Making every child unwanted

Mark Steyn writes about a new convergence of “pro-choicers” and environmentalists, a movement he calls anti-natalism:

Here’s something new that took hold in the year 2007: A radical antihumanism, long present just below the surface, bobbed up and became explicit and respectable. In Britain, the Optimum Population Trust said that “the biggest cause of climate change is climate changers – in other words, human beings,” and professor John Guillebaud called on Britons to voluntarily reduce the number of children they have.

Last week, in the Medical Journal of Australia, Barry Walters went further: To hell with this wimp-o pantywaist “voluntary” child-reduction. Professor Walters wants a “carbon tax” on babies, with, conversely, “carbon credits” for those who undergo sterilization procedures. So that’d be great news for the female eco-activists recently profiled in London’s Daily Mail who boast about how they’d had their tubes tied and babies aborted in order to save the planet.

“Every person who is born,” says Toni Vernelli, “produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases and adds to the problem of overpopulation.” We are the pollution, and sterilization is the solution. The best way to bequeath a more sustainable environment to our children is not to have any.

What’s the “pro-choice” line? “Every child should be wanted”? Not anymore. The progressive position has subtly evolved: Every child should be unwanted.

By the way, if you’re looking for some last-minute stocking stuffers, Oxford University Press has published a book by professor David Benatar of the University of Cape Town called “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.” The author “argues for the ‘anti-natal’ view – that it is always wrong to have children … . Anti-natalism also implies that it would be better if humanity became extinct.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.stpeterswaterford.com Rev. Fred Bischoff

    I guess that makes Herod the Great a trailblazer and perhaps the patron saint of the anti-natalists. How appropriate for the Season.

  • http://www.stpeterswaterford.com Rev. Fred Bischoff

    I guess that makes Herod the Great a trailblazer and perhaps the patron saint of the anti-natalists. How appropriate for the Season.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    As is my wont, I will point out (modestly) that I predicted just this in my novel, WOLF TIME.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    As is my wont, I will point out (modestly) that I predicted just this in my novel, WOLF TIME.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    This line of thinking will jar with the trend throughout Europe, where leaders are awakening to the realization that they are not making enough babies to replace the population that is dying. There are government programs afoot to encourage couples to have MORE children, and to punish economically those couples who choose to remain childless.

    I certainly recommend that Barry Walters not spawn any babes. At the very least these people should walk their walk, eh?

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    This line of thinking will jar with the trend throughout Europe, where leaders are awakening to the realization that they are not making enough babies to replace the population that is dying. There are government programs afoot to encourage couples to have MORE children, and to punish economically those couples who choose to remain childless.

    I certainly recommend that Barry Walters not spawn any babes. At the very least these people should walk their walk, eh?

  • Joe

    I remeber someone commented on the post about divorce being environmentally bad that people would not stop getting divorced to save the environment. Still think that is true?

    The Church of Climate Change is very powerful and it has its own Law.

  • Joe

    I remeber someone commented on the post about divorce being environmentally bad that people would not stop getting divorced to save the environment. Still think that is true?

    The Church of Climate Change is very powerful and it has its own Law.

  • Bror Erickson

    So I wonder how elitist these people are that for some reason they see their lives more valuable than the lives of others. for they want other people to stop having babies, get abortions, and so forth, but refuse to act on their own convictions and shoot themselves in order to save the planet.

  • Bror Erickson

    So I wonder how elitist these people are that for some reason they see their lives more valuable than the lives of others. for they want other people to stop having babies, get abortions, and so forth, but refuse to act on their own convictions and shoot themselves in order to save the planet.

  • ducky

    The god of this world continues to challenge the divine order from the Lord God “Share in My creation”. Sadly with just 25% of the Christians of the world living in the Western nations, the anti-natalist demons may reach their goals in the West. In 1900 that percentage was 91%. Since childless adults favor dogs or cats, the carbon footprint may still be considerable.

  • ducky

    The god of this world continues to challenge the divine order from the Lord God “Share in My creation”. Sadly with just 25% of the Christians of the world living in the Western nations, the anti-natalist demons may reach their goals in the West. In 1900 that percentage was 91%. Since childless adults favor dogs or cats, the carbon footprint may still be considerable.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Many years ago I read an interesting story in a sci-fi anthology, The Last Man on Earth. I was surprised to find it online at: http://www.sfw.org/books/96sin.html

    The story, “Original Sin”, by S. Fowler Wright, deals with two young people and their decision to not follow along with the “Doctrine of Futility”

    “That, briefly stated, was that sentient life on the Earth, and particularly the forecasting and introspective self-consciousness of mankind, is an evolutionary blunder or, at best, a futility, inevitably destined to be corrected by the deliberate action of its own products so soon as they should reach an intellectual maturity sufficient to enable them to recognise both their own abortion, and their power to terminate it.

    “Sooner or later, it was argued, mankind must reach a maturity of thought which would recognise the vanity of the procession of life and death, and, by its own deliberate and orderly extinction, restore the Harmony of the Universe, which had been momentarily disturbed by the flicker of sentient life on the planet on which we live.”

    The story was first published in 1946.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Many years ago I read an interesting story in a sci-fi anthology, The Last Man on Earth. I was surprised to find it online at: http://www.sfw.org/books/96sin.html

    The story, “Original Sin”, by S. Fowler Wright, deals with two young people and their decision to not follow along with the “Doctrine of Futility”

    “That, briefly stated, was that sentient life on the Earth, and particularly the forecasting and introspective self-consciousness of mankind, is an evolutionary blunder or, at best, a futility, inevitably destined to be corrected by the deliberate action of its own products so soon as they should reach an intellectual maturity sufficient to enable them to recognise both their own abortion, and their power to terminate it.

    “Sooner or later, it was argued, mankind must reach a maturity of thought which would recognise the vanity of the procession of life and death, and, by its own deliberate and orderly extinction, restore the Harmony of the Universe, which had been momentarily disturbed by the flicker of sentient life on the planet on which we live.”

    The story was first published in 1946.

  • Booklover

    This just gives us more reason to accept and teach the WHOLE TRUTH of the whole Bible. The salvation that Jesus provided is truly multi-faceted. Not only has He saved us from our sins, but he has saved us from the ultimate stupidity of this line of thinking. Thank the Lord that He is our God, and not ourselves.

    Shame on Oxford University Press.

  • Booklover

    This just gives us more reason to accept and teach the WHOLE TRUTH of the whole Bible. The salvation that Jesus provided is truly multi-faceted. Not only has He saved us from our sins, but he has saved us from the ultimate stupidity of this line of thinking. Thank the Lord that He is our God, and not ourselves.

    Shame on Oxford University Press.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’ve been confronted by people like this from time to time due to my wife being a fruitful vine, and my response to those who would not have children is “exactly who is going to take care of you when you’re no longer able to take care of yourself?”

    Surreal. And well said, Bror.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’ve been confronted by people like this from time to time due to my wife being a fruitful vine, and my response to those who would not have children is “exactly who is going to take care of you when you’re no longer able to take care of yourself?”

    Surreal. And well said, Bror.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    I posted on this phenomenon last month. Go here to meet the women who won’t have babies because they’re not eco-friendly:

    http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2007/11/blessed-are-barren.html

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    I posted on this phenomenon last month. Go here to meet the women who won’t have babies because they’re not eco-friendly:

    http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2007/11/blessed-are-barren.html

  • S Bauer

    It seems to me the anti-natalists have within them the seeds (so to speak) of their own demise. In view of the post a while back that divorce increases pollution, I think taxing divorce, rather than being fruitful and multiplying, makes more sense.

  • S Bauer

    It seems to me the anti-natalists have within them the seeds (so to speak) of their own demise. In view of the post a while back that divorce increases pollution, I think taxing divorce, rather than being fruitful and multiplying, makes more sense.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    I wonder why these people don’t move out into the forest, then, and live a truly green existance. Or kill themselves.

    It all has to do with a worldview that regards humans as no different than animals, except that we guzzle oil.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    I wonder why these people don’t move out into the forest, then, and live a truly green existance. Or kill themselves.

    It all has to do with a worldview that regards humans as no different than animals, except that we guzzle oil.

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    Spoken like a person who hasn’t been through it. Who are you going to tax? Why? or do you assume both parties are equally at fault?

  • Bror Erickson

    S Bauer,
    Spoken like a person who hasn’t been through it. Who are you going to tax? Why? or do you assume both parties are equally at fault?

  • Peggers

    Bror,

    Great line of reasoning above. Hipocrisy is the name of the game for these people. How many of the “elitists” at the Bali conference do you suppose traveled there via private, chartered jet? My guess is quite a few…

  • Peggers

    Bror,

    Great line of reasoning above. Hipocrisy is the name of the game for these people. How many of the “elitists” at the Bali conference do you suppose traveled there via private, chartered jet? My guess is quite a few…

  • http://diary-of-a-wanna-be-supermom.blogspot.com/ Cate

    This story almost makes me want try my darnedest to have a fourth child, even though I feel perfectly content with three.

  • http://diary-of-a-wanna-be-supermom.blogspot.com/ Cate

    This story almost makes me want try my darnedest to have a fourth child, even though I feel perfectly content with three.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Cate,

    You should hear the insulting comments my wife and I have to put up with now that we’re expecting our seventh child, but I won’t repeat them here. The comments and looks of disgust from people started with our fourth child. The three-child family seems like the threshold of tolerance in today’s culture, and even that is beginning to be suspect.

    I would like to point out that those of us with large families who hold to the historic biblical doctrine against contraception do not respond in-kind to those who are blessed with smaller families or to those who are infertile. God blesses us all as he sees fit, and we always get exactly what we need.

    We only criticize the unbiblical and ungodly belief that God doesn’t care if we choose to limit our family size for our own sinful reasons, including the above mentioned sinful worship of creation rather than the Creator.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Cate,

    You should hear the insulting comments my wife and I have to put up with now that we’re expecting our seventh child, but I won’t repeat them here. The comments and looks of disgust from people started with our fourth child. The three-child family seems like the threshold of tolerance in today’s culture, and even that is beginning to be suspect.

    I would like to point out that those of us with large families who hold to the historic biblical doctrine against contraception do not respond in-kind to those who are blessed with smaller families or to those who are infertile. God blesses us all as he sees fit, and we always get exactly what we need.

    We only criticize the unbiblical and ungodly belief that God doesn’t care if we choose to limit our family size for our own sinful reasons, including the above mentioned sinful worship of creation rather than the Creator.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    It seems like you can’t win. If you only have one child people want to know when that child will get a sibling. If you have more than three people make comments like Dr. H points out.

    I found this to be the case when I got married as well. if you get married at 21 people say that you are too young to get married. At 28 they start wondering if there is anything wrong with you. Is there a perfect age to marry? A perfect number of children to have? Why can’t people just leave it alone!?!

    Congratulations on number 7!

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    It seems like you can’t win. If you only have one child people want to know when that child will get a sibling. If you have more than three people make comments like Dr. H points out.

    I found this to be the case when I got married as well. if you get married at 21 people say that you are too young to get married. At 28 they start wondering if there is anything wrong with you. Is there a perfect age to marry? A perfect number of children to have? Why can’t people just leave it alone!?!

    Congratulations on number 7!

  • S Bauer

    Bror, I said taxing divorce rather than procreation made more sense. I wasn’t advocating for either. And you don’t know me well enough to know what I’ve gone through. (How’s that for being testy?)

  • S Bauer

    Bror, I said taxing divorce rather than procreation made more sense. I wasn’t advocating for either. And you don’t know me well enough to know what I’ve gone through. (How’s that for being testy?)

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Thanks, Sarah.

    As a wise man once said, “Lo, children are the inheritance of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the sons of the young. Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Thanks, Sarah.

    As a wise man once said, “Lo, children are the inheritance of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the sons of the young. Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127

  • Dennis Peskey

    Has anyone asked Professor Benatar if his mother agreed with his position that having children is always wrong? I think she may have once disagreed and may be now reconsidering.

    How far we’ve come from Rachel’s lamentation at Ramah – her children are no more. Now, the lament is no more children. It is so very difficult to reject the inclination of my sinful self to wish them all success in their beliefs. But this is not God’s will. How repulsive is Satan’s foul foolishness against children, particularily as we prepare to celebrate the greatest birth we know.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Has anyone asked Professor Benatar if his mother agreed with his position that having children is always wrong? I think she may have once disagreed and may be now reconsidering.

    How far we’ve come from Rachel’s lamentation at Ramah – her children are no more. Now, the lament is no more children. It is so very difficult to reject the inclination of my sinful self to wish them all success in their beliefs. But this is not God’s will. How repulsive is Satan’s foul foolishness against children, particularily as we prepare to celebrate the greatest birth we know.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    We need to be careful about taking extreme positions in these matters, though. My husband and I aren’t able to have children, but we are adopting. We will appear to be “unblessed” and “unfruitful” when we show up with our one adopted child. Or, a friend of mine has four children, because she believed in the same thing as our dentist friend here. With four children under six, she was on the brink of insanity and has decided to stop having more children. Not everyone can raise or support seven children. Not everyone can get pregnant. We ought to see children as blessings, but we need to reserve judgment for those who out of their faith in God choose other paths.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    We need to be careful about taking extreme positions in these matters, though. My husband and I aren’t able to have children, but we are adopting. We will appear to be “unblessed” and “unfruitful” when we show up with our one adopted child. Or, a friend of mine has four children, because she believed in the same thing as our dentist friend here. With four children under six, she was on the brink of insanity and has decided to stop having more children. Not everyone can raise or support seven children. Not everyone can get pregnant. We ought to see children as blessings, but we need to reserve judgment for those who out of their faith in God choose other paths.

  • Joe

    I am currenlty struggling with the issue of birth control. I hae three kids and am very happy. A large, very large part of me (and this part is currently winning my internal debate) says leave it up to the Lord. If my family can not handle more children then God will not give me anymore. The part says, we have three children we have been fruitfull we have nultiplied and we are in a position to take care of the three we have very well.

    I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and positions on this.

  • Joe

    I am currenlty struggling with the issue of birth control. I hae three kids and am very happy. A large, very large part of me (and this part is currently winning my internal debate) says leave it up to the Lord. If my family can not handle more children then God will not give me anymore. The part says, we have three children we have been fruitfull we have nultiplied and we are in a position to take care of the three we have very well.

    I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and positions on this.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Joe,

    You can learn a lot about the historic Christian/Lutheran position on contraception at http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com

    I won’t clutter up Dr. Veith’s blog here repeating what is already written there. I will just respond to your comment that the Lord will not give you more than you can handle. This is true. Another way to look at it is that while one might not think he’d be able to handle more children right now with what he has, if God blesses you with more children he will also most certainly give you all that is truly needed for their care.

    How do I know?

    We pray in the Lord’s Prayer to give us our daily bread. And we pray this with the confidence that he most certainly will. No matter how many children you have, God will provide ALL that you need to care for them according to His perfect will, but you will likely not have all that the world would have you believe is necessary.

    May God richly bless you!
    Erich

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    Joe,

    You can learn a lot about the historic Christian/Lutheran position on contraception at http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com

    I won’t clutter up Dr. Veith’s blog here repeating what is already written there. I will just respond to your comment that the Lord will not give you more than you can handle. This is true. Another way to look at it is that while one might not think he’d be able to handle more children right now with what he has, if God blesses you with more children he will also most certainly give you all that is truly needed for their care.

    How do I know?

    We pray in the Lord’s Prayer to give us our daily bread. And we pray this with the confidence that he most certainly will. No matter how many children you have, God will provide ALL that you need to care for them according to His perfect will, but you will likely not have all that the world would have you believe is necessary.

    May God richly bless you!
    Erich

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Joe, it actually turns out that you’ve got to go past three to (statistically speaking) multiply. About a third of women don’t have children, and the average to sustain a population (including women who don’t have children) is 2.1 kids/woman. So if you take ~1.5 * 2.11, you need to get to about 3.2 kids/mother to actually “be fruitful and multiply.”

    My take is similar to yours, but I temper it with the reality that one does not “be fruitful and multiply” by popping out kids at a rate that kills or maims their mother. But you knew that already. :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Joe, it actually turns out that you’ve got to go past three to (statistically speaking) multiply. About a third of women don’t have children, and the average to sustain a population (including women who don’t have children) is 2.1 kids/woman. So if you take ~1.5 * 2.11, you need to get to about 3.2 kids/mother to actually “be fruitful and multiply.”

    My take is similar to yours, but I temper it with the reality that one does not “be fruitful and multiply” by popping out kids at a rate that kills or maims their mother. But you knew that already. :^)

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@23) and maybe Joe (@22), I have a hard time seeing how adhering to this line of logic wouldn’t also preclude one from seeking medical care at all — yes, including dentistry.

    After all, shouldn’t we “leave it up to the Lord” how many teeth he gives us (or takes away if they rot out)? He promises to care for us, so why visit a dentist — God will give me as many teeth as I need.

    Of course, others might argue that modern advances in medicine are one of the many ways that God gives us our daily bread — heck, even my literal daily bread is more than a little assisted by modern science and technology.

    I don’t blame anyone who chooses to have as many children as they will or may. But I also disagree with the notion that everyone using birth control does so sinfully and without trusting in God.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@23) and maybe Joe (@22), I have a hard time seeing how adhering to this line of logic wouldn’t also preclude one from seeking medical care at all — yes, including dentistry.

    After all, shouldn’t we “leave it up to the Lord” how many teeth he gives us (or takes away if they rot out)? He promises to care for us, so why visit a dentist — God will give me as many teeth as I need.

    Of course, others might argue that modern advances in medicine are one of the many ways that God gives us our daily bread — heck, even my literal daily bread is more than a little assisted by modern science and technology.

    I don’t blame anyone who chooses to have as many children as they will or may. But I also disagree with the notion that everyone using birth control does so sinfully and without trusting in God.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD, you wrote: “I have a hard time seeing how adhering to this line of logic wouldn’t also preclude one from seeking medical care at all — yes, including dentistry.”

    Let me make it easier for you to see. Your argument is based on a false comparison. Medical care, including dentistry, is designed to prevent or cure disease. Contraception is designed to prevent life itself. The conception of children is NOT a disease that needs a cure like medical care and dental care provides.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD, you wrote: “I have a hard time seeing how adhering to this line of logic wouldn’t also preclude one from seeking medical care at all — yes, including dentistry.”

    Let me make it easier for you to see. Your argument is based on a false comparison. Medical care, including dentistry, is designed to prevent or cure disease. Contraception is designed to prevent life itself. The conception of children is NOT a disease that needs a cure like medical care and dental care provides.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@26), well enough, but your argument is based on the assertion that disease is bad and children good, and therefore we can/should use medicine to prevent or cure disease, but not to prevent (additional) children.

    But what is your assertion that disease is bad based on? Isn’t everything a gift from God? Since we know that God works all things to the good of those that love him, can’t we consider it a joy when we face trials, even disease? So isn’t it wrong to use medicine to prevent that which God would bless us with?

    Further questions along your line of thinking:

    1) Do you think the “rhythm method” is okay?
    2) Is it okay for a husband and wife to abstain for the purposes of not conceiving (or otherwise)?
    3) Should people then have as many children as their bodies will allow? If not, why not?
    4) Once their bodies give out, should people adopt as many babies as legally possible? If not, why not?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@26), well enough, but your argument is based on the assertion that disease is bad and children good, and therefore we can/should use medicine to prevent or cure disease, but not to prevent (additional) children.

    But what is your assertion that disease is bad based on? Isn’t everything a gift from God? Since we know that God works all things to the good of those that love him, can’t we consider it a joy when we face trials, even disease? So isn’t it wrong to use medicine to prevent that which God would bless us with?

    Further questions along your line of thinking:

    1) Do you think the “rhythm method” is okay?
    2) Is it okay for a husband and wife to abstain for the purposes of not conceiving (or otherwise)?
    3) Should people then have as many children as their bodies will allow? If not, why not?
    4) Once their bodies give out, should people adopt as many babies as legally possible? If not, why not?

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD,

    I answer all those questions and more in detail on the blog I directed readers to. I fear this is tangential to the discussion Dr. Veith intended to start here.

    Nevertheless, I will provide quick answers to your questions, not intending them to be discussion starters.

    1. No. It is the intent of the heart that matters, not the method of action.

    2. No. Again, it is the intent of the heart that matters, not the method of action. See http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2005/12/lets-look-at-scripture-for-change.html

    3. No. Why? There is no command to go to unnatural measures to maximize fertility beyond what God naturally provides. Instead, it is the intentional interference with God’s plan for procreation that can involve our sinfulness.

    4. No. Again, there is no command to adopt babies. This is done in Christian freedom and charity as one feels called.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD,

    I answer all those questions and more in detail on the blog I directed readers to. I fear this is tangential to the discussion Dr. Veith intended to start here.

    Nevertheless, I will provide quick answers to your questions, not intending them to be discussion starters.

    1. No. It is the intent of the heart that matters, not the method of action.

    2. No. Again, it is the intent of the heart that matters, not the method of action. See http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2005/12/lets-look-at-scripture-for-change.html

    3. No. Why? There is no command to go to unnatural measures to maximize fertility beyond what God naturally provides. Instead, it is the intentional interference with God’s plan for procreation that can involve our sinfulness.

    4. No. Again, there is no command to adopt babies. This is done in Christian freedom and charity as one feels called.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    P.S. Your argument that disease is a gift from God is bizarre to say the least. God allows disease but, while he can be considered the secondary cause, he is not the primary cause of suffering.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    P.S. Your argument that disease is a gift from God is bizarre to say the least. God allows disease but, while he can be considered the secondary cause, he is not the primary cause of suffering.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@28), this discussion may be tangential to this blog entry, but as you’ve now made several comments along those lines, it’s hardly tangential to the discussion here now. I did glance over your blog entries, but I don’t have the time to read all the archives, where I presume there is more discussion from Biblical texts than I found on the front page. Anyhow, either we can drop the whole matter, if you want, or — as seems to be your wish — we can discuss it here. It’s up to you.

    I believe you misunderstood my question #3 (@27) — I wasn’t asking about “unnatural measures”, merely if it is sinful if a couple does not produce as many children as naturally possible, from the day of marriage until menopause or other natural causes intervene. But I’m glad to see that you are at least consistent, with regards to questions #1 and #2.

    Still, it seems that you believe in a law that man must want (and act in accord with that desire) as many children as he may produce.

    Best I can tell, this idea is based on commands in Genesis (chs. 1 and 9) to “be fruitful and increase in number.” Of course, it is to be noted that at the time those commands were given, the earth was otherwise devoid of people. And that God specifically addresses each instance of the command to particular people (as he also did in Gen. 35), not as a general law. Still, if these commands still apply to us, then blutwurst is also sinful (Cf. 9:4).

    It is hard to argue that mankind has not, as a whole, increased in number and filled the earth. But the question regards the specific application: if God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number” applies to me, then does that mean that I am sinning if I only attempt to have two children (through means unspecified)? Is that not fruitful or increased enough?

    I’m not arguing that children are not a blessing, nor am I arguing for abortifacients. I’m also not interested in anything other than Biblical arguments. Just to clear some tangents out of the way.

    But most importantly to me is that if it is a command for all people to be fruitful, how can we explain Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7? “It is good for a man not to marry … to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.” That obviously works out to “it is good for them not to be fruitful”, since God only wants us to have children within a marriage. Is Paul contradicting God? Or, if it can be beneficial for a man not to marry (so as to be able to focus more on the Kingdom), can it similarly be beneficial for the kingdom for a couple to not have as many kids as naturally possible?

    Finally, I do not know of any similar echoes in the New Testament of this law which you perceive as for all people and times. Yet there is this: “go and make disciples of all nations”. Be fruitful by making spiritual children, as it were. And whether we do this with our own physical children or others in our lives, may it be so.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@28), this discussion may be tangential to this blog entry, but as you’ve now made several comments along those lines, it’s hardly tangential to the discussion here now. I did glance over your blog entries, but I don’t have the time to read all the archives, where I presume there is more discussion from Biblical texts than I found on the front page. Anyhow, either we can drop the whole matter, if you want, or — as seems to be your wish — we can discuss it here. It’s up to you.

    I believe you misunderstood my question #3 (@27) — I wasn’t asking about “unnatural measures”, merely if it is sinful if a couple does not produce as many children as naturally possible, from the day of marriage until menopause or other natural causes intervene. But I’m glad to see that you are at least consistent, with regards to questions #1 and #2.

    Still, it seems that you believe in a law that man must want (and act in accord with that desire) as many children as he may produce.

    Best I can tell, this idea is based on commands in Genesis (chs. 1 and 9) to “be fruitful and increase in number.” Of course, it is to be noted that at the time those commands were given, the earth was otherwise devoid of people. And that God specifically addresses each instance of the command to particular people (as he also did in Gen. 35), not as a general law. Still, if these commands still apply to us, then blutwurst is also sinful (Cf. 9:4).

    It is hard to argue that mankind has not, as a whole, increased in number and filled the earth. But the question regards the specific application: if God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number” applies to me, then does that mean that I am sinning if I only attempt to have two children (through means unspecified)? Is that not fruitful or increased enough?

    I’m not arguing that children are not a blessing, nor am I arguing for abortifacients. I’m also not interested in anything other than Biblical arguments. Just to clear some tangents out of the way.

    But most importantly to me is that if it is a command for all people to be fruitful, how can we explain Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7? “It is good for a man not to marry … to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.” That obviously works out to “it is good for them not to be fruitful”, since God only wants us to have children within a marriage. Is Paul contradicting God? Or, if it can be beneficial for a man not to marry (so as to be able to focus more on the Kingdom), can it similarly be beneficial for the kingdom for a couple to not have as many kids as naturally possible?

    Finally, I do not know of any similar echoes in the New Testament of this law which you perceive as for all people and times. Yet there is this: “go and make disciples of all nations”. Be fruitful by making spiritual children, as it were. And whether we do this with our own physical children or others in our lives, may it be so.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    “But most importantly to me is that if it is a command for all people to be fruitful, how can we explain Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7? ‘It is good for a man not to marry…’” ~tODD

    Let me allow Luther to answer your question:

    “For this word which God speaks, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ is not a command. It is more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore. Rather, it is just as necessary as the fact that I am a man , and more necessary than sleeping and waking, eating and drinking, and emptying the bowels and bladder. It is a nature and disposition just as innate as the organs involved in it. Therefore, just as God does not command anyone to be a man or a woman but created them the way they have to be, so he does not command them to multiply but creates them so that they have to multiply. And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice.

    “In the third place, from this ordinance of creation God has himself exempted three categories of men, saying in Matthew 19:12, ‘There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.’ Apart from these three groups, let no man presume to be without a spouse. And whoever does not fall within one of these three categories should not consider anything except the estate of marriage. Otherwise it simply impossible for you to remain righteous. For the Word of God which created you and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ abides and rules within you; you can by no means ignore it, or you will be bound to commit heinous sins without end.”

    [Luther's works, vol. 45, The Christian in Society II, The Estate of Marriage, p. 18]

    As to whether or not Lutherans hold that the command to be fruitful and multiply still holds today, check out AC XXIII, #5 & 8, Triglot p. 61:

    “God created man for procreation, Gen. 1:28 … No man’s law, no vow, can annul the commandment and ordinance of God.”

    and AP XXIII, #7-8, Trigl. p. 365-7:

    “First. Gen. 1:28 teaches that men were created to fruitful and that one sex in a proper way should desire the other. For we are speaking not of concupiscence, which is sin, but of that appetite which was to have been in nature in its integrity, which they call physical love. And this love of one sex for the other is truly a divine ordinance. But since this ordinance of God cannot be removed without an extraordinary work of God, it follows that the right to contract marriage cannot be removed by statutes or vows.

    “The adversaries cavil at these arguments; they say that in the beginning the commandment was given to replenish the earth, but that now since the earth has been replenished, marriage is not commanded. See how wisely they judge! The nature of men is so forced by the Word of God that it is fruitful not only in the beginning of the creation, but as long as this nature of our bodies will exist; just as the earth becomes fruitful by the word, Gen. 1:11: Let the earth bring forth grass, yielding seed. Because of this ordinance the earth not only commenced in the beginning to bring forth plants, but the fields are clothed every year as long as this natural order will exist. Therefore, just as by human laws the nature of the earth cannot be changed, so, without a special work of God, the nature of a human being can be changed neither by vows nor by human law (that a woman should not desire a man, nor a man a woman).”

    As you can see, just answering a single question on this subject can use up a lot of blog space. It’s already all there over at Lutherans and Contraception. Why repeat it all here?

    The above info is extracted from just one post there: http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2006/01/be-fruitful-and-multiply.html

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    “But most importantly to me is that if it is a command for all people to be fruitful, how can we explain Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7? ‘It is good for a man not to marry…’” ~tODD

    Let me allow Luther to answer your question:

    “For this word which God speaks, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ is not a command. It is more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore. Rather, it is just as necessary as the fact that I am a man , and more necessary than sleeping and waking, eating and drinking, and emptying the bowels and bladder. It is a nature and disposition just as innate as the organs involved in it. Therefore, just as God does not command anyone to be a man or a woman but created them the way they have to be, so he does not command them to multiply but creates them so that they have to multiply. And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice.

    “In the third place, from this ordinance of creation God has himself exempted three categories of men, saying in Matthew 19:12, ‘There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.’ Apart from these three groups, let no man presume to be without a spouse. And whoever does not fall within one of these three categories should not consider anything except the estate of marriage. Otherwise it simply impossible for you to remain righteous. For the Word of God which created you and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ abides and rules within you; you can by no means ignore it, or you will be bound to commit heinous sins without end.”

    [Luther's works, vol. 45, The Christian in Society II, The Estate of Marriage, p. 18]

    As to whether or not Lutherans hold that the command to be fruitful and multiply still holds today, check out AC XXIII, #5 & 8, Triglot p. 61:

    “God created man for procreation, Gen. 1:28 … No man’s law, no vow, can annul the commandment and ordinance of God.”

    and AP XXIII, #7-8, Trigl. p. 365-7:

    “First. Gen. 1:28 teaches that men were created to fruitful and that one sex in a proper way should desire the other. For we are speaking not of concupiscence, which is sin, but of that appetite which was to have been in nature in its integrity, which they call physical love. And this love of one sex for the other is truly a divine ordinance. But since this ordinance of God cannot be removed without an extraordinary work of God, it follows that the right to contract marriage cannot be removed by statutes or vows.

    “The adversaries cavil at these arguments; they say that in the beginning the commandment was given to replenish the earth, but that now since the earth has been replenished, marriage is not commanded. See how wisely they judge! The nature of men is so forced by the Word of God that it is fruitful not only in the beginning of the creation, but as long as this nature of our bodies will exist; just as the earth becomes fruitful by the word, Gen. 1:11: Let the earth bring forth grass, yielding seed. Because of this ordinance the earth not only commenced in the beginning to bring forth plants, but the fields are clothed every year as long as this natural order will exist. Therefore, just as by human laws the nature of the earth cannot be changed, so, without a special work of God, the nature of a human being can be changed neither by vows nor by human law (that a woman should not desire a man, nor a man a woman).”

    As you can see, just answering a single question on this subject can use up a lot of blog space. It’s already all there over at Lutherans and Contraception. Why repeat it all here?

    The above info is extracted from just one post there: http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2006/01/be-fruitful-and-multiply.html

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@31), as I said before, if you don’t want to discuss this here, you can stop. But as I do read this blog but not yours, I am unlikely to follow any discussion over there. That said, hasn’t been anyone here but us chickens for at least a day.

    Anyhow, your first quote, from “The Estate of Marriage”, does not address the issue of contraception. It does address the issue of willfully abstaining from sex, which Luther says is a bad idea because God has given humanity a natural sexual instinct, and to ignore it is to ignore the way we are created, and likely to result in sexual sins (that sort of ruin the point of abstaining). I agree with what Luther wrote here — I am not sure that you do. He describes “be fruitful and multiply” as “not a command”, but rather a description of nature as God created it, something akin to “let there be light”.

    Furthermore, you ignore that Luther (citing Jesus, but also echoing Paul) makes a rather notable exception for “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”, that is, those who willingly abstain from sex in order to focus on God. Many of us do not possess such self-control, but for those that do, “It is good for them to stay unmarried, as [Paul was]“, and “The one who can accept this should accept it.” I have not read anything from you that addresses this preferable behavior in light of the law you see that we must willingly follow.

    As to the quotes from the Augsburg Confession (and the apology thereof? I don’t know what AP stands for), I agree with them in the context in which they obviously refer — that it is wrong for the Catholic church to forbid priests to marry, since that is unbiblical, and has already been discussed, unnatural (or at least difficult to accept for most).

    But the use of contraception does nothing to contravene man’s natural desires, nor does it bind his conscience by forbidding him to acknowledge them — quite the opposite. So I don’t see how these quotes are applicable.

    As God designed it, so it has occurred — mankind has been fruitful and multiplied, and God willing, I will also play a role in that. But there is no Biblical law against contraception that you have shown me.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@31), as I said before, if you don’t want to discuss this here, you can stop. But as I do read this blog but not yours, I am unlikely to follow any discussion over there. That said, hasn’t been anyone here but us chickens for at least a day.

    Anyhow, your first quote, from “The Estate of Marriage”, does not address the issue of contraception. It does address the issue of willfully abstaining from sex, which Luther says is a bad idea because God has given humanity a natural sexual instinct, and to ignore it is to ignore the way we are created, and likely to result in sexual sins (that sort of ruin the point of abstaining). I agree with what Luther wrote here — I am not sure that you do. He describes “be fruitful and multiply” as “not a command”, but rather a description of nature as God created it, something akin to “let there be light”.

    Furthermore, you ignore that Luther (citing Jesus, but also echoing Paul) makes a rather notable exception for “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”, that is, those who willingly abstain from sex in order to focus on God. Many of us do not possess such self-control, but for those that do, “It is good for them to stay unmarried, as [Paul was]“, and “The one who can accept this should accept it.” I have not read anything from you that addresses this preferable behavior in light of the law you see that we must willingly follow.

    As to the quotes from the Augsburg Confession (and the apology thereof? I don’t know what AP stands for), I agree with them in the context in which they obviously refer — that it is wrong for the Catholic church to forbid priests to marry, since that is unbiblical, and has already been discussed, unnatural (or at least difficult to accept for most).

    But the use of contraception does nothing to contravene man’s natural desires, nor does it bind his conscience by forbidding him to acknowledge them — quite the opposite. So I don’t see how these quotes are applicable.

    As God designed it, so it has occurred — mankind has been fruitful and multiplied, and God willing, I will also play a role in that. But there is no Biblical law against contraception that you have shown me.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD, you wrote: “Anyhow, your first quote, from ‘The Estate of Marriage,’ does not address the issue of contraception. It does address the issue of willfully abstaining from sex…”

    In this quote, Luther is commenting on the first (but certainly not the only) verse in Scripture that says: be fruitful and multiply. With all due respect, I do not understand how you can imagine that Luther, in commenting on this verse, is somehow talking about engaging in sexual relations which are intentionally unfruiful and non-multiplying. He understands the purpose of marriage itself to be procreation

    Augustine said: “Therefore, the procreation of children is itself the primary, natural, legitimate purpose of marriage. Whence it follows that those who marry because of their inability to remain continent ought not to so temper their vice that they preclude the good of marriage, which is the procreation of children.”

    And our confessions state:
    “God created man for procreation…”
    [AC XXIII, #5 & 8, Triglot p. 61]

    Consider Luther’s position on Genesis more specifically:

    “For one must also consider that at that time fertility was regarded as an extraordinary blessing and a special gift of God, as is clear from Deut. 28:4, where Moses numbers fertility among the blessings. ‘There will not be a barren woman among you,’ he says (cf. Ex. 23:26). We do not regard this so highly today. Although we like and desire it in cattle, yet in the human race there are few who regard a woman’s fertility as a blessing. Indeed, there are many who have an aversion for it and regard sterility as a special blessing. Surely this is also contrary to nature. Much less is it pious and saintly. For this affection has been implanted by God in man’s nature, so that it desires its increase and multiplication. Accordingly, it is inhuman and godless to have a loathing for offspring. Thus someone recently called his wife a sow, since she gave birth rather often. The good-for-nothing and impure fellow! The saintly fathers did not feel like this at all; for they acknowledged a fruitful wife as a special blessing of God and, on the other hand, regarded sterility as a curse. And this judgment flowed from the Word of God in Gen. 1:28, where He said: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ From this they understood that children are a gift of God.

    [Luther's works, vol. 5, p. 329]

    And again:

    “Although it is very easy to marry a wife, it is very difficult to support her along with the children and the household. Accordingly, no one notices this faith of Jacob. Indeed, many hate fertility in a wife for the sole reason that the offspring must be supported and brought up. For this is what they commonly say: ‘Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden of poverty alone and not load myself with misery and want.’ But this blame is unjustly fastened on marriage and fruitfulness. Indeed, you are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.

    [Luther's works, vol. 5: Lectures on Genesis, page 332]

    Luther certainly did not consider intentionally sterile sexual relations as being acceptable.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD, you wrote: “Anyhow, your first quote, from ‘The Estate of Marriage,’ does not address the issue of contraception. It does address the issue of willfully abstaining from sex…”

    In this quote, Luther is commenting on the first (but certainly not the only) verse in Scripture that says: be fruitful and multiply. With all due respect, I do not understand how you can imagine that Luther, in commenting on this verse, is somehow talking about engaging in sexual relations which are intentionally unfruiful and non-multiplying. He understands the purpose of marriage itself to be procreation

    Augustine said: “Therefore, the procreation of children is itself the primary, natural, legitimate purpose of marriage. Whence it follows that those who marry because of their inability to remain continent ought not to so temper their vice that they preclude the good of marriage, which is the procreation of children.”

    And our confessions state:
    “God created man for procreation…”
    [AC XXIII, #5 & 8, Triglot p. 61]

    Consider Luther’s position on Genesis more specifically:

    “For one must also consider that at that time fertility was regarded as an extraordinary blessing and a special gift of God, as is clear from Deut. 28:4, where Moses numbers fertility among the blessings. ‘There will not be a barren woman among you,’ he says (cf. Ex. 23:26). We do not regard this so highly today. Although we like and desire it in cattle, yet in the human race there are few who regard a woman’s fertility as a blessing. Indeed, there are many who have an aversion for it and regard sterility as a special blessing. Surely this is also contrary to nature. Much less is it pious and saintly. For this affection has been implanted by God in man’s nature, so that it desires its increase and multiplication. Accordingly, it is inhuman and godless to have a loathing for offspring. Thus someone recently called his wife a sow, since she gave birth rather often. The good-for-nothing and impure fellow! The saintly fathers did not feel like this at all; for they acknowledged a fruitful wife as a special blessing of God and, on the other hand, regarded sterility as a curse. And this judgment flowed from the Word of God in Gen. 1:28, where He said: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ From this they understood that children are a gift of God.

    [Luther's works, vol. 5, p. 329]

    And again:

    “Although it is very easy to marry a wife, it is very difficult to support her along with the children and the household. Accordingly, no one notices this faith of Jacob. Indeed, many hate fertility in a wife for the sole reason that the offspring must be supported and brought up. For this is what they commonly say: ‘Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden of poverty alone and not load myself with misery and want.’ But this blame is unjustly fastened on marriage and fruitfulness. Indeed, you are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.

    [Luther's works, vol. 5: Lectures on Genesis, page 332]

    Luther certainly did not consider intentionally sterile sexual relations as being acceptable.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@33), apologies for the delay in my reply, but as you may well imagine, things have been busy lately. Hopefully you’re still reading.

    With regards to your quote from “The Estate of Marriage”, you said in reply to me that you cannot imagine “that Luther, in commenting on this verse, is somehow talking about engaging in sexual relations which are intentionally unfruiful and non-multiplying.” That’s taking my intent a bit broadly — I do not imagine that Luther had that in mind, either. I don’t imagine that Luther had in mind (and this is my point) anything to do with contraception when he wrote that. It is about the natural sexual instinct that God created in man, and how it is wise to not try to ignore it, as this can lead to trouble. In that much, he is in agreement with Jesus and Paul. Of course, a married couple using contraception does not ignore the sexual desire God gave them, either. And so they wisely follow all these men’s advice.

    You then go on to say that Luther “understands the purpose of marriage itself to be procreation.” Here it is important to pause and consider sets and subsets. God certainly intends that procreation only occur that within marriage, but I do not agree that God only created marriage for the purpose of procreation. After all, “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” — what is that “reason”? Is it the child that Eve bore Adam? Nope, that’s two chapters later. So what is that reason?

    Now, Luther may have thought that the only purpose of marriage was to create children — I don’t know for sure. But I disagree with your reading of the passages you’ve cited to make it seem so. And I obviously don’t think any thinking so on Luther’s part was biblical.

    Again, with your quotes from Luther’s works, I will not disagree that children are a gift of God, anymore than I will disagree that everything is a gift from God. That doesn’t really play into the discussion. Perhaps you think that I loathe children, but I don’t. I even plan to have some myself. Just like I make plans to use all of God’s blessings. And, of course, I pray that God show me when my plans are not his.

    One mistake you seem to make is that you assume that anyone using contraception must plan to never have children. But most people using contraception do nothing of the sort. They use contraception to time when they will have children (unless, of course, God times it otherwise).

    I still do not feel that you have at all touched on what you think about the man or woman who does not have children for the sake of the kingdom. Would you allow anyone to do so today, or would you tell them they must be fruitful and multiply?

    I also wonder what you would counsel a couple that, though naturally infertile, wanted to marry. Would you tell them no, they cannot — marriage is only for procreation, you must burn with lust!

    And finally, I wonder how often one would have to have sex to be okay with God in your eyes. Obviously, you’d have to have sex during every non-pregnant ovulating period. But how often? If only once during that period, are you really committed to procreation? Will God be pleased with you?

    It’s strange how often people take blessings and turn them into laws.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@33), apologies for the delay in my reply, but as you may well imagine, things have been busy lately. Hopefully you’re still reading.

    With regards to your quote from “The Estate of Marriage”, you said in reply to me that you cannot imagine “that Luther, in commenting on this verse, is somehow talking about engaging in sexual relations which are intentionally unfruiful and non-multiplying.” That’s taking my intent a bit broadly — I do not imagine that Luther had that in mind, either. I don’t imagine that Luther had in mind (and this is my point) anything to do with contraception when he wrote that. It is about the natural sexual instinct that God created in man, and how it is wise to not try to ignore it, as this can lead to trouble. In that much, he is in agreement with Jesus and Paul. Of course, a married couple using contraception does not ignore the sexual desire God gave them, either. And so they wisely follow all these men’s advice.

    You then go on to say that Luther “understands the purpose of marriage itself to be procreation.” Here it is important to pause and consider sets and subsets. God certainly intends that procreation only occur that within marriage, but I do not agree that God only created marriage for the purpose of procreation. After all, “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” — what is that “reason”? Is it the child that Eve bore Adam? Nope, that’s two chapters later. So what is that reason?

    Now, Luther may have thought that the only purpose of marriage was to create children — I don’t know for sure. But I disagree with your reading of the passages you’ve cited to make it seem so. And I obviously don’t think any thinking so on Luther’s part was biblical.

    Again, with your quotes from Luther’s works, I will not disagree that children are a gift of God, anymore than I will disagree that everything is a gift from God. That doesn’t really play into the discussion. Perhaps you think that I loathe children, but I don’t. I even plan to have some myself. Just like I make plans to use all of God’s blessings. And, of course, I pray that God show me when my plans are not his.

    One mistake you seem to make is that you assume that anyone using contraception must plan to never have children. But most people using contraception do nothing of the sort. They use contraception to time when they will have children (unless, of course, God times it otherwise).

    I still do not feel that you have at all touched on what you think about the man or woman who does not have children for the sake of the kingdom. Would you allow anyone to do so today, or would you tell them they must be fruitful and multiply?

    I also wonder what you would counsel a couple that, though naturally infertile, wanted to marry. Would you tell them no, they cannot — marriage is only for procreation, you must burn with lust!

    And finally, I wonder how often one would have to have sex to be okay with God in your eyes. Obviously, you’d have to have sex during every non-pregnant ovulating period. But how often? If only once during that period, are you really committed to procreation? Will God be pleased with you?

    It’s strange how often people take blessings and turn them into laws.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD,

    If you truly wish to know more about what Lutheranism teaches on this issue, and not just in having an argument, please take time to read the pertinent posts over on Lutherans and Contraception. I would have gladly continued this conversation here if it seemed a potentially fruitful and wise use of my very limited time.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD,

    If you truly wish to know more about what Lutheranism teaches on this issue, and not just in having an argument, please take time to read the pertinent posts over on Lutherans and Contraception. I would have gladly continued this conversation here if it seemed a potentially fruitful and wise use of my very limited time.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@35), I suppose you won’t be reading this, but I’m disappointed in your response. I have endeavored to fairly engage you in debate over this subject, though I clearly have not been swayed by your points.

    However, after several back-and-forth comments, you’ve apparently decided to take your ball and go home, dismissing me as merely wanting to “hav[e] an argument.” I suppose that’s the loving Lutheran way to respond — to declare that I’m not really interested in having a “fruitful” debate because I disagree with you?

    Oh well. I may follow your blog, not that I’m holding out hope for you to appreciate my comments any more over there. Sorry to have wasted your time.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@35), I suppose you won’t be reading this, but I’m disappointed in your response. I have endeavored to fairly engage you in debate over this subject, though I clearly have not been swayed by your points.

    However, after several back-and-forth comments, you’ve apparently decided to take your ball and go home, dismissing me as merely wanting to “hav[e] an argument.” I suppose that’s the loving Lutheran way to respond — to declare that I’m not really interested in having a “fruitful” debate because I disagree with you?

    Oh well. I may follow your blog, not that I’m holding out hope for you to appreciate my comments any more over there. Sorry to have wasted your time.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD,

    The problem is not that you disagree with me, but that you are not listening and are clearly not open-minded on this issue. You have misrepresented my position horribly with your extreme comments instead of showing a willingness to understand. You have much to learn about “fairly engaging in debate.” I have no time to argue with straw men and red herrings.

  • http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    tODD,

    The problem is not that you disagree with me, but that you are not listening and are clearly not open-minded on this issue. You have misrepresented my position horribly with your extreme comments instead of showing a willingness to understand. You have much to learn about “fairly engaging in debate.” I have no time to argue with straw men and red herrings.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@37), would you care to provide a concrete example, rather than continuing to generally malign me here? How have I “misrepresented [your] position”? How have I “not listen[ed]” and not been “open-minded”? Which of my statements were “straw men” or “red herrings”?

    I don’t see how you can claim that I‘m the one being unfair here if you’re not going to correct what I’ve done wrong. Just continuing to vaguely accuse me like this isn’t fair, it isn’t nice, and it isn’t productive for this discussion.

    Now I thought we were having a fair, honest debate on this topic. We obviously weren’t convincing each other, but we were getting down to underlying principles. I really have no idea why you’re so upset, but you don’t seem interested in talking to people who have different ideas than you on this topic.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Erich (@37), would you care to provide a concrete example, rather than continuing to generally malign me here? How have I “misrepresented [your] position”? How have I “not listen[ed]” and not been “open-minded”? Which of my statements were “straw men” or “red herrings”?

    I don’t see how you can claim that I‘m the one being unfair here if you’re not going to correct what I’ve done wrong. Just continuing to vaguely accuse me like this isn’t fair, it isn’t nice, and it isn’t productive for this discussion.

    Now I thought we were having a fair, honest debate on this topic. We obviously weren’t convincing each other, but we were getting down to underlying principles. I really have no idea why you’re so upset, but you don’t seem interested in talking to people who have different ideas than you on this topic.


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