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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Christians and Birth Control - A Thoughtful Analysis

Many decisions Christians make as we live out our lives have consequences well beyond what's apparent. Our ability to control our environment and even our biology has had profound implications on not only our individual persons, but on our ethical understanding of how the world works and even social implications regarding others.

We tend to compartmentalize decisions that we do in the open as "public" and those that involve our home life as "private" but this is an artificial construction since all choices have a reverberating effect to some degree within the greater societal framework. In fact, many people don't even think about personal decisions having a broader social impact, but they do and therefore, as thinking Christians, we should consider all effects of every choice we make, whether a public or private action.

One such sensitive (and controversial) topic is that of family planning. Of course abortion is a hideous blight on our society and I'm hopeful that with continued effort we can turn the tide on this despicable practice. But other topics such as IVF, surrogacy, and birth control need to also be weighed appropriately in the context of a Christian worldview.  Many Christian women, I'm sad to say, feel that surrogacy for a stranger is doing a Christian service, when they never really understand all the aspects of such a procedure, including the possibility of killing some of the babies in utero or the difficulties of extra fertilized embryos kept frozen.

What's Controversial About Birth Control?

Birth control, while seemingly more benign that other aspects of family planning, has its share of complications to consider. Recently, Douglas Wilson posted a new article entitled Eleven Theses on Birth Control.  There, he took a thoughtful look at some of the aspects and points of contention among Christians about issues associated with birth control. It's a great read and provides a lot for us to think about. An excerpt:

The rise of our birth control-friendly culture and our abortion-friendly culture happened as twin parts of the same zeitgeist. This was all part of our cultural apostasy, and our rejection of the Christian view of marriage and family...

While the Scriptures don't say anything definitively about birth control as such, they do teach an enormous amount about the blessing of faithful covenant seed. This is one of the three main reasons for covenant marriage -- the begetting of a godly seed (Mal. 2:15). This should be taught and emphasized in the church, and is the only really effective way to counter the world's anti-child bigotry. If this is effectively done, visitors to your church will think you must teach against birth control, and they will think this because of the large teeming population at the three foot level that they can see during fellowship hour.

Wilson is careful, though not to pigeon-hole Christians into a rigid "no-birth-control-ever"  mantra.  He writes:

"Notwithstanding, the Scriptures say nothing definitively about birth control considered as such. Despite the anti-family bias that created the default assumptions of the world around us, we still have to be careful not to go beyond what is written. We especially have to take care not to go beyond what is written. Slavish following of the world is bad, but so is knee-jerk reaction to it."

He also tackles the problem of birth control techniques that are abortifacients and the issue of Onan (no pun intended).  Overall, it's refreshing to see a look at this topic with a thoughtful eye—something modern Christianity needs more of these days.

Image courtesy Ceridwen and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think "knee-jerk reaction to the world" is a good way to characterize the teaching that contraception is sinful, since that teaching is many centuries older than the anti-family zeitgeist that the article describes. But otherwise, good article and thanks for posting about it.


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