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Friday, July 20, 2007

She wore a lovely green Malthusian belt....

Birth Control. Whew, that is a subject that can cause some real divisions even among like-minded folks, isn't it? And it is a subject that is frequently on my mind. I've gone from extreme to extreme in my life and I'm trying to find, if not a middle ground, a godly understanding.

Last week, I read a post from a pastor in my own denomination concerning feminism, birth control, women's choice, etc. The subject matter was typical feminist rhetoric, but with the addition of some personal attacks against women to whom she disallows the freedom of chosing their own values. Remarks were also made directly about another pastor in our denomination concerning her fitness for motherhood because she also held values with which the author disagreed. (The article has since been modified to remove some very offensive statements, but the gist of the article is still the same.) In the comments, I found this statement...

"And I have no sympathy for those who would teach that contraception is wrong and that you should just leave the pregnancy up to God - if you do that, there's going to be lots of pregnancies"

Keep in mind that this is from a Christian who is supposed to believe that God is GOOD - and what he gives you is GOOD - and that his will for you is GOOD (Matt 7:11; Luke 11:13). Do you see the contradiction in this statement? Whether or not you believe Christians should be using artifical contraception, let's hope your argument doesn't rest on "if you leave it to God, there will be lots of pregnancies". Geez - you've practially made the argument for your opposition!

Yes, if you leave "it" - "it" being the size of your family - up to God, he very well may BLESS you with a large family...but on the other hand, He may BLESS you with a medium or small family. The point being what He gives us is always GOOD! Why do we trust our own limited "knowledge" and "understanding" when there is a God of perfect wisdom to whom we may turn? If we trust Him, he will lead us through seasons of fruitfullness and seasons of fallowness. Both are needed for a bountiful harvest!

Back to the original article, the woman whose motherhood status was questioned has responded with a godly grace and restraint. She also linked to an interesting Touchstone article on the history of the birth control question in the church.

Ok, the Malthusian belt. I was positively thrilled to see to see this reference in the article. I'm currently reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Huxley uses a reference to Malthus with the contraceptive equipment/fashion statement known as the "Malthusian belt". I had a sneaking suspicion about Malthus' politics, but hadn't looked it up yet. This article provided the impetus. Here's what I found. If you've not read Brave New World - go out and purchase a copy pronto. You'll be ASTOUNDED and saddened by his "prophetic" vision of the future. Well, I was. It is particularly telling that he wrote his book in the early 30s - right around the time discussed in the Touchstone article.

Now, off to pizza, wine and a movie night with hubbie....


Heather in WI said...

Excellent post.

I have struggled with this, too -- literally fluctuating back and forth between each extreme.

Christian liberty vs. trusting God, right?

I still don't have peace on the issue.

Brave New World *is* an excellent book!

BTW, have you read Chesterton's "Social Reform vs. Birth Control"? It is extremely interesting to see that he predicted:

"Given an attempt to escape from the nature of things, and I can well believe that it might lead at last to something like "the nursery school for our children staffed by other mothers and single women of expert training." I will add nothing to that ghastly picture, beyond speculating pleasantly about the world in which women cannot manage their own children but can manage each other's."


DebD said...

such good thoughts. I am saddened that a Christian would start any sentence with "I have no sympathy for someone who..." That just seem so very tragic.