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Go forth and multiply?

Discussion in 'Married Couples' started by freedom1807, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. freedom1807

    freedom1807 Newbie

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    Hi. Erm...I'm not married and I'm not a Christian. But I am childfree by choice. I'm hoping 1 out of 3 will let me post here! Despite not qualifying for the first 2 elements, I am very pro-marriage and Christian-friendly. Most of my friends are practicing Christians and that kind of brings me here. My friend is looking forward to one day marrying her boyfriend and starting a family, bringing them up in Christ. Lovely, couldn't be happier for her.

    But as a childfree-er, (she pretty much knew I was) I messaged her to say I was thrilled to find this Childfree Marriages sub forum on a Christian website, hooray! She replied that as a Christian, she doesn't really agree with that because the Bible says it is Christians' duty to 'go forth and multiply'.

    I was surprised and replied that one can still be devoted to God and make meaningful contributions and legacies to society without having kids. What about Mother Teresa and nuns in general? Cicely Saunders? Gladys Aylward? Who can doubt that these women did not selflessly devote themselves to God and to human beings?

    She replied back 'fair enough'. It seemed very half hearted, like she still wasn't convinced. I told her I'm not trying to make her into a childfree person, I just want her to understand that just because a person can biologically have a child, doesn't mean they automatically should. She replied she does understand but...effectively it's wrong.

    She is an open minded individual and generally very tolerant of others, their belief systems, attitudes etc. so I was frankly blown away by this intolerant and narrow minded opinion. She believes being a childfree Christian is inherently wrong, going against God and His word in the Bible. We had to agree to disagree in the end.

    I am very confident and comfortable in my decision not to have children. At any rate I do not feel happy talking to her anymore about this issue, because she is of the opinion that the reason you are put on this earth is to have children, whether you are Christian or not. Attitudes like that just encourage you to feel worthless and incomplete until you have bred. Ridiculous!

    I would like to commend you Christian Childfree by choice-ers, because you have not submitted to the pressure of having kids just because all around you demand it.

    I'm sorry that was a really long rant. Grrr!! But why is it that everyone thinks you are criminally insane when you politely and simply state that you do not want (biological) kids??? I think another Childfree-er put it perfectly when she said that when someone hassles her about not having kids she retorts 'why don't you worry about your own kids instead of worrying about my non-existent ones!' :amen:
     
  2. Umaro

    Umaro Senior Veteran

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    I'm no longer a Christian, but I've always understood that passage to be directed toward the group rather than the individual. I feel like God is commanding the Christian people to be fruitful and multiply, to spread their influence, word, and numbers. There doesn't seem to be any reason to take it that every single person has to breed, especially in those days when there wasn't always enough to go around, and all the examples you listed like nuns. The population is growing just fine, so the way I figure it Christians are obeying that wish of God's just fine.

    As for why no one accepts it, I think at it's at it's core more of a cultural thing than a specifically religious thing. I believe most people just don't think about why they hold that view, and when it's questioned pointing to things like that passage is the best route to take. Society is always telling us to have children, even when you don't realize it. Think about things like car commercials. Someone once pointed out to me that in a majority of them that feature people, it's the kids saying how much they love the car. Advertising always plays up the Kodak moments with children, but never the downside. Parents then do the same thing. It's blasphemy to say anything about regretting your child, so you only hear from them how it's the most wonderful experience that everyone should enjoy. I sort of figure it's a "misery loves company" dilemma. Finally, before about 50 years ago when reliable contraception started, you didn't really have much of a choice if you wanted to have sex. It was just what you did. You grew up, went to school, got a job, got married, bought a house, had some kids. If that's what everyone assumes is what life entails, it's hard to break the mold. Now that contraception is around, things are starting to change, especially among the college educated, but with anything it's a slow change, and we're still basically on the cusp of it starting.
     
  3. Tim Myers

    Tim Myers Regular Member

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    Do you ever want to have children?
     
  4. Umaro

    Umaro Senior Veteran

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    Me? Never. Not even close.
     
  5. dorig59

    dorig59 Senior Veteran

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    To the OP & anyone else who cares: I am NOT a child-free'er person in that I have had kids, and more than the average bird, let me tell ya, and I am a Christian as well. It really drives me nuts when I hear people - Christian or not - that have this opinion. Having kids is NOT the be-all, end-all of life. Don't get me wrong, I adore my kids & am very proud of 'em, but having kids is not for everybody. Gad, its messy, dirty, noisy, expensive, and quite thankless.

    But even that is kinda beside the point. There is no reason why anyone should feel guilty for NOT having them. There is no NT admonition to having kids; as a matter of fact kids are hardly mentioned in the NT at all. Adam & Eve were told to populate the earth for obvious reasons. Please, any & all of you, don't let anyone make you feel guilty for not having kids. That is a ridiculous, waste of time notion.

    OP, your friend & others like her say things like that because it makes them feel all self righteous & holy to be like that. Don't pay any attention.
     
  6. snoochface

    snoochface Meet the new boss -- same as the old boss.

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    Your friend should do some study in the Bible about when, and under what circumstances, God said to "go forth and multiply". I think that, by and large, Christians who use that as their basis for the "child free is against the Bible" argument are not all that familiar with the Bible.

    God told man(kind) to go forth and multiply in two very specific situations in the Bible: 1) to Adam and Eve when the earth needed to be populated because they were the only human beings in existence; and 2) to Noah and his children, when the population of the earth had just been wiped out by the flood and needed to be re-populated.

    That's it.

    He didn't put it into the Law of Moses, in the Ten Commandments, into any of the law outlined in Leviticus. Jesus did not reiterate it in any way. It was asked of specific people who were, at the time, the ONLY people capable of fulfilling the request, and it was asked in specific circumstances when mankind needed to propagate.

    This is a far cry from being a requirement of all Christians, at all times, throughout all of time, space, and history.

    I really wish people would understand this and quit misusing that scripture. There's absolutely nothing inherently against Christianity to choose to be child free. And furthermore, if God really wants a child free by choice Christian to have a kid, he's perfectly capable of making that happen.
     
    Oblivious likes this.
  7. snoochface

    snoochface Meet the new boss -- same as the old boss.

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    BTW, welcome to the forum :)
     
  8. abrickrock

    abrickrock Newbie

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    I would say the opposite that it is directed toward 2 people (Adam & Eve) and not toward me. Unfortunately many Christians can criticize people and use Bible passages to try and prove their point. At the time there were only 2 people on earth. At this point in time I would say we have too many people and are ruining the earth. We are not being responsible stewards of creation. You can argue every passage in the bible. If you have God in your life guiding your way and Jesus in your heart you can’t make any wrong decisions.
    Welcome to the forum :wave:
     
  9. freedom1807

    freedom1807 Newbie

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    Hi everyone, thanks for your words of encouragement and support. It' easy to feel like a deviant when you express these kind of opinions to the baby-obssessed. I want to rush back and put the verse in context for her now, but I know she would still argue about it and insist that God wants us all to have kids so we can worship him. She would probably heartily approve of the Duggar family with their 19 kids! She interprets the Bible very literally. I've tried talking to her about animals in Christianity too (ie we should treat them with more compassion & protect them from the cruelty of intensive factory farming) but she just quotes God gave us dominion over them. But anyway that's a whole other topic in a whole other thread! I'm surprised she encourages me to have kids because she knows my personality-get stressed very easily, absolutely can't bear noise and screaming, adore and need my alone and silent time-but she thinks it will all be ok, things will click into place. Yes. After 9 months, I will miraculously turn into an endlessly patient, laid back, love noise and chaos kind of person. She will be a very good parent one day, I just hope she comes to the realisation that not everyone would be.
     
  10. Umaro

    Umaro Senior Veteran

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    You know what they say, "misery loves company." At least that's my theory about the whole thing.
     
  11. Rebekka

    Rebekka meow meow meow meow meow meow

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    Outside this subforum I don't know many people who are both childfree and christian - and I'm talking about online people, because in real life the only childfree christians I know are my husband and me. And lately I'm not so sure about myself anymore, that is, the christian part.

    Most christians I know (online and in real life) believe that a married couple should have or try to have children because of the multiplying command and the fact that barrenness is mostly mentioned as a curse in the bible and children as a blessing. Most childfree I know (online, since in real life I don't know any, at least not that I know of - a lot of childfree are in the closet) are not religious - indeed, a lot of them are militantly atheist.

    It's hard when your friends (or your church, if applicable) don't accept you as you are.



    By the way freedom, I share your views on factory farming. It is sad that the most committed christians I know (in real life) are at the same time the least environment- and animal-friendly, with "God gave man dominion over the animals" as excuse. Frankly nothing damages my belief more than christian human-centered arrogance and mistreatment of animals. When someone preaches the gospel to me but at the same time uses the bible as justification to treat animals (creatures, created by the same God who made us) as products I cannot take the good news of that gospel seriously.
     
  12. Umaro

    Umaro Senior Veteran

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    My father never wanted children (I get the impression he was hounded into it) but my then religious mother and her religious parents required their pastor to give his blessing to their marriage. The pastor asked them when they planned on having children, and my father told him they didn't. He refused to bless the marriage and they had to find an entirely different church to get married in.
     
  13. Rebekka

    Rebekka meow meow meow meow meow meow

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    Yes.

    I'm catholic (not a good one, mind you), and in the catholic church you can't marry if you don't want kids. Also, if you're catholic, you can't marry outside the church (courthouse wedding), either - that is seen as fornication, as shacking up. That's a mortal sin and you can't go to communion in that case - and if you die before you repent & confess it to a priest, you will go to hell. Leaving the church is a mortal sin too. So if you're a cradle catholic like me (baptised as a baby, so it's not as if I entered the church voluntarily) and you don't want kids, you're screwed.
     
  14. FaithPrevails

    FaithPrevails New Member

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    I think this part of your post is very insightful. I disagree wholeheartedly that every single person should procreate. There are far too many people who shouldn't have kids who do and just as many who would love to have them and can't. It seems so unbalanced to me. :sorry:

    If you (general you, not just you, OP) know you don't want kids, I personally totally support that decision. I would much rather someone be honest about that fact than be on the fence or concede under pressure. It would make for a miserable parent/child relationship in a lot of instances, I'm sure, to cave on something so life-altering.

    Me? I've got 3 kids and would have more in a heartbeat. :pink: lol
     
  15. abrickrock

    abrickrock Newbie

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    The book of genesis also says god created plants as food for us. So if you follow be fruitful and multiply you should also be a vegetarian. I know the eating of meat was later allowed but this is not the original plan for the garden of Eden. I you buy Kosher meat all the biblical rules for slaughtering the animal should be followed. They no way resemble the cruelty of factory farming. No Christian should condone cruelty to animals and you don’t need the bible to justify it. Its something you just know is wrong.
    I think there are some branches of organized religion that encourage having children just so their denomination doesn’t die out and there particular church keeps bringing in more people and money.
     
  16. Oblivious

    Oblivious Leadfooted

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    Thanks for saving me some typing ;) because this is pretty much what how I was going to respond. The need to "be fruitful and multiply" was to populate the earth. No offense to the OP's friend, but she should spend more time studying her Bible and less time telling others how to live their lifes.
     
    snoochface likes this.
  17. Cynthia85

    Cynthia85 Doctor... Captain Picard... Let's make it so!

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    Holy carp (and yes, I meant to spell it c-a-r-p, as in the fish ;) ) can I feel for you there. All my friends want kids, I am the only one who doesn't. And a few had miscarriages and I think they resent me for not wanting them. And I can't understand why it's any of their business! I mean, I'm the one (and the hubby) who's going to have to take care of and raise them, not anyone else!
     
  18. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying My husband drew this cartoon of me. Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    Yeah, you saved me the typing too.
     
  19. Created2Write

    Created2Write His Pink Princess

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    There are extremes on both sides. There are those who believe the choice to not have kids is wrong, and there are those who believe the choice to have kids is wrong. Neither belief is correct. I am child-free at the moment, because my husband and I simply can not afford to have children right now. I'm in college full time, and wouldn't be able to raise them. So, we are child-free, and probably will be for the next five or six years. But we will eventually have children, and we really want them.

    In my reading class, we had to read an article in which the writer made the point that any woman who would rather have kids than be educated, doesn't deserve the children she has. Any couple who chooses to have two kids or more, are idiots. (That's verbatim, fyi) That angered me. But it's just as angering to hear people condemn others who choose not to have kids.
     
  20. Umaro

    Umaro Senior Veteran

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    Just so you know, "childfree" means you never wish to have children. Since you plan to in the future, that makes you "childless" for the time being.

    That article sounds amusing. Do you remember the name?
     
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