Advice to a Christian

Via Feministe, I’ve come across a post called A request for advice, on a blog titled Contraception and Christianity. The author, Contraskeptic, is an evangelical Christian wrestling with the issue of whether it is a sin to use birth control.

As Contraskeptic explains, his wife has been through three difficult, stressful pregnancies, all three of which were C-sections. The third pregnancy was unplanned, and occurred despite their efforts to avoid it by restricting sexual intercourse to the one day per month his wife thought she was least fertile. When she learned that she had become pregnant anyway, she was devastated; she had strongly desired to get out of the house and return to work, and feared for her health both physically and mentally. After finally giving birth, she laid down an ultimatum – no more sex unless her husband was willing to get a vasectomy. He has refused to do this, since he believes it would be a sin.

As a result, their marriage has been devoid of affection for over a year. Neither of them have lost the desire for intimacy, but his wife cannot face the prospect of another pregnancy, and has taken to sleeping on the couch and avoiding physical contact so as to steer clear of temptation. The author writes that the lack of sex has become a wedge between them, and he fears a diminishing of their love which would be harmful to the three children they already have.

Contraskeptic’s dilemma is not a new one. It’s the very same dilemma that couples have faced for thousands of years: suffer through a loveless, celibate marriage, or risk having more children that they aren’t prepared to care for and that could destroy their partnership both physically and emotionally. The difference is that, now, after long effort to understand the world through reason, we have developed simple, effective solutions to this problem, solutions that would so easily free Contraskeptic and his wife from the cruel dilemma in which they find themselves.

And yet, because of dogma – because of beliefs based in faith, unsupported by evidence – this man is refusing to reach out to and take hold of the simple, obvious solution that hangs right in front of him. He is refusing the one measure that could very likely save their troubled marriage, restore their happiness and the intimacy between them, and guarantee a stable and loving home for their children, not because it will cause any harm to himself or to anyone else, but because he holds a belief that a supernatural being which watches over his marriage has decreed that this should not be done.

This is another example, like the others I wrote about in the post “Why Do We Care?“, of how irrational beliefs harm real human beings. Contraskeptic and his wife have chosen to be evangelical Christians, and though I disagree with the beliefs of that worldview, I still want them and their children to have all the love and happiness they can possibly get from life. Sadly, the non-evidence-based beliefs they have adopted are standing in the way and preventing them from seeing what they should do. More than anything else, I want to see human beings freed from the superstitious fetters that impede rational actions to seek their bliss.

The commenters on Contraskeptic’s thread have offered some heartfelt and sound advice, such as this especially eloquent comment from one Bruce Godfrey that perfectly encapsulates the self-chosen nature of Contraskeptic’s dilemma and the easiest step toward ending it:

One human being to another, my heart goes out to you. But intellectual courage may lead you out of this cage; you built its walls, its bars and its doors and the key is in your pocket.

Or this one, from “Mighty Ponygirl”, which draws such a sharp and clear contrast between the irrational demands of religion and the genuine needs of real human beings:

What about the children you have together already? Are you willing to make them suffer watching their parents grow cold and distant to one another in the name of being better Christians?

I have some advice of my own for Contraskeptic. If he should read this (I’ve left a mirrored comment on his site), I hope he’ll accept it not as a personal attack, but rather in the spirit of sincere concern in which I offer it.

You, sir, are being selfish and uncompassionate, and the fact that this behavior is motivated by your religious beliefs doesn’t excuse that. Your wife has already suffered through more, and borne greater burdens, than she or anyone else should have to bear. After all she’s been through in the name of her marriage and her family, what she needs is a husband who can love her, who can comfort her, and who can give her the intimacy and emotional closeness she deserves. You are the only one in the world who can give her that, but you are holding back, you say, out of fear of offending God. Do you believe in a god who wants you, your wife and your children all to suffer in a loveless, disconnected marriage? Do you believe in a god who wants your wife to assume almost all the serious risks both physical and emotional associated with sex and pregnancy while you assume next to none of them? Those are both unconscionable options. You have the power to bring about a far better one.

Although I’m an atheist, I won’t bother to argue that you should become one as well. However, I ask you not to let your religion overcome your humanity. Even if such a being as God did exist, he would need nothing from us, nor could anything we do harm or diminish him in any way. On the other hand, your wife and children can be harmed by your actions, and they do need something for you: for you to be there for them, to give them the love they need, and if necessary, to make a sacrifice for the well-being of your family. There can be no motive more impeccable than that. If you fear that God will punish you for doing it anyway, then I suggest that your own moral sense is superior to that of the being you claim to worship, and I invite you to consider whether such an arbitrary and cruel set of commandments deserves to be followed.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Pingback: Atheist Perspective

  • Alex Weaver

    After reading this, I’m feeling quite guilty for bursting out laughing when “sexual intercourse … one day per month” jumped out at me. :(

    Maybe I’ll stop over there and offer him some advice as well. :/

  • Alex Weaver

    After reading this, I’m feeling quite guilty for bursting out laughing when “sexual intercourse … one day per month” jumped out at me. :(

    Maybe I’ll stop over there and offer him some advice as well. :/

  • http://www.dangerousintersection.org Erich Vieth

    I don’t recall reading about vasectomies in the Bible. I constantly hear from practicing Christians about something else that they claim they’ve learned from the Bible: the need for compassion.

    Ebonmuse, the scene you describe reminds me of Sartre’s No Exit. In fact, there are some serious parallels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Exit).

    You are correct, that this is a powerful illustration that irrational beliefs cause real-life dysfunction. I will remember to use this example the next time a Believer claims a little religion never harms anyone, not in this day and age.

  • http://www.dangerousintersection.org Erich Vieth

    I don’t recall reading about vasectomies in the Bible. I constantly hear from practicing Christians about something else that they claim they’ve learned from the Bible: the need for compassion.

    Ebonmuse, the scene you describe reminds me of Sartre’s No Exit. In fact, there are some serious parallels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Exit).

    You are correct, that this is a powerful illustration that irrational beliefs cause real-life dysfunction. I will remember to use this example the next time a Believer claims a little religion never harms anyone, not in this day and age.

  • http://mcv.planc.ee mcv

    It seems that you are obviously more informed on this topic then I am so I’d like to ask you is having non-intercourse sex (oral sex, using toys etc.) also considered a sin for Catholics?

  • http://www.auniversenamedbob.com Matt R

    Ebonmuse,

    Posts like this are what keep me coming back and make me respect you. You have made it clear that your interest is in humanity and not some esoteric philosophical concept. You were very direct in your advice, and I think that sometimes that is necessary. As a Christian, although not Catholic as I imagine the subject of the post is, I agree with your advice wholeheartedly.

    Respectfully,

    Matt

  • http://www.auniversenamedbob.com Matt R

    Ebonmuse,

    Posts like this are what keep me coming back and make me respect you. You have made it clear that your interest is in humanity and not some esoteric philosophical concept. You were very direct in your advice, and I think that sometimes that is necessary. As a Christian, although not Catholic as I imagine the subject of the post is, I agree with your advice wholeheartedly.

    Respectfully,

    Matt

  • http://franksatheisticramblings.blogspot.com frank

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to matter. Contraskeptic has another post up where he’s asking for the opinion of other Christians who believe contraception is a sin for advice.
    He’s not going to listen to you or anyone else that just tells him to get a vascetomy. God has forbidden it, so that’s good enough for him.
    Truly a sad turn of events.

  • Chris

    Maybe you need to put it a bit more starkly for him: does he love his family more than he loves his god?

    Of course, if you ask it right out like that, it’s possible that he will realize that the answer is “No”, but at least they’ll know.

  • http://inthenuts.blogspot.com King Aardvark

    Any really devout Xian person when faced with the choice between God and family has been trained to answer God every time, no hesitation. It’s therefore not surprising that Contraskeptic is bending to his fear of God instead of love for his family.

    Also, ebonmuse, for your last point, suggesting that his own moral sense be superior to that of the being he worships, therefore he should rethink his faith, I don’t think that will matter to him. He’s sure in his faith; therefore, God is real. It doesn’t matter if God’s morals are sketchy – since he’s real and demands obedience, you must obey.

    Haven’t been to the site in a couple of weeks. Love the new look.

  • http://inthenuts.blogspot.com King Aardvark

    Any really devout Xian person when faced with the choice between God and family has been trained to answer God every time, no hesitation. It’s therefore not surprising that Contraskeptic is bending to his fear of God instead of love for his family.

    Also, ebonmuse, for your last point, suggesting that his own moral sense be superior to that of the being he worships, therefore he should rethink his faith, I don’t think that will matter to him. He’s sure in his faith; therefore, God is real. It doesn’t matter if God’s morals are sketchy – since he’s real and demands obedience, you must obey.

    Haven’t been to the site in a couple of weeks. Love the new look.

  • schemanista

    Am I the only one that thinks it ironic that his wife has had 3 C-sections? Why didn’t they leave it up to God to deliver the babies safely? Oh wait, because in each case, either the mother or the child or both probably would have died.

    So it’s okay to use a medical procedure to deliver a baby safely, and save both lives, but not okay to safely and permanently prevent conception, and avoid life-threatening complications for the mother in the first place? I wonder how someone manages to get dressed in the morning when dealing with that level of cognitive dissonance.

  • Archi Medez

    “this man is refusing to reach out to and take hold of the simple, obvious solution that hangs right in front of him.”–Ebonmuse.

    No pun intended, I’m sure!

    Seriously though, good article. I agree with others who’ve complimented your humanistic approach in addressing this.

    This couple is refusing the rational solution (drop the irrational beliefs re contraception and celibacy) and a semi-rational solution (circumvent this Church policy and take a look at the scriptures and come up with an interpretation that seems to allow contraception–I believe there are an ample supply of ambiguous verses which could be selected cafeteria-style and interpreted to fit the needs of individuals).

  • Archi Medez

    “this man is refusing to reach out to and take hold of the simple, obvious solution that hangs right in front of him.”–Ebonmuse.

    No pun intended, I’m sure!

    Seriously though, good article. I agree with others who’ve complimented your humanistic approach in addressing this.

    This couple is refusing the rational solution (drop the irrational beliefs re contraception and celibacy) and a semi-rational solution (circumvent this Church policy and take a look at the scriptures and come up with an interpretation that seems to allow contraception–I believe there are an ample supply of ambiguous verses which could be selected cafeteria-style and interpreted to fit the needs of individuals).

  • John P

    So it’s okay to use a medical procedure to deliver a baby safely, and save both lives, but not okay to safely and permanently prevent conception, and avoid life-threatening complications for the mother in the first place? I wonder how someone manages to get dressed in the morning when dealing with that level of cognitive dissonance.

    Good point. Where does his get this “vasectomy is a sin” stuff? The 11th Commandment? “Thou Shalt Not Clip Thy Vas Deferens.”

  • John P

    So it’s okay to use a medical procedure to deliver a baby safely, and save both lives, but not okay to safely and permanently prevent conception, and avoid life-threatening complications for the mother in the first place? I wonder how someone manages to get dressed in the morning when dealing with that level of cognitive dissonance.

    Good point. Where does his get this “vasectomy is a sin” stuff? The 11th Commandment? “Thou Shalt Not Clip Thy Vas Deferens.”

  • anti-nonsense

    I agree with chemanista and John P.

    I find it hard to understand the kind of mind that would place the supposed wishes of an invisible man in the sky in front of his own happiness and the happiness and well being of the woman he promised to love and treasure who is right there in front of him.

    It seems to me that the logical rational thing to do in this stiutation would be to get a vasectomy or have his wife get a tubal ligation. Instead he’s whining on the internet about a problem he could easily solve once and for all anytime he wanted. The only thing holding him back is the decrees of an old man in Rome and the fear of what an invisble man in the sky will do to him after he’s dead.

    I feel sorry for him, and his wife, and his kids. And I agree with Ebonmuse’s advice for this individual. He needs to take a good hard look at his prorities.

  • anti-nonsense

    I agree with chemanista and John P.

    I find it hard to understand the kind of mind that would place the supposed wishes of an invisible man in the sky in front of his own happiness and the happiness and well being of the woman he promised to love and treasure who is right there in front of him.

    It seems to me that the logical rational thing to do in this stiutation would be to get a vasectomy or have his wife get a tubal ligation. Instead he’s whining on the internet about a problem he could easily solve once and for all anytime he wanted. The only thing holding him back is the decrees of an old man in Rome and the fear of what an invisble man in the sky will do to him after he’s dead.

    I feel sorry for him, and his wife, and his kids. And I agree with Ebonmuse’s advice for this individual. He needs to take a good hard look at his prorities.

  • KShep

    This whole episode is remarkably similar to one I heard on the syndicated “Dr. Laura” radio show (I was scanning the radio for something interesting at 3am and caught this questioner before I realized the show was a Dr. Laura repeat). The caller was a devout Catholic husband whose wife was pregnant with their fifth child. All four of their children were delivered c-section. After the third, their doctor told them in no uncertain terms to stop having kids; the mother’s uterine walls were so thin she was risking rupture. Of course, they went ahead and had another. The caller said they tried to use the rhythm method as well as total abstinence to no avail. Now she was pregnant again and their doctor was recommending abortion, since there was such an enormous risk of rupturing her uterus and if that were to happen almost anywhere but in a hospital bed it would surely kill her and her unborn child. The husband didn’t know what to do! Was god testing him?

    Funny, he never mentioned what his wife thought about the whole thing.

    It should go without saying that I was literally screaming at the radio, “You moron!!!! What kind of god would test YOU by killing your wife and depriving your children of their mother? Why would you devote your life to a god that you believe would do such a thing? And who the hell do you think you are making decisions about whether your wife should live or die when there is a way to prevent her death?”

    I don’t think I will ever fully understand what these sheep are thinking.

    As for Contraskeptik’s “dilemma,” I read through the comments following his post and noticed something: an almost universal rejection of the “biblical ban” on contraception, usually by citing or implying the belief that the bible banned contraception in order to help populate the world. With modern medicine, the argument goes, there is little chance the human race will die out due to disease or famine, and since the bible’s authors couldn’t have ever predicted how far medicine would advance the ban is no longer necessary in the modern world. This argument is followed by varying explanations of what they think god would require in this situation.

    I read these comments and thought, “Wouldn’t god, if he existed, issue the occasional indisputable update to the bible so there wouldn’t be any confusion about his word on such matters? Why are these people sitting around GUESSING what god has to say about the modern world?”

    Answer: because the bible is NOT the indisputable word of god. Duh.

    These people are closer to atheism than they know.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    As Frank pointed out, Contraskeptic has posted an update, and I see I’ve misjudged him. Although he was offered reams of sound advice from Christians and atheists alike, it doesn’t seem as if he intends to follow it. He’s repeated his question with the proviso that he’s only seeking answers from evangelical Christians who believe, like him, that getting the vasectomy would be a sin.

    I thought, perhaps too optimistically in retrospect, that Contraskeptic saw what he had to do and was seeking encouragement to do it. Instead, I think the opposite was true. His irrational beliefs have backed him into a corner, but rather than face up to this and accept the challenge of questioning and possibly discarding some of those beliefs, he wants a magical answer that will give him an easy way out without having to change what he believes at all. He says as much in a comment:

    Perhaps there’s something I’m missing here. Perhaps my own presuppositions and upbringing are in the way of seeing a solution. That’s what I’m hoping Christian contraception opponents can answer for me.

    As I have said in the past, though there are no miracles, people still seek them, and overlook the real, non-miraculous answers in the process. This whole episode is a sad example of that. Rather than accept the untenable situation he’s in and do what’s right for his family by changing the mutually exclusive dogmas that have led him into that situation, Contraskeptic continues to disregard reason and hope for magic. I bear no ill will towards him, and I hope he finds a solution that can preserve his marriage and his family, but there is nothing further for me to do. He asked for advice; I answered, along with many others; he will either choose to take that advice or he will not, and there I’ll let the matter rest.

    Oh, and a postscript – here’s an excerpt from his new post, explaining why his wife didn’t get a tubal ligation at the time of her last C-section, that made my blood boil:

    Getting her tubes tied during the last C-section wasn’t an option, as the delivery was at a Catholic hospital.

    Though Contraskeptic’s faith-based selfishness is the primary cause of the situation he is now in, the Catholic church has assumed part of the responsibility by preventing his wife from obtaining another workable solution. In yet another way, their medieval, misogynist dogma has caused tremendous harm and suffering to real people in the name of appeasing an invisible god. For all that they claim to be “pro-family”, the Catholic church is complicit in whatever harm has already befallen this man’s family and whatever further harm may yet occur.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    As Frank pointed out, Contraskeptic has posted an update, and I see I’ve misjudged him. Although he was offered reams of sound advice from Christians and atheists alike, it doesn’t seem as if he intends to follow it. He’s repeated his question with the proviso that he’s only seeking answers from evangelical Christians who believe, like him, that getting the vasectomy would be a sin.

    I thought, perhaps too optimistically in retrospect, that Contraskeptic saw what he had to do and was seeking encouragement to do it. Instead, I think the opposite was true. His irrational beliefs have backed him into a corner, but rather than face up to this and accept the challenge of questioning and possibly discarding some of those beliefs, he wants a magical answer that will give him an easy way out without having to change what he believes at all. He says as much in a comment:

    Perhaps there’s something I’m missing here. Perhaps my own presuppositions and upbringing are in the way of seeing a solution. That’s what I’m hoping Christian contraception opponents can answer for me.

    As I have said in the past, though there are no miracles, people still seek them, and overlook the real, non-miraculous answers in the process. This whole episode is a sad example of that. Rather than accept the untenable situation he’s in and do what’s right for his family by changing the mutually exclusive dogmas that have led him into that situation, Contraskeptic continues to disregard reason and hope for magic. I bear no ill will towards him, and I hope he finds a solution that can preserve his marriage and his family, but there is nothing further for me to do. He asked for advice; I answered, along with many others; he will either choose to take that advice or he will not, and there I’ll let the matter rest.

    Oh, and a postscript – here’s an excerpt from his new post, explaining why his wife didn’t get a tubal ligation at the time of her last C-section, that made my blood boil:

    Getting her tubes tied during the last C-section wasn’t an option, as the delivery was at a Catholic hospital.

    Though Contraskeptic’s faith-based selfishness is the primary cause of the situation he is now in, the Catholic church has assumed part of the responsibility by preventing his wife from obtaining another workable solution. In yet another way, their medieval, misogynist dogma has caused tremendous harm and suffering to real people in the name of appeasing an invisible god. For all that they claim to be “pro-family”, the Catholic church is complicit in whatever harm has already befallen this man’s family and whatever further harm may yet occur.

  • http://rightside.fissure.org Shishberg

    Perhaps there’s something I’m missing here. Perhaps my own presuppositions and upbringing are in the way of seeing a solution. That’s what I’m hoping Christian contraception opponents can answer for me.

    You just can’t write irony like that.

  • Chris

    What kind of god would test YOU by killing your wife and depriving your children of their mother?

    The one in the Bible. He tested Job by, among other things, killing Job’s family. (When Job passed the test, he got a *new* family – not his old one back. This is just fine for the ancient hebrews, who thought about “their” women and children about the same way they thought about their cattle and sheep.)

  • Chris

    What kind of god would test YOU by killing your wife and depriving your children of their mother?

    The one in the Bible. He tested Job by, among other things, killing Job’s family. (When Job passed the test, he got a *new* family – not his old one back. This is just fine for the ancient hebrews, who thought about “their” women and children about the same way they thought about their cattle and sheep.)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    To answer mcv’s question, I believe the official Catholic position is that the only allowable sex acts are those that culminate with a man ejaculating inside a woman’s vagina. Oral sex would be allowable as a form of foreplay, for example, but not to the point of orgasm. Masturbation is forbidden entirely to Catholics, for the same reason. Of course, I’m sure there are a large number of conservative Catholics who believe that any sex act other than vaginal intercourse is a sin.

  • John P

    Sometimes I fantasize about the Church banning all sex completely. Then, *poof*, in one generation, they’d all be gone.

  • John P

    Sometimes I fantasize about the Church banning all sex completely. Then, *poof*, in one generation, they’d all be gone.

  • bronk

    Getting her tubes tied during the last C-section wasn’t an option, as the delivery was at a Catholic hospital.

    What? So getting a tubal ligation would have been an option if she had been at another hospital, but a vasectomy is out of the question? Is there some doctrinal difference between the two?

    It sounds to me like his refusal to get a vasectomy has more selfish underpinnings than religious ones.

  • bronk

    Getting her tubes tied during the last C-section wasn’t an option, as the delivery was at a Catholic hospital.

    What? So getting a tubal ligation would have been an option if she had been at another hospital, but a vasectomy is out of the question? Is there some doctrinal difference between the two?

    It sounds to me like his refusal to get a vasectomy has more selfish underpinnings than religious ones.

  • KShep

    Chris:

    Thank you for your reminder about the book of Job. I couldn’t remember who it was whose life was destroyed by god in a childish display of his power to keep the believers believing. The South Park people used this to good effect—Kyle’s parents told him the story and waited for his response, which was something like: “That’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard!!!!”

    Anyway, back to Contraskeptic—–the more I think about it the more I think this may be something of a hoax. I can’t say for sure, of course, but in my experience people who demonstrate any ability to think deeper than your average vacuum cleaner (and Contraskeptic seems to be able to) usually can think these types of dilemmas through without much difficulty. The man used contraceptives in the past—-he admits he really doesn’t have much of a problem with them. Just the snip. Suddenly it’s a moral question.

    He seems too easy a target for the “EVIL ATHEIST CONSPIRATORS” lurking all over the web who are TRYING TO DESTROY CHRISTIANITY, if you follow me and my sarcastic sense of humor. It’s like he’s asking for a good flame job from all the atheists so he can try to discredit us. Maybe.

    Just a thought.

  • KShep

    Chris:

    Thank you for your reminder about the book of Job. I couldn’t remember who it was whose life was destroyed by god in a childish display of his power to keep the believers believing. The South Park people used this to good effect—Kyle’s parents told him the story and waited for his response, which was something like: “That’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard!!!!”

    Anyway, back to Contraskeptic—–the more I think about it the more I think this may be something of a hoax. I can’t say for sure, of course, but in my experience people who demonstrate any ability to think deeper than your average vacuum cleaner (and Contraskeptic seems to be able to) usually can think these types of dilemmas through without much difficulty. The man used contraceptives in the past—-he admits he really doesn’t have much of a problem with them. Just the snip. Suddenly it’s a moral question.

    He seems too easy a target for the “EVIL ATHEIST CONSPIRATORS” lurking all over the web who are TRYING TO DESTROY CHRISTIANITY, if you follow me and my sarcastic sense of humor. It’s like he’s asking for a good flame job from all the atheists so he can try to discredit us. Maybe.

    Just a thought.

  • http://dubitoergo.blogspot.com Tom Foss

    Sometimes I fantasize about the Church banning all sex completely. Then, *poof*, in one generation, they’d all be gone.

    If only it were that easy. The Shakers are a sect of Christianity which outlaws intercourse, and they’ve existed for several hundred years.

  • Alex Weaver

    If only it were that easy. The Shakers are a sect of Christianity which outlaws intercourse, and they’ve existed for several hundred years.

    “These men have taken a supreme vow of celibacy, like their fathers, and their fathers before them.” -Charlie Sheen in Hot Shots Part Deux ^.^

    Honestly, I find it difficult to say that I bear this man no ill will. Speaking as a husband and father his apparent selfishness and stupidity disgust me, much the way the character Marmeladov in Crime and Punishment disgusts me. No matter his reasons, there is no excuse for endangering the physical well-being of his wife and the emotional well-being of his entire family, especially when it could be so easily prevented.

  • Alex Weaver

    If only it were that easy. The Shakers are a sect of Christianity which outlaws intercourse, and they’ve existed for several hundred years.

    “These men have taken a supreme vow of celibacy, like their fathers, and their fathers before them.” -Charlie Sheen in Hot Shots Part Deux ^.^

    Honestly, I find it difficult to say that I bear this man no ill will. Speaking as a husband and father his apparent selfishness and stupidity disgust me, much the way the character Marmeladov in Crime and Punishment disgusts me. No matter his reasons, there is no excuse for endangering the physical well-being of his wife and the emotional well-being of his entire family, especially when it could be so easily prevented.

  • Paleoguy

    I think the hoax assessment makes the most sense or Contraskeptic has some serious trouble making decisions.

  • Paleoguy

    I think the hoax assessment makes the most sense or Contraskeptic has some serious trouble making decisions.

  • jim

    It is foolish to be a Christian! I think you are so down on Christians because there are very few real ones. Nothing has changed since Jesus was here, the visible church is evil and i think that’s what you see. You see a bunch of hypocrites that are so worldly and arrogant, why should you believe? I do believe in God, and
    it doesn’t make any sense. He is beyond any figuring out. He says that He would/will teach man, you do not need any man to teach you. But i humbly ask you; why would anyone make up a religion with so many errors? “Christian” was a derogatory term. Why would people die for something so stupid? Go figure! God says that He put “eternity” into the hearts of men…how do you feel about this? Is it true? Do we just not exist? Ever since i was little, i couldn’t figure out how i couldn’t exist. I don’t know.

  • jim

    It is foolish to be a Christian! I think you are so down on Christians because there are very few real ones. Nothing has changed since Jesus was here, the visible church is evil and i think that’s what you see. You see a bunch of hypocrites that are so worldly and arrogant, why should you believe? I do believe in God, and
    it doesn’t make any sense. He is beyond any figuring out. He says that He would/will teach man, you do not need any man to teach you. But i humbly ask you; why would anyone make up a religion with so many errors? “Christian” was a derogatory term. Why would people die for something so stupid? Go figure! God says that He put “eternity” into the hearts of men…how do you feel about this? Is it true? Do we just not exist? Ever since i was little, i couldn’t figure out how i couldn’t exist. I don’t know.

  • Alex Weaver

    Jim:

    I don’t, unfortunately, have time to engage the theological points you make at this moment, but as for nonexistence…it’s hard for the mind to grasp that it will one day cease to exist, but you don’t seem to have difficulty believing in something else you freely admit your mind cannot grasp (god).

    And think about it; every night you cease to be conscious for some time. Death, I imagine, is a lot like going to sleep, but never waking up.

  • anti-nonsense

    It’s hard to deal with the fact that you will eventually cease to exist. That I think is one of the two main reasons we have religions, the other one is because in ancient times people didn’t understand how the world really worked and they made up stories about how it worked.

    I would like to believe that there is an afterlife, but there is no evidence for it, and I don’t accept things for which there is no evidence. Just because I would *like* to believe something doesn’t make that something true.

  • anti-nonsense

    It’s hard to deal with the fact that you will eventually cease to exist. That I think is one of the two main reasons we have religions, the other one is because in ancient times people didn’t understand how the world really worked and they made up stories about how it worked.

    I would like to believe that there is an afterlife, but there is no evidence for it, and I don’t accept things for which there is no evidence. Just because I would *like* to believe something doesn’t make that something true.

  • Ben Abbott

    There are many comments … I may have missed it, but I didn’t see anyone critique the hypocrisy of Contraskeptic. He objects to birth control? … Why?

    Is the selfish act of sexual gratification a sin? … is there another reason?

    How is trying to time your wife’s cycle any different from using a condom or getting a vasectomy?

  • schemanista

    How is trying to time your wife’s cycle any different from using a condom or getting a vasectomy?

    I’ll field this one. The idea about Natural Family Planning is that there is still an element of chance, still an opportunity for “God” to “decide” whether or not a couple becomes pregnant.

    Believers reduce this to a bizarre(to me)binary solution set: the only option for completely avoiding pregnancy is to stop having sex. So: have sex with a possibility of pregnancy or stop having sex as long as one person (presumably the woman) is still fertile. It’s supposed to be “up to God”.

    They make something magical out of the act of sex. Read Dawn Eden’s mind-bending post wherein she states that contracepting couples don’t truly love one another. Here she defends her position in one of the comments:

    Even if you wish to “play it safe” and use the most effective method known to you, which is oral contraception, you’re giving up something valuable in terms of emotional intimacy. What you’re giving up is much more than if you simply refrained from having sex, because you’re physically withholding your fertility within the context of the sexual act. That will affect you emotionally and spiritually. I’m sorry if this offends you, but this is what I believe, not just for you personally, but for everyone who uses contraception.

    I may as well discuss poetry with a Vogon as argue against this.

  • Kate

    Wow, suddenly I remember why that divorce rate is so high.

    He sees no problem with placing the burden of birth control on her by having her “monitor her fertility” for them to have sex once a month. I’m wondering if she’s just counting days or actually measuring her cervical mucus and body temperature, which is much more effective. But if his vasectomy is a sin, surely her attempts to avoid pregnancy for “selfish” reasons like her physical well-being must be atleast a little sin. This guy doesn’t care about her body, her mind, her desires, or even her ‘immortal soul’.

  • Kate

    Wow, suddenly I remember why that divorce rate is so high.

    He sees no problem with placing the burden of birth control on her by having her “monitor her fertility” for them to have sex once a month. I’m wondering if she’s just counting days or actually measuring her cervical mucus and body temperature, which is much more effective. But if his vasectomy is a sin, surely her attempts to avoid pregnancy for “selfish” reasons like her physical well-being must be atleast a little sin. This guy doesn’t care about her body, her mind, her desires, or even her ‘immortal soul’.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    The idea about Natural Family Planning is that there is still an element of chance, still an opportunity for “God” to “decide” whether or not a couple becomes pregnant.

    Because, of course, the all-powerful creator of the universe isn’t capable of poking a microscopic hole in a piece of latex if he wants to. I mean, these people really ought to give their deity more credit; their own holy book records him as making a woman pregnant who hadn’t even had sex, and still they worry that he’ll be thwarted by the simplest possible barrier contraceptive.

  • schemanista

    I’m with you Adam. It’s Vogon logic at its best.

    Here’s some goodies from the comments to Dawn Eden’s post:

    This one’s from Layla

    When a couple uses NFP, they aren’t withholding their fertility in anything like the same way as they are if they contracept. Contracepting couples seek consequence-free sex, so they do not give their whole selves freely to one another. Couples using NFP abstain during the fertile period, but if that is just more than they can handle (as an above commenter suggested), they can still enter the marital embrace (with the knowledge that they may be likely to conceive). Every time they have sex, they do so with all parts of themselves. The contraceptive mentality knocks sex down to mere feelings or sensations, rather than the perfect unity that is supposed to be present on the marriage bed.

    And from la donna, herself:

    The issue of using NFP to avoid children for life, where one lives in mortal fear of getting pregnant, is a big ethical dilemma for many, because that does involve withholding fertility. But I don’t think that NFP by definition consists of withholding fertility. It in no way alters the body’s natural processes. When an NFP couple has sex, they really have sex.

    Aaah! It burns! It burns!

    This whole concept of “altering the body” is nonsense. Diet and hormonal balance can affect fertility (for both men and women), so a woman who takes folic acid supplements to improve her chances of a successful pregnancy is “altering her body”. A woman who competes as a triathlete, marathoner, gymnast… may reduce her body fat to a level at which menses stops—they actually stop having periods and cannot get pregnant. Are these women sinners for using their [ahem] “God-given” talents?

    And check out this bizarre double-think: contraception is bad because it’s done to prevent unplanned pregnancy, even though there is still a risk of pregnancy with all forms of contraception. NFP is good because it allows one to avoid unplanned pregnancy, even though there is still a risk of pregnancy. Apparently it’s okay to avoid prenancy but not to “withold fertility”.

    This is soup and this is art. No wait, this is soup, and this is art. Soup, art, soup, er…

    How does one even begin to discuss these issues rationally, with someone who holds:

    Also, it’s perfectly obvious that the amount of love is less in contracepting marriages. Maybe not zero (I should certainly hope not!), but definitely lower. As evidenced by the higher rate of divorce.

    Noodles preserve us!

  • schemanista

    I’m with you Adam. It’s Vogon logic at its best.

    Here’s some goodies from the comments to Dawn Eden’s post:

    This one’s from Layla

    When a couple uses NFP, they aren’t withholding their fertility in anything like the same way as they are if they contracept. Contracepting couples seek consequence-free sex, so they do not give their whole selves freely to one another. Couples using NFP abstain during the fertile period, but if that is just more than they can handle (as an above commenter suggested), they can still enter the marital embrace (with the knowledge that they may be likely to conceive). Every time they have sex, they do so with all parts of themselves. The contraceptive mentality knocks sex down to mere feelings or sensations, rather than the perfect unity that is supposed to be present on the marriage bed.

    And from la donna, herself:

    The issue of using NFP to avoid children for life, where one lives in mortal fear of getting pregnant, is a big ethical dilemma for many, because that does involve withholding fertility. But I don’t think that NFP by definition consists of withholding fertility. It in no way alters the body’s natural processes. When an NFP couple has sex, they really have sex.

    Aaah! It burns! It burns!

    This whole concept of “altering the body” is nonsense. Diet and hormonal balance can affect fertility (for both men and women), so a woman who takes folic acid supplements to improve her chances of a successful pregnancy is “altering her body”. A woman who competes as a triathlete, marathoner, gymnast… may reduce her body fat to a level at which menses stops—they actually stop having periods and cannot get pregnant. Are these women sinners for using their [ahem] “God-given” talents?

    And check out this bizarre double-think: contraception is bad because it’s done to prevent unplanned pregnancy, even though there is still a risk of pregnancy with all forms of contraception. NFP is good because it allows one to avoid unplanned pregnancy, even though there is still a risk of pregnancy. Apparently it’s okay to avoid prenancy but not to “withold fertility”.

    This is soup and this is art. No wait, this is soup, and this is art. Soup, art, soup, er…

    How does one even begin to discuss these issues rationally, with someone who holds:

    Also, it’s perfectly obvious that the amount of love is less in contracepting marriages. Maybe not zero (I should certainly hope not!), but definitely lower. As evidenced by the higher rate of divorce.

    Noodles preserve us!

  • Polly

    “South Park”
    “Crime & Punishment” (Prestuplenie i Nakazanie)
    “Hitchhiker’s Guide”
    All called upon in response to the same post!

    What else can be said that hasn’t already? I guess it wouldn’t help to point out to Contraskeptic that nowhere in his holy book is contraception even mentioned except for some sketchy incident involving a man who didn’t want to have a child on behalf of his dead brother. This surely is not even an analogous situation. And the moral(?) issue had nothing to do with use of the pull-out method, but fraternal responibility and family name.
    But, he has already ruled out anyone who might reason with him even from WITHIN his general frame of reference, but with a different take on the specifics. Bruce Godfrey put it succinctly – he’s the one with the key and he just will not use it.
    Like Adam, I really thought he just wanted the encouragement to do what clearly needs to be done. It took me by surprise to read his follow-up basically telling all the heathens (theists included) to take a hike.

  • Paredes, U.S. Army

    “He has refused to [undergo a vasectomy], since he believes it would be a sin.”

    It’s pretty simple; brother needs to get the operation, adhere to abstinence or annul the marriage.

  • Paredes, U.S. Army

    “He has refused to [undergo a vasectomy], since he believes it would be a sin.”

    It’s pretty simple; brother needs to get the operation, adhere to abstinence or annul the marriage.

  • AJS

    It’s simple maths. When you have sex resulting in conception, exactly one sperm makes it as far as an egg. About 249 999 999 sperm die in vain. When you have sex not resulting in conception, about 250 000 000 sperm and one egg die in vain. If you have no sex at all for a whole month, one egg dies in vain and so do a few billion sperm.

    You don’t have to be Carol Vorderman to do these sums!

  • Rynaldo

    Hard to believe that no one has mentioned Monty Python’s “Every Sperm is Sacred” bit from the “Meaning of Life” film. A heavy-handed, and very humourous, take on the church’s position on contraception. It boggles my mind that with the means to prevent both STD’s and unwanted pregnancies so readily available (in mint flavour, no less!)anyone would fail to use them. In no way do I wish to trivialize the dilemma of this man whose life has been impacted so negatively by his sincere belief that contraception is wrong. I do wish that he (and others who share his belief) would consider what is the greater evil – a small preventative measure compared to marital strife, health risks, emotional pain, and dysfunctional families.

  • Rynaldo

    Hard to believe that no one has mentioned Monty Python’s “Every Sperm is Sacred” bit from the “Meaning of Life” film. A heavy-handed, and very humourous, take on the church’s position on contraception. It boggles my mind that with the means to prevent both STD’s and unwanted pregnancies so readily available (in mint flavour, no less!)anyone would fail to use them. In no way do I wish to trivialize the dilemma of this man whose life has been impacted so negatively by his sincere belief that contraception is wrong. I do wish that he (and others who share his belief) would consider what is the greater evil – a small preventative measure compared to marital strife, health risks, emotional pain, and dysfunctional families.

  • yoyo

    Why doesnt the wife sneak off for a tubal ligation or better yet for a divorce? This guy (and the evil hospital) totally rebut every fool xian that tries to claim xianity isn’t of its self a force against women. I just hope to all that’s good his children aren’t girls.

  • Becky

    Jim wrote: “But i humbly ask you; why would anyone make up a religion with so many errors?”

    Umm, like the muslims who believe in 70 virgins waiting them if they give their life taking the lives of others because that is what their ‘religion’ calls for? They will die believing this. There are millions of them.

    Perhaps the mormons who believe you can baptise the dead along with a sundry of other strange beliefs. They will die believing this. There are millions of them.

    How about JWs who think the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation is them, when there have been millions of them? They will die believing this.

    Take the jews who still think they are the only ‘chosen’ of god and everyone else is a goy or dog. They will die believing this. There are millions of them.

    Take into account the Heavens Gate religion. They had no problem giving their lives. They died believing this.

    Christianity is no different. The reason anyone is willing to die for a belief is because that is what they were taught. All religions promise the ‘good’ rewards in another world, not down here where we really should be focused on. Christians will die believing they are right. There are millions of them.

    Religion comes from upbringing and region!

    You can talk to most people in any religion on a one on one basis and they will seem just as normal as you think you are, but religion is drilled into them along with the fear of death and what may lie ahead. This fear instilled in them is what drives so many to abandon life and happiness here in hopes of great rewards and eternal life in the great hereafter.

    Christianity, just like most other religions, teaches you must live and die for your god. You must deny yourself and defend the faith, even to the death. To abuse the time we have here on worthless doctrines is such a shame, not to mention killing others who disagree, or being prepared to give up our lives on foolishness.

    So, in my humble opinion and to answer your question, it appears to me that all religions were made up by cunning wicked men who saw great power and wealth in the religions they created. In some instances, I believe the inventors of some religions were obviously quite insane.

  • Becky

    Jim wrote: “But i humbly ask you; why would anyone make up a religion with so many errors?”

    Umm, like the muslims who believe in 70 virgins waiting them if they give their life taking the lives of others because that is what their ‘religion’ calls for? They will die believing this. There are millions of them.

    Perhaps the mormons who believe you can baptise the dead along with a sundry of other strange beliefs. They will die believing this. There are millions of them.

    How about JWs who think the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation is them, when there have been millions of them? They will die believing this.

    Take the jews who still think they are the only ‘chosen’ of god and everyone else is a goy or dog. They will die believing this. There are millions of them.

    Take into account the Heavens Gate religion. They had no problem giving their lives. They died believing this.

    Christianity is no different. The reason anyone is willing to die for a belief is because that is what they were taught. All religions promise the ‘good’ rewards in another world, not down here where we really should be focused on. Christians will die believing they are right. There are millions of them.

    Religion comes from upbringing and region!

    You can talk to most people in any religion on a one on one basis and they will seem just as normal as you think you are, but religion is drilled into them along with the fear of death and what may lie ahead. This fear instilled in them is what drives so many to abandon life and happiness here in hopes of great rewards and eternal life in the great hereafter.

    Christianity, just like most other religions, teaches you must live and die for your god. You must deny yourself and defend the faith, even to the death. To abuse the time we have here on worthless doctrines is such a shame, not to mention killing others who disagree, or being prepared to give up our lives on foolishness.

    So, in my humble opinion and to answer your question, it appears to me that all religions were made up by cunning wicked men who saw great power and wealth in the religions they created. In some instances, I believe the inventors of some religions were obviously quite insane.

  • Hazelnuts

    “All religions promise the ‘good’ rewards in another world, not down here where we really should be focused on”

    Not all- Wiccans believe in the rule of three- what you give out you get back three times magnified, in this life. That applies to good and bad actions.

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but wish you would say ‘a lot of’ religions rather than ‘all religions’

  • Jon

    I mean, these people really ought to give their deity more credit; their own holy book records him as making a woman pregnant who hadn’t even had sex, and still they worry that he’ll be thwarted by the simplest possible barrier contraceptive.

    An excellent argument, and it extends quite naturally to vasectomies: if God wants them to have more children, He’ll make the tubes grow together again. Or maybe hand-carry a few million sperm across the gap. Miraculously.

    Why He would bother rummaging around in one man’s scrotum, when the world is overflowing with babies, is entirely another mystery.

    Personally I’d say the argument from mathematics should be good enough: They have already multiplied. Enough already.

  • Jon

    I mean, these people really ought to give their deity more credit; their own holy book records him as making a woman pregnant who hadn’t even had sex, and still they worry that he’ll be thwarted by the simplest possible barrier contraceptive.

    An excellent argument, and it extends quite naturally to vasectomies: if God wants them to have more children, He’ll make the tubes grow together again. Or maybe hand-carry a few million sperm across the gap. Miraculously.

    Why He would bother rummaging around in one man’s scrotum, when the world is overflowing with babies, is entirely another mystery.

    Personally I’d say the argument from mathematics should be good enough: They have already multiplied. Enough already.

  • Becky

    (I agree with a lot of what you say, but wish you would say ‘a lot of’ religions rather than ‘all religions’)

    Hazelnuts, why have any religion at all? If we all lived as good a life as we could there would be no need for titles. Being a decent caring human should speak loudly enough.

  • Hazelnuts

    Religion is not to blame for the crap in the world- people are. Its human nature to be selfish, greedy, possessive, territorial. It’s human nature to fear what is not fully understood, and to attack what is feared as a defensive measure. Take away religion, and you will still have wars and hunger and people not getting the help they need. The problem is not christianity, islam whatever- believing in God is not harmful in itself.

    Religions are blamed for many atrocities, but it was people that actually did the act. Atrocities are carried out by non-religious groups too. The problem is that power corrupts those that have it, and makes them want more of it. They can be dangerous, religious or not. And any one weak minded enough to believe every word they read or are told without ever questioning anything, is potentially a dangerous person- whether they are part of a religion or not.You also get people who think everyone should be just like them-whatever they believe in, they want others to think the same way.They are not all religious-an example being people who bully others into voting the way they do, or teenagers who ostracize the ones who don’t dress right.

    My point is, is that religion is not to blame for the way people behave. Human nature is.Living a good life involves people thinking about their own actions and making the right decision. Belief in deity does not stand in the way of this. So there is no need to talk about getting rid of all religions. The focus should be on protecting people from genuine harm. To just decide all religion is wrong is, well, wrong.

  • Jim Baerg

    “Religion is not to blame for the crap in the world- people are.”

    Religion isn’t the source of all evil, but there is a fundamental error common to anything I would call a religion – the idea that one should take things on faith. I take faith to mean believing something despite a lack of evidence for it or, even worse, believing despite an abundance of evidence against it.

    If you believe on faith you cannot correct any errors in your belief & so faith stands in the way of finding solutions to problems even when faith isn’t the direct cause of the problem.

  • Jim Baerg

    “Religion is not to blame for the crap in the world- people are.”

    Religion isn’t the source of all evil, but there is a fundamental error common to anything I would call a religion – the idea that one should take things on faith. I take faith to mean believing something despite a lack of evidence for it or, even worse, believing despite an abundance of evidence against it.

    If you believe on faith you cannot correct any errors in your belief & so faith stands in the way of finding solutions to problems even when faith isn’t the direct cause of the problem.

  • Hazelnuts

    That would depend on what you believe. I can’t off the top of my head think of a situation when my faith would be a problem. But then, I don’t belong to an organised religion, and have no whole book of stuff that I have to believe cos if I don’t I go to hell.My religion does not ask for unquestioning obedience in anything.’An it harm none, do as ye will’ is the only law, and to comply with that you have to think for yourself about your actions and their consequences, and make the most ethical decision you can.

  • Chris

    As a christian, I find this subject of a man not wanting to get a vasectomy, and viewing it as a sin, completely abhorrent.
    If your wife is suffering and you can do something to alleviate this then, as the man in the house, you should be taking this situation on board, not for your self righteous self, but for your entire family.
    How do you think your kids would feel if they found out later in life that you lived a lie because of your self serving behavior…… Pretty proud of you I do not think!!!!!

  • Lauren

    I am also a Christian and find this guys attitude wrong. (Just a note to add that if he’s a Catholic then things could be different for him) I believe that a husband is supposed to love his wife, doesn’t sound like he’s loving her very much. I believe that sex is a gift from God and I don’t believe God would be upset at putting the needs of his family and wife above using contraception. I mean if he doesn’t want to get a vasectomy why not use condoms? I feel sorry for this guy also.

  • Randall

    “I take faith to mean believing something despite a lack of evidence for it or, even worse, believing despite an abundance of evidence against it.”

    That’s not the definition of “faith” that Christians refer to; that definition falls much closer to “stupidity” or “closed-mindedness.” If faith meant believing things without, or in spite of, evidence, then it would be remarkably easy to assume that all the faithful were stupid. I hope you do not think this?

  • spaceman spif

    This story reminds me of one that a former co-worker shared with me. One of his former co-workers had a wife that needed a hysterectomy due to cancer. The family’s medical insurance was through a network of Catholic hospitals. The insurance denied coverage because the surgery was a form of “birth control”.

    *sighhh*

    (He also shared with me another friend who had the same insurance. They did not cover that fellow’s anesthesia for his open-heart surgery, because it was “unnecessary”. No need for anesthesia before open-heart surgery?? Yowsa!!! The Inquisition lives!!)

  • spaceman spif

    This story reminds me of one that a former co-worker shared with me. One of his former co-workers had a wife that needed a hysterectomy due to cancer. The family’s medical insurance was through a network of Catholic hospitals. The insurance denied coverage because the surgery was a form of “birth control”.

    *sighhh*

    (He also shared with me another friend who had the same insurance. They did not cover that fellow’s anesthesia for his open-heart surgery, because it was “unnecessary”. No need for anesthesia before open-heart surgery?? Yowsa!!! The Inquisition lives!!)

  • Jenyfer

    I think you handled this quite well: appealing to his humanity and to other non-religious concerns without trying to convince him to be an atheist (not that this would be a bad thing, but it’s probably counterproductive to try and convince him within the scope of this particular argument).

  • Brit-nontheist

    Ben:

    How is trying to time your wife’s cycle any different from using a condom or getting a vasectomy?

    It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by resorting to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.
    H. L. Mencken

  • Brit-nontheist

    Ben:

    How is trying to time your wife’s cycle any different from using a condom or getting a vasectomy?

    It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by resorting to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.
    H. L. Mencken

  • http://mothwentbad.livejournal.com M. Robert Bond

    I don’t know the exact verses that are used to uphold contraception bans, but I do know a few that that can easily be interpreted to say to “put God first and let the chips fall where they may” – Abraham and Isaac comes to mind, as does a certain red-lettered rant in the NT containing lines like “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” and “he who will not forsake his family is not worthy of me” and “I have come to divide father against son and mother against daughter”.

  • http://mothwentbad.livejournal.com M. Robert Bond

    I don’t know the exact verses that are used to uphold contraception bans, but I do know a few that that can easily be interpreted to say to “put God first and let the chips fall where they may” – Abraham and Isaac comes to mind, as does a certain red-lettered rant in the NT containing lines like “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” and “he who will not forsake his family is not worthy of me” and “I have come to divide father against son and mother against daughter”.

  • CuriousToSeeOpinions

    I have light religious beliefs, none of which determine my position on this matter. I find myself in a similar situation with my current girlfriend. She has two children who are of ages 12 and 14 both C-sections. We’ve been dating for 11 months. She has no intention on having any more children. I am 30 years old with no children of my own. We are progressing in our relationship nicely. She is taking birth control currently but her desire is to go off the BC. She has recently given me an ultimatum. I must have a vasectomy. I honestly have no intention ever to get this done. I guess through my upbringing (family around me who haven’t had this procedure) this has never been something that makes sense. My belief is that if I was meant to have children in this lifetime I would, if I wasn’t meant to I wouldn’t. I really think it’s a psychological reason why I won’t have a vasectomy. If I was to have the procedure then there would be a 25% chance that I couldn’t have it reversed. Is this something that I should have to think about this early in a relationship? I understand her end of things. It’s the easiest solution. If the male pill was out yet I would take it in a heartbeat.

  • CuriousToSeeOpinions

    I have light religious beliefs, none of which determine my position on this matter. I find myself in a similar situation with my current girlfriend. She has two children who are of ages 12 and 14 both C-sections. We’ve been dating for 11 months. She has no intention on having any more children. I am 30 years old with no children of my own. We are progressing in our relationship nicely. She is taking birth control currently but her desire is to go off the BC. She has recently given me an ultimatum. I must have a vasectomy. I honestly have no intention ever to get this done. I guess through my upbringing (family around me who haven’t had this procedure) this has never been something that makes sense. My belief is that if I was meant to have children in this lifetime I would, if I wasn’t meant to I wouldn’t. I really think it’s a psychological reason why I won’t have a vasectomy. If I was to have the procedure then there would be a 25% chance that I couldn’t have it reversed. Is this something that I should have to think about this early in a relationship? I understand her end of things. It’s the easiest solution. If the male pill was out yet I would take it in a heartbeat.

  • CuriousToSeeOpinions

    lastly…am I being selfish?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Well, you asked for opinions, so here’s mine: I don’t think it’s inherently unreasonable for one partner in a relationship to ask the other to be sterilized, if both are agreed that they don’t want any more children. However, I do think that 11 months is extremely early to ask such a thing, especially given that you’re only 30. Who knows if you’re going to be with this woman for the rest of your life? If you end up with someone else, or if you two stay together and later decide you want children, this may not be reversible. I wouldn’t even consider it until a much more advanced stage of the relationship.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Well, you asked for opinions, so here’s mine: I don’t think it’s inherently unreasonable for one partner in a relationship to ask the other to be sterilized, if both are agreed that they don’t want any more children. However, I do think that 11 months is extremely early to ask such a thing, especially given that you’re only 30. Who knows if you’re going to be with this woman for the rest of your life? If you end up with someone else, or if you two stay together and later decide you want children, this may not be reversible. I wouldn’t even consider it until a much more advanced stage of the relationship.

  • Polly

    Well, if you want opinions from random strangers, then I fill the bill nicely.

    You are NOT being selfish! Repeat after me, “Hands off my scrotum!”

    If she’s pressuring you to make major, life-long decisions after 11 months tell her to go to Hell (fun little township in Michigan). Anyone who has the gall to spout ultimata about something like this is a control freak and you should get away from her as quickly as possible. Don’t progress, don’t pass “Go”, and don’t collect $200. Just run.
    30 is young and still a little too early to decide that you definitely never want to have children of your own, EVER.

    (I, myself, have no children after almost a decade of marriage. I don’t really care for rug-rats, but I will probably give in (to my wife’s wish) and have one in the near future, biology allowing.)

  • TJ

    Huh. He got the vasectomy earlier this year. I guess common sense and the realization that he was destroying his family finally won out.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Thanks for the update, TJ. That’s good news, I think – I sincerely hope it will resolve the issues that had come between them.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Thanks for the update, TJ. That’s good news, I think – I sincerely hope it will resolve the issues that had come between them.

  • Virginia

    Most Christians I know, have placed God higher than most because this is something they committed at a very very young age, and accumulation of supposedly “religious/spiritual” experiences simply hardened the conviction. To get Contraskeptic to heed your advice is to force him to undermine all those experiences he had — and that is very very shakening to the core of his person — human fears this kind of self-doubt, perhaps often enough to put their loved ones at a secondary position.

  • Rosemary Lyndall Wemm

    The question no-one asked:

    What kind of a sex life did Joseph and Mary, mother of the illegitimate Jesus of Nazareth, have? Were they celebate, as the Catholic Church suggests? If so, what kind of “Catholic” marriage was that? Perhaps this would account for the fact that their son went off with a bunch of guys and never had a family of his own or accepted responsibility for anyone’s children. How is it that the conservative Christain’s emphasis on “family values” is so poorly reflected in their deities and saints?

  • Rosemary Lyndall Wemm

    The question no-one asked:

    What kind of a sex life did Joseph and Mary, mother of the illegitimate Jesus of Nazareth, have? Were they celebate, as the Catholic Church suggests? If so, what kind of “Catholic” marriage was that? Perhaps this would account for the fact that their son went off with a bunch of guys and never had a family of his own or accepted responsibility for anyone’s children. How is it that the conservative Christain’s emphasis on “family values” is so poorly reflected in their deities and saints?

  • Adele

    CuriousToSeeOpinions – you are not the selfish one, your girlfriend is. Inform her that while she may have two children, you at only 30 have none and would like to keep your options open. As many have said above, 11 months is far too early to consider having a life-altering surgery for a woman you are not even sure you’ll spend your life with.

    If she refuses to budge, then it may be time to end your relationship.

  • http://www.aboutsexuality4u.com maurice

    Well I had my tubes done after years of saying no. I feel it has been great for me not having to worry about more kids as I am 54 with a 16 year old daughter. I recon it does depend on how old one is to take this step. I do wish I had done it earlier. Its a bit step but worked for me.

  • http://www.aboutsexuality4u.com maurice

    Well I had my tubes done after years of saying no. I feel it has been great for me not having to worry about more kids as I am 54 with a 16 year old daughter. I recon it does depend on how old one is to take this step. I do wish I had done it earlier. Its a bit step but worked for me.

  • Jennifer A. Burdoo

    If I was still a believer, I would point out that even if a vasectomy WERE a sin, it would still be a good idea, and it would not necessarily be the wrong decision. God doesn’t care about sinning, he cares about US, and there are plenty of examples in Jewish history alone in which Jews sinned for good reasons (usually survival — think about those that were forced to become Christians. Should they have refused and seen their children murdered instead?). The Talmud even encourages us to take on duties or positions in which we would have no choice but to sin — for example its suggestion that it is only right and proper for a Jew to join his homeland’s military. Other than Israel, the US and possibly Russia, I’m unaware of any military that offers kosher rations. Ergo, the Talmud is encouraging the sin of breaking kashrut in exchange for — presto — the much more important duty and honor of serving one’s country.

    I am glad to see Contraskeptic come to his senses, at least a little. Perhaps I’ll go and comment.

  • http://christian-birthcontrol.angelcities.com/index Manning

    InvitationToVisit:

    http://christian-birthcontrol.angelcities.com/index.html

    Online examination of a Christian’s God-given family-planning right (Christians have a right to use birth control).

  • http://christian-birthcontrol.angelcities.com/index Manning

    InvitationToVisit:

    http://christian-birthcontrol.angelcities.com/index.html

    Online examination of a Christian’s God-given family-planning right (Christians have a right to use birth control).

  • Ziddina

    Uhm, “CuriousToSeeOpinions”, you can use condoms to keep your scrotum intact. Or maybe she could have her tubes tied. I had mine done at 30, and never regretted it!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X