Thursday, October 09, 2008

Accepting However Many

I have often heard the line about "accepting as many children as the Lord gives." What I don't understand is why this would have to mean that the person was against the use of contraceptives. If God gives children (or not), then wouldn't "accepting as many as the Lord gives" mean that you don't kill the ones He gives? It seems to me that a couple that uses contraception still "accepts as many as the Lord gives" unless they get rid of the children who are conceived in spite of their attempts to the contrary.


  1. Susan - you're not making sense to me on this one.

  2. I *think* (and this is me puzzling things out a bit & thinking out loud) that it means not using contraception that kills or has the potential to kill an already-implanted baby.

    It means being open to birth control methods in which a "failure" of the method results in a BABY, instead of death of the new life.

    I have always felt that contraception needs to be divided into TWO categories: ones that prevent the sperm and egg from getting to the party, and those which kill everything AFTER the the sperm and egg have had their first dance.

    Am I making sense? Perhaps not. It's clear in my own head at least. :) -Jenny

  3. Polly, I have been told that people who use birth control are refusing to "accept as many children as the Lord gives." It is big in homeschooling circles that those who trust the Lord will accept however many children He gives, many or few, and that the use of contraception is a refusal to accept some of the children He wants to give, because the person would be preventing God from giving the gift of children, and thus "not accepting" the gift.

    But it seems to me that "not accepting" the children God gives would involve children that actually exist. In other words, God gave a child, and the person refused to accept the child, and so killed it. That seems a valid time to suggest that the couple is refusing to accept the child God gives.

    Jenny makes a good point: there are birth control methods which are abortifacient, and thus using them would be a refusal to accept the children God gives. But can we say the same thing about barrier methods?

  4. Yes, because barrier methods can, and do, fail. Barrier methods, in my mind, say, "Lord, I am weak and afraid of what might come. Please forgive me and strengthen me to accept what you know I need." Not using them would affect the same attitude, but some of us are just not ready. Or at least don't think we are.
    Now, am I making sense?

  5. Melody, I think you're making sense. But when you say, "Yes,..." you're not saying "Yes, we can say the same about barrier methods," right?

  6. Yeah, it's never made sense to me, either. I'm reminded of a movie I saw a long time ago (it might have been a Shirley Temple film) where these kids went on this journey and during one part ended up in heaven. Once in heaven, they saw little children running around everywhere, and one of the little children ran up to them and told them that he was their little sibling, he just had not been born, yet.

    It seems like you almost have to have that view of things if you're going to use the "accept as many children as the Lord gives" argument on birth control. That the children somehow "exist" somewhere, and that you're keeping them from coming to you.

    Which is really rather ridiculous. If I'm not mistaken, I think it's even a Mormon belief.

    I can see it now, bumper stickers that say: "An unconceived child is still a person, too." What are you doing? Killing someone who isn't even conceived, yet? I don't think that's possible...

  7. Yes, Melody, perfect sense. I think any type of birth control says "I don't trust you to know what's best Lord," but at the same time, we are all weak and miserable sinners.

  8. I agree with Jenny that some methods of bc should not be used because of the way they work. But I don't think that using a barrier or natural family planning method is in the same category. And I disagree that using one of these necessarily indicates a lack of faith or trust or an effort to play God. As human beings we are constantly making choices and taking actions in our lives in an effort to care for ourselves and our families, and I think God blesses those efforts when they are done in good faith. In the same way that I would disagree with a parent who refused available medical care for a child because if God really wanted to, he would save that child, I disagree that taking some measures (non-abortifacent ones) to manage the size of one's family is an indication of lack of faith. God can work around natural family planning and barrier methods if he wants to, and if he does, I think the child should be embraced as a gift and blessing from him. But I disagree that a couple who tries to avoid conception for reasons of physical or mental health or ability to provide a proper child-rearing environment or something else is somehow exhibiting lack of faith. Could they not simply be using their God-given ability to think and decide what they believe to be the best decision for them, other children they may be trying to raise, and even their as yet to be conceived child(ren) at a given point in time?