Friday, September 21, 2012

Discussion with a Romanist on contraception

As an admin at the Abolish Human Abortion Facebook page, I have access to the various PMs people send to the page. A Roman Catholic reader wrote in last week and I figured I'd pick up the conversation.


RC David:
Hi, just wondering if you guys are consistently prolife on the issue of artificial contraception?


Me:
May I ask you to specify what you are getting at?
Here is an article that will answer at least part of your question.
http://blog.abolishhumanabortion.com/2012/03/do-gametes-possess-right-to-life.html

This too:
http://abolishhumanabortion.com/faq/#ivf-do-you-want-in-vitro-fertilisation-to-be-defined-as-murder-a-prosecutable-offense

I'll be happy to answer any more specific questions you have.

-Rhology
A//A Admin


RC David:
I meant to ask if you opposed artificial contraception or not. Are things like condoms and the contraceptive pill ok? Is it ok to separate the unitive part of sex from the genitive?


Me:
Oh, OK. Thanks for specifying.

Here, I forgot this was also part of our FAQ: http://abolishhumanabortion.com/faq/#do-you-oppose-all-forms-of-birth-control-contraception

Let me know if that is not clear enough.

-Rhology
AHA Admin


RC David:
Clear enough thanks. I think that perhaps a change in policy might be a good idea.


Me:
Oh? We welcome any suggestions. Can't guarantee that we'll accept it, but we will certainly take it under consideration.

-Rhology


RC David:
Pope Paul VI in 1968 wrote a letter called "Humanae Vitae" that made a few predictions, including the rise of abortion. It's worth a read for folks interested in the issue. Pope John Paul II spoke at length too, but he was a lot (A LOT!!!) more verbose about the same issues and the links between poor anthropology and contraception and abortion.


Me:
Yes, I am familiar with Humanæ Vitæ. Trying to make a necessary connection between a culture that thinks condoms are OK and a culture that thinks it's OK to murder babies has never made a lot of sense to me. The Bible never makes that connection.

-Rhology


RC David:
How do you read Gen 38:10?
Make that verses 8-10


Me:
The important part of the passage I've put between **

8Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground **in order not to give offspring to his brother**. 10But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.

It displeased God because Onan didn't want to fulfill his obligation to his brother. He performed the external duty (Judah had told him to lie with his brother's wife) but didn't fulfill his actual responsibility.


RC David:
Does it matter that no mention is made of this bring a law is found in Scripture and its first mention comes much later (and then the only punishment is a social disgrace, and nothing capital or corporal)?
I think it is important not to want to read into a passage things that aren't there.
Onan contracepts and this displeased God.
That is there.
It's what he does (not what he doesn't) do that the passage says is bad.


Me:
God is certainly free to carry out the death penalty on anyone He chooses. Perhaps He wanted to make a really obvious example of the first violator of this law about bro-in-law offspring.

Where is contraception mentioned? It doesn't even say that he performed coitus. He may simply have done it himself in a way of mocking his sister in law.


RC David:
And masturbation isn't contraceptive???
However you cut it, there was a sex act artificially closed to life.
Have you considered the other sexual sins of the bible? They all have 2 things in common.....
The act is contraceptive and/or the act robs the spouse of some due dignity.
Eg bestiality: no life
Adultery: cheats on spouse
Necromancy: no life
Sex in menses: no life
Etc etc
Look at Onan in that light.


Me:
Masturbation is a different class of action, actually. It doesn't prevent conception any more than doing something like cooking does. If I'm cooking, I can't conceive a child b/c conception requires coitus. But that doesn't make it contraceptive.

But sure, I agree with that - it was a sex act artificially closed to life.

The other pattern that is explicitly and strongly laid out is that sinful sexual acts occur outside of lifelong committed marriage. The Bible says that specifically but never says anything about whether you can use a condom.


RC David:
Can a husband marry and copulate with a prepubescent girl?
No, because the union violates nature
Why? Because the nature of the act is for life
Not Genital friction


Me:
Well, hold on. No, a man can't marry and copulate with a prepubescent girl because it's against the law.
Is that law just? Yes, b/c marriage is supposed to be undertaken by people who love each other and understand the commitment. This is what the Bible says.
the Bible doesn't say anything about "violates nature".

The nature of the act is ALSO for pleasure and marital oneness. Why insist on the one factor as you are? Give me a biblical reason, not a reason that relies for its foundation on the Roman church.


RC David:
The Bible is repeat with examples of children being a blessing in marriage and barrenness being a curse. The sexual sins it condemns in all cases are either against union or against life.

I find it interesting that you don't want to know what the Church says but wriggle around what the Bible says about Onan. Calvin and Luther thought that Onan's sin was contraceptive too. It's not a "Roman opinion".


Me:
\\The Bible is repeat (sic) with examples of children being a blessing in marriage and barrenness being a curse.\\

This is true. Condoms don't make you barren, though.


\\The sexual sins it condemns in all cases are either against union or against life.\\

I'd like to see one that's against life, rather than against marriage as I mentioned.


It's not that I don't want to know what the Roman church teaches. I already know. I've studied Roman theology in some detail and talked with many, many knowledgeable Roman Catholics. It's your opinion that I "wriggle" around Onan, but you haven't demonstrated such.
Calvin and Luther were mistaken at numerous points, so it's unsurprising. The point is that the Scripture, taken by itself, leads the reader to the conclusion that Onan's sin was his unwillingness to help his brother and sis in law and fulfill his responsibility, and his desire to perform the external obedience but harbor hate in his heart.
It doesn't say anything about condom usage. That comes from Rome, not the Scripture.

-Rhology


RC David:
Bestiality: against life
Sodomy: against life
Necromancy: against life

Masturbation (your take of Onan): against life
How many examples did you need before you'll take God's word for it?
Interesting take onCalvin and Luther. Did I mention that all of Christendom thought the same about Onan until around the 1930s?
Be careful throwing them out. You end up necessarily defending the premise that truth cannot be known, which gives modernists an out to deny the resurrection.


Me:
All those things are against lifelong committed marriage. That's what I said earlier.

\\Did I mention that all of Christendom thought the same about Onan until around the 1930s?\\

You have now.
Why would that be an important matter to mention?
How do you know "all of Christendom" thought that? Do you have some sort of survey data?


RC David:
Bestiality is against a lifelong commitment to marriage???
Look at any old commentary
How is a single 20 something who commits bestiality sinning against a lifelong commitment to marriage?
He isn't. He's sinning agains nature, because God ordained sex for life.
That's what makes it a sin.


Me:
\\Bestiality is against a lifelong commitment to marriage?\\

Sure! It's a sex act not with one's spouse.

\\How is a single 20 something who commits bestiality sinning against a lifelong commitment to marriage?\\

I think you might have missed the point - I was saying that the Bible explicitly says that sex acts outside marriage are sinful. Sex with animals would be a sex act outside marriage.

\\God ordained sex for life.\\

But you have merely asserted this, not demonstrated it.
Rather, God ordained sex for life/reproduction, yes, and also marital pleasure, intimacy, and oneness.
It is far more accurate to say that God ordained sex for *marriage*, but that wouldn't go along with the conclusion that you're committed to defend because you care more about what the Roman church says than what the Bible says.

-Rhology


RC David:
You can stop the ad hominem whenever you are ready. I'll ignore them in the mean time.
I haven't denied that God ordained sex for unity. You would know that I defend this position because you told me you are familiar with Humanae Vitae and that you have studied Catholic theology. Are you hoping I hadn't? Or was your study only cursory?
The Catholic (and hence Biblical) position is that sex is both (and simultaneously) unitive and genitive.
Unitive sex cannot be selfish (see your pal Onan again). It must be a true and full self giving. That is why God describes our union with Him I'm heaven as a marriage.
Go wont hold anything of Himself back in heaven. Marriage is not meant to hold anything bak here.
That means we give each other all of us: including our fertility. (again, see your pal Onan).
Separating the unitive fro the genitive is the basis for all sexual sin and the doorway to the selfish sin of abortion


Me:
I don't think you know what "ad hominem" means. You need to repent for your allegiance to the Roman church over Jesus.
Now, saying "your pal Onan" - that's just foolish talk. You're clearly too emotional - again I see your love for Romanism over any love for Jesus - to deal with this topic rationally. I'm done.

Repent.

Peace,
Rhology


RC David:
Ad = against
Hominem = the man

In cricket we say you played the man, not the ball. In this discussion, you tried to criticise me, not my argument.

While you're on getting folks to repent, you may wish to repent from your allegiance to the man made anti-biblical doctrine of sola scriptura.

I'm not done. I will be here for as long as you need help.

29 comments:

B. Pecker said...

And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, "Brethren; love me, admire me, adore me. But please, for the love of Baal, stop with the dying for sins bullshit. Truly I say to you-"You are embarrassing the absolute fuck out of me!!" This blood sacrifice lunacy is fucking outrageous and makes us all look like a bunch of goddamn Neanderthal retards!!!!"--Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Truth.

zilch said...

I loves me some bizarre intramural Christian debate about masturbation in the morning.

For the record, I side with Rho: masturbation and condoms are not a "sin".

carry on.... zilch

Andrew said...

"Trying to make a necessary connection between a culture that thinks condoms are OK and a culture that thinks it's OK to murder babies has never made a lot of sense to me. The Bible never makes that connection."

I don't know, Rho. It seems to me they may be on to something there. Does the bible have to explicitly say "if you deliberately separate sex from it's God ordained purpose, there may be some undesirable consequences"?
Blind squirrels and acorns, eh?

Rhology said...

Well, that's the thing, really. The Romanist needs to prove, not assert, that God's ordained purpose for ANY given conjugal act includes procreation of a child.

Lvka said...

I hope we can at least agree, from the text in question, as well as from Genesis 1:27-28, that an intentionally-childless marriage goes against God's word.

I hope we can also agree that obsessions, including sexual ones, are a form of idolatry, which violate the first commandment, as well as Christ's words about not being able to serve to masters. I'm guessing that onanism is obviously NOT the action of a non-sexually-addicted person.

I hope we can also all agree that chastity and childbirth are things that the Bible recommends many times, whereas the only passage where contraception occurs is a negative one.

zilch said...

Hey, lvka, I missed you in Arad again this year. Too bad- we performed in the charming Monarchie theater in Oravița and had a great time. Romania is a beautiful country.

Rhology said...

Lvka,

Gen 1 says be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth.
But the human race has multiplied. 7 billion of us!

At the same time, though, the BIble does seem to PRESUME that married couples will have children, yes.

However, while that would be relevant to the question of whether a new husband should have a vasectomy 2 months before his wedding, it's not particularly relevant to the question of employing condoms in marital intimacy for a temporary period of time.



I hope we can also agree that obsessions, including sexual ones, are a form of idolatry

Most certainly.
All sin, really, boils down to idolatry.


I'm guessing that onanism is obviously NOT the action of a non-sexually-addicted person.

First of all, it's unclear what Onan did. All it says is that he spilled his semen on the ground. Did he service himself with his hand? Did he demand certain favors from Tamar that led to him ejaculating on the ground? Did he engage in coitus interruptus? It doesn't say.

Anyway, let me make sure I understand what you're trying to say, sorry. You are proposing that someone who self-stimulates is a sex addict?
I guess that depends on the definition of "addict" you're using. I don't think I'd agree with that, no.


whereas the only passage where contraception occurs is a negative one.

The Onan passage doesn't reference contraception. It references Onan's brutish lack of charity and love for Tamar and for his brother. He was unwilling to fulfill a serious responsibility to his brother's wife. That's what the text says.

Lvka said...

The idea is that he 'killed' his brother a second time, as if him dying once wasn't enough.

Obviously, if intentionally-childless marriages would've been God-pleasing, there would've been no need for God to issue the law of levirate marriage in the first place.

The passage does reference contra-ception, inasmuch as he was supposed to conceive, but didn't.

It's very interesting to see how the meaning of certain biblical passages that trample our pleasure and comfort underfoot become suddenly unclear and difficult, despite entire millennia of consensus [if we count Judaism].

Christ obviously died on the Cross so that we can masturbate and use condoms, of course. Our 'God' is the almighty orgasm, and to be deprived of it is nothing short of a crucifixion... When Saint Paul wrote that "they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts" he was obviously joking, of course, but his humor was lost due to ancient Greek not having any emoticons and smiley faces. -- Or maybe it did, but the Pope erased them: I guess we'll never know... And when the same Apostle included 'temperance' among the works of the Spirit in the previous verse, what he *actually* meant was that we should just bang our brains out. And when David wrote in the Psalms the words "blessed is the man that hath his house full of children: he shall not be ashamed when he shall speak with his enemies in the gate", he really had a modern, liberated, pill-taking, condom-using family in mind: one man, one woman, and all of their two-point-five children...

zilch said...

Christ obviously died on the Cross so that we can masturbate and use condoms, of course.

You are laying yourself wide open for quote mining, lvka. But seriously- can't you guys see that even if you believe the Bible is the Word of God, that there is no way of any two people, not to mention two sects, to agree on exactly what it means? Important parts of the Bible are ambiguous at best, and you can argue your interpretation against someone else's until the cows come home, and there is still no resolving it.

I'm not saying that secular ethics are any better in this regard. The word is not the thing, and as long as we rely on words, there will be disagreements.

In any case, have a great day.

cheers from autumny Vienna, zilch

Lvka said...

'Ambiguity' is generated by the carnal passions, both physical and spiritual, which cloud the intellect. Unlike the Sun, God does not dispell these shadows of darkness against our will, mechanically.

Rhology said...

Lvka,

You're boring me with your foam-flecked adherence to your tradition, your inability to deal with the issue at hand, and your strawmen.


zilch,
The word is not the thing, and as long as we rely on words, there will be disagreements.

So... in your world, using words to cast doubt on the utility of words is a reasonable thing to do. Yet another way atheism results in absurdity.

Lvka said...

Besides, when it comes to icons, Protestants reject them, telling us that they feel more comfortable erring on the side of safety [ie, although the Bible is a witness to the presence of angelic depictions adorning the OT Temple-walls, they feel that avoiding the temptation of idolatry is more important]. But when it comes to sex, they forget the "poetries" they usually recite to us: in this case, safety be damned, all of a sudden they feel "lucky" enough to gamble with their eternal destiny.

Lvka said...

Rho,

I've been reading through the OT eversince I was 4 or 5 years old, and had no knowledge of the tenets of my faith (apart from Trinity, Incarnation, and Sunday-worship). I've always interpreted that verse the same way I still do now.

Rhology said...

I've always interpreted that verse the same way I still do now.

You have my pity. That's a long time to be rooted so deeply in bizarrely wrong biblical understanding.

Lvka said...

Could you elaborate why you think that such an interpretation is logically-wrong, instead of simply repeating your conclusion over and over again ?

Rhology said...

I did that already - see above.

Lvka said...

From where I'm standing, your conclusion is 'possible', but highly improbable/implausible.

The Roman Catholic with whom you've dialogued mentioned a lot of times the concept of life. As we know, God is life, and death came as a result of breaking communion with Him, or being cast out of Paradise. When God gave the law, He said to Moses: "behold, I lay before you the path of life and the path of death". John tells us that Christ came so that we might have life in abundance. God's very name is He Who is, in other words, He is Life. The Holy Spirit itself is nothing else but God's personal life-force, spirit meaning breath, respiration. And contraception is a sin against life: whether against the life of your brother, as in the case of levirate marriage, or against your own life and/or that of your spouse, as is more usually the case. It's not just one verse or one passage [with Onan]: it's the overall message of Scripture. It's too much that one needs to either deny or gloss over.

Lvka said...

I did read what you wrote... it's just that it seems forced, and it ultimately fails to convince.

Lvka said...

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough: To say [as the Bible does] that to intentionally avoid raising offspring for one's brother is displeasing to God, so much so that death is required, while at the same time saying that to intentionally avoid raising offspring for oneself is OK, is a logical contradiction. Can you understand that ?

Rhology said...

Your use of "life" here is equivocal - the uses you've cited mean SPIRITUAL life and forgiveness of sin, walking according to God's ways, and not making babies.


: it's the overall message of Scripture

You need to PROVE, not ASSERT, that the overall msg of Scripture has anything to do with condom usage.


To say [as the Bible does] that to intentionally avoid raising offspring for one's brother is displeasing to God

No, it says that Onan's intentional avoidance was displeasing to Him.


while at the same time saying that to intentionally avoid raising offspring for oneself is OK

I didn't say that. Another strawman.

zilch said...

So... in your world, using words to cast doubt on the utility of words is a reasonable thing to do. Yet another way atheism results in absurdity.

So how do you cast doubt on the words of others, Rho? Semaphore signals? They're words too....

Rhology said...

You didn't cast doubts on the words of others. You cast doubt on words, period.

The answer is: Don't use a means of communication to cast doubt on the utility of the means of communication.

See how that's self-refuting? Surprise me and tell me you actually do, that you won't use such a silly argument anymore.

Lvka said...

In Scripture, the two go hand in hand. When spiritual death occurs, physical life soon ceases. And when the spiritual life is revived, then eternal physical life also follows.
___________________________________

The oevrall message of Scripture is about life, in both senses, as shown in my previous comment, as well as in the previous paragraph of this comment.
___________________________________

So, in other words, God had something personal with Onan ? :-) This is plain ridiculous. If you can't understand why, the Bible says: "what he did was displeasing to the Lord", not "what he did was in-and-of-itself OK, but because it was him that did it, God smote him dead". That's just absurd.
___________________________________

So you'd agree that --even if contraception is OK-- couples still have the biblical duty to raise at least one offspring ? (If they have no physical problems, of course...)

Rhology said...



When spiritual death occurs, physical life soon ceases.

That depends entirely on what "soon" means, but you're wrong about that. Some people live 100 years spiritually dead, since we're all born dead in sins.



The oevrall message of Scripture is about life, in both senses

You didn't show it. You asserted it.
And you're wrong about that too. The overall msg of Scripture is about God's purposes in redemption.
Whether we have as many babies as humanly possible is not a matter of command.


So, in other words, God had something personal with Onan ?

Already explained above.



"what he did was in-and-of-itself OK

Didn't say that.


couples still have the biblical duty to raise at least one offspring

Duties are enjoined by commands from a proper authority. No such command exists.

Lvka said...

If they live 100 years, that means that they eventually die. [I was refring to Adam and Eve].

Redemption from what ? Is it not redemption from death, through the resurrection of Christ ?

The command was given when God made mand and woman, and told them to be fruitful, and to multiply (as opposed to being unfruitful, and to decrease in numbers). And the punishment for breaking that command was given in the same book, in the case of Onan.

Rhology said...

Yes, but Adam lived like 600 years after the Fall. That's not exactly "soon".

Redemption from death, but more pointedly, redemption from SIN and Hell. Without sin there's no death. Death is a symptom.


And the punishment for breaking that command was given in the same book, in the case of Onan.

**A** punishment was given for **ONE WICKED MAN** in that same book. You need some work on your exegetical skills, but that's no surprise.

Lvka said...

1. It is, when compared to eternity

2. That's what I've been saying.

3. The same could be said about Adam. :-)

zilch said...

Hey rho, lvka- you're both right, according to Scripture. That's the problem with relying on Scripture and not the real world.

Lvka said...

Quite.