Jegsy Scarr

Ask a Catholic! (i.e, me...)

300 posts in this topic

I understand that NFP helps to prevent sex from becoming an act of lust and of mutual exploitation, though. (West, 112)

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What helped me get it was thinking about it like this. With NFP, you are trying to delay getting pregnant, but everything is going where it's supposed to go. With barrier methods, everything is not going to the right place because you deliberately prevented it. With chemical methods, things might get to the right place, but then the environment can't nurture it because you deliberately took something to make it that way.

Maybe that helps-Jegsy you are doing great with this thread, maybe you have apologetics in your future!

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We just talked about NFP and sex within marriage in Bible Study tonight and I feel so confused.

There's nothing in the Bible about it. Leviticus Chapter 18 gives instructions about who NOT to sleep with, so okay, husband and wife....Proverbs 23:27 advises men to avoid prostitutes and immoral women...okay...1 Corinthians 6:16-20 explains sexs significance and importance in using it in the right way. (Not with anyone but your wife/husband, once married, not before) 1 Corinthians 7:2-9, 36-39 are clear about that too.

I'm not Roman Catholic, but I do know a decent bit about it. The fact that something is not in the Bible is not really a problem for the Roman Catholic Church. They believe that Roman Catholic Tradition is also a source of authority and not being allowed to use birth control probably falls under this category.

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It is in the Bible, and looking back over Sally's post I see that she didn't mention Onan- Genesis:38 9-10

This is a question answered similar to Sally's: http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/how-is-nfp-different-from-the-sin-of-onan

This is an article about the history of the interpretation: http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt67.html

This article references The Bible and Birth Control by Charles Provan who is a Lutheran: http://matt1618.free...rthcontrol.html (there are Protestants who believe BC is wrong also and all Christians used to agree on this issue :))

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Kailey, you're a star!

Yeah, as Kailey's pointed out, there are definitely references to contraception in the Bible, even if the word "contraception" isn't used. It's kind of like someone saying, "Well the Bible doesn't say that it's wrong to abuse animals, so it must be okay or at least morally neutral". But the Bible does say that God loves all of His creation, and human beings have been given responsibility over the animals. So we can draw the conclusion that because God loves animals, and we've been put in charge of them, then we should strive to love and respect animals as God loves them. So the Bible says, "Be fruitful and multiply", and Onan is struck dead for deliberately sterilising a sexual act. We can gather from this that fertility is a gift from God, fertility is a very good thing, and to deliberately try to make yourself infertile is wrong.

Also remember that up until 1930, every Christian denomination condemned the use of contraception. Then at the Lambeth Conference of 1930, the Anglican churches decided that it was okay for married couples to use contraception in some cases. Which is funny, because it was only a few years before that, in 1920, that the Lambeth Conference declared:

We utter an emphatic warning against the use of unnatural means for the avoidance of conception, together with the grave dangers - physical, moral and religious - thereby incurred, and against the evils with which the extension of such use threatens the race. In opposition to the teaching which, under the name of science and religion, encourages married people in the deliberate cultivation of sexual union as an end in itself, we steadfastly uphold what must always be regarded as the governing considerations of Christian marriage.

Meanwhile in 1930, the papal encyclical Casti Connubii was released, reaffirming the Catholic Church's stance on contraception.

Sally, you mentioned Christopher West, so you may have read this already, but "Good News About Sex and Marriage" is a really good book. This is good, too...

http://onemoresoul.com/featured/why-contraception-matters.html

You can listen to the talk or read the transcript (or both...).

Janet E Smith also has a really good talk called "Contraception: Why Not?" Someone's been nice enough to post it on YouTube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9imaevdeIE

xxx

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Thanks girls! I'm just curious to see other people's interpretation of this Bible verse. That One More Soul article had no sources-while he makes good moral arguments he is not using any psychological or Pew surveys, he makes claims about divorce. How do we know if pre-marital sexual activity is a cause for divorce and not contraception in marriage?

What do other Christians on this site interpret this verse as?

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+38&version=NIV

*NOTE*: I'm just looking for opinions and discussion. Please just share, thank you :)

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It is in the Bible, and looking back over Sally's post I see that she didn't mention Onan- Genesis:38 9-10

This is a question answered similar to Sally's: http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/how-is-nfp-different-from-the-sin-of-onan

This is an article about the history of the interpretation: http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt67.html

This article references The Bible and Birth Control by Charles Provan who is a Lutheran: http://matt1618.free...rthcontrol.html (there are Protestants who believe BC is wrong also and all Christians used to agree on this issue :))

I get that Roman Catholics often say that the story of Onan is about contraception, but that is not the intention of the story. Roman Catholic decision-makers did not decide contraception was wrong because of the story of Onan (Correct me if I'm wrong). They declared it to be wrong on the basis of theories regarding natural law. After ALREADY making this decision some Roman Catholics have looked back at the Bible and said, "hey the story of Onan maybe kinda-sotra is refelctive of this," but it would be wrong to say the teaching CAME FROM the Bible. My saying it's not in the Bible is not my saying contraceptives should not be banned within the Roman Catholic faith. From the Roman Catholic point of view, Roman Catholic Tradition is authoritative. I think when you're within the Roman Catholic faith it is not a problem for something to not be in the Bible. Once you look at it from outside of the Roman Catholic perspective it becomes problematic, but that is not the question at hand.

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Thanks Jegsy♥

I get that Roman Catholics often say that the story of Onan is about contraception, but that is not the intention of the story. Roman Catholic decision-makers did not decide contraception was wrong because of the story of Onan (Correct me if I'm wrong). They declared it to be wrong on the basis of theories regarding natural law. After ALREADY making this decision some Roman Catholics have looked back at the Bible and said, "hey the story of Onan maybe kinda-sotra is refelctive of this," but it would be wrong to say the teaching CAME FROM the Bible. My saying it's not in the Bible is not my saying contraceptives should not be banned within the Roman Catholic faith. From the Roman Catholic point of view, Roman Catholic Tradition is authoritative. I think when you're within the Roman Catholic faith it is not a problem for something to not be in the Bible. Once you look at it from outside of the Roman Catholic perspective it becomes problematic, but that is not the question at hand.

Okay wny, this is what I found, it took a while :)! I know you want to delay children from your previous posts-just so you know NFP will let you know when your wife is fertile/infertile ;)-

"The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism," after the man who practiced." http://www.catholic....s/birth-control

That's pretty powerful to me! He lost his life because he performed an act of contraception! I was not able to find anything that says the Catholic Church used Onan's story after already establishing its' stance on contraception-do you have a citation?

There is also the word Pharmakeia which many scholars think refers to ingested contraceptives.

"
Further evidence is found in the New Testament. In Galatians 5:2, Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15, sorcerers or sorcery is condemned. Upon reading these passages, the average reader might associate these terms merely with the practice of witchcraft. But the Greek words used in these passages mean more than that. The two Greek words used are pharmakeia (φaÏμaκείa) and pharmakeus (φaÏμaκεύς). Pharmakeia is defined as: medication ("pharmacy"), i.e. by extension magic (literally or figuratively): sorcery, witchcraft. The definition of pharmakeus is even more explicit: a drug, i.e. spell giving potion; a druggist ("pharmacist") or poisoner, i.e. by extension, a magician or sorcerer. Note that both definitions give precedence to terms having to do with drugs or medication.

What type of medicine would be likened to witchcraft or sorcery? It certainly couldn’t be the general use of medication for healing. It would have to be a destructive application, something like contraception. The writings of Hippolytus show us that contraception was practiced by some in the early Church. He writes: "Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time!" (
Refutation of All Heresies
9:7, 225 AD)
"

I also found a similar article from a Presbyterian Church: http://www.opc.org/n...?article_id=471"It is therefore highly significant that the church down through the centuries—Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant alike—held one view on contraception with remarkable unanimity until just recently. It was condemned in strong terms, and contraception was often made a criminal act."

Also, if you are interested, here is an article about the Bible and Tradition in the Catholic Church: http://www.catholic....-your-authority

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Thanks Jegsy♥

Okay wny, this is what I found, it took a while :)! I know you want to delay children from your previous posts-just so you know NFP will let you know when your wife is fertile/infertile ;)-

"The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism," after the man who practiced." http://www.catholic....s/birth-control

That's pretty powerful to me! He lost his life because he performed an act of contraception! I was not able to find anything that says the Catholic Church used Onan's story after already establishing its' stance on contraception-do you have a citation?

There is also the word Pharmakeia which many scholars think refers to ingested contraceptives.

"
Further evidence is found in the New Testament. In Galatians 5:2, Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15, sorcerers or sorcery is condemned. Upon reading these passages, the average reader might associate these terms merely with the practice of witchcraft. But the Greek words used in these passages mean more than that. The two Greek words used are pharmakeia (φaÏμaκείa) and pharmakeus (φaÏμaκεύς). Pharmakeia is defined as: medication ("pharmacy"), i.e. by extension magic (literally or figuratively): sorcery, witchcraft. The definition of pharmakeus is even more explicit: a drug, i.e. spell giving potion; a druggist ("pharmacist") or poisoner, i.e. by extension, a magician or sorcerer. Note that both definitions give precedence to terms having to do with drugs or medication.

What type of medicine would be likened to witchcraft or sorcery? It certainly couldn’t be the general use of medication for healing. It would have to be a destructive application, something like contraception. The writings of Hippolytus show us that contraception was practiced by some in the early Church. He writes: "Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time!" (
Refutation of All Heresies
9:7, 225 AD)
"

I also found a similar article from a Presbyterian Church: http://www.opc.org/n...?article_id=471"It is therefore highly significant that the church down through the centuries—Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant alike—held one view on contraception with remarkable unanimity until just recently. It was condemned in strong terms, and contraception was often made a criminal act."

Also, if you are interested, here is an article about the Bible and Tradition in the Catholic Church: http://www.catholic....-your-authority

I've seen that argument regarding the Onan story, but that does not make sense either. Onan did not just refuse to give his brother's wife children. He had sex with her and still did not give her children. Those are two entirely different situations. If he had said "no" then that would have resulted in humiliation, not death. But, he evidently agreed to do so and then had sex with her and still did not give her children. That is almost comparable to rape. That is something that could result in death. That is not condemning contraception-that is condemning having sex with your dead brother's wife for the sole purpose of giving her children and then pulling out. That is an entirely different situation than a married couple using birth control and to say the situations are the same is, to put it as nicely as I can, an incredible reach.

Also, the assumption that "sorcery" or "magic" could have in no way meant medicine that heals is also just plain wrong. People did, in fact, associate magic and sorcery with healing medicines. That is just a huge, baseless assumption that it must refer only to contraception.

Like I said, it's just reading what you want into the stories because you already have the belief that contraception is wrong. And I don't see why this really matters for a Roman Catholic. The link you posted at the end affirms the Roman Catholic position that Roman Catholic Tradition is authoritative, so that only strengthens my point that it should be okay for a Roman Catholic if it is not in the Bible.

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Well, what the Bible says is of the utmost importance to me and all faithful Catholics :)! I don't think I'm reading anything in Onan's story that isn't there and, respectfully, I think your interpretation of it is a stretch-rape is in the Bible and I think if that is what God was trying to to teach us it would be explicitly stated that way. I have no problem believing that Biblical scholars who do nothing but interpret this ancient text do so with nothing but the truth of God's message in mind. Guess we will agree to disagree ;)!

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Well, what the Bible says is of the utmost importance to me and all faithful Catholics :)! I don't think I'm reading anything in Onan's story that isn't there and, respectfully, I think your interpretation of it is a stretch-rape is in the Bible and I think if that is what God was trying to to teach us it would be explicitly stated that way. I have no problem believing that Biblical scholars who do nothing but interpret this ancient text do so with nothing but the truth of God's message in mind. Guess we will agree to disagree ;)!

I wasn't saying it was rape, I was saying it was kind of like rape in the sense that it was clearly a form of sexually taking advantage of his dead brother's wife. Also, the fact that you say it was not explicitly called rape and that that is what you require works against your argument. It does not explicity say that contraception is wrong and if being explicit is what you require then you cannot say it is against contraception. Also, secular Biblical scholars (Not saying atheist, just saying that they go about their study without having the bias of any denomination clearly in mind) argue that the story is purely about Onan not impregnating his brother's wife. So, to say that you trust Biblical scholars would be more to say you don't think it is a verse against contraception.

Also, I know Roman Catholics repsect the Bible. But, I am not wrong in saying that it is not their sole source of authority. So, why does it really matter to a Roman Catholic if this is in the Bible or not?

ADDED: Actually, now that I think about it my argument may be strengthened by saying it is not at all talking about rape. Elsewhere it is talking about rape, but here it is teaching why it is so wrong to have sex with someone under false pretenses. Sort of like it's wrong for a guy to tell a woman if she sleeps with him they'll be in love forever when actually he just wants sex. Onan says he will sleep with her to create a child, but actually he just wants sex.

Edited by wny

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Also, I don't mind someone disagreeing with my possible interpretation, but how is it a stretch? I'm going to present two situations and would like to know how they are not entirely different.

1.) Jack and Julie are married and don't want children for 3 years. So, they use condoms when they have sex that is meant to lovingly unify them as a couple.

2.) Onan is to have sex with Tamar soley for the purpose of provding her a child and an heir for his dead brother. He agrees to do it, but instead he has sex with her and pulls out.

In one, the couple is married and in love and is agreeing to consensually experience unification and pleasure. In the other, the law states that Onan is to impreganate his dead brother's wife and instead just has his way with her. If you want to start to say that artificial birth control is wrong you have to get into arguments about natural law that are not in the Bible.

Also, note that I'm not saying for certain that my possible interpretation is definitely what the story is teaching. I'm just saying it's not teaching that artificial birth control is wrong. My explanation is one possible answer to why he was sentenced to death instead of humiliation. If you want to wonder why his punishment is different than what it says elsewhere in the Bible that it should be, then I would simply tell you that the Old Testament is filled with inconsistencies. Some would say that that is why it is so rewarding to study it.

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Okay, so I was praying for a fresh way to look at the text and God guided me, as He always does :)!

9

Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother's widow,
he wasted his seed on the ground
, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother.

10

What he
did
greatly offended the LORD, and the LORD took his life too.

It's simple grammar-Did refers to the act of wasting the seed on the ground-if the word had been written thought/planned, instead of did, then I think it could be interpreted differently-Wasting his seed on the ground was the action did refers to-to avoid contributing offspring for his brother is just the reason he did the offensive act.

This also supports that:

"Biblical scholar Manuel Miguens has pointed out that a close examination of the text shows that God condemned Onan for the specific action he performed, not for his anti-Levirate intentions. He notes that the translation “he spilled his seed on the ground†fails to do full justice to the Hebrew expression. The Hebrew verb shichet never means “to spill†or “waste.†Rather, it means to act perversely. The text also makes it clear that his perverse action was related toward the ground, not against his brother. “His perversion or corruption consists in his action itself, not precisely in the result and goal of his act . . . In a strict interpretation the text says that what was evil in the sight of the Lord was what Onan actually did (asher asah); the emphasis in this sentence of verse 10 does not fall on what he intended to achieve, but on what he did.â€" http://www.nfpandmor...SIN OF ONAN.pdf

I would only trust Biblical scholars who had gone to seminary and have extensive knowledge of the Bible, if they are secular they are not looking at it as the word of God.

This also proves that it wasn't just recently that the Onan story was used as the basis for no contraception (from the same article as above):

"The way in which the Church has understood the Scriptures throughout the centuries is the most important part of interpretation, and there is no question that the anti-contraception interpretation of Genesis 38 has been the interpretation over the centuries. St. Augustine wrote: “Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Judah, did this and the LORD killed him for it.†Pope Pius XI quoted Augustine in this way in Casti Connubii, the 1930 encyclical in which he reaffirmed the Christian Tradition shortly after the bishops of the Church of England accepted marital contraception...The words of Sacred Scripture are more powerful than our philosophical and theological reasoning."

Also, I don't mind someone disagreeing with my possible interpretation, but how is it a stretch? I'm going to present two situations and would like to know how they are not entirely different.

1.) Jack and Julie are married and don't want children for 3 years. So, they use condoms when they have sex that is meant to lovingly unify them as a couple.

2.) Onan is to have sex with Tamar soley for the purpose of providing her a child and an heir for his dead brother. He agrees to do it, but instead he has sex with her and pulls out.

The difference is that one couple is in love and the other isn't. The similarity is that they both are using contraceptive practices, for which Onan so offended God that He killed him. If Jack and Julie are using NFP because they need to pay off debts and truly feel they need to be in a better situation before babies come, that is fine. However, they are still leaving the possibility open for God to know if they are prepared earlier than they thought, they are truly trusting Him with everything-and that is so beautiful to me♥!

I also actually found this entire book online, The Bible and Birth Control by Charles Provan (Lutheran).

Here he has a letter from someone who disagrees with him (who seems to have some arguments similar to yours): http://www.mayblosso...altview1.shtml

And here is Charles Provan's rebuttal: http://www.mayblosso...rebuttal1.shtml

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Also, I don't mind someone disagreeing with my possible interpretation, but how is it a stretch? I'm going to present two situations and would like to know how they are not entirely different.

1.) Jack and Julie are married and don't want children for 3 years. So, they use condoms when they have sex that is meant to lovingly unify them as a couple.

2.) Onan is to have sex with Tamar soley for the purpose of provding her a child and an heir for his dead brother. He agrees to do it, but instead he has sex with her and pulls out.

In one, the couple is married and in love and is agreeing to consensually experience unification and pleasure. In the other, the law states that Onan is to impreganate his dead brother's wife and instead just has his way with her. If you want to start to say that artificial birth control is wrong you have to get into arguments about natural law that are not in the Bible.

Well, obviously, there's a difference between the two scenarios. The couple in the first scenario have (presumably) a good reason why they want to avoid having children for a few years. But remember that the ends don't justify the means. Just because the couple has a good reason to not have children doesn't mean they can morally use any means they choose to achieve this.

Let me give you an example which might help: Imagine that you have two women who want to lose weight. One woman goes on a diet. She keeps a record of everything she eats and makes sure she doesn't eat too much. She loves food and enjoys eating, but she recognises that chocolate cake, although delicious, is also high in fat, and if she wants to eat cake, then she has to do so in moderation. It's somewhat inconvenient, but it's the way food works: if you want the cake, the calories are part of the package, and you can't have one without the other. The other woman also wants to lose weight, but has a different method. She knows that chocolate cake has a lot of fat and calories, but rather than cut down on how much of it she eats, she instead decides she'll eat as much as she likes, enjoy the taste, then purge it back up. That way, she'll get the pleasure of eating the cake but none of the calories that come with it, and she won't have to take responsibility for how much she eats. In both cases, the women are trying to get to a healthy weight, which is a good goal, but the means they're using are very different.

It's the same with two couples, one using NFP and one using contraception. They might both have good intentions, but only one couple is using good means to avoid having a baby. It's also good to remember that a couple can abuse NFP if they use it for the wrong reasons. A couple might say, "We can't have a baby right now, because if we did, we couldn't afford the third car we want" or "We can't have a baby right now, because we just redecorated the house, and a baby makes too much mess." Those would be pretty selfish reasons, and you wouldn't be justified in deliberately trying to avoid having a baby for those reasons, even if you weren't using contraception.

xxx

P.S. Kailey, you're on a roll!

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Okay, so I was praying for a fresh way to look at the text and God guided me, as He always does :)!

9

Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother's widow,
he wasted his seed on the ground
, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother.

10

What he
did
greatly offended the LORD, and the LORD took his life too.

It's simple grammar-Did refers to the act of wasting the seed on the ground-if the word had been written thought/planned, instead of did, then I think it could be interpreted differently-Wasting his seed on the ground was the action did refers to-to avoid contributing offspring for his brother is just the reason he did the offensive act.

This also supports that:

"Biblical scholar Manuel Miguens has pointed out that a close examination of the text shows that God condemned Onan for the specific action he performed, not for his anti-Levirate intentions. He notes that the translation “he spilled his seed on the ground†fails to do full justice to the Hebrew expression. The Hebrew verb shichet never means “to spill†or “waste.†Rather, it means to act perversely. The text also makes it clear that his perverse action was related toward the ground, not against his brother. “His perversion or corruption consists in his action itself, not precisely in the result and goal of his act . . . In a strict interpretation the text says that what was evil in the sight of the Lord was what Onan actually did (asher asah); the emphasis in this sentence of verse 10 does not fall on what he intended to achieve, but on what he did.â€" http://www.nfpandmor...SIN OF ONAN.pdf

I would only trust Biblical scholars who had gone to seminary and have extensive knowledge of the Bible, if they are secular they are not looking at it as the word of God.

This also proves that it wasn't just recently that the Onan story was used as the basis for no contraception (from the same article as above):

"The way in which the Church has understood the Scriptures throughout the centuries is the most important part of interpretation, and there is no question that the anti-contraception interpretation of Genesis 38 has been the interpretation over the centuries. St. Augustine wrote: “Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Judah, did this and the LORD killed him for it.†Pope Pius XI quoted Augustine in this way in Casti Connubii, the 1930 encyclical in which he reaffirmed the Christian Tradition shortly after the bishops of the Church of England accepted marital contraception...The words of Sacred Scripture are more powerful than our philosophical and theological reasoning."

The difference is that one couple is in love and the other isn't. The similarity is that they both are using contraceptive practices, for which Onan so offended God that He killed him. If Jack and Julie are using NFP because they need to pay off debts and truly feel they need to be in a better situation before babies come, that is fine. However, they are still leaving the possibility open for God to know if they are prepared earlier than they thought, they are truly trusting Him with everything-and that is so beautiful to me♥!

I also actually found this entire book online, The Bible and Birth Control by Charles Provan (Lutheran).

Here he has a letter from someone who disagrees with him (who seems to have some arguments similar to yours): http://www.mayblosso...altview1.shtml

And here is Charles Provan's rebuttal: http://www.mayblosso...rebuttal1.shtml

I'm only going to get into this a little more because it's just going to end up being me repeating what I've been saying and you repeating what you are saying. The point about grammar is far from convincing. What he is doing is not just performing contraception, it is performing contracecption to not give his brother an heir. I think you have to read the sentence in the context of the whole story or there is no point in having the whole story. The verse saying what he did offended the Lord comes right after the verse saying what he did was avoiding giving his brother an heir. Once again, to me this screams of wanting to read into the story something that somone already believes.

Also, I don't think it's fair to say all secular scholars don't care about what the Lord is trying to teach. I think some of them just want to be able to study the Bible (which they do have extensive knowledge of) without having to conform to the preconceived notions of their denomination. Nonetheless, I understand your reservation here. But, keep in mind that pastors of denominations that think birth control is okay also went to seminary, so while one can disagree with their teaching it cannot be on the basis that they did not attend seminary.

Interesting that the Onan story was mentioned that long ago, but I would be hesitant to trust Augustine with anything involving sexual intercourse. He thought that all sex, even sex to create children, was at least somewhat sinful.

The point that the Bible can trump Tradition is all good and well, but it does not apply in this situation. I'm not saying the Bible explicitly says contraception is okay and that Tradition defies it. I'm saying Tradition saying it is not okay should be fine for a Roman Catholic even if the Bible does not ban it. (Which I don't think it does).

Your response to my Jack and Judy story does not work for me since my thought (and many others, it's not like I'm alone in the world on this) is that God killed Onan not just for performing contraception. Also, to say NFP allows for the possibility of children while, say, condoms do not contradicts some Roman Catholic arguments that NFP is a better form of contraception than others out there. Plus, if God really wanted someone to get pregnant God could make them pregnant regardless of the type of birth control they are using. So, which is it? Is NFP okay because it allows for pregnancy, or is it okay because it is natural? If it is the latter then that kills the argument that it is okay because it allows for the possibility of children.

Also, I know this is not an argument you have explicitly made but I want to comment on it anyways. The thought that a teaching must be correct because it is something that has been taught in the past is a logical fallacy involving appealing to tradition. Just because a teaching is older does not mean it is better. Christianity used to teach that abortion was okay as long as it was not too far into the pregnancy since the thought was a soul had not developed yet. But, that is not still believed today. So, clearly past teachings are not necessarily correct.

I might look through the links you've provided when I have more time, but honestly I think it might just be best to leave it at this. I don't believe the Bible bans birth control and I still do not agree that a Roman Catholic needs for this to be in the Bible. I guess it does not really affect me in any way if there are Roman Catholics who want to believe this, but I think there should at least be a recognition that people who don't already follow this belief are less likely to read this into the Bible as Roman Catholics who already have this belief are. (Not saying Roman Catholics should recognize that Roman Catholics ARE doing this, but a recognition that they would be more tempted to).

I just think it's sad that someone who does not follow Roman Catholic Tradition should be made to feel defensive or distressed over something that is not in the Bible. For a Roman Catholic I can see how this belief would be entirely appropriate due to Roman Catholic Tradition, but otherwise.....I just don't see it (unless, of course, you're another denomination who is not sola scriptura and who has a Tradition that bans it).

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I can't help but think of Matthew 7: 13-14-

13

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.

14

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

I don't necessarily think all people who use contraception consider it easy, but it is-for most of them-I don't include women who are helped by nothing other than some type of hormone. NFP is not easy because it requires periods of abstinence-but it is the road that leads to life. People who get pregnant while using contraception are more likely to get an abortion than those who get pregnant while using no form of contraception, although there are some women who use abortion itself as their contraception. Which is just so very sad.

NFP is okay because it is always open to pregnancy. There are many types of natural contraceptives that are made from nature that have been used through out history, but they are not okay just because they are natural.

What he is doing is not just performing contraception, it is performing contraception to not give his brother an heir. I think you have to read the sentence in the context of the whole story or there is no point in having the whole story. The verse saying what he did offended the Lord comes right after the verse saying what he did was avoiding giving his brother an heir. Once again, to me this screams of wanting to read into the story something that someone already believes.

Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother's widow,
he wasted his seed on the ground
, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother.

What he
did
greatly offended the LORD, and the LORD took his life too.

I actually took a whole class in college where all we did was map sentences, it was actually kind of fun!

The action Onan did to avoid giving his brother an heir was spill his seed on the ground. If you take out "he wasted his seed on the ground" there is no action that was offensive for did to refer to. It's pretty clear to me and lots of other people.

Also, I think it could be argued that
avoiding giving his brother an heir=
wasting his seed on the ground.
However, avoiding does not appear at all and it is not the verb so it doesn't really matter.

If his wasting his seed on the ground wasn't an important factor then why is it mentioned at all-it is said to be the most graphic reference to sex in the Bible. Wouldn't it make more sense for it to say something like: Onan married his brother's widow, but he would not give her children because they would not be his, so the Lord took his life too. Something to think about.

So, to Catholics it is based on the Bible and Tradition. I want to reiterate again that the Bible is of the utmost importance to Catholics
:)
!

I agree that it is best to leave it at this-
♥Peace♥

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I don't want a baby for a verryyyy long time if ever so I'm not sure what I'll do

I would just pray about it-it's good that you are thinking over it. God will guide you :)!

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I can't help but think of Matthew 7: 13-14-

13

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.

14

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

I don't necessarily think all people who use contraception consider it easy, but it is-for most of them-I don't include women who are helped by nothing other than some type of hormone. NFP is not easy because it requires periods of abstinence-but it is the road that leads to life. People who get pregnant while using contraception are more likely to get an abortion than those who get pregnant while using no form of contraception, although there are some women who use abortion itself as their contraception. Which is just so very sad.

NFP is okay because it is always open to pregnancy. There are many types of natural contraceptives that are made from nature that have been used through out history, but they are not okay just because they are natural.

Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother's widow,
he wasted his seed on the ground
, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother.

What he
did
greatly offended the LORD, and the LORD took his life too.

I actually took a whole class in college where all we did was map sentences, it was actually kind of fun!

The action Onan did to avoid giving his brother an heir was spill his seed on the ground. If you take out "he wasted his seed on the ground" there is no action that was offensive for did to refer to. It's pretty clear to me and lots of other people.

Also, I think it could be argued that
avoiding giving his brother an heir=
wasting his seed on the ground.
However, avoiding does not appear at all and it is not the verb so it doesn't really matter.

If his wasting his seed on the ground wasn't an important factor then why is it mentioned at all-it is said to be the most graphic reference to sex in the Bible. Wouldn't it make more sense for it to say something like: Onan married his brother's widow, but he would not give her children because they would not be his, so the Lord took his life too. Something to think about.

So, to Catholics it is based on the Bible and Tradition. I want to reiterate again that the Bible is of the utmost importance to Catholics
:)
!

I agree that it is best to leave it at this-
♥Peace♥

I certainly have ways that I could counter what you have posted, but I think we have both agreed that it's best to just leave it. As certain as I am that correct and much more convincing in my argument, I presume you feel that way about yourself and your argument. Plus, this is "Ask a Catholic," so the Roman Catholic viewpoint really is more pertinent to this thread. As a final note (I promise) I will say I am pretty sure I know Roman Catholics who only (or at least primarily) use Tradition in their explanation of why artificial birth control is incorrect.

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Oooh, now you can tell them that the Tradition is based on Sacred Scripture, Genesis 38:9-10 ;)

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Oooh, now you can tell them that the Tradition is based on Sacred Scripture, Genesis 38:9-10 ;)

If it comes up I might, but I have a feeling this is something that people have different opinions on within Roman Catholocism. I'm sure its agreed upon that the Roman Catholic Church proclaims it to be incorrect, but I'm sure there are Roman Catholics who 1.) Disagree with the teaching and still consider themselves Roman Catholic, 2.) Agree with it but think its based only on Tradition, 3.) Agree and think it is only based on the story of Onan, or 4.) Think it is based on both Onan and Tradition.

I'm not talking about every-day Roman Catholics either who have no interest in the religion but just call themselves Roman Catholic. I'm talking about people who are active in the religion. Honestly, I can think of a Jesuit priest (keep in mind I don't know this for certain) who I would expect to base it off Tradition rather than the story of Onan. I attend a Jesuit college and the religious studies professor I had taught the story of Onan as being only about failing in his duty to impregnate his brother's wife. (He, evidently, did not agree with my suggested possible interpretation or your interpretation.) One of the Jesuit priests at the college is in the same department as he is and teaches the same course, so I would imagine his interpretation would be the same as this professor's.

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That's definitely interesting. They should be aware that Pope Pius XI referenced this Scripture in Casti Connubii (31 December 1930). Neat that you go to a Jesuit college :).

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That's definitely interesting. They should be aware that Pope Pius XI referenced this Scripture in Casti Connubii (31 December 1930). Neat that you go to a Jesuit college :).

I imagine it would not necessarily matter to the professor who is not a Jesuit priest, since he is not bound to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church or their interpretation of the Bible. But, I would think it would be more problematic for the priest. But, he may not even do the story of Onan at all when he teaches the course, as different professors teach courses differently from one another. I would just think that if he did mention there would be a decent chance of their being some sort of consensus within the department, but maybe not. Also, Jesuits seem to be known as the "liberal Catholics," so there's the possibility that they are open to not being entirely the same page as other Roman Catholics.

On another note, I do enjoy the Jesuit college I attend. I think some people are under the impression that a Catholic college is like a Catholic high school where they teach you to be Catholic, but of course it is nothing like that at all. In fact, there are plenty of professors who are not Roman Catholic and there are courses where you learn things that would make one very critical of Roman Catholocism.

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I know that they don't teach you to be Catholic, but if they are going to identify as a Catholic institution Pope Benedict has recently called for faculty to teach in accordance to Catholic doctrine. It's probably difficult to monitor this I guess.

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@Kailey-I have three guesses about the situation.

1.) The pope might have been referring only to classes that are specifically Roman Catholic instruction courses as opposed to religious studies courses.

2.) While many higher-ups in Roman Catholic Church hold or have held the view that the Onan story refers to birth control, it might not be the "official"view per se.

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