Contraception

I’m sure this has been brought up before but I am increasingly having to deal with criticism from Protestant family members regarding the Catholic Church’s position on Contraception.
How can I defend it more easily as to its sinfulness? I find this the hardest teaching to defend rom my knowledge base. I have brought up the fact that no christian church accepted contraception until 1930 and declining population in Europe but still do not get anywhere. To some Protestants hisory or tradition does not mean anything. I wish there was a good book on contraception itself from apologetic standpoint.

Philip,

Protestants pray: Dear Jesus let me be you hands and feet. Your will Lord, not mine. Then they go into their bedrooms and say NO to life and slam the door of their bedrooms in Jesus’ face.

Go to: www.omsoul.com it’s a graet web site!

Obedience,
John

The 1930 tidbit can be complemented with the fact that the traditional interpretation of Genesis 38:9 was that Onan was guilty (mortally) of purposefully rendering his sexual act unfruitful. Luther and Calvin and the Catholic Church agree. When those three agree on something, it’s time to start paying attention.

I have agreat little book by John Kippley called “Birth Control and Christian Discipleship.” It is published by the Couple to Couple League International. It has a great brief history of the doctrine, including the Protestant communities.

Philip -
Someone else has recommended the One More Soul website already, but I would like site some specific resources from them:

If your family is open to listening to an audio tape or CD, they have an excellent lecture from Janet Smith entitled "Contraception, Why Not?"
omsoul.com/item140.html

They have a great book written by a Protestant - “The Bible and Birth Control”, by Charles Provan
omsoul.com/item193.html

Another book written by a Protestant - “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?” , by Randy Alcorn, is very thought provoking, to say the least.
omsoul.com/item163.html

Hope that helps - netmender

Christopher West’s Good News About Sex and Marriage

**

“God is in himself a life-giving Communion of Persons. The Father, from all eternity, is making a gift of himself in love to the Son. (As we read in the Scriptures, Jesus is the ‘beloved’ of the Father; see Mt 3:17.) And the Son, enternally receiving the gift of the Father, makes a gift of himself back to him. The love between them is so real, so profound, that this love is another eternal Person–the Holy Spirit…Sexual intercourse itself reveals (makes visible) the invisible mystery of God” (19).

I can’t possibly capture in any way the depth to which this is explored in this very easy to read book the has common questions posed (the hard ones!) with clear and concise answers. Basically, very basically,

“the choice to withold one’s fertility during intercourse, or to refuse to receive it as a gift in one’s spouse, is a contradiction of the deepest essence of conjugal love right at the moment when it should find its sincerest expression. Precisely at marriage’s ‘moment of truth,’ the truth is exchanged for a lie” (108). In other words, the “I do” of the wedding vow and all that entails, becomes a rejection–an “I don’t.” Married love no-longer mirrors the three Persons of the Trinity–it becomes an anti-sign.

**As Simply as I Can Put It: God is love. God has told us to love one another as He loves us. The union of marriage mirrors God and his love for us. God gives us life and he gives himself totally–he holds nothing back–even to the point of death. We are called to love as God loves. The ability to procreate is a gift that most clearly demonstrates God’s life-giving love. We participate with God in his gift of life. **

By denying God’s participation in the union of man and wife, we deny God’s gift. We tell God we don’t want him in that part of our life–we say NOT YOUR WILL, but MY WILL be done.

Contraception is “against-life” (that’s what it means). If we are to love one another, as God loves us–we must give ourselves fully and we must receive one another fully.

That’s why contraception in ALL its forms is a sin.

Is this the same as the video lecture I saw on EWTN? If so–it is SUPER! She’s not the most exciting speaker, but she’s SO on target and very witty, too!

[quote=philipmarus]I’m sure this has been brought up before but I am increasingly having to deal with criticism from Protestant family members regarding the Catholic Church’s position on Contraception.
How can I defend it more easily as to its sinfulness? I find this the hardest teaching to defend rom my knowledge base. I have brought up the fact that no christian church accepted contraception until 1930 and declining population in Europe but still do not get anywhere. To some Protestants hisory or tradition does not mean anything. I wish there was a good book on contraception itself from apologetic standpoint.
[/quote]

Check out BibleReader’s posts in Does Humanae Vitae spiritually kill most Catholic’s, but not Protestant’s, souls? under Moral Theology. He gives one of the best biblical arguements I’ve seen.

Posted by BibleReader:

Most think, “How could the Bible possibly condemn contraceptive use, if it was written thousands of years ago, and contraceptives weren’t invented until our era?”

In fact, around 500 B.C., North Africans discovered silphium. It is not the same “silphium” commercially available today. The silphium of North Africa was a fennel-like plant, which grew wild in North Africa – nobody ever figured out how to cultivate it. Orally imbibed as a tea, it completely disrupted the girl’s reproductive tract. It was a very successful contraceptive. Around 400 A.D., the last silphium plant was picked, and the species became extinct.

Remember “Simon of Cyrene” who helped Christ carry the cross in the gospels? Well, Cyrene, Libya, was the main point of export for silphium. In the centuries before Christ, Cyrene even minted a coin featuring a naked girl holding up a fennel plant and pointing to her genital region.

Other popular and somewhat successful contraceptive herbs used before and after Christ were asafoetida, and what we today refer to as Queen Anne’s Lace, and pennyroyal. Asafoetida is still sometimes used as an ingredient in Worcestershire saurce. (Please do not go out and brew your own contraceptive teas or drink a bottle of Worcestershire sauce. You don’t know enough about quantity.)

All of these contraceptive preparations game to be referred to with the euphemism *pharmakeia *in the Greek-speaking Roman Empire – “drugs.”

All of this is well-discussed in the March/April, 1994 issue of Archaeology magazine.

The main retailers of pharmakeia in the Roman Empire were sorcerers! – palm readers, tea leaf readers, and so on.

The local teaveling sorcerer would come into town. The local promiscuous girls would go running to the sorcerer to ask about his or her latest love prospects. The reader would give the usual vague optimistic answer, and then after charging for her reading would open up her box of contraceptive teas, and make some more money selling these.

As a consequence, contraceptives also came to be referred to with the appellation “sorcery,” meaning “sorcerer’s stuff.” Contraceptive curses – incantations meant to avert conception – were referred to with the word magiae, “magic.”

The reason why you had to read all of that is to understand the exact meaning of a catechetical summary employed in the early Church – very shgortly after the time of the Apostles – called the Didache.

Didache 2:2 condemns (1) magiae; (2) pharmakeia; (3) abortion; and (4) infanticide.

Do you see what is going on there? Progressively-invasive anti-reproductive measuresare being condemned – reproductive curses, contraceptive chemicals, post-contraceptive abortions, and post-birth child killing.

So, the Didache, essentially written in the same era as Paul’s letter to the Galatians and as the Book of Revelation, is a reliable benchmark assuring us that when pharmakeia were condemned by Early Church Christians, use of contraceptives was being condemned.

A letter by Pope Clement also condemned use of pharmakeia.

*Pharmakeus *were users or sellers of pharmakeia.

To be continued.

**Continued from BibleReader’s previous post…

**Okay, here are the 4 Bible verses, 3 of which condemn the persons connected to the pharmakeia use to Hell. They, of course, are found in Galatians and Revelation.

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery [pharmakeia], hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, 21 occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21.

21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their **magic potions [pharmakeia]**, their unchastity, or their robberies. Revelation 9:21. 8

But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers [pharmakeus], idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death." Revelation 21:8.

15 **Outside [the Heavenly City] **are the dogs, the sorcerers [pharmakeus], the unchaste, the murderers, the idol-worshipers, and all who love and practice deceit. Revelation 22:15.

In the Galatians verse, “idolatry” is thought to be a reference to sexual rites in Gnostic temples. In Revelation 22:15, “dogs” is thought to be a snide reference to one of the common sex positions of male homosexuals. So, in every case, note well that the pharmakeia term is paired-up with sex sin…

Galatians 5:19-20: [font=Arial]impurity, licentiousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery [pharmakeia],

Revelation 9:21: their **magic potions [pharmakeia]**, their unchastity,

Revelation 21:8: the unchaste, sorcerers [pharmakeus],

Revelation 22:15: dogs, the sorcerers [pharmakeus], the unchaste,

Why did the Catholic translators not use “contraceptives” and “contraceptive users” as their English translation?

Because none of the Greek vocabularies they employ for their translations do that.

In any event, there is very little doubt that the New Testament very, very, very nastily condemns contraceptive use. The language of the Didache locks-in the identification of the meaning of the term.
[/font]

[quote=john654]Philip,

Protestants pray: Dear Jesus let me be you hands and feet. Your will Lord, not mine. Then they go into their bedrooms and say NO to life and slam the door of their bedrooms in Jesus’ face.

Go to: www.omsoul.com it’s a graet web site!

Obedience,
John
[/quote]

we cannot make this assumption about all Protestants, there are many denominations, preachers, and good Christian writers warning their people about the damage and sin involved in contraception, divorce, abortion and the other ills that derive from the contraceptive mentality.

[quote=puzzleannie]we cannot make this assumption about all Protestants, there are many denominations, preachers, and good Christian writers warning their people about the damage and sin involved in contraception, divorce, abortion and the other ills that derive from the contraceptive mentality.
[/quote]

Thanks all for the help. With regard to quote above: Perhaps but that has to be the exception not the norm. If listening to former Protestant pastors like Marcus Grodi and Kimberly Hahn, wife of Scott Hahn is any indication, the majority of Protestant pastors have Marriage counseling that begin with “what type of contraception are you going use” not that contraception is bad.

Lots of good input so far!

For me, contraception is a big “NO!” to God.

It’s like saying “Lord, I give you my heart, soul and mind, but stay the heck out of my uterus!”

Or, “I trust You Lord with my life, but not enough for You to choose when or how many children I should have.”

Looks a little silly when you put it that way, don’t it??!!

Do they study the Bible much?

Maybe ask them to show you any verses that says limiting the number of children you have is ok or any verse that shows that large families are bad. Just have them try to find one verse that would lead one to think they should prevent pregnancy. I don’t think they can find one, then you show them all the verses that seem to say that obedient believers will be “rewarded with children”. It seems to me that there is a strong message in the Bible that fertility is a good thing and to have many “arrows in your quiver” is good. The Bible says that sons are like arrows in your quiver. Abraham is told that he will have many descendents because of his faith. There are all kinds of verses that point to children being a good thing, not a bad thing as our society has taught us. This idea that we must stop having children once we have a boy and a girl is silly. What about choice? Would they happen to be pro-choice? IF they are, then ask them to respect your choice to be open to having more children. Let them know that you know it is counter-cultural and seems abnormal, but that you are supported by Biblical verses and unless they can point out that it is against God’s will to be open to life, then they should respect that you are trying to do God’s will by letting him decide the size of your family.

I had a Protestant tell me the he knows the Catholic Church teaches against birth control, but that he was going to have a vasectomy because he believes it should be between the couple and God. It was my thoughts exactly. There shouldn’t be anything else between them. Just God and the couple - no artificial birth control.

Letting them know that you don’t believe in birth control because you think it is against God’s will might help so that they don’t think you are just trying to be obedient to the Church. Surely, they will respect your desire to do God’s will.

[quote=WhatIf]Do they study the Bible much?

Maybe ask them to show you any verses that says limiting the number of children you have is ok or any verse that shows that large families are bad. Just have them try to find one verse that would lead one to think they should prevent pregnancy. I don’t think they can find one, then you show them all the verses that seem to say that obedient believers will be “rewarded with children”. It seems to me that there is a strong message in the Bible that fertility is a good thing and to have many “arrows in your quiver” is good. The Bible says that sons are like arrows in your quiver. Abraham is told that he will have many descendents because of his faith. There are all kinds of verses that point to children being a good thing, not a bad thing as our society has taught us. This idea that we must stop having children once we have a boy and a girl is silly. What about choice? Would they happen to be pro-choice? IF they are, then ask them to respect your choice to be open to having more children. Let them know that you know it is counter-cultural and seems abnormal, but that you are supported by Biblical verses and unless they can point out that it is against God’s will to be open to life, then they should respect that you are trying to do God’s will by letting him decide the size of your family.

I had a Protestant tell me the he knows the Catholic Church teaches against birth control, but that he was going to have a vasectomy because he believes it should be between the couple and God. It was my thoughts exactly. There shouldn’t be anything else between them. Just God and the couple - no artificial birth control.

Letting them know that you don’t believe in birth control because you think it is against God’s will might help so that they don’t think you are just trying to be obedient to the Church. Surely, they will respect your desire to do God’s will.
[/quote]

The protestant’s I know use the following arguments in favor of Birth control (Not mine)

  1. It doesn’t matter whether BC violates Natural Law since people fly on airplanes now. Obviously this misunderstands natural law.

  2. The Bible only says children are a blessing not that you have to have them.

  3. Theres nothing “Sacred” about sex - just as long as its between married persons (Not adultery, Fornication, or
    Same-Sex people) Sex between married person can proceed as the couple sees fit. One Protestant I know following this logic saw nothing wrong with swapping Sperm and Egg from multiple people to increase fertility. That is implanting eggs from woman A in woman B to be used for conceiving.

  4. The argument based on the Hisorical Christian tradition
    (up to 1930) does not matter since the people like ECF, Luther, Calvin did not understand Modern Biology as how the baby is made by combining sperm and egg so their condemnation of B.C
    is flawed.

  5. Related to Natural Law argument against Birth control - I had one Protestant attempt to refute the natural law argument against Birth Control by saying that in some instances the woman’s body cause a spontaneous abortion (ie, miscarriage).

Thanks for all the Help. I’ve printed this thread for further study.

One of the best things you could do is get a copy of “Open Embrace: a Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception” by Sam and Bethany Torode. Either give them a copy of it, or read it yourself to talk with them about it. It’s very well-written and an excellent resource for anyone, but could especially highlight where protestants are coming from.

1 Tim.2:15

But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self control.

Rom 1:24-25

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degredation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and and worshipped the creature rather than the creator…

Sound’s like we should have children, and live God’s truth w/out degrading our bodies with the lie of contraception to me…:smiley:

Keep plugging away. The contraception teaching were a big part of the conversion of notables like Hahn and Armstrong. This is really the big one: Contraception is either a sin or it isn’t. If it isn’t then one is hard-pressed to explain why every Christian group got it wrong up till 1930. (So Martin Luther is right about Sola Scriptura but wrong about contraception–who gets to decide that? :confused: ) If it is a sin (as I believe), then one has to explain why only the Catholic Church has it right.

Scott

Philip -
Yes, people can and will make arguments that seem difficult to refute. You might simply ask -

  1. What has happened to our culture since contraception became commonplace? (Janet Smith’s lecture, which I mentioned earlier, points out the answer)
  2. Did the Catholic Church predict what would happen? (refer to Humanae Vitae)
    Best wishes - netmender

Thanks. I have the CD by Janet Smith on order.

Posting so I can keep this one as a favorite.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.