Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Effects of a Contraceptive Mentality

The topic of contraception is a controversial one in Christian circles. There are a number of common "contraceptives" that have the real potential of ending a new human life and thus can act as abortifacients. There are other methods that do not, but that some still claim are immoral. Some believe you can use some forms of contraception morally while others believe that any type of pregnancy prevention is sinful. And there is much to be said on that topic which I will not discuss here.

But even if someone has no problem with contraception per se, there is a real danger in having a contraceptive mentality - a mentality that children are burdens to be avoided, that sex has no link to procreation, and that our fertility is and should be completely under our control.

This contraceptive mentality is not only a false view in that it does not match reality, but it leads us astray from God's plans in many ways. Here are just a few of them.

-It teaches us to think of children in terms of what they can do for us or how they fit into our plans instead of what they can do for the world and for God.

-It causes us to think that children are commodities - to be obtained when we want them for our own personal happiness - instead of the precious gifts from God that they are.

-It prevents us from fully embracing the procreative potential of the marital act and the blessing that comes from being open to new life.

-It encourages immoral sex by taking away one of the major consequences that often caused previous generations to think twice before engaging in an act that can create a child.

-It leads to a culture that sees babies as the enemy of sex and encourages disposing of them to avoid the responsibility of parenthood.

-It gives women a false sense of security about their own fertility, leading them to delay marriage and childbearing, with often tragic results.

-It separates dating and marriage from parenthood such that many people neglect to choose their dating and marriage partners according to criteria that would make them good parents.

-It produces many unplanned, and even crisis, pregnancies from people engaging in sex when a pregnancy would be difficult or in situations where there is no stable home to raise a child.

-It harms children born out of wedlock and raised without married parents.

-It removes the norm of openness to new life within marriage and makes decisions around childbearing and parenting more complicated.

-It causes married couples to see their fertility as a liability and their intimacy as something that must be medicated instead of a gift.

-It prevents people from planning properly to be able to afford children, leading them to make life decisions that would make providing for and caring for children difficult.

While contraception is not necessarily inherently immoral in that it is possible to prevent pregnancy without sin, a contraceptive mentality is extremely destructive to individuals and to society at large. And once it has become culturally entrenched, it is so often accepted without thought by even those, such as Christians, whose worldview would normally contradict this mentality. That is why it is so important to examine our views in the light of scripture and develop a comprehensive Biblical worldview rather than uncritically accepting the prevailing views of the culture.


3 comments:

  1. The correct logical and theological conclusion is that contraception is immoral and your essay makes that point really well by enumerating the effects of using contraception (despite saying it isn't inherently immoral). Contraception is an affront to God's intention that sex be for procreation; the use of contraception turns the marital act into mutual masturbation. In a biblical context, there is evidence that God does not approve of contraception and finds it a sinful act. See Genesis 38:9-10 (sin of Onan) and those New Testament passages that condemn sexual sins. Sometimes it seems that married couples believe that they get a free pass when it comes to sex when in reality we have a responsibility to practice chastity and continence.

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    1. I believe the sin of Onan has been misinterpreted. The problem wasn't that it was a one-time act of placing sperm outside a woman, but that Onan didn't ever plan to get Tamar pregnant, thus refusing to provide for her. I don't believe the Bible teaches that a couple can never try to prevent pregnancy for a time as long as they don't cause the death of any children that have been conceived. But a contraceptive mentality that views babies as an intrusion instead of a blessing and views the sex act as being sterile instead of meant to give life is wrong.

      I have written about Onan's sin on my other blog:

      http://therationalabolitionist.blogspot.com/2015/04/no-sperm-are-not-people-and-stop-using.html

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  2. You're so right,Lindsay! I'm impress, I believed evangelicals where pro-contraception.. it's so good to hear that some are not :) (I'm Catholic) God bless you!

    José

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