Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Catholic Mistake

Although I'm an agnostic, I'm fairly supportive of religion. I appreciate the sense of a higher mission and the way it inspires so many people. So when I speak against a religious precept, it's with a heavy heart.

I love people, but I love all living things more. Life is the most precious gift in the world, but I don't limit my love to human life. My soul soars at the sight of a majestic tree and I chuckle at the odd shapes of lichens.

Out of respect for all living things, I'm firmly against the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion, and especially on birth control:
Contraception is wrong because it's a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as "natural law." The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. . . God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation.
For most of our lives, the procreative aspects of sex are superfluous or unwanted. I disagree with Catholic Church philosophy on this point. I place more emphasis on the scientific viewpoint than on odd conceptions of "Natural Law," which we break all the time with lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration, and the many benefits of modern medicine.

Another scientific point is that the world is already supporting a vast number of humans, and there definite benefits to limiting the surging growth. Countries with unrestrained growth due to religious and cultural teachings against birth control include Egypt, Haiti, and the Philippines. These can be horrendous places to live, especially if you're poor. I think the religious teaching against contraception are largely to blame.

Other lesser arguments are:
  •  Contraception allows people to be unfaithful.  (So I can't use it because cheaters might? Thanks a bunch.)
  • Loose sexual behavior will pervade society as a result. (True, but that is an individual choice.)
  • Men will view women as sex objects if there's birth control. (I believe this can happen with or without contraception, so it's a wash.)
Another argument that the Catholic Church makes:
... it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life.
Excuse me, but I don't accept that God is the sole entity that should determine whether or not I become pregnant. I'd like to have a huge role in that decision.

One of the most egregious arguments against contraception dates from 307A.D.:
... Some "complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife."
Spare me the pontificating about the sovereignty of God and how God will provide (if He wants). I want the responsibility for my children, and I want to raise them well. Just don't tell me how many to have. Don't tell me that if I don't want a child at this particular time, I should keep an aspirin between my knees. I'm not a monk or nun, and I want the modern conveniences, including contraception.

So, I believe, by all means, subtract the procreative aspects from the sex act. You're not hurting the world or yourself or God.

Every sperm is sacred: All male panel testifies about contraception.

Thanks to Viable Opposition for the link to Catholic doctrine.

Addendum 6/14/2012. I can't believe I didn't say this before. I have no doubt, that if God were still writing and/or editing the Bible, that the message on procreation wouldn't be "Be fruitful and multiply." Instead, it would be "You've done enough multiplying. Now leave plenty of space for the other creatures of this earth."

Addendum 9/7/2014. I finally wrote a full post on why there are 1) too many workers, and 2) too many people in the world. I declare that I'm for a birthrate below replacement rate. If your religion has a hard time with this, too bad. My view is based on logic that is probably bullet-proof.


Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled by the simultaneous casting of pregnancy as a supreme good--the fulfillment of God's plan and Natural Law--and as the punishment for illicit sex. I'm also puzzled by the Roman Catholic Church's willingness to bless marriages between individuals who cannot reproduce (such as women who are past menopause, men who are sterile, etc.). Obviously, sex is okay in some circumstances beyond reproduction. And abstinence is okay, too, even if the goal is to avoid conception (so-called "natural family planning"). If women can use sophisticated tracking of their fertility--certainly an artificial approach to sex--to avoid pregnancy, why not let them use other, more reliable, artificial methods? Or why not just say that God has given humanity the knowledge to regulate fertility, so go for it?
Of course, it's really odd that an organization of celibate men think that they ought to be the authorities on female reproduction.

ModeratePoli said...

There are too many contradiction to count within Christian doctrines on sex. That probably applies to other religions too.

Thanks for pointing out how pregnancy functions as both supreme good and punishment. These means that girls/women who have abortions are trying to avoid their just shame and punishment.