Monday, September 12, 2022

Homosexuality Violates the Design of our Bodies

Homosexuality, at its root, says that my body tells me nothing about how I should function sexually, and that I can do what I feel like rather than fulfilling the design of my sexuality which is rooted in the biology of the human body. This treats the body as if it is inconsequential and pointless - just a shell of meat that we wear rather than part of who we are. The "true self" in this view is the soul or mind or some non-physical entity that is inhabiting our bodies. The body is viewed as separate and unconnected to the true self, to be used as we please.

This mind/body dualism is actually a very low view of the body compared to the traditional Christian view, which says the body is inherently good, created by God, and part of who we are, not just a shell we inhabit. A lot of Christians today have lost this understanding, but this has been the historic Christian view since the beginning.

This presents a powerful way to reach those struggling with homosexual desires or similar issues (like transgenderism) with a positive message that their bodies are not irrelevant to who they are, but are good and integral parts of their being. Our bodies do have a lot to show us about who we are because they exhibit features that have a design. Behaviors that fit with our design are good and behaviors that violate our design are bad - not just morally bad, but bad for us as well.

Rather than a negative message that they are evil and twisted for having same-sex desires, we can present a positive message that their bodies are good. Our design tells us how we should live.

For example, we can study the digestive system to see what it is for and how it works. But that study also shows us good ways and bad ways of treating our bodies. If we eat nutritious food, then our bodies are helped. If we eat junk food or overeat or binge and purge or starve ourselves, these violate the way our bodies are supposed to work and cause harm. We can see that anorexia and bulimia are disorders precisely because they violate the way the body is designed to work.

It is exactly the same with the sexual organs. Our bodies have a way they were designed to work. They are designed as either male or female and the sexes are designed for their sexual organs to fit together and through that action to create new life. Our desires or attractions do not trump the design of our bodies. If we treat our bodies incorrectly, it causes harm.

This is a high view of the body that treats the body as an important part of who we are and which gives us valuable clues about how we should live so that we can flourish. Note that we do not have to rely on Christian moral teaching at this point. This is an argument from natural law, which is accessible to anyone, even if they don't believe the Bible. And that makes it easier to reach those who are not Christians.

It is worth noting at this point that Christian teaching, not coincidentally, is in line with what we can see in nature. This is good evidence for the truth of Christianity. Christian morality doesn't violate our design. It fits perfectly.


For more arguments like this about the design of human bodies and human sexuality, check out my new book The Bible and Science on Gender, Sex, and Marriage.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Is Your Birth Control Abortifacient? It might be.



For pro-life women like myself, the issue of abortion is a major moral issue. Killing a human child in the womb is a moral evil that we strongly oppose. But while the very thought of having a surgical abortion is abhorrent, many of us may not know that many of the birth control options on the drugstore shelves or available at our doctor's office and touted as purely contraceptive can also kill babies. There are pro-life women who are popping a pill every day, have an implant in their arm, or are using an IUD to prevent pregnancy and may be unknowingly aborting their own children.

Which forms of birth control have this risk? The short answer is that all hormonal contraceptives currently available and all IUDs have the potential to cause early abortions by preventing a newly formed embryo from implanting in the womb. The baby then starves to death. Because there's no implantation, the woman's body never knows it was pregnant. She will never get a positive pregnancy test. She won't miss her period. But her baby died all the same.

Now, that's a very serious issue! I would certainly want to know if I were causing my children to die, and I'm sure you do too. So why isn't this commonly known? Shouldn't women be informed about all the risks?

If you ask most ob-gyns or other doctors, they will tell you that hormonal contraceptives and IUDs are purely contraceptive. They will say they don't cause abortions, and cannot do so. However, there's a very clever trick that allows them to say this. They don't count the first few days of a baby's life. Let me explain.

The evidence from science clearly shows that human life begins at fertilization. When egg and sperm join, the resulting single-celled zygote is a separate and distinct individual with all the genetic material of a complete human organism and the ability to grow and develop his or her own body into adulthood. This child is already either male or female. The hair and eye color and many other traits are already set. The zygote needs only nutrients and the right environment to enable him or her to grow, just like any other child does.

During the trip down the fallopian tube to the uterus, the zygote divides several times until it forms a small ball of cells called a blastocyst. Again, this blastocyst is a distinct human individual. The scientific terms like zygote, embryo, and blastocyst are just stages of growth that all humans go through just like infant, toddler, adolescent, or adult.

The blastocyst is the stage that implants in the womb. This process of implantation occurs from 6-12 days after fertilization. Implantation cannot occur unless there is a living human child present. It is the blastocyst that initiates implantation. The mother's uterus has a thick, highly vascular layer of tissue called the endometrium on the inside surface and the tiny blastocyst must burrow into this tissue and attach to a blood vessel to begin forming a placenta in cooperation with the mother's tissues. The placenta is the organ that gives nutrients to the baby from the mother's blood supply and produces the hormones that will tell her body that a baby is present so that she does not shed the uterine lining through menstruation and instead begins making changes to support her growing child.

Because the baby must travel down the fallopian tube and attach to the uterine lining before getting any nutrients, those first few days of life are a little rough. The egg must be large and have stores of nutrients in order to feed the growing embryo during this time period. By the time the baby gets to the uterus, he needs food. The implantation process is a time crunch to get connected in time, before precious stores of nutrients run out. 

Those first few days of life, before implantation, that baby is alive. Yet back in 1965, pregnancy was redefined to begin at implantation rather than fertilization. So there are 6-12 days when a woman's body contains her living child's body and yet modern doctors don't count her as pregnant because the baby hasn't implanted in the womb yet.

That seems misleading, right? Why would we count pregnancy as beginning at implantation rather than the creation of the child? In times past, pregnancy was synonymous with the old-fashioned term "with child." It meant a woman was carrying a child inside her. So if she's not pregnant, you would think that means there's no baby inside her. That's the way people tend to think about it. Yet with this change of definition, people have been misled to believe that there's no baby inside her during those 6-12 days before implantation.

The really startling fact about this change of definition was that it was intended to mislead people about how birth control works. You see, hormonal birth control - specifically the combination birth control pill - had just been approved for use as a contraceptive in 1960. In the 1950's, female hormones were available to treat menstrual irregularities, but not for use as a contraceptive even though it was known to work as contraception. With the advent of an effective contraceptive pill which could potentially prevent implantation also, it was argued that counting pregnancy as beginning at implantation would be helpful in encouraging the use of the new birth control pill among women. 

Even Wikipedia (not exactly known for its honesty on controversial matters) admits that this was the motivation:

"In 1959, Dr. Bent Boving suggested that the word "conception" should be associated with the process of implantation instead of fertilization. Some thought was given to possible societal consequences, as evidenced by Boving's statement that "the social advantage of being considered to prevent conception rather than to destroy an established pregnancy could depend on something so simple as a prudent habit of speech." In 1965, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) adopted Boving’s definition: "conception is the implantation of a fertilized ovum.""

In short, it was considered "prudent" to tell women that the birth control pill only prevents pregnancy and not that it can end the life of a child. In order to do that, they defined pregnancy to begin at implantation so as to hide the fact that human children who had not yet been implanted could be killed by this new "contraceptive." If pregnancy has not yet begun because the baby has not implanted, then there was no abortion. Thus, preventing implantation is not counted as abortion on a technicality, due to this faulty definition of pregnancy, despite the fact that it does kill a human individual.

The potential for ending young human lives with hormonal contraceptives has been known for decades and covered up with misleading definitions. There are several other problems with hormonal contraceptives as well, but this is the most serious moral issue. The hormones in birth control make the uterus inhospitable for a baby to implant and thus can cause an early abortion by preventing implantation.
 
In fairness, this is not the main mode of action. There are three mechanisms by which hormonal birth control works. The main mechanism is to prevent ovulation. If no egg is released, there can be no conception. This mechanism is truly contraceptive by preventing conception. The secondary mechanism is to thicken cervical secretion to impede sperm motility. If sperm do not reach the egg, then no conception occurs. However, the third mechanism works as a backup in case the first two mechanisms fail (which they sometimes do). The uterine lining is thinned by the hormones and becomes less able to care for an implanting child. A thin lining means less blood flow and difficulty in connecting to a blood vessel. If an egg is released and fertilized, then the new child will usually fail to implant in the womb. The baby then starves and dies. There is no way of knowing which is happening each month for any particular woman.

Here are some secular health sites that discuss the mechanisms for hormonal birth control. It is well-known that the uterine lining is affected and may prevent implantation. In fact, one of the main beneficial effects they tout for birth control pills is that they thin the uterine lining and produce lighter periods or even none at all in some women. A thinner uterine lining means a baby cannot implant and get the nutrients he needs.
 
"The hormones in the Pill can also sometimes affect the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall of the uterus."
Kids Health

"Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones that work to prevent pregnancy. These hormones can stop ovulation and make it more difficult for sperm to enter your uterus. They can also alter your uterine lining, which can reduce the likelihood of implantation."
Healthline

"The pill also thickens cervical mucus so the sperm cannot reach the egg. It makes the lining of the uterus unreceptive to the implantation of a fertilized egg."

The abortifacient potential of the combination birth control pill is shared by all hormonal contraceptives because they all contain the same progestin hormone that thins the uterine lining. This includes the regular birth control pill, the mini pill, the implant, the ring, the patch, the depo shot, and hormonal IUDs. All of these have the same mechanisms. They all contain progestin. They all thin the uterine lining. They can all prevent a human embryo from implanting in the womb.

It's not just hormonal birth control that can be abortifacient though. The copper IUD (Paraguard) can also prevent implantation and thus kill children. There are two types of IUDs - hormonal and copper. The hormonal type works just like other hormonal contraceptives. The copper one is often chosen by women specifically because it doesn't have the female hormones, with their sometimes harmful side effects. Yet the abortifacient side effect remains.

The copper in the copper IUD does kill sperm as the primary mechanism, but it also inflames the lining of the uterus and makes it inhospitable to an embryo, if fertilization were to occur. It does appear that preventing fertilization occurs more often, but killing an embryo can occur on occasion. Again, we don't know how often each mechanism is occurring in any particular woman.

Take a look at these scholarly sources that verify that all IUDs can be deadly to a human embryo:

"All IUDs induce a local inflammatory reaction that disturbs the functioning of the endometrium and myometrium and changes the microenvironment of the uterine cavity. Moreover, these effects alter signaling between uterus and ovary. The entire genital tract seems affected, at least in part because of luminal transmission of fluids accumulating in the uterine lumen. Copper or progesterone-releasing IUDs may attenuate or accentuate the inflammatory response, disturb the physiology of the gametes in the female genital tract, or destroy the viability of the embryos or endometrial receptivity to implantation." (Emphasis added)

"All intrauterine devices (IUDs) that have been tested experimentally or clinically induce a local inflammatory reaction of the endometrium whose cellular and humoral components are expressed in the tissue and the fluid filling the uterine cavity. ... In the human, the entire genital tract appears affected due to luminal transmission of the noxa that accumulates in the uterine lumen. This affects the function and viability of gametes, decreasing the rate of fertilization and lowering the chances of survival of any embryo that may be formed, before it reaches the uterus." (Emphasis added)

Note that you have to read the fine print carefully on this issue because a lot of resources will tell you that IUDs are not abortifacient because the primary mechanism is to prevent fertilization. While it's true that the primary mechanism prevents fertilization, an occasional abortion is ignored, yet is very much an important moral issue that should be considered. They skip over that part on purpose in order to persuade women to use such devices. If you look at the scientific literature, they do admit that IUDs, including the copper one, can kill an embryo if fertilization does occur.

If we believe every human life is sacred, then we need to show that in our actions. I could never take hormonal contraceptives or use IUDs because of the risk of killing my child. There are other ways to prevent pregnancy that don't have this moral stain.

Now, it should be mentioned here that there are sometimes other uses of female hormones besides contraceptive use. The birth control pill and other female hormones are sometimes used to regulate a woman's cycle, treat PCOS, raise abnormally low estrogen levels, or similar medical uses. This is distinct from using these hormone treatments as contraception. It might be the same pill in a lot of cases, but the reason for use is very different. 

Still, these women need to be aware of the risks of causing an early child death when they use these hormonal treatments in order to make an informed decision. If the hormone treatment is needed, they may want to use a barrier method as a backup, to be sure to prevent fertilization. Or they may want to look at other options for treatment. If they're past childbearing age or otherwise infertile, this may not even be an issue for some women. But the information should be available so that they understand the risks. There's also a difference in the morality of taking a necessary medical treatment that has a small risk of causing an abortion versus taking hormonal contraceptives for their contraceptive purpose and taking on that risk of abortion when there is no medical necessity for the woman. These factors take some careful moral reasoning and should not be ignored.

There is one more objection that some will use to argue for these birth control methods. It goes like this. A large fraction - estimated from 10-40% - of human embryos will die naturally even without these birth control methods. In fact, they will even claim that since these methods prevent so many fertilization events, the total number of babies dying goes down. Yet this does not justify occasionally killing human babies. 

When deaths occur naturally, that's tragic, but we aren't responsible for them. People dying of natural causes does not make it okay to kill them, either intentionally or through negligence. When we intervene to control fertility by choosing methods which can be deadly to some babies, we are morally responsible for the outcomes in ways that don't apply to natural deaths. 

As an analogy, suppose there was a nursing home that cared for the elderly, but occasionally gave some of them a lethal injection. Yet the rest of the time, they such a great job at giving the rest of the patients excellent care that, compared to other nursing homes, their death rate was a little lower overall. Would you consider that a good facility? I would hope not. Saving some lives with great care doesn't mean they can now kill a few people. They don't have that right.

Using these abortifacient birth control methods is a similar situation with the statistics. They might prevent some natural deaths by preventing the fertilization in the first place, but they also cause deaths. And because we intervened to use the method, we are responsible for the deaths we cause.

Now, for many of you, you didn't know. You weren't intending to kill any babies. And you're probably upset that no one has told you this before. It's not right that this information is kept from women with sneaky definitions designed to conceal the truth. 

But now you know. You're now responsible for what you know and what you do with that information.


Saturday, August 13, 2022

Egalitarianism is a Step Toward Acceptance of Homosexuality

Egalitarianism is the gateway drug to acceptance of homosexuality. Once you accept that men and women are interchangeable in their marriage roles, why not in the bedroom?

If men and women have no specific roles in marriage such that the woman is to have certain responsibilities because she is the female and the man is to have certain responsibilities because he is the male, then why do you need one of each sex? Some might say that you need a male and female to produce children, but fewer and fewer see any reason why marriage and children are connected. If we accept that a marriage need not be open to children, then why does the ability to create children form a requirement for marriage?

It is also very notable that every church denomination that has accepted homosexuality has first adopted egalitarianism and female pastors and they use the same arguments for both positions. If "there is no male or female in Christ" means men and women are interchangeable and have no difference in roles, but should be treated identically in every respect, then that means we can't tell the difference between men and women when it comes to what marriage is either.

The two positions are logically connected, not because egalitarianism entails acceptance for homosexuality, but because acceptance of homosexuality entails egalitarianism. If you accept homosexuality as normal and healthy, then you necessarily accept egalitarianism.

Egalitarianism is the premise that men and women are not complementary, or at least that they don't need to be - that there is no design such that men and women are fundamentally different in complementary ways. There's no requirement that a healthy relationship requires a woman who is feminine and a man who is masculine under this view. Egalitarianism claims that the man and woman can act exactly the same, with the same responsibilities as one another, or that the woman could hold the masculine roles while the man holds the feminine roles. It doesn't matter how they do it, in this view. There's no proper roles. They don't have to complement one another. A union of two sames is just as normal and good.

Homosexuality is a further step that claims even their bodies need not be male and female. But you have to accept that there is no complementary design of males and females in order to accept that a healthy relationship could include two people of the same sex. You have to start with egalitarianism in order to get to acceptance of homosexuality. Egalitarianism lowers the activation energy necessary to accept homosexuality, if you will (to use a chemistry analogy).

If you believe that males and females are complementary by design, each having attributes throughout their design that provide something the other needs and lacks, then homosexuality is dead in the water. It could not possibly be healthy or proper. But you're already a lot closer to accepting homosexuality as a valid and healthy type of relationship if you don't see any reason that men and women have a complementary design that shows us their proper roles in the relationship.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Best Banana Bread

This recipe makes the best banana bread ever! I was never a fan of banana bread until this recipe. I even won 1st prize at our local fair for this banana bread. It can be made into loaves or muffins easily, and it disappears quickly around here.

This is a great way to use up overripe bananas. If you're a mom, you know how that goes. One week you can't keep bananas in stock because the kids eat them constantly, so you buy more only to have them sit there until they turn brown because nobody wants bananas. This is how you turn those unwanted bananas into a treat they will eat.



1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
5-6 overripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2-3 tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together butter and sugar until well-blended. Mix in eggs. Mash bananas and add them immediately. You don't want to mash the bananas until you're ready to add them or they will turn brown and oxidized. Also, don't mash them to death. You don't want banana soup. I use a pastry blender to mash/cut the bananas. You want small pieces and some mush. It adds to the texture and keeps it flavorful.

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, baking soda, flours, and ground flax seed (if desired). You can use all white flour, all wheat flour, or a mix of the two. I prefer half and half for the best taste and texture that is hearty without being too dense. The ground flax seed adds a mild, nutty taste and some healthy fiber and omega-3's.

Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix in the chopped walnuts, if you're using them. I like mine very finely chopped. Last, stir in the cream cheese pieces, if you want them. I usually don't do the cream cheese, but I have done it occasionally. 

Pour the batter into the greased pans. This recipe makes 24 standard muffins or 2 loaves (or 1 loaf and 12 muffins, if you can't decide). Bake for 30-35 minutes for muffins or 60-70 minutes for loaves. It's done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't under bake and, actually, a little extra baking won't hurt. I usually aim for about 35 minutes for muffins because I like to let mine get a little extra brown and toasted on top. The muffins are moist enough that this does not dry them out.

If you add the cream cheese, you'll want to store the banana bread in the fridge. Without the cream cheese, it can be covered and stored at room temperature.

I also reheat muffins in the toaster to give them a slightly toasted crust on the outside and leave them soft and moist on the inside. These warm, toasted muffins are great dipped in milk (like maybe, in a cereal bowl). The bread slices are better untoasted and warmed slightly in the microwave. If you don't add cream cheese pieces, you can still spread cream cheese on the bread when you eat it, if you want to. Enjoy!

Monday, January 31, 2022

Easy Salmon Patties

Salmon patties are an old-fashioned, Southern food. These salmon patties are flavorful and super easy to make. They're also a great source of omega-3's. Add cornbread and beans for a complete meal.





10 minutes prep time
8 minutes cook time
Makes about 6 servings

1 (14.75 oz) can of cooked salmon
1 egg
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
Pinch of salt

Drain the liquid from the salmon and place meat in a mixing bowl. Remove vertebrae and skin, if desired. You can leave these in and eat them, but I prefer not to. Flake the salmon with a fork. Mix in the rest of the ingredients until fully blended. You can also add a little chopped onion, if you want. Form into thin patties, about 3/8 inch thick and 3-4 inches in diameter. Add an extra tablespoon of mayo, if needed to form patties that will stick together.

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil or canola oil and preheat on medium high heat until a drop of water will sizzle in it. This can be an iron skillet (recommended) or any skillet that can be preheated while empty. Bonus points if it has a lid. I have a large anodized aluminum non-stick pan that works great for this. Do NOT use teflon-type non-stick pans. They are unsafe to preheat or use with higher heat.

Place the salmon patties gently in the pan, laying them away from you so that any splashing of the oil will not splash toward you. Cover with a lid. Fry for 3-4 minutes, until the bottom side is golden brown, and turn over. Fry an addition 3-4 minutes on the second side, until browned. Drain on a warmed plate covered in dry paper towels.

Serve the salmon patties with buttered cornbread and your choice of beans (pinto, great northern, navy, red, etc). Garnish with a little mayo, if desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Playing God with Human Reproduction: The Immorality of IVF Technologies

Humans are sacred. The creation of humans is sacred. Children are designed to be formed from the act of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife. When you take the conception of the child outside the marital union and involve third parties (doctors, technicians, etc), you are separating things that God designed and intended to be kept together - sex, marriage, and children. Creating a child in a lab is as much a deviation from God's plan as creating that child through fornication or rape. The child, of course, is just as valuable, regardless of the circumstances of their conception. But we should recognize that an injustice has been done to the child in these cases. 

Every child is made in the image of God and has natural rights. But we violate the natural law when we take conception outside the marital sexual union. It is unfair to children, it treats them as property, and it misuses the sexual design God gave us.

Killing Children

The most serious and obvious problem with in-vitro fertilization is that it commonly results in the intentional killing of human children. We see a lot of dehumanization of embryos created through IVF. They only get implanted if they're judged to be healthy enough. Clinics discard embryos that have genetic defects or "extra" embryos. If too many embryos implant, the babies are "reduced" (i.e. some are killed). These are human children we are talking about, and it is common practice to create more than can be implanted or carried and kill the rest. It's not okay to kill a few babies to get one to hold.

The IVF process also provides opportunity for eugenics and further dehumanization of children. If you want a boy, they can discard the girls for you, or vice versa. "Extra" embryos are commonly frozen for later use (notice the wording - they are there to be used), which increases their risk of damage or death. So we are placing human children in dangerous situations for the convenience of adults, so they can be used as their parents see fit.

Freezing embryos is a risky process. Not only can the freezing itself cause damage or death to a human child in this way, but there's no guarantee that the parents will be able to gestate the child later or that they will choose to, even if they can. People most often freeze embryos in case their current IVF cycle fails, but it if doesn't fail, they may or may not ever implant those frozen embryos. There are currently nearly a million frozen embryos in storage. The vast majority will likely never be given a chance to develop and be born. Many are donated to science, to be experimented on as if they were not living human beings. Others are discarded directly. Some are "donated" like unwanted clothes or trinkets at a thrift shop. At least they get to live. But what are we doing to their psyche when they find out their own parents gave them away?

Eugenics

There has also been talk of genetic tampering with embryos to fix genetic defects or imperfections. This is currently something science is capable of. This is not decades down the road. We can do this now, with technology available today. In the very near future we may have designer babies that have been genetically modified to the parents' specifications. You may be able to pick your child's height, eye and hair color, athletic ability, intelligence, and so on. It will certainly be possible to eliminate children with genetic conditions like Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, Celiac disease, Autism or even just nearsightedness or hearing impairment. After all, if children are products designed to fulfill the desires of adults, the customer should be happy with their purchase, right? Nobody wants to spend all that money and get a broken child. This is the mentality that IVF leads to, and we are already seeing it today.

We have to remember that children are people, not a collection of traits designed to make their parents feel good. Treating them as products to be manufactured to specification or discarded when they are not wanted is dehumanizing. It's not a coincidence that people tend to dehumanize human children when they play God in creating them. None of this is possible without IVF first being accepted and normalized. 

Destroying the Family

IVF also allows for any number of further deviations from God's design for families. The biological parents need not be the parents who intend to raise the child, for example. The biological parents may not have even met one another, much less had love or a marriage covenant. With sperm or egg donation, the child is being deprived of their biological heritage on purpose. Homosexual couples use IVF in order to create custom children since their unions are naturally infertile. Surrogacy depends on IVF. 

Sperm and egg donation is immoral. Children have a right to know their biological parents. It actively harms children when we deprive them of their biological heritage. They need to know such things as whether diabetes or heart disease or cancer runs in the family because that's important to their own health care. They need to know whether the person they're dating might be a lost sibling with the same donor father or mother. But more than that, they need to know where they came from and who their parents are. They deserve to be loved by the people who gave them their nose and eyes and whose smile they bear. They need to hear how they look like their grandma or how they have daddy's chin when they are growing up. This gives children a vital understanding of who they are that is missing when their biological parents have been stripped from them. Many adopted and donor-conceived children feel this loss as an ache inside them to know where they came from and who their biological parents are. It is a tragedy when a child loses their parents to accident or disease or abandonment. Why would we impose that tragedy on them on purpose? We don't have that right. 

Surrogacy 

Let's talk a little bit more about surrogacy as well. Surrogacy compounds the dehumanization of the child by also treating women as mere incubators for growing a child. It is bad for both women and children. Gestation is not just a biological process. It is highly emotional and spiritual as well. The bond between mother and child that develops during gestation is completely ignored in surrogacy. At birth, a baby already knows the mother's voice and heartbeat and needs her specifically. I have seen this for myself at the births of my own children who knew and were soothed by the sound of my voice, above the voices of others in the room, when they were mere minutes old. They knew me. They wanted me. No one else would do. Studies have shown that babies learn in the womb. There's a sacred bond between mother and child that develops during gestation. Yet with surrogacy, the child is taken from the only mother she knows at birth. This is highly traumatic for an infant. It has been termed "the primal wound." We should not be intentionally causing trauma to babies so that adults can obtain a child on demand.

There is also a very serious problem that no one wants to talk about when we give children to people who are not their natural parents. There's a certain connection and investment that happens with natural parents that tends to help prevent child abuse. While it is certainly possible for natural parents to abuse their children, it is actually fairly rare. Most abused children are abused by boyfriends or girlfriends of their parents, step-parents, more distant relatives, or unrelated caretakers, not their natural parents. In fact, the mere fact of biological relatedness is not necessarily protective if the child was not created in the natural way and raised by those biological parents. This is a major reason that we carefully screen foster parents and adoptive parents (or at least try to) to be sure they are capable of caring for the child properly and will not be abusive. We don't generally just hand children to strangers without any sort of vetting process. One major exception to this is with surrogacy.

As it stands now, almost anyone can buy a child through surrogacy, with no one checking to be sure they aren't neglecting or abusing that child. There have been a number of cases in recent years where children were being harmed after being obtained through surrogacy. In one notable case, a mentally handicapped man who was not married and was already caring for elderly parents alone had obtained several infants within a short period of time through surrogacy and could not care for them adequately, but little was done since he was their biological father. In another case, a disabled child who had been obtained via surrogate was being denied life-saving medical care by the biological parents who did not want to raise the child while the surrogate who carried him wanted him and was being denied the chance to save his life. There have been multiple cases of biological parents demanding that surrogates abort a disabled child before birth or abandoning them once they are born. Again, we see dehumanization because they're treating the child as a product to be manufactured to specification and they want a product that is not defective. It is also common practice to hand children over to homosexual couples or single parents through surrogacy and thus intentionally deprive them of a home with a mother and father.

There is also the problem of the rights of surrogates being trampled. Many are poor women in countries like India who carry a child for money. This womb-for-hire commerce has some serious problems. If a natural mother plans to give up her infant for adoption, she has every right to change her mind after the birth. Women often change their mind when their child is born because there is a strong emotional bonding that takes place during childbirth. Yet a surrogate is usually not given this option. She can be strongly bonded to the child, yet the child will be taken from her to be given to people she often does not know and cannot be sure will care for the child properly. In several cases, surrogates have been pressured to abort a child for developmental problems and refused and then are required to hand that child over to the same parents who wanted that child dead. In some cases, the intended parents refuse the child due to developmental problems and leave an impoverished surrogate with a child she can't afford to raise, but yet she hates to give up to a foster system. If a surrogate accidentally becomes pregnant with her own child during the surrogacy process, this may not be realized or, if it is, she may be forced to hand her own biological child over to the commissioning parents until the legal issues are worked out.

Clinic Mistakes

There are so many serious problems with surrogacy and other uses of IVF technology. Even when a married couple intends to produce and gestate their own biological child and they don't kill extra embryos, mistakes can occur and the wrong egg or sperm can be used. What do you do when your wife is carrying another man's child because of a mistake like this? You don't have this problem with the natural delivery method.

Health Problems

There is also the issue of health concerns for children. Babies produced by IVF also have a higher rate of embryo death and a higher rate of birth defects or other health problems. More than half of IVF cycles fail. So they're creating and implanting babies that we don't know can be carried successfully. They may be implanting those babies in a womb that cannot care for them. Of course, babies can also die from natural causes when IVF is not used. Some couples have repeated miscarriages, for example. But that's not something we humans are causing. It's a natural outcome. When we take it on ourselves to control the process of conception and implantation, we also own the outcomes in ways that don't apply to natural processes.

Financial Concerns

In addition to the above concerns, there is the issue of money. Not only is IVF extremely expensive (and therefore difficult to justify given the number of existing children who need homes), but that money is given to doctors and reproductive clinics who are discarding embryos, sending them to be experimented on, or freezing them until some future date that may never come. Even if a couple does not discard their extra embryos and does not freeze their children for a later date, they're still funding an entity that does. The money they pay for their "ethical" IVF is keeping the doors open for clinics that mistreat other embryos.

The Root of the Problem

The problems of IVF go beyond these more obvious issues into the depths of what sex and procreation mean. I don't think God ever intended for us to separate the creation of children from the marital act and involve third parties like doctors and technicians. I understand that it is a natural and good desire to want your own biological children, but good desires cannot be rightfully fulfilled outside God's rightful means. It's a good desire to want sex, but we have to fulfill that good desire only in marriage because that is the proper way. It is the same with bearing children. We have to stick to God's way. The tragedy of infertility does not justify taking matters into our own hands or inflicting harm on children. Children are a gift from God, not an entitlement. 

Sex and Reproduction are Sacred

Sex, marriage, and childbearing are all an interconnected web by God's design. They are sacred because they mean something more than just the sheer biological facts. Sex isn't just a pleasurable rubbing together of body parts as our society claims. It has meaning. A sacred meaning. Similarly, the creation of a new life is not just a matter of two cells merging to start a new life. It has sacred meaning. We tamper with that at our peril.

Part of the sacredness of procreation is the mystery and symbolism that God gave us in sex itself and how it is meant to bring husband and wife together to become one flesh and through that union to create new life. The union of husband and wife symbolizes Christ and the church, as we know, but I think we often fail to understand how deep the imagery goes. During the marital act, the husband gives, emptying himself into the wife, and she takes what is given and gives back the fruit nine months later. Similarly, Christ emptied Himself, pouring out His life on the cross. We, the church, take what is given, and bear fruit - not only in our own lives, but in others we bring to Christ. Our biology means something much deeper than we realize. Christ creates new life that will last forever by unity with us just as we create new lives that will last forever through our marital unity.

When we create children in a petri dish, without sex and that union between husband and wife, we are destroying the pattern God gave us which points to Him. We are taking that which is sacred and treating it as if we could re-design and re-purpose it for our own ends, in violation of the Creator. We are treating the physical as the only reality, and ignoring what it means.

The Tragic Results of Violating God's Plan

It's no surprise that when start playing God with our reproduction, lots of evil results. That's why we have hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos - human children - stored in freezers around the country with little hope of ever having a life. That's why we have embryos discarded as "extras" with no regard for their intrinsic value as human beings who bear the image of God. That's why doctors can so casually suggest a "reduction" if too many embryos implant. That's why it's such a mess when doctors inadvertently use the wrong sperm or mix donor eggs with donor sperm and create a child with biological parents who have never even met and who will not be raising the child together. That's why we have children born from donor sperm who will always wrestle with the heart-rending question of "Why did daddy not want to know me?" That's why we have people commissioning a child through surrogacy who think nothing of aborting or abandoning their biological child when he's "defective."

Ignoring the sacredness of reproduction means denying the sacredness of our humanity and treating the physical as all there is. When we deny that we are more than physical beings and think we can manipulate human creation to our own ends, we deny the intrinsic value of ourselves and our children. This leads to many abuses, but most commonly the children are the ones most harmed. Keeping the God-given connections between sex, marriage, and children means valuing humans as made in the image of God and therefore designed to be created according to God's plan. The mentality of IVF is that humans are not sacred, but only flesh that can be manipulated and repurposed as we desire.

These many serious problems I have outlined arise, not as occasional, unrelated bugs in the process, but as intrinsic features because of the wrong worldview. There are systemic problems with IVF technologies because the underlying worldview is false. The fruit of IVF is rotten because the tree is rotten.