I wanted to start off by saying I don’t really know all that much about birth control- not all the ins and outs anyway. All the differences of nuance and meaning between contraception and birth control, how ‘the pill’ works exactly, exactly what is family planning, and this whole business of a woman’s menstruation cycle is something of a mystery to me and, for now in part, I’d like to keep it that way. I don’t normally advocate for ignorance-is-bliss but I’d rather learn it bit by bit. I’ve often joked about representing the old guard of husbands who waited outside the delivery room for his child to be born (I’m sure if and when I come to it, I will be on hand, although at that point I’d need my own medical attention).
To the reading, I found it curious how similar much of the language was concerning religion and the worlds problems. It seems as we have been traveling through time that the medium and language of analysis has shifted. We have addressed the purely theological approach to sex and gender, the ‘new science’ of the late 19th century, early psychology, and now, continuing in this social science trend, economics. Clearly a backdrop to the issues raised in “An Instrument of Genocide,” this new application of an economic consideration on a familial as well as a global scale seems to influence religion in a serious manner. Humanae Vitae mentions this economic– and social– consideration before discussing the Catholic position on contraception and family planning and the churches counsel in such matters. Martin Luther King, Jr. goes against the prevailing wisdom of his day in detailing how an intelligent mother would want to be a responsible mother who was able to afford the proper care of her children, aka. don’t have so many you cannot sufficiently feed, clothe, and support them. This dynamic often, even now, comes between Protestants and Catholics as farcically represented in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life:
This notion of God’s will is a curious business. Can a human being frustrate, interfere, or thwart the will of God? It seems a reasonable question in light of birth control since we’ve said of the Catholic position that if God wants you to have a baby, then you will have a baby. If that is so, then why not simply use protection and if you are truly meant to get pregnant, then you will? Would you end up in hell for such a thing? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC6UrMTC73A
Perhaps I am looking at this issue too simply. If the Christian God exists he would have created the universe and all therein. That would necessitate a movement of the will toward creating which presupposes an intelligence. One cannot will anything to my knowledge without an intelligence to move toward an end. So, in this action it seems God’s will can be absolute and immutable (I said light and I could not not have created it) but it also seems there exists a will that is more equated with desire or pleasure. The apostle Paul writes “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (2 Thessalonians 4:3). He is addressing a community of professing followers of Christ and telling them that it is the will of God that they be continually set apart unto God, to be sanctified, to be made holy daily. He goes on in the same verse to implore these early Christians to “abstain from sexual immorality” so obviously there were temptations and quite likely failures to abstain entirely and always which would suggest that God’s will used here is meant to express the desire of God that his people would abstain from sexual immorality and not that he absolutely ensures by an absolute will their obedience. At this point, I’m not sure if this helps to clarify my original wondering at all. I suppose what I’m really driving at is whether or not God’s will, when employed for explanatory purposes by the Catholic Church, is meant to be taken absolutely when it comes to having children (God said let her have a child and she did) or simply that he maintains a will of desire toward procreation (God said I want you to have a child and I chose to/not to have one). To me, and I’m sure I’m showing my Protestant colors– not that I haven’t already, mind you– it seems uncharitable and unreasonable to so strongly advocate against the use of contraception when AIDS/HIV ravages sub-Saharan Africa, when families have too many mouths to feed and not enough means by which to provide food, and when the resources of our planet are not limitless. You might say ‘God will provide’ for me and mine but might not the condom be a provision overlooked?
Thank you Snoopy. That said, we could all use a little humor: