Contraception - is the pendulum starting to swing back for non-catholics?

I have been noting a shift in attitude (calling out contraception as being not open to life) within confessional Lutheranism for a while now, and this morning I see a vigorous discussion going on within a FB group, “Confessional Lutheran Memes” (similar in style and tone to “Catholic Memes” :))

snipped - from a discussion regarding the homosexuality, divorce & contraception

"We’re not talking about just Luther. Every orthodox theologian in the history of the Church, including all Lutheran theologians, were in unanimous agreement concerning the fact that contraception is against the teachings of Sacred Scripture, until a bunch of Anglicans in 1940 decided it wasn’t. Then the rest of sectarian protestantism fell in line and, unfortunately, so did some “Lutherans.” This is unacceptable.

The Onan account proves God’s disdain toward the sodomitic sin of contraception. What Onan did (prohibiting conception) “displeased the Lord” and caused the Lord to kill him. The sin of Judah, on the other hand, who failed to fulfill the levirate duty through his son Selah, did not warrant death. If your interpretation, i.e. that God was only mad about the failure to fulfill the levirate duty, was accurate, Judah would have also warranted being killed like his sons Er and Onan. But he was not killed because the text specifically says that the act of contraception displeased the Lord and caused Onan’s death."

Despite all of the humor and irony this group of confessionals put out on Facebook, there is some serious teaching going on as well. On this subject at least, I think our Roman Catholic siblings can agree with Luther:

“This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed” (The Blessed Reformer, Luther’s Works: Lectures on Genesis, p. 21).

Thank God for His patience with our waywardness.

The Catholic Church, and our Lutheran forebears, have always been right about this topic. Contraception is an abominable sin that has led to the acceptance of more extreme forms, such as abortion. We need to repent of having ever supported it. When you follow the practice and worldview of liberal Anglicans, it should be a signal that there’s something amiss.

I would be okay with it. I like that our tiny confessional Lutheran parish is crawling with little rug rats, a few of them are mine.

But for me I don’t see the sin as contraception. I think a couple should be free to prayerfully decide to use non abortive contraception as dictated by their own conscience.

The problem is seeing children as an unfair burden, or not seeing them as a blessing. This is the problem, not wearing or not wearing a condom.

Dont forget - you dont get to decide what is a sin or not. Contraception has always been considered sinful, regardless of a person’s personal theology. God determines sinfulness…our sinfulness doesn’t determine God.

I have to add that I couldnt help but read your final statement as self-refuting. Why else does one wear a condom in a marriage if not to prevent conception? And why does one prevent conception? To be free of creating a child. And why would you want to do that? Because you don’t a child at this time, which is the same as admitting that it’s an unfair burden since you’ve determined you don’t want a child.

It’s certainly possible this could occur in conservative Lutherean and Protestant/Evangicial churches, but I doubt there will be a major shift in attitude about the morality of contraception in other more left-of-center denominations or in secular culture. But God willing, anything is possible!

Ya, I would’t hold my breath. Contraception is big business so we arent bound to see it drop from the face of the earth. More available contraception means more sex, means more unplanned babies, means more abortion.

It’s also a great tool used to as a wedge by he-who-hates-marriage to cause choas and interfere with God’s love and plan for His people.

If you’re curious about the meme in question:

Maybe it just me -but I’ve seen a recent pro-life upswing even in the liberal ELCA. I think we’re all realizing that the ‘free-sex’ crowd has been lying to us for the last 90 years.

This may be true - but perhaps it might be caused by the fact that the people most likely to believe in the “free-sex” nonsense have left religion altogether, rather than people being convinced of the position of our Fathers. Too many people have become de jure or de facto atheists, and not even of the kind where they have some intellectual honesty. Call me a pessimist today.:frowning:

Dont forget - you dont get to decide what is a sin or not. Contraception has always been considered sinful, regardless of a person’s personal theology. God determines sinfulness…our sinfulness doesn’t determine God.

I don’t believe God has determined it to be a sin.

I have to add that I couldnt help but read your final statement as self-refuting. Why else does one wear a condom in a marriage if not to prevent conception? And why does one prevent conception? To be free of creating a child. And why would you want to do that? Because you don’t a child at this time, which is the same as admitting that it’s an unfair burden since you’ve determined you don’t want a child.

For the same reason a couple would use NFP to avoid pregnancy.

Many great resources on this site say otherwise. I suggest you check them out.

Otherwise, I believe contraception reduces sex to any other activity. Openness to Life makes it unique.

And NFP is still open to Life so despite their reasons it’s not unnatural contraception. Condoms are a gateway drug.

Have you read the Church Fathers on the issue? They are unanimous that contraception is a sin. They equate it with murder. If what the Bible says against contraception isn’t compelling enough, then read the Church Fathers of the first millennia.

The difference is that with contraception, the couple indulges in the pleasure action of procreation while preventing the natural consequence of possible conception. While with NFP, the couple avoids both the pleasure action and the natural consequence of possible pregnancy.

Indulging in pleasure outside of it’s God-given purpose is always a sin. Take fornication and gluttony for instance. God designed both sex and food to be pleasurable, but gave us boundaries and also purpose for both. By accepting the pleasure outside of the purpose and boundaries God designed for that pleasure is transferring one’s love from God to the pleasure…that is sin.

Have you read the Church Fathers on the issue? They are unanimous that contraception is a sin. They equate it with murder.

I think equating non abortive contraception with murder is ridiculous. I don’t believe that is any other than these folks opinion on the matter.

The difference is that with contraception, the couple indulges in the pleasure action of procreation while preventing the natural consequence of possible conception. While with NFP, the couple avoids both the pleasure action and the natural consequence of possible pregnancy.

The intent is the same. To have sex without worrying about pregnancy.

Indulging in pleasure outside of it’s God-given purpose is always a sin. Take fornication and gluttony for instance. God designed both sex and food to be pleasurable, but gave us boundaries and also purpose for both. By accepting the pleasure outside of the purpose and boundaries God designed for that pleasure is transferring one’s love from God to the pleasure…that is sin.

I disagree. Else infertile couples, or elderly couples would be sinning by engaging in sexual intercourse.

I’ve explained the major difference. Loving God above pleasure OR Loving Pleasure above God.

Infertile & elderly married couples having sex aren’t sinning unless they’re contracepting - look at Elizabeth who was both infertile & elderly, but still was open to life with each marital act & conceived John.

If you don’t believe what the Bible had to say about it (God gave a man the death penalty for it as recorded in the Old Testament) & you believe your opinion on the matter outweighs the teachings of the Church Fathers on the matter (Fathers from the time long before Lutherans separated from the Catholic Church & before the Catholic Church separated from the Orthodox Church), then there is really nothing that anyone can say that might convince you of the truth. I’ll pray for you.

I’d say the underlying issue is that most Protestants don’t agree with the Catholic idea about the difference between NFP and contraception. I think many conservative Protestants would, in principle, like to avoid both but, well …

Although some more orthodox Christians may revert back to the thought that contraception is wrong, it seems that the vast majority of Christians will never get there.

I can understand why protestants view NFP as catholic birth control… it is because many Catholics do use NFP with a contraceptive mentality. NFP takes great discipline and unselfish love… but the rewards are worth the struggle.

They call all this thinking draconian on the far left. They are the squeaky wheel. More of a conservative liberal argument. The conservative argument is gaining momentum.

You can see why people regard NFP as Catholic Birth Control when that is exactly how it is promoted within Catholic circles. It is actively promoted with a contraceptive mentality. Why else would newlyweds be encouraged to use it to “have time together” for example, why else is it prompted as 90+% effective?

Typically, in Catholic moral theory, the intention behind an act is the major determinant when assessing moral culpability. It seems, however, that NFP is an exception since most Catholics claim that it is okay to intentionally time sex so conception is far less likely to occur. As others have already pointed out, NFP is sometimes promoted as a form of contraception: “Works just as well as other forms of contraception!”

In light of the above, Catholics must argue that it is not always morally wrong to have sex with the intention of avoiding conception. What is immoral is the actual obstruction involved in the sexual act, whether it be a condom or a pill. This view, however, has troubling moral implications. If the intention to avoid pregnancy is no the issue, but is rather the means used to avoid pregnancy, then a woman who had accidentally ingested a contraceptive pill would be just as culpable as one who had intentionally ingested a contraceptive pill.

The consistent position would be to either say it is never permissible to have sex when one intends to avoid or reduce the chance of conception, which was the position of the Early Church Fathers, or it is permissible to have sex with the intention of avoiding conception in certain circumstances, and the method of avoiding conception is inconsequential as long as it is not abortifacent.

I was following your reasoning, but I think it took a wild leap with that last sentence. :o

After further consideration, I think you are right in not following. What I should have said is that if intention isn’t where the evil of contraception lies, then any obstruction of the sexual act, whether intentional or not, would be evil.

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