Friday, January 22, 2010

Ideas Matter: How Acceptance of Contraception Is Acceptance of Homosexuality

When one picks a flower, it does not wilt immediately. It often does not appear to change at all. And yet a change has taken place. Although it has not manifested it yet, the flower will eventually die. It has been uprooted from its source of nutrients and life.

In 1930, the Anglican Church's Lambeth Conference approved the use of contraception in limited circumstances.

This marked the first time in history that any Christian denomination taught that contraception was acceptable for use. Prior to this time, all Christian denominations - Protestant and Catholic - had universally taught that the use of contraception was intrinsically evil.

Over the next 30 years following the Lambeth Conference 1930 decision, most other Protestant denominations followed suit.

But Protestants not only accepted the use of contraceptives. Unwittingly, Protestants also accepted homosexual behavior. How is this the case?

Because ideas matter.

Traditional Christian theology understands marriage to have two primary purposes: the unity of the couple, and the procreation (and education) of children. These are seen to be intrinsic to what marriage is. Thus, marriage must, in principle, seek to bring together husband and wife as one and be open to bring forth children.
Sex, as the deepest and most intimate expression of married love, is the culmination of the marriage into one single act.  The whole marriage is, in a sense, contained in each sexual act.
The traditional view says that the unitive function and the procreative function are actually two sides of the same thing. The same act that unites the couple in love is the same act that can procreate. When the man and the woman fully express their fully true maleness and femaleness without reservation (aka the man does not intentionally withhold his semen and the women does not intentionally reject it), their love is not intended to end with them. That same expression of their love is meant to bring forth new people into their love. The couple's love is ultimately not only for themselves, but also for their children.
The unitive and procreative aspects are so linked that you cannot have one fully without the other. The openness to procreation is itself a part of the self-gift which unites the couple. When the couple intentionally changes the act to be closed to procreation, they are no longer giving fully of themselves and their unity is distorted.  On the same token, if a couple intentionally procreates with no unity of relationship, the act is degraded to mere mechanics and the educative (of the children) component of the overall procreative purpose of marriage will be hindered.

Now, this does not mean that every sexual act must actually result in a child.  The female body is designed such that it is possible for her to conceive at only certain times of her cycle.  But every sexual act must, intrinsic to the act intself, be open to the possibility of conceiving a child.

This then rules out all kinds of sexual behavior which intrinsically in themselves are not capable of both leading to unity and of procreating. These include but are not limited to homosexuality, heterosexual anal sex, masturbation, and the use of contraception.

When Protestant denominations decided to allow contraception, they had to fundamentally change their theology of marriage and sex to accommodate this new practice. In order to allow contraception, one has to say that the unitive and procreative aspects of mariage are not intrinsically connected to each other or to what sex is.
Procreation is then separated from what marriage and sex are about.
Marriage and sex are now primarily about the unity of the couple (though it's actually not possible without the procreative openness); having children is a separate decision.

It's not too diffiicult to see how this opened the door to acceptance of homosexual behavior, as well as many other types of behaviors that were once universally considered immoral among Christians.
If sex is intrinsically disassociated from procreation, sex that is not procreative becomes permissible. Anal sex between a man and a woman, as an example, has gained a wide range of acceptance among Protestants.
It's not that far of a jump to go from acceptance of heterosexual anal sex to homosexual sex.
In fact, historically, the term "sodomy", which nowadays has become a derogatory term that refers only to homosexuality, referred to homosexuality as well as heterosexual anal sex, masturbation, and the use of contraception. These were seen as just slightly different versions of the same problem, the problem being that all of these behaviors fundamentally distort the act of sex itself by the participators themselves intentionally changing to act to being not longer open to the normal possibility of procreation.

The flower was picked in the mid-20th century. Although we did not immediately see the acceptance of homosexuality and other anti-procreative sexual practices among Protestants, the door had been opened.
With all the fuss that certain Protestants, especially evangelicals, make over not wanting to accept homosexual behavior, they don't realize that they already did more than half a century ago.

For the Church's position in her own words on marriage, sex, and the family, see:

Humanae Vitae, an encyclical promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1968 that reaffirms the Church's position on contraception in light of the advent of the Pill:
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, a letter published by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in November of 2009:
http://www.usccb.org/laity/LoveandLife/

25 comments:

  1. Double Thumbs up! I remember learning about all of this through NFP classes, and reading, reading and reading! Have you read, "Birth Control and Christian Discipleship" written by John Kippley? It references your documents as well as a couple others...including Pope Paul VI warnings of the detrimental changes that would impact the family and so much more as a result of the acceptance of contraception.

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  2. hmmm, Sorry, I got a little worked up and this is long. To summarize this entire comment: you say "contraception is a slippery slope." I say "welcome to the bottom of the hill, let's start climbing"

    In theory, your defintion of sex as the cumulative act of an entire marriage is well-founded. But in practice, it is completely hopeless.

    I think the one thing we can probaly agree on about this issue is that sex is the single biggest driving force of humanity. Whether it was God that created us with this irrepressable drive, or you want to blame it on the fallen nature of man, him commanding us to not masturbate or have sex outside of marriage is the sickest joke ever played in all of history. Telling an adolescent boy to not masturbate is like telling him to stop breathing. Telling an unmarried couple to not have sex is denying them part of what makes them human.

    That being said, I don't think sex is the most important part of a relationship, I'm sure you agree. I'm not married, but I've been in relationships where sex is important, but just a part of the the companionship and mutual understanding that the relationship was actually about.

    What about a married couple who knew they were physically unable to have children? Should they not have sex because they know it cannot lead to procreation?

    So, contraception. Your argument that accepting contraception leads to accepting homosexuality makes sense, in the perfect theoretical view of marriage you are talking about. Here in reality, people reject the church's view of marriage. They are going to have sex often and with many different people, and no matter how much you threaten them with hellfire, they're not going to stop.

    When the current Pope claims that using condoms will increase the AIDS problem in Africa, it is not an innocent religious claim. It WILL directly result in people suffering and dying needlessly. Is this the correct moral choice?

    Not using contraception WILL directly result in unwanted pregnancies that end in abortion. Is this really the moral policy?

    I think not...

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  3. Evan, I'd be interested in your definition of "human." It seems to me like most of the things you are suggesting (as good, or as solutions) actually leave humans acting more animal-like than anything else. I was going to respond specifically to things you said, but then I realized this could all come down to our different understandings of what it means to be human. Whether it's something dignified and hopeful or something we just resign ourselves to.

    ps--allowing contraception has actually increased the number of unwanted children and abortions. not decreased it. In theory, what you say makes sense. but in reality, less unwanted children and less abortions was one of the promises of the pill that it failed to deliver. and it is not very difficult to research that and find that out.

    -Ruth

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  4. I love people who surrender. Remember the Crucifixion, and how that turned out. Sheesh.

    It's true that any successfully contracepted instance of intercourse can't by definition end in abortion, but the correlation between contraception and abortion is strong and is logical, for it's a matter of culture. When people accept the idea that contraception is OK, that sex acts needn't involve children, it's a samll step to abortion -- and then to infanticide, something being pursued in the halls of academia and the journals. All that's required is a redefinition of "person" or "human" or both, utilitarian ethics or nihilism, and a better-off-dead mentality.

    This shouldn't even be a protestant-Catholic issue. Every major Christian body rejected contraception and abortion until the 1930s, when our friends the Anglicans cautiously suggested contraception would be OK, and the 1960s, when certain Protestant thinkers saw abortion as a remedy for poverty.

    Most evangelicals, however, just like the general culture, are committed to nothing else but screwing without consequence, so long as it's in the context of a sort of serial monogamy (evangelicals having caved on divorce and remarriage) and so long as one has a marriage license from the State, and a nice ceremony in a [gymnasium or auditorium] church, even though marriage isn't a sacrament.

    Finally, on the Pope, see this piece by Harvard researcher Ed Green, who defended the Pope on AIDS, condoms and Africa: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/3/27/AR2009032702825.html If the link doesn't work, Google it.

    Your thinking on contraception, abortion and AIDS is flawed because you're thinking in terms of individual acts, not habits, customs, culture more broadly.

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  5. Also see this:

    www.firstthings.com/article/2008/03/002-aids-and-the-churches-getting-the-story-right-27

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  6. Brantly, great post. I've been thinking a lot of this connection and have thought about writing out some of my thoughts, but you've captured what I was thinking and then some.

    Evan- I like reading what you have to say, because it's the attitude of a lot of people that I run into. You very honestly express what a lot of people think. If this truly is the way that God created it- for sex to belong to marriage, and for sex to be both unitive and procreative- then it can't be hopeless, even if it's extremely difficult.

    God did create sex, and it is very good. But if it controls us, then we are a slave to it. I don't think that we are called to repress all of those feelings, but rather to turn to Christ to have them transformed. Not so that we can become less sexual, but so that our sexuality can become rightly ordered in a way that we are not a slave to it and so that it truly expresses a beautiful truth about some of the best of human love, as well as be an image God's love toward us.

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  7. CM- I agree that we should not be slaves to our desires, or anything else.

    I am genuinely curious on the church's stance on an infertile couple who knows their sex will not be procreative. If the church/God's will allows this, then not all sex is procreative...

    I am also curious on the church's official stance on the "rythm method" of birth control that many Catholic couples use. Is this not an avoidance of the procreation part of sex?

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  8. Those are great points Evan. Somebody else might have a better understanding, but here are things as far as I understand them:

    There is a qualitative difference between a heterosexual couple married couple who wants children but who can't because they're infertile having sex and two men having sex. The reason the infertile heterosexual couple can't have children is because of a defect, a disease - things are not working the way they should. Two men can't have sex because of the act itself. The two men can be perfectly functioning adults but will never be able to procreate because a woman is inherently necessary for that. You don't even have to go as far as speaking about a couple being infertile and having a sex. A couple might be too old. In this case there is nothing "wrong" with the couple. Their bodies are functioning properly. But that kind of sex is the kind of act that can produce a child, and the fact that they become infertile at a certain age is part of the natural functioning of their body. Homosexual sex is inherently infertile regardless of age, health, etc, anything. The act itself is inherently unprocreative.
    The infertile couple can continue to live their marriage as they should - having sex. It's not their fault that they are infertile. They still proclaim their openness and support for life in their sexual act. Remember, most of the time when a fertile couple will have sex it will not result in a child. The human body is made to naturally function that way. But they must in principle be open to conceiving a child. An infertile couple can still have that. They are called to live out the procreative/educative aspect of their marriage by being "parents" to others with service. Their married love, which is not intended to end within the couple but it supposed to grow (and normally does with the procreation of children), can spill out to their community. And God does miracles. To use an example from Scripture (1 Samuel 1), Hannah, who was otherwise barren, would not have become pregnant with Samuel if she had not been having sex with her husband. Samuel was not conceived without sex (like Jesus). God used the natural act to produce the child. Also, it should be noted, that infertile couples are encouraged to pursue fertility treatments if they so desires, as long as the treatments maintain the integrity of the act (in vitro fertilization is ruled out).

    Regarding the "rhythm method" (which is also referred to as Natural Family Planning (NFP): The Church teaches that NFP is intrinsically acceptable. NFP is abstinence. The basic idea is that it's never wrong on any given day for a married couple to not have sex. And God has designed our bodies such that conception is not always possible.
    Now, an act can be wrong because of the act itself or because of the intentions of the person who did an otherwise permissible act.
    Remember that the Church teaches that the use of contraception is intrinsically wrong regardless of your intentions. Abstaining from sex is not an intrinsically wrong act. But, if one is abstaining for selfish reasons, one is still committing a sin. The sin resides in the intentions though, not in the act itself. Another example of this using a derogatory term like "bitch". Making the sound of that word with your mouth is not inherently wrong. But if you use it to hurt someone else, then you've committed a wrong. The wrong isn't in the fact that those sounds are a sin to make with your mouth, but what you intended to do with those sounds.

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  9. Also, just as another thought about NFP:
    NFP shows respect for the natural functioning of our bodies. If we don't want kids, then we don't have sex when we can conceive a child. Contraception, on the other hand, shows a disrespect for the natural functioning of our bodies. The contracepting mentality is that we don't want to conceive a child but still want to have sex whenever we want. They want the sex but without the natural consequences and responsibility that may come from it.
    NFP shows respect for your bodies, especially the woman's body.

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  10. Evan- I agree with Brantly; there is a significant difference between an act that is inherently unable to bring about new life and one that may not result in a new life due to other factors (like age, infertile times of the month, or infertility problems).

    Your wording about the rhythm method is telling, and very common with current thought processes. You referred to it as "the rhythm method of birth control." If any form of Natural Family Planning (the actual rhythm method is rarely used any more) is simply viewed as a Church accepted method of birth control, then the point has been missed entirely.

    Birth control is usually used because someone wants to have sex, but doesn't want to be fully open to the responsibility that it could bring in the form of a child. This may be because they are having sex outside of marriage, or it may be that they are married but either don't want children for selfish reasons or they have very good reasons not to have children yet, but still want to have sex. Therefore, birth control separates sex from what it is naturally meant to do.

    The best way that I have heard NFP described is if you are having sex, it is like sending God an invitation. Each time you have sex, you are open to God sending new life, knowing that He may not do it. It's like if you are getting married and you send out invitations to all your relatives.

    If you have sex during infertile times, it's like sending an invitation to a faraway relative. You know that it's very unlikely that they'll be able to come, but you invite them anyway. If you don't want them to come (you can't be open to life), you don't send the invitation (abstain). However, birth control is sending a dis-invitation. It is saying "please do not come, you are not wanted here."

    People that are using NFP as a form of birth control are easy to tell from their attitude. If they "send the invitation" to the relative, figuring they won't be able to make it, what happens if the relative IS able to make it? If they are upset and angry, then they have been using it as birth control. If they are surprised, but eventually able to accept and rejoice in the new life, then that is the point of NFP.

    Hopefully that makes a little sense. It certainly took longer than I meant to. I got the analogy from Christopher West's "The Good News about Sex and Marriage". He explains it all much better than I do!

    You have great questions!

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  11. Wow, thanks for the detailed response. Brantly, I understand your distinction between sex that is/isn't inherently procreative. But I would still argue that an old couple naturally losing their fertility is evidence that not all sex is meant to be procreative.

    As for "NFP," you admit that abtaining from sex for selfish reasons (like not wanting a baby) is sin. I called it birth control because I cannot imagine any other reason a couple would do this. You said yourself, "If we don't want kids, then we don't have sex when we can conceive a child." Does this not seperate the uniting/procreating sides of sex?

    Even if they had an unselfish reason, like the baby would likely have some genetic disease, the intention is still to avoid having children. CM said the distinction lies in the attitude of the parents, whether they are dissapointed or accept the pregnancy. But I would argue that neither couple really had the desire to get pregnant, or else why would they be marking their calenders with red X's in the first place?

    When I have sex using a condom, I accept the fact that there is a chance it will not work properly, and the girl will get pregnant. I think I am open to procreation in the exact same sense as a couple practicing NFP. Neither of us desire to have a baby, but we accept that we might.

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  12. Ensuring that every sexual act must be open to the possibility of conception is not what Christians should be using to determine whether a sexual act is wrong or not. Rather, it is God's law as written in Holy Scripture that calls homosexuality a sin, and any other sexual act outside of the bonds of marriage.

    There is no need to contrive some other reason to 'rule out all kinds of sexual behavior'. If God says it's a sin, it's a sin. Pretty simple. Whether church tradition, or a priest, or a Pope names something a sin or not should be immaterial. "Sin" is something that is not part of the character of God, which is more than adequately explained in Holy Scripture.

    There is also no reason to bring a woman's cycle into the argument. It just convolutes things unnecessarily.

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  13. Sorry this is long, but there is a lot to say.

    Anonymous,
    You have already contradicted yourself.
    You say that something is a sin because it is prohibited by God in Scripture. Then you say that sin "is someting that is not part of the character of God". Now, is something a sin because God says so or is it a sin because it goes against the character, or nature, of God? Those are two very different things.
    Saying that something is a sin because God says so makes what is or is not a sin arbitrary, whereas saying that something is a sin because it goes against the nature of God means that what's good and evil is eternally so. This is an long standing distinction in Christian theology (look up the classic Euthyphro problem).

    You dismiss "church tradition, or a priest, or a Pope", as though this understanding of sexuality is purely something that Catholics have "contrived". A few points in response to this:

    1) The principle is found in Scripture (see Genesis 38, Lev 18, et al.).
    2) The principle is also clearly discernible through the natural law.
    3) All Protestants, whom you seem to be yourself, interpreted the Holy Scriptures and the natural law as agreeing with the understanding of sexuality that I have described in my post - Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and all Protestant theologians prior to 1900 to name a few.
    This issue shouldn't be a Protestant vs. Catholic issue, and it hasn't been at all historically. Protestants only decided to change their mind less than 100 years ago to accomodate what has always been a pagan practice.

    Also, your response seems to be very anti-theology and anti-intellectual. You seem to dismiss a theological understanding of sexuality as unnecessary or somehow a contrivance. Protestants who are smart enough to actually have some sort of worked out theology (most non-denominational churches sadly don't) still have a theological understanding of marriage and sex. And those that do have either now accepted homosexuality as permissible, or are striving to still come up with some sort of coherent way of saying that contraception is permissible but homosexuality is not. I once spoke with a philosophy professor at my school (Wheaton College) whose emphasis is on Ethics. He has worked on Ethics for decades and actually sits on hosptial ethical boards and helps to decide what to do in hard moral dilemmas that come up in medical care. He believe that contraception is permissible and that homosexuality is not permissible. And he has told me that he is unaware, given that position, of any good argument for why homosexuality is wrong. To me, this blows my mind. The reason he doesn't is because he gave up the historically Christian argument when he wanted to accept contraception.

    Also, because ideas matter and theology is systematic, there is much more at stake here than just sex. I'll probably go deeper into this in another post, but acceptance of contraception also encourages divorce, abortion, euthanasia, doctor-assisted suicide, and many other horrible things.

    In closing, Scripture does indeed teach the contraception is wrong. So does the natural law. And all Christians, Protestant and Catholic, have agreed on this issue until Protestants decided to give in to Planned Parenthood (look up the historically connections between the founding of Planned Parenthood by Margaret Sanger in the early 20th century and the acceptance of contraception by society at large) and accept the use of contraception, which mean that Protestants had to change their own theology. You act like Protestants don't have theology. They do, and it was one way before 1900, and now it's completely different because they want to be able to have sex without natural consequences.

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  14. Just as another comment:
    There is an even bigger thing at stake here as well. If Protestants are willing to totally dismiss 1900 years of unbroken, universal teaching on an issue as important as marriage, sex, and the family, then what are they not willing to dismiss? What is NOT up for grabs? Divorce? Abortion? Homosexuality? The divine inspiration of Scripture? The Trinity? The dual-nature of Christ? (if you think classic Christian theology on marriage and sex "sounds contrived", check out the classic Christian theological understanding of Jesus!)

    Even though their reasons for accepting contraception are clearly just giving in to pagan culture (and not the Bible), they try to defend their change by saying that they don't personally see it in Scripture (what a convenient excuse; pro-homosexual Christians say the same thing). This shows yet again how Protestant thinking is ultimately self-centered. Protestants often aren't ultimately following God or his Scripture, but themselves.

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  15. Brantly,
    I find it interesting that you are wont to cast such wild aspersions on entire communities in your lengthy posts. I think the real reason for that is by upholding Holy Scripture as the final authority, I'm attacking the basis of your position on this and many other issues.
    The core issue: that of authority. Is it the Bible? or is it Church Tradition + the Magisterium + the Bible?

    But first, let's talk about whether I've contradicted myself in my first post as you state.
    If Holy Scripture is God Breathed, God's character is reflected in Holy Scripture. What He caused to be written represents his Character. I'm not sure why you want to separate the two as if what He caused to be written is not a representation of his character. There is no contradiction as you suppose.

    The basis for 'dismissal' of the teachings of man (whether Pastor, Priest, Pope, King, Steward, you, me etc) on specific issues is when those man made teachings are contrary to Holy Scripture. Jesus himself warned against such things (Mark 7) and chastised the spiritual leaders of the day for holding on to the traditions of man as handed down from the elders telling them that by so doing they invalidate the word of God.

    What I wrote in my first post is written in that spirit. Holding on to an invention of man simply because it is 'Church Tradition' is a dangerous thing. I don't care what church, council, teacher, pastor, Pope, leader, king, mother or father might first come up with a decree. If it goes against Holy Scripture, it's still wrong.

    A minor example:
    The teachings of man, in this case the Council of Valencia, placed the Bible on the Index of Forbidden Books. The Council of Trent backed that up and went further, pronouncing a curse on anyone who opposed that previous decree. Anyone daring to violate this decree was anathematized, or cursed and damned to Hell for it. Translating the Bible into the common language of the day was also pronounced a 'Mortal Sin' by the Catholic Church of the day.
    How long does it take for something to be declared "tradition"? 10 years? 100 years? 500 years?
    Forbidding the reading of Scripture was a Church decree that held for over 700 years. ... but does that make it right? Do you own a copy of the Scripture in English (or German)? If you did before 1950 would you be damned to hell?

    It was not until Vatican II that it suddenly became 'ok' for Catholics to read and posses their own copy of the Bible. Incredibly, V2 also confirmed the Council of Trent... the same Council that pronounced a curse on anyone who read and studied their own copy of scripture.
    I don't know, but that sounds an awful lot like contradiction to me.
    It also seems that Church Tradition went right out the window on that one.

    Questions:
    1. Is it possible that reading the Bible is, despite Rome's historical condemnation of it, is pleasing to God?
    2. Since the Catholic law has changed, will God release from Hell those who read the Bible between the Council of Trent and the 1950's, when the Roman Catholic Church seemingly changed its mind?

    Strangely, this sounds incredibly like "...invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down..."

    SO... is Homosexuality a sin because ever changing Church Tradition says so? Or is it because the Bible says so?
    I'll go with the Bible on this and every other issue. It's much more reliable.

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  16. "Protestants often aren't ultimately following God or his scripture, but themselves"

    I agree completely.

    "anonymous"
    1. get a name, anonomously attacking people people serves little purpose.
    2. "I find it interesting that you are wont to cast such wild aspersions on entire communities in your lengthy posts."

    The rest of your comment goes on to do exactly that. Brantly already addressed his beliefs on sola scriptura, I suggest you read it.

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  17. Anonymous,
    I appreciate your desire to follow God and how much you want to judge things by Holy Scripture. Unfortunately, you do not possess even a rudimentary understanding of the basic ideas of Catholic theology, or even Christian theology for that matter. You confuse the following concepts in your last post:
    - traditions and the Tradition
    - discipline and doctrine
    - doctrine and dogma
    - traditions with any theology
    - contradition with ommission
    These confusions lie at the heart of your attacks on Catholocism. It would take much more time than is appropriate in this comment to explain these differences at this time. I may explain these in future posts on my blog, but in the mean time you can do your own research.

    I have not argued in my blog post or in my comments that the historically Christian view of sexuality is correct because a Pope teaches it (although Popes have indeed taught it).
    Here is what my argument has been all along:
    Until the 20th century, all Christian groups - Protestant and Catholic - interpreted the Holy Scriptures as teaching the view of sexuality that I described above. Looking carefully at the Scriptures, and at time looking at the Natural Law, they developed the theological understanding of sexuality that I've described (you seem to have no theological understanding of sexuality, only mere commands). What I wanted to bring to light in my blog post is that when Protestant groups decided to allow contraception, it wasn't a solitary issue, as you seem to be approaching it as. The title of my blog begins "Ideas Matter". How a Christian thinks about contraception is going to effect how he or she thinks about sexuality in general. There are theological implications. And I believe that one of those theological implications is opening the door to accepting homosexuality, theologically speaking.
    Now, of course, as you have been doing, a Christian can abandon theology all together andhave their understanding of sexuality go no deeper than the Bible says so. But, since everyone has a theology whether they think it or not, not theology is really just bad theology, and to have bad theology is to be neither Catholic or Protestant (unless you're an Evangelical).
    You keep saying that you the historically Christian view contradicts Scripture. Since you haven't produced a single example of how it contradicts Scripture, I'm going to assume that what you really mean is that you dnot' see it beign taught by Scripture, that it is ommitted by Scripture. I disagree and think that Scripture does indeed teach this view of sexuality when looked at carefully. By my constantly bringing up that all Christians for 1900 years interpreted the Bible this way, I'm trying to get you to reconsider your own reading of Scripture. If so many Christians, since the beginning of Christianity, held this view, maybe there is something more there.
    Now, you have made it clear that it means nothing to you that all Christians since Christ believed that contraception was immoral. You keep saying that the Bible doesn't teach this view, but what you really mean is that it's not YOUR interpretation of the Bible. Remember, a "plain" reading of the Bible is not possible. There is always interpretation, and you seem to be completely unaware that you re indeed interpreting.
    You are willing to follow your own interpretation of Scripture, which is clearly more informed by 20th and 21st century pagan culture, than humbly consider how all Christians across denominations have interpreted the Bible, and I think there are consequences to this.
    In this particular blog post, I was attempting to get Protestants to think about their views of sexuality by showing what the theological ramifications are of accepting contraception.

    *I addressed some of these problems of current Protestant (esp Evangelical) thinking in my previous posts "How Sola Scriptura Leads to Pluralism" and "Protesting the Protestants: When Theology Doesn't Matter".

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  18. Anonymous- The Council of Valencia? That's not an official name of any of the Councils recognized by the Church. I'm assuming you are referring to a true Council, but are not using the correct name. As I would like to do some fact checking on that, I would love if you know a different name or something else about it so that I can read more in depth. Thanks!

    I did just read the documents referring to Scripture from the Council of Trent, and I definitely got a different picture than the one that you painted. The Council of Trent had a very strict policy on which translation of the Bible could be used. It did not place the Bible itself on the list of forbidden books. Yes, it did restrict use of the vernacular translations, primarily because it was concerned about the quality of these translations.

    I actually didn't find any of the canons regarding this portion of the Council of Trent (I will say that I did not read everything, so it's possible that I missed it). The canons are the part where the Council essentially says "If anyone says contrary to this, let him be anathema". I did find where it said that anyone using unapproved translations of Scripture would be in mortal sin.

    With your leanings toward sola scriptura, I can see how these decrees of the Church would seem offensive. As a Catholic, I am a fan. Not because it's that or be anathema!:) Rather, because of my deep love for Scripture, I love that there is such care taken to be sure that the Scriptures that we are reading and studying are correct translations.

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  19. This is a great post! The connection between contraception and homosexuality is so clear, and yet I don't think I could explain it as eloquently as you. Thanks!

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  20. Brantly, you kind of became a hero of mine after reading your responses to all the comments on this post.

    Evan, your last comment cracked me up. in a good way. bravo.

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  21. @CM
    "Council of Valencia"... bad source on my part. There was no such Council as that would not have been possible. (the Moors held Valencia at that tim which would have made it impossible for the Church to have a Council there.

    Rather it was the Council held in Toulouse France in 1229. That Council apparently placed the Bible on the index where it remained until the index was discontinued at Vatican 2. Cannon 14 from the Council of Toulouse says that the Roman Catholic Church:
    "Forbids the laity to have in their possession any copy of the books of the Old and New Testament.... and most strictly forbids these works in the vulgar tongue."
    Ostensibly this was done in reaction to the Albigensian or Catharist heresy which the Albigensians supported by publishiung an inaccurate translation of the Bible in the vernacular language.

    I say 'ostensibly' because if it were just for that purpose, I'm not sure why Sacred Scripture would remain on the Index for over 700 more years. That's the part that does not make sense to me.

    500 years later, well after the Catharist heresy was quashed, Pope Clement XI (1713), in his bull Unigenitus, wrote "We strictly forbid them [the laity] to have the books of the Old and New Testament in the vulgar tongue."

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    1. Heretic idolatrous catholic sect whining against the most high God.Your end is near you Vatican who misled the world into idolatry blaspheming the holy name of Lord Jesus Christ.Catholic heretic sect was invented in 4th century by Constantine and his government.
      They changed the names of old pagan idols of Serapis,Venis and many others to Jesus,Mary and Saints.They changed the name of their pagan solar mass of december 25th to Christ mass and they reduced the time of 3 days between crucifixion and resssurection of Jesus to 1.5 days to fit their pagan fertility Godess festival.Easter eggs represnt fertility festival of idolaters.

      According to God's word all those who do idolatry will be sent to eternal hell fire along with all liars ,cowards,sexually immoral ,muredrers,occult magicians-Revelations21:8.

      Jesus is building his Church (all christians who reject idolatry of intercession/veneration of saints and other lies of catholic/orthodox heretics)on the rock-that is the revelation given to Apostle Peter by the most high God that Jesus is the son of living God and is the Christ/Messiah(and not over the mortal corpse of Peter that catholics claim to be buried under Vatican) and gates of hell(idolatrous sects like-catholicism,hinduism,Islam etc) will not prevail over it.

      The Apostolic succession claim by your heretjc idolatrous catholic sect is another lie because the authority of keys,given to Peter by Lord Jesus in Mathew16:19 is given to all followers/believers of Jesus in Mathew18:18.

      Very soon in the coming WW3 (Gog Magog War) catholicism and all false religions will be extinct and all people living on earth will be members of one true God's Church(represented today by non feminist protestantism) atleast for namesake .Then rapture will occur and Jesus will take true believers to heaven and leave behind hypocrites/namesake christians for 7 year wrath of God.

      So repent of idolatry and lies and follow Lord Jesus so that you may have eternal life,instead of following man made idols and self decieving lies which will lead you only to eternal hell fire-Revelation21:8.

      God bless you.

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  22. Anonymous,
    This discussion isn't related to the blog post anymore. But just a few quick thoughts to this last comment:

    What was held in Toulouse France in 1229 was a Synod, not a Council.

    The index of forbidden books that was discontinued in the 1960s which you seem to be referring to was called the Liborum Prohibitorum. This was not discontinued by the Vatican II council. It was discontinued by an act of Pope Paul VI.

    The Liborum Prohibitorum that was discontinued by Pope Paul VI was established by Pope Paul IV in 1559, and so did not even exist in the 13th century.

    The Church's stance in regards to translations of the Bible is not an area in which I am educated well enough to have a very fruitful discussion. But I do know that the Church has taken different approaches in different times and places given different circumstances. Their approach has always been a matter of discipline, not a matter of doctrine, so there has been no contradiction that would go against the Church's self understanding of being infallible.
    The Church has valued not only that Scripture be available, but that it be interpreted and taught correctly. The Church does not think it a virtue for every individual Christian to interpret the Bible his own special way, creating the types of unbelievable division that has occured within Protestantism (some estimate there are more than 30,000 denominations in existence today).

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  23. Excellent post!
    Rachel B

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  24. You lack IQ and confidence in God,that's why you arrived at this ignorant misled false generalisation of idolatrous catholic heretic sect.

    Catholics invented this feminist lie(that women are somehow oppressed by men and needed liberation from guidance of Men) so that they can destroy christianity from within.This they tried to accomplish through their Jesuit -freemason axis.

    That is why i said you along with all (like anglican/lutheran elite)who fall for feminist lie have low -IQ and donot have wisdom or guidance from God.
    You were born in a feminist misled society,which was trapped by the feminist lie of the idolatrous catholic heretic sect.Then catholics themselves will come up with answers you need regarding why society is like this,because they invented the feminist lie in the first place.

    Jesus commanded us to be harmless like doves ,yet be intelligent like serpent.Many christians like you didn't follow that commandment by God to be intelligent/pursue wisdom and discernment.That's why many traditional christian countries like USA,Canada,Australia,England,Netherlands,Germany,Scandinavian nations,Hungary and many others have today fallen and become degenerate.
    The only hope of all world is Lord Jesus Christ,for only he can bring you out of your idolatry of intercession/veneration of saints and lies based on cowardice and ignorance.

    God bless you.

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