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Featured Contraception

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Tree of Life, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This isn't my idea - it is mainstream science.

    The demographic timebomb is a known phenomenon that predicts a bleak future in such as Japan, based on birth rate necessary to sustain populations. The richer European countries have the same problem, google it - it is worrying.

    Of course, you are right in saying there is then the challenge to keep that population productive, and increase the productivity where possible. There are also possible technological saviours. For example if nuclear fusion energy is cracked giving unlimited near free energy, which can be used to create unlimited food, and other cheap goods, then the population can have more leisure, and population size becomes less of an issue,

    On the last point , life expectancy is bought at a price.
    The drugs and health care that keep people living longer are increasingly expensive, almost exponentially so.

    [rant]
    And in my view at least, as someone connected to drug industry, a part of that is the ridiculous number and cost of the hoops new drugs are forced to clear, followed by too short a patent protection. It costs $100m dollars to do a phase III trial, because regulations demand a ridiculous combination and extent of population variations are tested. In some less prevalent conditions- it is almost impossible to find trial participants in the minority groups that regs demand. Those costs - and the massive failure rate of new drugs and new drug companies are why drugs are so expensive. Hilary Clinton should keep her mouth shut ( indeed most career politicians) about an industry of which she has not the vaguest concept, whose challenges she has not taken the trouble to study.

    It is a sorry state of affairs that there are no new antibiotics primarily because it is not economically viable to develop them, at the price healthcare industry expects to buy them! If there was money to be made, big business would be all over solving the problem.

    Politicians are also masters of populist inadequate thinking, far too ready to attack big business without understanding first. The shortening of patent protection( intended to reduce drug prices by allowing generics has near opposite effect.
    The companies are forced to put prices up massively because it takes 7 years to even get to market, and they have to recoup costs and for all the failures in such a short time, because of short patent life.
    [/rant]


     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  2. MartyF

    MartyF Member

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    1. not available and known to most Christian women.

    and/or

    2. not effective enough with too many problems.

    Think. Do women use these forms of birth control now? Why not?

    Marty
     
  3. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Or 3/ ( the reality)

    - For Christians the church has opposed contraception since earliest times, ( I quoted some ECF on it) and Christian women obeyed that, till relativism allowed some churches to water down doctrine to appeal to populism. So Christian women didn't consider it till recent historic times. It is the moral dilemma creating demand, and technology has helped has made a hard choice easy - which fuels the pressure to relax doctrine.

    - For non Christians in early church times infanticide was not the horrendous crime it is seen as now. Standard practice for brothels. Which is why - from the earliest times Christians were pro life and rescued dumped babies left for the dogs outside city walls. ( at considerable risk to those doing the rescuing!)
     
  4. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Staff Member Supporter Staff on LOA

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    I think you have this backwards, Mike. Women - even Christian women - have always used the means available to us to manage our fertility. The "demand" for means is a fact of our biology and that fertility is often problematic. (Doctrine is a lousy babysitter). For most of history the means available were limited and relatively unreliable.

    Technology has made that easier, cheaper, more convenient, yes, absolutely. That has exposed the impracticality of the doctrine by providing workable alternatives. But the demand has always been there.
     
  5. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I dont think we disagree.

    I was speaking of contraceptive devices @Paidiske, which was the topic of conversation, and of my reply - that there are references to contraceptive devices even in papyrus 1500 BC - and reason to believe that some things they believed were spermicides did actually have efficacy.
    (ancient lore on herbal remedies was not all quack - the "moss on the north wall of a churchyard" that the old chinese said could cure many things, was later found to be penicillium!)

    But there was not the same pressure to use them - Christian women had pressure not to (doctrine opposing, natural methods ) , that Non Christian women (or probably their masters had a very brutal alternative and an immoral world just did not care )

    The technology that made it easy, near foolproof also created the moral dilemma
    Decisions to use are taken in the context of known safety and efficacy, and societies default view is use them..
    I don't judge anyone either way. They are responsible for own decisions.

    But i think the debate should be permitted. On the topic of pro life - politicians pandering to populism is getting scary ( it is now a criminal offence in France to paint any negative picture of abortion either of the process, or the physical/psychological outcome for the mother).
    How long before the church is banned from commenting on contraception too?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
  6. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Staff Member Supporter Staff on LOA

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    But that's where we disagree; I don't think the technology created the moral dilemma, or moral pressure. I think the reality of human biology creates that. Just about every sexually active woman knows the fear of unwanted pregnancy, at different stages of life.

    And I think that's important, because if we deny that, we deny the reality of people's lives and experiences, in ways which are really distorting and harmful.
     
  7. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Are we picking philosophical nits? I suspect we are....

    Take a completely unrelated example - which illustrates the point.

    Genetic technology that allows screening of defective foetus, allows the ability to not give birth to defective children.

    For sure the technology didnt create the wish not to have defective children, so to that extent I agree, the "demand" has always been there.

    But It did create the moral dilemma about now technological methods to achieve the end, which when they become safe and effective also creates the pressure to use them, and so forces hard moral choices, which were not there when "doing something about it" was not a realistic option.
    (and to complicate matters also suggests the slippery end of a slope towards designer babies!)

    Anyway...I respect your choices. I am not a woman, so am spared some of the difficulty! I dont envy the choices.
     
  8. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Staff Member Supporter Staff on LOA

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    Ah, I see what you mean, I think.

    It's the wording that I objected to, as if no good Christian woman ever wished to control her fertility before the invention of the pill. Of course they wished to, and did, as best they could. We should be honest about that.

    A big part of this is about power, too. Ideally the conversation about contraception assumes a married couple who make decisions about this with complete mutual respect and in consensus. The reality, for far too many women - even married women - is very, very far from that ideal.
     
  9. Beautyinsteadofashes

    Beautyinsteadofashes Well-Known Member Supporter

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    But not everyone is able to have children. Also, if having children is a command, then it must also be a command for everyone to marry (man to woman) being that to conceive you must have sex and premarital sex is a sin. But again, then what of those who literally are unable to have children?
     
  10. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Hmmm. Your post illustrates a point on how we tend to look at commands legalistically (aka in abstraction) rather than relationally. We try to impose a one-size-fits-all approach; while God seems to take a more of a case-by-case approach.

    The former abstract approach puts us in command. Which means we can also try to impose our approach on everyone else.

    The latter forces us to seek HIM for His direction in our particular case. That puts HIM in charge. That leaves us powerless to try and impose our own will on others.
     
  11. MartyF

    MartyF Member

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    You obviously don't want other points of view. You're just here to try to tell people how right you are and "show off". I wasn't coming here to argue. I have more important things to do with my time. I still stand by my original argument.

    Marty
     
  12. JCFantasy23

    JCFantasy23 In a Kingdom by the Sea. Staff Member Administrator Supporter CF Senior Ambassador Angels Team

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    It's true that as culture changed - with the church and outside it - Christian women in general have become more open to contraception. You have to view it with the culture as well when considering this, though - women used to be taught their main purpose was to be a wife and breed and that was to be their main mission/job in life - that is no longer what they are taught or how they view themselves. Personally I'm glad that women were seen more as individual people as time has gone on and not a functional role to be handed over to carry on the man's family line. I really do see a lot of that as the church being affected by the culture at the times that had them shape how they viewed the role of women in the first place.
     
  13. JCFantasy23

    JCFantasy23 In a Kingdom by the Sea. Staff Member Administrator Supporter CF Senior Ambassador Angels Team

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    This is true and I'm glad someone else said this as I was thinking of this last night. I believe God does take people as a case-by-case basis since he knows and loves us and has different plans for His people. Some women aren't able to have children, as an example - and I have a wonderful son who I cherish more than anything in this world outside of God Himself, but I never felt the urge to have another child other than my son. I'll admit I may overdote on my son and spoil him a bit actually, but for some reason once he was born my desire for another left and I always felt like it wasn't in God's plans for me to have another. Every relationship was formed around someone who couldn't or wouldn't be able to have another child with me either, it wasn't a conscious decision on my part from the start but I feel I've been in line with God's wishes with this. My son was planned and I figured back then I'd probably end up having more than one child, but life didn't work that way and I didn't see God pull me in another direction otherwise.

    I have a Catholic friend who struggled quite a bit with this. She was Catholic later in life but her husband was raised Catholic. It was a very hard decision on both of them for her to get her tubes tied, but every sign seemed to put this was the right direction. They have three wonderful children but her body was showing it could not keep handling these pregnancies. The emotional drain was exhausting and all the doctors told her the next time could kill her or the baby. She almost died with her last successful birth. Meanwhile, she kept not getting her tubes tied and they tried to keep multiplying, but with the doctor's advice, her body (that God gave her) showing that it wasn't a good idea, five miscarriages and two stillborns...well, she feels this was God's plan for her - three children and to use her intelligence, listen to the consequences, and she ended up with her tubes tied. It was a hard decision but her three remaining children are happy and healthy, and now thankfully so she is and their marriage and family are still going great.
     
  14. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Dungeon Master

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    I respect these convictions. But Scripture is not strong enough on this point to demand that all the faithful accept these specific convictions. Wouldn't you agree that there should be some liberty on this issue?
     
  15. Athanasius377

    Athanasius377 Is a little right of Atilla the Hun Supporter

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    Perhaps, but I still have an issue with the artificial means. Let me think about that and give you a better answer and reasoning.
     
  16. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Ship of Fools Supporter

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    It's Roman baggage more than anything that we never really got arount to jettisoning. Considering natural law is not a substantial part of Protestant ethics, it's surprising that taboos about contraception stayed around for so long.

    Luther had harsh things to say against celibacy and childlessness but I think its a stretch to say he had a Roman Catholic mind on the subject. His ethics made provisions for divorce and all sorts of other interesting arrangements (to say the least), he was very much an ethical pragmatist. And yet he was also capable of being highly conservative in his attitudes, beyond where even his ideals logically would lead (such as suppressing the peasants revolt).

    A great many Protestants considered sex education a perilous topic. For instance, it was forbidden the Federal government in the US to even disseminate sexual education materials through the mail. In England in the 19th century, priests routinely condemned condoms, one of the earliest widespread forms of contraception. It wasn't so much a well-thought-out position so much as just being down to sex being taboo in general (and the less you talked about it or did anything about it, the better), and the Church stood at the center of upholding that. And this cut across the usual theological boundaries as well. Karl Barth, for instance, had very much an Augustinian attitude towards sex, that it was inherently problematic, and by today's standards he would have been quite conservative compared to most evangelical churches in the US.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  17. christine40

    christine40 Well-Known Member

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    we used NFP because I grew up Catholic
    husband grew up Lutheran
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  18. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    In my opinion one of the major features of Jesus’ teaching is a focus on intent and the effects of our actions on others rather than on law. For this reason I have problems about several aspects of traditional teaching in this area:

    Gen 1:28 certainly made sense for 2 people that were to be the parents of us all. But it doesn’t say there are no limits or controls to procreation. Traditional Christianity considered celibacy the best form of living. But that violates Gen 1:28 more seriously than someone who is married and wants to control timing or number of children.

    Similarly, I have ethical problems with mandating NFP. I think it’s dishonest. it has the same intent as contraception, and ideally, the same results. To say that it’s not morally equivalent involves adopting an approach to Christian ethics that is different from Jesus’. It’s like the kind of legal games the Pharisees played, which Jesus opposed in Mat 23:18. (I don’t object to NFP in itself, of course. If it works for a couple, it’s fine with me, as long as they don’t think it’s morally better than contraception.)
     
  19. christine40

    christine40 Well-Known Member

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    deleted as didn't add to conversation
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  20. Doctor.Sphinx

    Doctor.Sphinx Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you touched a nerve? :)

    I don't think it's good to waste food - Jesus had the basket loads of food left over from his miracles collected. I don't necessarily believe it's a sin to waste food, but it's better not to waste.

    I believe the same about contraception. Scripture might not speak directly against contraception, but it's better for a man and wife to produce children (obeying what God instructed the first man and woman in Genesis), than to enjoy the pleasures of intimacy without the responsibility. I don't believe the latter is sin, but the former is better.

    The same applies to most things. Food can taste nice, and can nourish the body, but it's better to eat for nourishment, than solely for taste (as this can eventually lead to malnourishment).
     
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