I am in RCIA coming from a conservative Protestant background… but I became somewhat more liberal myself before I found the Church.
I’m having difficulty wrapping my mind around a few things and I hope you can help. This might not be as fluidly put together as I would like. It’s taking me quite a while to decide exactly what I’m asking.
We have practiced NFP for some time but for different reasons than those espoused by the Church. So there has been very little adjustment for me in that particular area. It’s not specifically birth control I am wondering about so much as conception itself.
One rationalization of birth control’s acceptability is that “if God wants you to have a baby, you’ll get pregnant anyway.” I know the questions that statement begs. Just bear in mind that’s the sort of thing I’ve been used to hearing until now.
Another common sentiment is that God has a plan for all of us. Again, I know the other issues that can raise, but just keep going with me here.
Ah, here’s another one: “God will never give us more than we can handle.”
Keeping those things in mind:
Do I exist because God wanted me to? Or do I exist because certain specific actions on the part of my parents caused an egg to be fertilized, and therefore God inserted a soul and ta-da, here I am?
No matter how “on purpose” anyone is about effecting conception, it doesn’t always happen. Where does God come in, here?
Where is the line between “He knows how many children you’ll have” and “His will is for you to have X children”?
What about couples who struggle with infertility? I have friends who, to all appearances, have loving, open arms, warm homes, and would be more than capable of providing for a house full of little ones. And yet the way is barred to them. Where is God in this? Is it merely biology? Is it His will?
Statistics would seem to be in favor of the assumption that two people not using birth control or any other method of avoiding pregnancy would most likely eventually conceive a child… whether they’re married or not. Where does His will stop and His biology begin?
We can disobey God. Yes? We CAN prevent pregnancies that might otherwise have occurred. So the sin is not merely one of intent.
If I assume that is correct (feel free to stop there and point out if it’s not, or if perhaps it’s close but could use better wording) and if I consider previously outlined points, I might conclude God does not necessarily cause conception, but He goes along with it, for lack of better words. He gives it His blessing. Or He doesn’t. I also might conclude that God does not necessarily always cause the issues that lead to infertility. But I don’t know what to make of that.
I have miscarried once. They say miscarriages of the early, blighted ovum sort, like I had, are usually due to chromosomal abnormalities. I often wonder where was God in that. Not as in, why did He let it happen… but what part did He play. Was it His doing? I can take it if it was, but was it? Or was it just a function of this thing he has created?
Edited to add this point: Regarding using NFP to effect child spacing, is the control an illusion? Consider “God will never give us more than we can handle” alongside “If God wants you to have a baby, you’ll get pregnant anyway.” As well as with, “The Lord will provide,” another common sentiment. When I think “The Lord will provide” in the context of my fertility, I absolutely cannot help but always, instantly think of photos I have seen of starving, emaciated children in Africa. And I don’t know what to think.
I hope someone else can get at the heart of these questions, because I’m not sure I know what it is. These are things I have been mulling over lately. I don’t know how much of this is due to my Protestant upbringing, so I made sure to frame these questions in that context just in case someone else more learned than I can see what’s causing my problems, my lack of understanding. Something isn’t clicking for me.
If you have something to say, please don’t feel at all compelled to address all the points. I’ll take any and all thoughts on this.
Bless you for reading all of this. Thank you. <3