeia].”

          • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados

            That is creative exegesis. Romulus, you have to know, you’re in the minority with such a narrow interpretation of this term, even in your own Church. Your argument feels very “Fundamentalist” in nature. By that I mean, it is similar to many Protestant brothers I know arguing that the world is only 6,000 years old in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. You can insist that pharmakeia be limited to abortion in the text, but scholarship inside and outside of the Church is not on your side. I have pointed you to many sources with no dog in this fight that provide the historical context and application of this word. I understand there are sources both in the Catholic and Protestant traditions that would love to narrowly interpret it to sustain Church doctrine, but it’s use in extrabiblical literature makes such a conclusion untenable. Give those sources a read and let me know what you find. Thanks for the conversation…

    • Rachel K

      Tony, although we disagree on the contraception issue, THANK YOU for being the first person to actually dispute this post based on Biblical premises. This post was about whether the Bible says contraception was wrong, not whether it actually is wrong. You seem to be the first dissenter to realize that at this point.

      • http://everydaymanofgod.com/ Tony Casados


        Thank you for the kind words. I’m not sure we do disagree, but I’d be curious to hear your opinion. When you have an opportunity, feel free to click on my profile and visit my site. I would love to hear your feedback.

        Thanks again…

  • BadWolf

    Why jump to the conclusion that it was coitus interuptus that merited Onan’s death when it’s never explicitly mentioned elsewhere in Sacred scripture? He could have been committing a multitude of other sins at the time such as dishonoring his parents by not carrying on his royal line, disobeying God’s directive to procreate (which doesn’t apply in all situations, as much as you try to make it seem), etc.

    The early clergy obviously didn’t have a very good idea of human biology in the 200′s. Not wasting a single sperm cell is simply an impossible task for any man and trying to enforce it would be unbelievably abusive on men and their spouses.

    • http://www.facebook.com/techmage89 Paul Fox

      So it Scripture only mentions something once, is it not necessarily true? That would be a truly odd view of scriptural authority.

      The minute details of human biology and individual sperm have no bearing here. The point can be seen more clearly if you wanted to read Humanae Vitae, but the point is that it is objectively wrong to directly and deliberately prevent procreation during the conjugal act. If you don’t want to have children, don’t get married, and/or don’t have sex!

      • BadWolf

        My point is, how are you so certain it mentions it at all. The people who wrote the scriptures, the Jews, are in the camp that says it does not constitute a universal ban on contraception.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381245394 Paolo Munoz

          Actually, if you do the research, Orthodox Jews, as well as historical teachings in the Talmud are anti-contraception and anti-masturbation. See my post above for the sources.

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      Again, try not to get your conception of Church teaching from Monty Python.

  • filiusdextris

    Besides the negative proscription against Onanism (and its various forms – collecting and removing the semen, killing it, preventing it from implanting, etc.), it is well to also emphasize the positive Genesis command which will accomplish the same thing: to go forth and multiply and fill the face of the earth.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    You know, Marc, I found you a lot less irritating when I realized how young you are.

    This is a tirade of nonsense, of course – there is no verse in the Bible that condemns contraception. (Citing Onan is ahistorical nonsense.) But I admit, you’ve probably never – as I have – read the Bible beginning to end in multiple translations and with regard to the historical contexts in which these books were written. All you’ve got, really, is a Catholic understanding that decreed contraception is wrong, and justified it in a confused and anti-scientific way.

    Onan was Judah’s second son: Judah’s first son was Er. (Don’t blame me, I didn’t make it up.) Er married a Canaanite woman named Tamar. Er was “wicked in the sight of the Lord” and so died childless. Judah needed an heir, so he instructed his second son Onan to have sex with Tamar: if Tamar conceived by Onan, the son would be legally Er’s son, the eldest son’s eldest son, and so Judah’s heir. Not-at-all-incidentally, that son of Tamar would have cut out Onan and all of Onan’s children from inheriting from Judah.

    Onan, says the Bible, knew the son would not be his, so he did “coitus interruptus” – perhaps hoping Tamar would be too ashamed or too ignorant to tell anyone that her husband’s brother hadn’t properly performed his duty. This was a duty owed not only to his father, who required an heir, but a duty to Tamar, who as a childless widow would have a pretty thin time of it: she couldn’t (and indeed doesn’t) remarry, but without a child she had no status. (She rescues herself from this state by having sex in disguise with Judah himself – which Judah says, with apparent authorial approval, was more righteous than Judah’s refusal to have her marry Judah’s last son Shelah.)

    In the historical context of this story, the sin of Onan isn’t that he “spilled his seed”. It’s certainly not a general condemnation of preventing unwanted pregnancy. The story of Judah and Tamar, in chapter 38 of Genesis, is a story of a woman with agency and purpose, who knew what her just dues were and acted to get them.

    Onan was in the wrong because he acted selfishly and controllingly: because he thought it was his right to decide whether Tamar would have a child, despite her wishes (and the orders of his father).

    You are guilty of the sin of Onan, Marc. Not merely for the mental masturbation you display in this post, spilling your seed fruitlessly everywhere. But because, like Onan, you think you ought to get to be in control of female reproduction.

    To run a little modern analogy: Onan is the pro-life movement, controlling, aggressive, abusive, selfish. Tamar is Planned Parenthood. And Judah… is Komen.

    • James H

      I would say, ‘What a w*nker’, but that would be too easy.

      I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a long, poncy post that managed to say so little. Yes, the context is interesting, but doesn’t change a thing. You completely failed to answer the charge, for example, that until the 1930s (when the world *did* go to hell in a handcart), contraception was a no-no to all Christians. So what if it’s only circumstantial evidence that contraception is wrong? As Catholics, our teaching doesn’t depend exclusively on proof-texts, though they do help. The Magisterium in general, and the Pope in particular, has been granted the authority to bind and to loose (Matt 16:18-19).

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        Good heavens, James, if you don’t find Biblical study of interest, why read Marc’s post? He clearly states it’s going to be all about Scripture. I merely take him at his word and respond Scripturally. You’re not interested – why read it?

        “You completely failed to answer the charge, for example, that until the 1930s (when the world *did* go to hell in a handcart), contraception was a no-no to all Christians.”

        Oh, that. It’s completely false.

        I doubt if Marc has even done enough research to be able to say authoratively that all Christian sects explicitly banned contraception. His post does not indicate that he has done any such research, but in any case, it would be foolish to argue from this that “all Christians” regarded contraception as a moral “no-no”.

        Protestant Christianity tends strongly towards the primacy of the individual conscience. Regardless of what any sect decreed, any Christian may decide that they’re not going to conceive unwanted children yet not give up having marital intercourse, and so use contraception. When the Catholic Church banned the Pill from Italy, women smuggled it in: Christian women who, asking themselves “who then is my neighbour?” decided that the Italian Christians who wanted to put themselves in control of their own fertility, who did not want to continue the cycle of unwanted conception/abortion, were their neighbours, and helped them out.

        Abortion rates fall wherever contraception is readily available, because women don’t have to abort unwanted pregnancies – they just don’t conceive them. Marc’s sudden crusade against contraception presumably means he’s now become pro-abortion. Odd, that.

        • Marc Barnes

          While contraception may have limited effects on reducing the abortion rates over a small period time, countless studies show that the widespread use of contraception does not reduce the abortion rates, but increases it.


          Even Planned Parenthood’s research institute points out that the majority of of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

          So I think one can be safely anti-contraception and pro-life.


          • Alexandra

            There are also studies that show that contraceptive use does reduce the abortion rates. A simple google search will pull up many of them.

            As we all know correlation does not prove causation, and that applies here as well. In countries where birth control is easily available, sex education is liberal, and there are less taboos about pre-marital sex abortion rates are very low. The Netherlands are a great example. They have the world’s lowest abortion, and people are taught how to properly use birth control and instead of being shamed for seeking it out, they are encouraged.

            The increase in abortion rate in some countries, such as Spain, is interpreted in terms of the decreasing family sizes. When women take control of their fertility they chose to have less children and use both birth control and abortion to achieve those goals. Better education of the public on the proper usage of birth control and a change in public opinion of the morality of the usage of birth control would probably bring the abortion rates down.

            You have to have the whole package for birth control to bring down abortion rates. You have to teach people how to use it, you need to make it easier for them to get, and you can’t keep shaming them for using it.

          • Skywalker

            Some other reasons why Netherlands has a lower abortion rate are:
            Under Netherlands law,the woman and her physician must agree that her circumstances are compelling. The doctor must inform her of other possible solutions. To give a woman time for reflection, there must be a lapse of at least five days between her first consult with her doctor and the actual abortion.
            Abortion is prohibited once the fetus is viable oustide its mother’s body. The absolute limit is after 24 weeks. In practice, however, the limit is 22 weeks.

            Netherlands also offers childcare subsidies.

            Even though it is a lower rate, it is still about 33,000 abortions a year. If a country was attacked and 33,000 innocent citizens were killed, it would not be thought of as a small attack.

            In contrast:

            26 out of 50 states require a 24 hour waiting period in the US. Only 9 of these states have laws that effectively require two separate trips to a clinic. South Dakota has a 3 day waiting period as of March 2011.

            States vary as to when abortions are no longer permissible, only 5 states ban abortion after 20 weeks, the rest are later.

            Netherlands stats:

            US stats:


          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            There is no purpose in bringing statistics into an ethical discussion except to distract from the issue at hand. The morality or immorality of penis-balloons, abortifacients, and ovulation-inhibition pills is not determined by whether or not countries that use them in large measure also practice abortion in great numbers.

          • Mark

            “So I think one can be safely anti-contraception and pro-life.” In fact, logical and moral consistency demand it.

            “Even Planned Parenthood’s research… .” Which is why PP’s first task is to push contraceptives, often for free — it’s an investment with a big-time pay-off — as their founder knew all to well.

            The historical fruits of Protestantism have played themselves out into what has inevitably become secular, progressive American society. The acceptance of contraception, (which must precede the acceptance of abortion), was just another (big) Protestant step into falsehood. The war is what it’s always been — battles between Christ’s Church and her enemies.

          • Jmsteve4

            Margeret Sanger was anti-abortion… I just read “TheMoality of Bith Control” for a class. It’s a shot read, and I think it could actally beneficial to directly challenge the points she makes that everyone bought into.

          • 47bwr

            Yes, and remember that Planned Parenthood itself was anti abortion at one time, freely admitting that abortion “kills the life of a baby after it has begun”.

            Sanger, held up by PP as a great hero, was just an evil woman. She wanted enforced sterilisation of numerous groups of whom she personally disapproved, and she wanted to “create a race of thoroughbreds”. She commented that “the most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it”. She was particularly hostile to “dysgenic races, including Blacks, Hispanics, Amerinds [the native American Indians], Fundamentalists, and Catholics”.

            Sanger was also completely wrong about birth control, arguing that freely available contraception would lead to an end to abortion.

            (Quotations from http://www.whycatholic.co.uk/txt/abortion7.html)

          • Jmsteve4

            Yup, that’s also in the text. A few paragraphs frm the end. I had a couple people in my class argue that she only said it becase no one who didn’t recomend eugenics got any recognition, but I don’t really care. I disagree with her. I’m just saying that Mark didn’t do his research, and that I think we need to attack her points head on eventully.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “While contraception may have limited effects on reducing the abortion rates over a small period time”

            I was going to respond, but I see Alexandra already did.

        • kmpreo

          Couldn’t those Italian Christian women just have stopped having sex?

          Also, as for abortion rates going down after contraception use increased, I don’t think it has been mentioned yet in these posts that contraception pills CAUSE abortions. The fertilized egg (baby) is not allowed to implant in the mother’s uterus and thus it is expelled (aborted.)

          • Tally Marx

            She doesn’t care; she doesn’t believe in the right to life.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            Tally, given that you spent quite a lot of time on my blog convincing me that you don’t mind women having abortions so long as they’re illegal, I find that … ironic.

          • Tally Marx

            That is not what I said at all; that was you leaping to conclusions while I refused to change the subject of whether or not abortion is wrong in the first place. To which problem you replied that there is no basic right to life.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            Unfortunately for you, your repeated assertions that you don’t care about diminishing the abortion rate so long as abortion stays illegal, are right there on my blog.

          • Tally Marx

            I didn’t say I didn’t care; you assumed I didn’t because I don’t support contraceptives. Big difference. And I would be happy for anyone here to read our discussion on your blog. And if they have questions, I’d be happy for them to email me.

          • Alexandra

            That is simply not true. Hormonal birth control prevents ovulation, which means that eggs cannot be fertilized.

            Though I have heard that the reason NFP method works as well as it does not because it prevents conception, but because the eggs that are fertilized at the fringes of a woman’s fertile period are less viable and spontaneously aborted. So NFP actually causes abortion, while hormonal birth control prevents it.


          • Amanda

            That’s ridiculous. NFP does not CAUSE abortion. NFP isn’t a pill or something that changes the way a womans body works. The PILL causes unnatural chnages in a womans body which can sometimes cause a zygote baby to be aborted. Big differnce :) An analogy could be: Spontaneous abortion is a parallel to someone dying from a heart attack while a therapeutic abortion could be compared as similar to someone shooting/murdering another.

            Get it?

          • Alexandra

            You don’t seem to get it my point. NFP leads to fertilizing many eggs that will be spontaneous abortion.

            If you’re saying that spontaneous abortion of fertilized eggs is not tragic, then you must not really believe that a fertilized egg represents a life. If you believe that a fertilized egg represents a life, then it is tragic that couples are choosing to fertilize many eggs through NFP because they know that they will not be viable and will abort.

            Heart attack or shooting, it’s death, and by the Church’s definition murder.

          • Elizabeth

            Dying of natural causes is not murder, and the Catholic Church does not deem all death as murder. We all die at some point. There has to be intent for a death to be a murder. Intentionally contracepting may result in an unnatural and untimely death for the baby. Conceiving and then losing the baby to natural causes is out of our control. Miscarriages are not murders.

            Sometimes we know we miscarried, and sometimes we do not know. We have little control over that reality, and it is a tragedy. The loss of life is always tragic. We do our best to support the natural lifespan of all individuals, and we morn the deaths of our friends and family nonetheless.

          • Alexandra

            Also hormonal birth control does not work by causing abortion. Plan B, the emergency contraception, does cause abortion in terms of that it prevents implantation, but hormonal birth control works by preventing ovulation.

          • Colleen

            Alexandra–While the intended mechanism of hormonal birth control is to prevent ovulation, in many women an occasional ovulation does occur, even when the pill is taken correctly. In these circumstances, the fertilized egg may be implanted; however, a secondary action of hormonal contraceptives is to weaken the uterine lining such that implantation becomes more difficult. In this case the zygote will be lost, in other words, an abortion would occur.

            The ‘emergency contraceptive’ Plan B isn’t some kind of fancy chemical that causes spontaneous abortion, it’s really just a higher dose of the exact same substances in your regular oral contraceptives. In fact, when I was in pharmacy school they instructed us that a woman taking OCs who believes she has need of Plan B can just take a week’s worth of her pills for the same effect. The argument that OCs only work by preventing ovulation is scientifically accurate and very misleading.

          • Colleen

            *scientifically INaccurate, sorry

          • therese

            Alexandra, see Arch Fam Med. 2000;9:126-133 for escape ovulation rates of various hormonal contraceptives. For standard OCs the range may be from a low of 1.7% to 28.6% per cycle. For progestin-only contraceptives 33 to 65%.
            Also, you certainly reveal a lack of understanding of how NFP works. There is no such thing as “waiting to have sex until you know that any potential fertilized egg will be too weak to continue into a pregnancy.” A couple who has chosen to avoid pregnancy waits until her biomarkers indicate she is infertile. Infertile. There is no ovum to fertilize.

          • Alexandra

            I just don’t see how you can argue that waiting to have sex until you know that any potential fertilized egg will be too weak to continue into a pregnancy is morally superior to the very rare occurrence that ovulation will occur while on hormonal birth control leading to an egg that is fertilized and is aborted because the uterine lining is too thin for implantation.

            They are both conscious choices on the individual’s part to prevent pregnancy by relying on the fact that any potential fertilization will likely be followed by spontaneous abortion.

          • Anonymous

            FYI “Abortion” means something much broader medically than just “willful termination of a developing embryo.”

            Also, even though the “day after” pill is typically spoken of as a “contraceptive,” it does not work in the same way as most contraceptives. The former does indeed often terminate a fertilized zygote, the latter typically prevents conception in the first place.

            I’m sorry, but getting these basic facts and definitions wrong kind of makes the rest of us pro-life advocates look even more uneducated than we are typically assumed to be.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “Couldn’t those Italian Christian women just have stopped having sex? ”

            So the Italian Christian men could all have had sex with each other instead?

            “Also, as for abortion rates going down after contraception use increased, I don’t think it has been mentioned yet in these posts that contraception pills CAUSE abortions.”

            I would guess that Marc is saving up that bit of unscience – or put it bluntly, that lie – for another post.

            Contraceptive pills work by preventing a woman from ovulating. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that the Pill would stop a fetus from implanting. Indeed, there are multiple case studies of women who forgot to take the pill once, ovulated, and not realising they were pregnant, stayed on the pill for months – and had the baby.

            Going on the pill prevents abortions. End of. Any political/religious opposition to women going on the pill* is pro-abortion.

            *Women in general. Individual women will obviously consult with their doctor and make the decision best for them.

        • Marfuh

          Mr. Eye, you sure do enjoy telling other people how much more you know than they. Let’s take a note from Milton and be “lowly wise” in discussions, shall we? I have a hard time taking you seriously when you don’t.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            Ah yes:

            Heav’n is for thee too high
            To know what passes there; be lowlie wise:
            Think onely what concernes thee and thy being;
            Dream not of other Worlds, what Creatures there
            Live, in what state, condition or degree,
            Contented that thus farr hath been reveal’d
            Not of Earth onely but of highest Heav’n.

            Not exactly advice to shut up when you do know what you’re talking about, is it?

        • Leila

          EdinburghEye, you may want to do a little more investigation. Where contraception is widely accepted, abortion always follows. The two are intrinsically linked, and flow from the same mindset. Even the liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged the unholy alliance of the two:


          When secular liberals and devout Catholics agree on something, it’s time to take note.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “Where contraception is widely accepted, abortion always follows. ”

            Other way round.

            Successful abortion – ie pregnancy terminated, patient lives – has been documented for at least 2500 years: and where abortion was not successfully practiced – since until the the 20th century and the development of antibiotics it was often unsafe, unwanted babies were killed.

            All cultures have practiced infanticide in some form or another until the 20th century. Once contraception became easily and cheaply available, and abortion became as safe as it is today, abortion is more widely available and more accepted than contraception, because abortion just has to happen once every so often, whereas contraception, to work, must be used every time. So where contraception is not available to women, abortions rates are high – something Marc obviously desires.

            Where contraception is widely used, the abortion rate goes down. For some reason, Marc doesn’t like this idea. Nor does Tally, who came by my blog to argue that it didn’t matter how many abortions happen, just so long as they’re illegal.

          • Anonymous

            In the United States, the “right” to have an abortion stems directly from the “right” to use contraception. The Supreme Court relied on the precedent established in Griswold v. Connecticut to get to its decision is Roe. In law school, most legal arguments for abortion we discussed were premised on this nebulous notion of a right to sexual determination. None of this “rights” stuff is Biblical, of course. Being a person who’s “read the Bible all the way through,” you’d know that, though.

            Which makes sense, of course. The notion of the individual right to control your reproductive end starts with contraception and ends with abortion. So, regardless of statistics, there is no doubt a direct philosophical link from contraception to abortion. And from abortion to today: the right to have sex whenever you want it. From there, to sharp criticism of or hatred toward people who think otherwise. From there, the slow death of a culture.

        • Jmsteve4

          Edinburgh you have returned! I was wondering where you went. Though maybe you alreadyknew that. I hven’t checked for replies to my last post yet.

        • Anonymous

          “Protestant Christianity tends strongly towards the primacy of the individual conscience.”

          And this is the exact reason why Protestantism will be dead within the next 100 years. Or so identical to secular morality, it won’t even matter any more. You do realize that “primacy of the individual conscience” is the exact thing every secular person on the planet says, right? “I know what feels right.” “I’m not going to listen to old, dead white guys.” Cool. You don’t sound like an ignorant child at all. I promise.

          I also find this “abortion drops when there is more access to contraception” argument such nonsense. It’s irrelevant. Abortion would drop if we killed all teenage girls in the country as well. If I support stronger laws that protect the lives of teenage girls, I’m suddenly pro-abortion?

          If abortion is immoral, which IS the argument, then it doesn’t matter if abortion rates drop when it is more readily available. (Incidentally, statistics like these are completely pointless. You can’t measure cultural norms with statistics. You can’t measure how people view sexuality based on statistics. And our view of sexuality has Absolutely changed since contraception became first legal, then readily available.) You remember good ole’ Paul, right? Being such an Excellent Biblical scholar and all.

          Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν; ἐπιμένωμεν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, ἵνα ἡ χάρις πλεονάσῃ; μὴ γένοιτο: οἵτινες ἀπεθάνομεν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, πῶς ἔτι ζήσομεν ἐν αὐτῇ;

          μὴ γένοιτο, man; μὴ γένοιτο.

        • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

          “You completely failed to answer the charge, for example, that until the 1930s (when the world *did* go to hell in a handcart), contraception was a no-no to all Christians.”

          Oh, that. It’s completely false.

          What is your data? The first Protestant approval of contraception, to my knowledge, came from the Anglican Church in the 1930s.

          If you have evidence of its approval in some other Protestant sect prior to that, please present it.

    • Marc Barnes


      Onan did indeed act selfishly and controllingly, as you do well to point out, but it was the selfish ACT of contraception that the Lord punished. This much seems apparent — “And what HE DID was displeasing…”


      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        That’s as confused a response to the story of Tamar as your previous post declaring that giving individuals the legal right to decide for themselves about contraception, was somehow against “freedom of religion”. You’re asserting freedom of religion for corporate bodies, and crying with annoyance that individual freedom of religion with regard to contraception is protected? Very confused thinking.

        Makes sense only – really – if what you’re objecting to is that individual women get to decide for themselves whether and when they’ll have children. Which is Onan’s sin.

        • Marc Barnes

          I’m confused as to what you’re arguing. This post is saying that the individual act of contraception is sinful based on Scripture, based on the fact that the Lord punished Onan with death, not public humiliation, the latter which would have been the lawful punishment had Onan simply been guilty of not allowing Tamar to have the child she wanted. What part of the biblical story makes you think otherwise?

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            “based on the fact that the Lord punished Onan with death, not public humiliation”

            According to Genesis, God also struck down Er, Onan’s older brother. And Judah was clearly worried the same thing would happen to Shelah.

            “What part of the biblical story makes you think otherwise?”

            The story is of Judah marrying a Canaanite woman. His three older sons were all half-Canaanite: Judah’s surviving son by his Canaanite wife, Shelah, marries and founds new tribe, the Shelanites – who are named in Numbers 26, but disappear thereafter, they are not counted among the Israelites.

            Tamar, whose background is not given, but who appears to have been a daughter of the Abrahamic tribes, eventually fulfils her Biblical destiny to have children of the tribe of Judah by having sex with Judah. The penalty for this is death for both according to Leviticus 20:12, but because Tamar acted only to have a son of the tribe of Judah, and Judah did not know the woman he had sex with was his daughter-in-law, and the result was two sons descended from Abraham, without Canaanite intermixing, Tamar and Judah’s behaviour is held to be righteous.

            Onan’s part of the story is to be born half-Canaanite and to die for it. The story specifies that he entered Tamar and then spilled his seed to make clear the marriage was consumnated but Tamar was childless.

            The key thing about reading Biblical stories, like reading any other set of myths and legends, is to grasp the historical context in which they were set down. Retconning the story of miscegenation punished by death into “God doesn’t like contraception!” doesn’t get you anywhere.

          • Bill Bannon

            I think I Tim.2:15 is indisputably in favor of children because it ties women’s salvation to childbearing:
            ” Yet she shall be saved through childbearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.”

            The Onan passage is about something far deeper than coitus interruptus or the levirate obligation. God only intimately kills individuals Himself in the Bible for sacrilege not sex, not greed, not stealing. He kills Uzzah for touching the ark…sacrilege; He kills Achan for stealing the gold of Jericho that was sacredly dedicated to God…sacrilege; He kills the sons of Eli for misusing the priesthood…sacrilege; He kills Herod in Acts 12 for accepting the crowd calling him “god”… sacrilege; He kills Ananias and wife for lying to the Holy Spirit…sacrilege.
            He kills Onan because Onan was risking the non appearance of Christ through the house of Judah (Rev.5:5) which house was only 4 men…Er, Onan,Shelah and Judah. Each male that did coitus interruptus in that family with Tamar risked the House of Judah ending right then and there but God sees all from eternity and knew that Perez, the ancester of Christ, would come from Judah’s sin of fornication and Tamar’s sin of incest…sins in the later law that post dates them…hence they are not killed.
            Augustine veered all Western writers off track because Augustine had sinned heavily in the area of sex. When he got to Onan, he saw himself and his past….and sex. Ergo he never noticed the deeper level….that the story is about the sacrilege of risking the non appearance of Christ. The levirate sin (Jerome) is punished lightly as you note…but coitus interruptus is not punished at all. I Tim.2:15 is better for affirming childbearing…..though some women can’t have children at all in marriage and are saved elsewise.

        • filiusdextris

          I’m not sure if you’re trying to obfuscate, and you may have to make allowances for my lack of intelligence, but could you please rephrase your idea. As of right now, your response is totally incomprehensible to me (but do lay off the rhetoric of Marc being “confused” and “crying” especially since you’re on his blog, and since such reductionism doesn’t advance your own arguments).

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            I think that Marc will continue to believe that freedom of religion should not exist for people who disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church, no matter what I say to him.

          • Jmsteve4

            Sigh… We’re not attacking anyone’s religious freedom here… We’re just trying to change their minds. We won’t shoot them if they don’t agree. The reason we want abotion outlawed is because that’s less about religious freedm and more about murder.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Where did you find a Catholic arguing with you that you ought to be fined or otherwise punished by the government for using contraceptives?

            I have not seen anyone here denying you your right not to be Catholic.

    • Anonymous

    • kmpreo

      “Onan was in the wrong because he acted selfishly and controllingly: because he thought it was his right to decide whether Tamar would have a child, despite her wishes (and the orders of his father). ”

      Isn’t this a main argument against contraception? It’s not our right to decide whether or not we will have children by contracepting. It’s not our right to keep God’s will away from the marital act. It’s not our right to go against God’s will for us to be fruitful and multiply. You helped make Marc’s point!

      • Anonymous

        This is why I’m tempted to think that he’s trolling. He begins with (in my opinion) a fair critique of Marc’s reading of the passage, before descending into jumping into conclusions that are much more far fetched. (And that analogy at the very end is the kind of hyperbolic statement one would can really only make sarcastically)

        • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

          “(And that analogy at the very end is the kind of hyperbolic statement one would can really only make sarcastically) “

          Not at all. When I read Marc’s tired use of Onan I went back (naturally) to refresh my memory of Genesis. It struck me re-reading it how much agency Tamar shows in the story, and given the events of the past week – Onan, like the prolife movement, angry and controlling and ultimately frustrated: Judah, like Komen, wrongly led but ultimately shown righteousness when publicly shamed: and Tamar getting to have the children she wanted to have, in her own way, under her control, which is very Planned Parenthood.

      • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

        “Isn’t this a main argument against contraception?”

        No, it’s the main argument for free access to contraception. It’s not a man’s right to decide for a woman whether or not she will have children.

        “It’s not our right to keep God’s will away from the marital act.”

        Anyone who believes “God’s will” can be frustrated by using condoms and contraceptive pills is clearly not much of a Bible student!

        “It’s not our right to go against God’s will for us to be fruitful and multiply.”

        Anyone who thinks that for a woman to use contraception in order to have only the children she herself decides she’s going to have, is somehow “frustrating God’s will” for the human species to be fruitful and multiply, has somehow lost track of the fact that there are currently 7 billion human beings in the world. “Fruitful and multiplying” that we are!

        • Musiciangirl591

          i’m a young unmarried woman, do you think i should have free access to artifical contraception?

          • Alexandra

            Of course! Everyone should have free access to contraception.

          • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

            Er… duh?

            If you’re planning to have sexual intercourse with anyone in the near future, yes, of course you should. Otherwise, you run the risk of having to plan how to schedule an abortion or alter all your plans for the next 18 years. How is using contraception not better than having an abortion?

            If you’re not planning to have sexual intercourse with anyone in the near future, you should be carrying a couple of condoms, on the basis that this way you’re covered even if you have unplanned sex – which, again, is better than having an unplanned abortion.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, dude, if you’re planning on having any unplanned sex, you should bring some condoms. I mean, you might accidentally fall on some guy’s penis and get pregnant. That’d suck! And if you don’t bring those condoms, you’re going to have to have an unplanned abortion! And unplanned abortions are Way worse than planned abortions. Which are alright.

    • Anonymous

      Your arguments are ahistorical nonsense. The Bible does not preach this egalitarian, women-have-a-right-to-determine-their-own-reproductive-ends message you think it does. You interpret the Bible, as most people do, through some perverted modern lens. Whether it be through feminism or some other cultural marxist thing. All of your “don’t control women’s reproductive rights” stuff is more than worthless. It’s bad scholarship.

      You also sound like a bit of a snob. And I also assume a Protestant one: ” But I admit, you’ve probably never – as I have – read the Bible beginning to end in multiple translations and with regard to the historical contexts in which these books were written.” Way to go! You’ve read the Bible all the way through? You must know a lot of stuff and know all about morality. And you must’ve been totally objective while doing it. And you must’ve totally understood the languages, even though you were thousand of years removed from them. And you must’ve come to an absolute airtight analysis. Gee.

      I have a graduate degree in this crap from a Protestant university. Yes, I even did exegesis in the original languages! Oh man! Watch out! And you know what all of that showed me. That most people (if not all people) are incapable of stepping outside of their cultural context to do anything with the Bible. This is why any appeal to the Bible today is usually a waste of time. Catholics have the advantage of having an ancient cultural context, even if it is a hundreds times removed. Protestants have nothing. They take the secular status-quo and try to find it it in the Bible. It’s a joke.

      Whatever this verse does or does not condemn, it has nothing to do with female “reproductive rights.” The whole notion of finding “reproductive rights” in the Bible is laughable. The whole concept of “rights” or self-determination as you think you understand it would be completely foreign to an ancient people, Jewish or otherwise. And thank God for that.

      And your analogy to Planned Parenthood only serves to further demonstrate your ignorance.

      • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

        On the side, though I have not your historical background, I have read the Bible numerous times in numerous translations, and yet am an Orthodox Catholic in opposition to EdinburghEye’s position. t=The argument that you must not be pro-life if you’ve studied the Bible is bogus, based on nothing.

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      This is a tirade of nonsense, of course – there is no verse in the Bible that condemns contraception.

      The Catholic position in this matter does not rest on scriptural proof-texting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000134978997 Paul Blazek

    I enjoyed your arguments, but I think it would have been worth your time to also speak about the many commands by God to be fruitful and multiply, as well as the gift it is from God to have children (there are tons of verses for these).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730520187 Aaron Lopez

    You write like you have ADHD.

    I do too.

    ADHD Catholics kicking butt since St. Peter made it cool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/techmage89 Paul Fox

    A point that might be worth making is that the arguments that *did* persuade many protestant churches in the early 20th century were essentially that contraception made eugenics easy and painless, and that the Catholic Church was against it (no one wanted to be associated with the Catholic Church then).

    Well, that’s a bit awkward.

    I don’t think anyone would see the eugenic potential as a positive these days (and if they did, I think that massive error would need addressing first), so I really wonder what the argument stands on.

    Because no practically Christians accepted contraception until the 30s, I think it ought to be asked what arguments exist for *changing* the historical teaching. Because, honestly, I have found no scriptural arguments for the morality of contraception whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry Marc, but a lot of people go and get themselves smitten in the Old Testament, and it’s not always God following the letter of the passed down law, so I’m not sure I can agree with your reasoning. Is that the same line of reasoning that traditionally the passage has been interpreted as attacking coitus interuptus? (At least, the rest of your post seems to indicate that historically the passage has been interpreted that way)

    Also, do you know at what point the Jews actually did begin teaching a condemnation of such things? I’m sure the earliest Judaic teachings would help these arguments.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381245394 Paolo Munoz

      The Encyclopedia Judaica (Vol.4,p.1054, article “Birth Control”) states: “Jewish tradition ascribed the practice of birth control to the depraved humanity before Noah (Gen. R. 23:2,4; Rashi to Gen. 4:19,23).” (For further confirmation of Jewish views on this point, cf. H. Hirsch Cohen, The Drunkenness of Noah [University of Alabama Press.].) The Encyclopedia article adds that on the basis of Gen. 38:9-10, “the Talmud sternly inveighs against ‘bringing forth the seed in vain’, considering it a cardinal sin (Nid. 13a). . . .Strictly Orthodox [Jews, . . . . for religious reasons, refuse to resort to birth control." In the same Encyclopedia, under "Onanism" (Vol. 12, p.1495), it is stated that the act of Onan "is taken . . . by the Talmud (Yev. 34b) to refer either to unnatural intercourse or (cf. Nid. 13a) to masturbation. The Zohar [a13th century work] expatiates on the evil of onanism in the second sense.” Other works by Jewish authors corroborating this tradition include D. Feldman, Marital Relations, Birth Control and Abortion in Jewish Law (NewYork: Schocken Books, 1974) and J. Cohen, Be Fertile, Increase, Fill the Earth and Mater It (Cornell University Press, 1989).

      Bereshis: Genesis – A New Translation with a Commentary Authorized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic Sources (Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1980, Vol.5, p.1677).

      • Anonymous

        That is an awesome list of resources, I will definitely be checking them out for further study. Thank you!

  • Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    Brilliant. Never stop writing.

  • http://www.onemoremum.blogspot.com/ Mrs L

    This is good. For the open-hearted, there is a great deal more in scripture that speaks against contraception. Or more specifically- speaks to life. Sincerely seeking after God’s heart on this issue will generally lead one to believe- God desires children and speaks of them as gifts- why don’t we?
    From all that I know of women’s fertility and our natural design- it is God’s design that we use our reproductive years reproducing. To go against God’s design, to violate our bodies and in some cases self-mutilate (for what else can one call cosmetic sterilisation?), the onus of proof and substantial Biblical backing is on the person who chooses to contracept- not on the one who lives out his life in accordance with God’s design.

  • https://www.sff.net/people/john-c-wright/index.html Johncwright2001


  • JoAnna Wahlund

    “Not one, single Protestant denomination before the 1930′s held that the use of artificial contraception was anything but sinful. ”

    I brought this up to a Protestant friend of mine, and asked her, “So, was God wrong or did He change His mind? If it’s the former, He allowed every single denomination to teach error for over 1,900 years; if it’s the latter, then any sin can be justified in this basis.”

    Her response? “I won’t let you paint me into a corner. Birth control is not wrong.”

    Just makes you want to bang your head against the wall, doesn’t it?

    • Alexandra

      It really does! It’s almost like people are reading the Bible and deciding it means what they want their god to have said!

      It seems like people are trying to use ancient texts to argue whatever they have decided is immoral instead of just thinking about what increases the most good in the world.

      • Anonymous

        “Increases the most good in the world.”

        Define good? Justify that definition? Nah, don’t worry about it.

        • Alexandra

          Yeah, it’s definitely not worth it to argue what is good with people who believe that God is good and therefore what he tells us to do is good. There’s no reasoning with that kind of thinking.

          • Anonymous

            You’re the one making broad, vague statements like “instead of just thinking about what increases the most good in the world.” It kind of, uh, begs the question.

          • Alexandra

            Well I’m guessing you and I disagree on what is good and there’s no point in delving into it because it’d mostly be boring. Also, clearly it’s not a simple thing to do to define and justify what is good. I’m not gonna write some kind of graduate thesis in the comment section of a blog, so saying ‘you’re being so vague’ is just being obnoxious.

          • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

            Well I’m guessing you and I disagree on what is good and there’s no point in delving into it because it’d mostly be boring.

            If this is your attitude, then you are unprepared to have a discussion of ethics or any other philosophical topic.

      • Rachel K

        Alexandra, the post itself noted that we’re beginning with the premise that the Bible actually means something. Clearly you don’t see “the Bible says so” as something persuasive, which is why this post wasn’t intended for you. So why waste your time in the combox on this one?

      • Michael Ejercito

        The ancient text was the Word of God.

        Read Deut 4:2

    • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

      “Her response? “I won’t let you paint me into a corner. Birth control is not wrong.” ”

      Which cut the ground completely from under your feet. Props to your friend for not letting you drag her into a long argument about whether we should pay more attention to the obvious good of contraception now, or what fallible humans used to think about it in the 19th century.

      “if it’s the latter, then any sin can be justified in this basis.””

      You’d have to be a fairly evil person to want to justify literally any sin on the basis that contraception is now considered okay. Are you?

      • Del

        Yes… there are a lot of fairly evil people in the world today who are doing just this: justifying sin by discounting ancient wisdom.

        We have lobbyists for euthanasia.
        We have researchers who make and kill and modifie human embryos.
        We have lobbyists for unnatural unions seeking to be recognized like natural families.

        Quite frankly, the genocides and atrocities of the Nazis and the Communists are all justified by saying that the old morality was superstitious and flawed, and so humanity can only be improved by imposing a new and ruthless morality based on individual desires.

      • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

        Which cut the ground completely from under your feet.

        No, it was simply a refusal to address the question.

  • Bill bannon

    Neither coitus interruptus was the sin nor breaking the leverate obligation to the brother was the sin….Onana by using coitus interruptus constantly was risking the non appearance of Christ who was destined to come from the house of Judah (Rev.5:5) which was only 4 men….Judah and his three sons….Er, Onan, and Shelah.
    Jerome saw Onan’s sin as not raising children in his deceased brother’s name and Augustine saw Onan’s sin as coitus interruptus. Both were incorrect. The later levitical law punished lightly Jerome’s choice but what apologetics writers never mentions is that the later levitical law doesn’t punish coitus interruptus at all….forget about lightly.
    Something far more awful (risking Christ’s not appearing) was happening in Onan’s choice of
    coitus interruptus which the recent translations show that Onan did “whenever he went in to
    Tamar” not the once of some old translations. Catholic authors are very sex conscious because
    most of them for two thousand years gave up sex but still had to resist it. But such authors do
    not notice that in the very same story God does not kill Tamar for incest with Judah nor does
    God kill Judah for fornication with what he thinks is a prostitute.
    Secondly God only kills in scripture intimately for sacrilege…not for sex sins. Even in David’s son case, a sacrilege was involved because God had killed 72 descendants of Jeconiah for not greeting the ark ( a sacrilege…like Uzzah touching the ark and then being killed by God). Uriah whom David killed and whose wife he took….was a non Jew sacred to God because he refused to go home until the ark had a home also. God kills the sons of the high priest Eli….for sacrilege of misusing the priesthood and eating the choice sacrifices. God kills Achan for stealing the precious metals of Jericho which were sacred to the Lord. God even in the New Testament kills Herod Antippas in Acts 12 for accepting the crowd calling him “god”. God kills Ananias and wife in Acts 5 for lying to the Holy Spirit about the money. And the one time that Christ is violent is in the temple against the money changers who were using the space reserved for gentile prayer.
    God killed Er and Onan for not having children because in their case it risked the non appearance of Christ who then comes from Perez the baby born of the sins of Judah and Tamar for which sexual sins neither is killed by God.

    • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

      Actually (see above) I’m pretty sure that to the people for whom the story was written, God killed Er and Onan because otherwise the House of David would descend from a Canaanite woman.

      The story of Ruth of course reverses that point, and has Ruth the Moabite woman one of David’s ancestors, but only very foolish people expect the many books of the Bible to be consistent with each other.

      • Bill Bannon

        Then those people were ignoring the text which says God killed Onan for an action not for his ethnicity. Leave the text and you enter human imagination.The question then is which action….coitus interruptus or risking the non appearance of Christ through coitus interruptus. The next step is to note when God kills individuals or small groups in the Bible and it is always for sacrilege. Another example is the 42 boys who mock the prophet Eliseus and are killed by two bears.

  • filiusdextris

    John Kippley has a nice short article on the subject that agrees with Marc’s take that Genesis 38:8-10 is an explicit anti-contraceptive warning. http://www.nfpandmore.org/2007%20May%20%20SIN%20OF%20ONAN.pdf

  • Barbara Fryman

    Keep in mind I’m 4000 week pregnant, so a little bit “short” with certain arguments/complaints about certain mandates. But I wanted to share my blog post with you. I hope you find it useful…

  • Daniel

    The Church’s teaching on artificial contraception is wise and loving. However, the use of Onan’s sin to biblically justify it is lacking. Sure there was a provision in the law for a man who wouldn’t provide offspring for his deceased brother’s wife. Death is not the punishment according to the law. But to suggest that we are left with the two options, God is a tyrant, or he was killed for something else, is misleading.

    If God becomes a tyrant for not following the laws He gave to His people, He would be a tyrant for other instances. David and Bathsheeba. Two sins, murder and adultery. Punishment for both: the death of the perpetrator. Before you consider David’s survival an act of mercy, his child is the one killed. God did not follow his own law. Is God a tyrant? Insert the innumerable instances when God acted in a way that went beyond the Mosaic Law.

    Talk about the blessing of children, talk about the sanctity of the marriage bed, talk about the co-creative power of marital love. But Onan is at best weak support for the exclusion of contraception.

  • mary york

    Hi JoAnna (and Marc) It’s mary. While I find your bringing up the bit about Onan to be interesting. In the same light, how are you to interpret: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
    New International Version (NIV)?

    34 Women[a] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[b]

    And…this is from the NEW Testament.

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      This is irrelevant to the discussion. How do you see the two as related?

      St. Paul, in the passage you quote, is addressing a specific problem of the Corinthian church, apparently involving the disruption of the liturgy by certain women.

      Beyond that, although you might not like it much, women are indeed under obligation to be “in submisison” to proper authority, as are, come to think of it, men. Proper authority, although I’m certain to get flamed for saying so, includes the husband, who is head of the household. Just to defuse all the nonsense that may follow that comment, no, that does not mean that men get to beat their wives, and no, that does not mean that women are unjustified in separating from abusive husbands. Actually, a proper biblical understanding of headship involves agonizing self-sacrifice: the man gets to be head of the family, but only if he is willing to be crucified.

  • Tn Pigg

    If Onan was punished because he pulled out and spilled his sperm on the ground…then why aren’t million of puberty ridden boys struck down for night time ejaculation (wet dreams)? Isn’t that a bunch of life being killed off? And what about a man with premature ejaculation? He ejaculates before even entering his wife…Shouldn’t God kill him as well?

    Now I know your response: They can’t control what their body does, so God will not punish them for that.

    Counter argument is that althere are a variety of sins that are now attributed to a mix up of natural occurrences. Will not God punish those people for their sins?

    And I would think that if God said that not spiling your seed was so important, he would divinely intervene in the human body and stop all the premature ejaculation and wet dreams. But he doesn’t.

    So perhaps God is inconsistent with which occassion of sin he punishes? Or perhaps the case of Onan was not that he pulled out, but that he denied a direct command from God. And perhaps this command isn’t made for everyone- hence why I was never killed for coitus interruptus with my ex-girlfriend.

    Now, my belief is this. Yes, Scripture indicates that Children are a blessing. I believe this whole heartedly. But it is not a blessing if you already have 5 children, and cannot afford more. Sure, you can say “well don’t have sex”. Uh…You want me to stop showing physical attraction to my wife? You said in your last post…”Sex is for life AND pleasure”. If I have already created life several times over, then why can I not move on to simply enjoying the physical interaction with my wife?

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      If Onan was punished because he pulled out and spilled his sperm on the ground…then why aren’t million of puberty ridden boys struck down for night time ejaculation (wet dreams)?

      I’m sorry, but . . . FAIL. Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever claimed that having a wet dream is sinful. You can find old Catholic moral writings addressing the very subject, and they never claim what you are suggesting they ought to claim. This is, of course, because there is a world of difference between a deliberate act and one that is not deliberate. Onan deliberately frustrated the natural primary end of the sex act. An adolescent boy, or older male for that matter, who has a nocturnal emission has deliberately frustrated nothing. Even under the Jewish law code, an involuntary nocturnal emission meant nothing other than a brief period of ritual impurity (not the same thing as guilt for deliberate sin). In Christianity, which does not have a code of ritual purity, it means little at all.

  • Liberty 504

    Well the Bible also supports subjugation of women and slavery….So does that mean we should subjugate women and keep slaves? (the answer is no…)

    • Alexandra

      Well, that just supports this argument doesn’t it? Prohibiting birth control subjugates women and prohibiting abortion, especially when prohibiting it in cases of rape, forces a woman to have a pregnancy, which is basically slavery.

      We’re both just going to get accused of taking scripture out of context.

      • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

        Actually, the first accusation to be made against you will be that you compared pregnancy to slavery.

  • Caroline

    Well I hope that Marc didn’t just rephrase Kippley, because the Kippleys are the worst thing ever to happen to Catholics. I say this as a conservative Catholioc.

  • ST. Markeymark

    A National Cancer Insitute (US GOV’T) factsheet quote: “Some studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer in women taking oral contraceptives” and “Oral contraceptives have been shown to increase the risk of cervical cancer” and “A 1996 analysis of worldwide epidemiologic data conducted by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer found that women who were current or recent users of birth control pills had a slightly elevated risk of developing breast cancer. The risk was highest for women who started using OCs as teenagers. ” ???

    Also In a July 29th 2005 press release, the World Health Organization declared that combined estrogen-progestogen Oral Contraceptives are carcinogenic to humans. Specifically, they said that “Use of OC’s increases risk of breast, cervix, and liver cancer.” The data was presented by a working group of 21 scientists from 8 countries convened by the cancer research agency of the WHO, the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
    Companies that make birth control pills also have admitted a link between the drug and breast cancer.

  • Blake

    I think there is a very plausible interpretation of Onan’s sin that defuses your argument. You correctly point out that Onan’s sin must have been more severe than merely refusing to raise up children for his brother (given the severity of his penalty). You conclude from this that the additional sinfulness must reside in his contraceptive act, but I don’t think this conclusion immediately follows.

    If you read Deuteronomy 25:7-10 carefully you see that public humiliation was reserved for those who refused to take their brother’s widow as their own wife (see the very first part of verse 7). These men were refusing to marry, and thus refusing to have sex with their brother’s widows at all. But Onan is obviously having sex with his brother’s widow. Thus he seems to have taken his brother’s widow as his own wife. He has publicly taken on the responsibility of giving her children (and thus avoided the humiliation that he would have had to endure), but he is refusing to fulfill his duty in private.

    In other words, here is another possible reason why Onan’s sin is worse than the typical case: Onan not only refuses to fulfill his duty to his brother, but he publicly declares himself to be following the law while privately disregarding his duty so as to appear righteous and avoid humiliation. I think this is a very plausible interpretation of what’s going on here. Not only is Onan refusing to fulfill his duty, but he’s trying to cover it up. He’s trying to get around his deserved punishment by deceiving the community.

    I might also add the following: Onan could have accomplished his deception without actually having sex with his brother’s widow. For instance, he could have publicly taken his brother’s widow as his wife but then abstained from having sex with her. Thus, in having sex with his brother’s widow, he was helping himself to a privilege that was only afforded to him so that he could keep his brother’s line alive. So not only was he trying to deceive the community, but he was also granting himself sexual privileges without any of the responsibilities.

    Thanks for the interesting argument. I grew up Protestant but I’m exploring Catholicism.

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      You are correct that Onan is refusing to fulfill his levirate obligation. This does not quite diffuse the argument, however. Keep in mind that scripture, in the Catholic view, does not exist in isolation, but within the whole body of traditional teaching. Before the 1930s, nobody tried to make this passage in Genesis anything other than a condemnation of contraception. The whole of Christian tradition is against the interpretation that Onan’s only fault was failure of levirate duty.

      Remember, too, that this is a second post in a series. The natural law argument, which is philosophical, is necessarily stronger than the argument from scripture, which is appeal to authority.

    • Rachel K

      One could also argue that contraception in general grants one “sexual privileges without any of the responsibilities.” Your argument about Onan’s hypocrisy is definitely interesting, though.

    • spookymulder8

      Then why was he put to death, killed by God no less, instead of just being punished for giving false witness or simply publicly lying? In which case Deuteronomy laws would still apply for failing to fulfill his duty, and public humiliation would be called for. Of course there is a potential argument for adultery here which merits death.

      All in all, the long held tradition amongst Jews and continue in the Catholic Church is the best means of interpreting the event. It wouldn’t have existed otherwise, and if there were nothing wrong with contraception, then it would make no sense to set up a moral law that would only lead people who widely practiced this to reject your religion. Then there is also the natural law and obvious side effects of the contracepting mentality that have brought us to murder.

      All in all this showcases a fine example of why sola scripture is not a good doctrine. The texts must be interpreted in light of the authority from whom these texts come from and are preserved by.

      • Richard

        Perhaps because the penalty for perjury was death (if I recall right)?

  • fxuyvtr02

    I doubt anyone will read this, but has anybody noticed that it is Judah that commanded Onan and not God who commanded him? So God can’t be punishing Onan for disobeying His command… He didn’t command it, Judah did.

  • Raul E. Fernandez

    Well written, thank you.
    Shame many people continue to try to make God in their image.
    I was a bit surprised you didn’t mention the Catechism, but this argument is great!

  • Corc Hamr

    “I hold that God was punishing him for his act of contraception, for having all the pleasure and none of the procreation — For distorting the natural end of sex. ”

    I would counter this with, before the Law of Moses, God, as creator, would have had the right to do whatever he wanted to someone who violated one of his laws. Therefore, since this example happened before Moses was given the Law to govern the Israelites, he was certainly within his purview to slay the transgressor.

    You also gloss over the other crimes committed in this passage. Verse 7: Judah’s firstborn, Er, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and was put to death. The honoring of one’s brother, culturally, could have been as much about Tamar’s shame as about Er’s children, considering children were traced matrilineally. Tamar having children “by Er” would absolve her of Er’s crimes against God, since she would have proved not to be barren – a common and devastating punishment in the Bible for women of the Old Testament. Reputation is known to be a powerful motivator in the ancient world.

    Verse 8: Judah says to Onan… etc. Onan commits a more grievous sin by dishonoring his father’s wishes and not giving Tamar children. This seems to me to be even more relevant than the contraception argument, in light of the consequences.

    With no subsequent consequence for contraception listed, and only Deut 25:7-10 listed as a consequence for not providing heirs to your brother’s children, I posit that there was more going on than a simple err against the natural order. This was counter to the very attitude of respect that marked several cultures of the ancient world, which commonly saw death both in the Bible and in various cultures across the world. It was the combination of wicked acts that warranted the death verdict, not one thing.

    Oh, before someone gets all high-and-mighty:

    No longer Christian, merely interested in the discussion.

    Still believe your God exists, and deals with his own. One of many. Still think he has a thing against contraception. Just don’t think people will get slain for it.

    Would love to hear genuine counters to this argument, but will laugh hysterically at “You’re going to hell” statements, insults, and other nonsense.


  • Robin McCown

    By that logic, nocturnal emmissions are also sinful. As is NFP. I guess anyone who is married should be having children as often as possible. Oh wait, isn’t that most Catholics (I mean, aside from the majority that have come to their senses and use birth control. The world is vastly different than it was in Biblical times. Infant mortality is much lower. Women work. Women are not property. Why do we expect them to deal with having children the same way?

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      By that logic, nocturnal emmissions are also sinful.

      Can you not tell the difference between an intentional act and an unintentional one?

  • Vincentevaron

    You’re a Bible-thumping, arrogant, thoughtless waste.

    The world would be better off without religion, and naive simpletons like you. Oh, and off all religions, the Catholic faith certainly has the longest history of atrocities. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Using a rubber isn’t godless, it’s RESPONSIBLE.

  • Natewilsch

    Um, so your proof that the Bible is against contraception hinges on the belief that if my brother dies it is my heavenly duty to get his wife pregnant? I admit I might have read something wrong so I’m just asking.

    • http://www.scificatholic.com D. G. D. Davidson

      Not quite. The passage in Genesis depicts the ancient practice of levirate marriage, by which the widow would become the wife of her deceased husband’s brother, and any children she had by him would be legally the children of her dead husband.

      The argument is between those who interpret Onan’s act as wrong in itself, and those who interpret Onan’s act as wrong only because Onan was shirking his levirate duty.

      The first interpretation was universal amongst biblical commentators until very recently.

      No one, to my knowledge, is suggesting a reinstatement of levirate practice.

      Keep in mind, however, that the argument from the Bible is an appeal to authority, and is therefore a weaker argument than the argument from Natural Law, which our host discusses in another post (and to my mind muddles a bit, because he talks a lot about the bad side effects of contraceptive drugs, which may be important in themselves, but are irrelevant to the Natural Law argument; the argument would be the same even if perfectly effective contraceptives without side effects were available).

  • Richard

    The thing is that Protestants are not bound to hold the pronouncements of an man outside of divinely-inspired Scripture. It matters not what Luther, Calvin, Wesley or anyone else wrote, if they don’t have Scripture to back them up. “Nobody before 1930″ doesn’t count either, as if it were possible to prove the negative. We understand them as wise men, but they are not authoritative. No doubt the ‘traditions of the elders’ In Jesus’ day were Sure, the opinions of the world are no guide, but it might give us pause to re-evaluate what is and is not truly Biblical.

    The sin of Onan tells us nothing but that coitus interruptus in the specific instance of being in a position where you had the specific duty to provide heirs for your dead brother was wrong, and are we bound by that duty today, if we are not under the Law? Even if we are, the duty to father offspring for a dead brother is not binding upon any other situation, of necessity.

    I would however argue there is strong Biblical evidence to suggest that being able to bear children is a blessing, and really I think on that basis it’s the attitude of the heart that matters- are we using contraception for a truly good reason, or because we a. want to satisfy our lusts without the burden of bearing and raising children ‘cramping our style’ and b. we hold the blesing of the Lord in contempt?

  • http://twitter.com/MatthewWheeland Matt Wheeland

    Point 1 by the author: “The Israelites would’ve thought it stupid to not have children because they didn’t want to be killed off” (summary)
    My response: First, thinking something is DUMB is one thing but thinking of it as SINFUL is another. Similarly, we do not care what about the opinion of an Insraelite, we care only about God’s opinion on the matter of conception. Third, this is a extra-biblical point not a biblical point. In other words, it uses logic not any form of exegesis.

    Point 2 of author: “Don’t follow Onan’s example. He was sinful.” (summary)
    My response to Point 2: The Onan condemnation was extremely situational. We should know (any one who takes a basic ethics course) that we can not take extremely rare situations and make them the rule for all people.

    If the Onan situation (no contraceptions allowed) is followed in all cases, then it seems the real principle that Christians should abide by is: “All sex is for procreation, and any type of pleasure or unity is of secondary worth.”

    It seems that the author will not allow for the following conclusion:
    1. Children are a blessing.
    2. Newlyweds can’t afford a child right now.
    3. So the couple will delayed the conception for 5 years. However the couple still believes that children are a blessing and plan to have them sometime soon.

    –I do not see why this type of thinking (example above) is morally wrong.

  • Anon

    What if you’re married and then you lose your source of income and want to prevent bringing children into a home you cannot support? There are too many people on welfare to justify not using birth control.

  • JB

    You Catholics are a deluded bunch. Always full of judgement but often so remote from God and his scriptures. I will enjoy the day your “God”, the pope, finally realises the scriptures are silent on contraception and that a twist here and there by past popes to create a million Aids deaths in Africa was not a good thing.

  • Michael Ejercito

    So there exists no commandment specifying “Thou shall not place snakeskin wraps around thy genitals, nor put poison nor wool in thy wife’s birth canal”

    Then that should settle the debate in favor of the argument that the Bible does not generally prohibit contraception.

    (Of course, putting poison inside the birth canal would be murder if done with reckless disregard for the woman;’s safety, or an intent to kill her. But, writing very theoretically, if treating cancer required inserting plutonium inside the birth canal, the Bible does not prohibit it.)

  • Michael Ejercito

    I hold that God was punishing him for his act of contraception, for having all the pleasure and none of the procreation

    You hold “hat God was punishing him for his act of contraception”.

    You are a mere mortal. None of us can hold what God did or intended to do. to the contrary, we merely need to read what was written. Onan went ” in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother”. He was commanded to “not spill his semen on the ground” while “going in to his brother’s wife”. And most importantly, the Bible does not repeat the commandment to Onan for anyone else, let alone humanity general.