Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The problems of different types of birth control

This grew out of a post still in progress, but the tangent was getting longer than the main point.

The Bible does not prohibit birth control flat-out. Well, there is that part with Onan, but no one is sure that's necessarily what it means, and it doesn't necessarily speak to all kinds of birth control. So, I will.
I don't necessarily see birth control as wrong, but all forms of birth control have problems that make them unbiblical.

Hormonally based birth control carries the possibility of killing babies. No, I'm not making this up. Everyone who isn't pro-life and everyone who's pro-life and Catholic seems to be aware of this. But somehow right-leaning evangelicals have missed it--probably because they didn't want to hear it. It can prevent a blastocyst (that is, baby) from implanting in the uterine lining (that is, living--continuing to grow and thrive). If you can't see how that is intrinsically evil, I recommend you study Exodus 20:13. I actually think these should be illegal, just like abortion. I don't intend to make all birth control illegal, just those that harm someone other than the user. The rest of these are between the user, their partner, and God. But hormonal birth control is wrong unless your life depends on it.

Some forms of birth control mutilate God's temple--our bodies. Cutting or removing parts of our bodies which God created and which are working fine should not be something Christians do. There are people out there who think that getting a nose-ring is disrespectful of their bodies but have had a fully functional organ removed or made nonfunctional by cutting. Really, hormonal birth control can fall under this category as well--it changes what God has made and made well into something other than what he intended. So even if there were no chance of hormonal birth control killing a child (for example, the pill for men) it is seeking to change something which God designed that is working fine. Killing sperm (or, if they design some other drug or device, killing an egg) seems questionable for this reason as well. Again, I am not referring to removing a defective body part to save one's life. It is like the difference between removing an arm because it is gangrenous and removing an arm for no good reason.

What's left are sexual practices and barrier methods. Barrier methods come between a husband and wife in the act of marriage. It just seems weird that anyone would want a piece of rubber between themselves and the other person. From what I've heard, no one does, but for the "danger" of getting pregnant or the danger of getting a disease (not present in monogamous marriage). I can't say from experience, but it seems that this would alter the experience. And even if it didn't, I am not romantically intereested in a piece of plastic. My objection to sexual practices is about the same. If a couple does something non-reproductive because the regular act doesn't work at the time, or on occasion for another reason, that's one thing. But if it is regularly occuring to stop reproduction--that's not God's design for marriage. The couple is defrauding each other. And I don't think NFP (for prevention) is any better. The basic premise is that the couple does not have sex when they are likely to conceive. The problem is that this is also when they are most likely to want sex, and when sex will be most enjoyable. God designed us that way. I say they are defrauding each other. Paul allowed abstinence for prayer--he did not talk about abstaining so that you wouldn't have kids so long as you pray. And the verse in Ecclesiastes about "a time to embrace and a time to refrain" is not about NFP--it's actually probably about abstaining during infertile times (during menses and a week after).

And if a pregnancy were really so grave a risk that it was worth defrauding each other or mutilating God's temple, why would one use a method that had "failure" rates? Even sterilization can "fail." Wouldn't abstinence be better?

For me, unless there were a very good chance pregnancy would kill me, I can't see myself using birth control. This doesn't mean that no Christian anywhere should use birth control. If I lived in China, I would use birth control. If I lived in such poverty that my children could starve to death, I would consider it. But that's not an issue for me, nor is it an issue for anyone in this country, or most industrialized nations. And if I were talking to someone in a desperate situation--oppression or poverty--I would hope I could find better ways to help them than helping them decide whether using condoms was within God's will.

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Blogger jonash said...

Wow. That was VERY well-written. :)

Thank you for putting so much of what I feel into words. :)


9:40 AM  

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