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#61 of 146 Old 09-27-2010, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please feel free to rip apart my logic. I need to see all the possible holes before I start writing my article.

Thanks!

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#62 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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Toolip: The reason I say ecological breastfeeding is artificial to an extent is that in practice it often - I'm tempted to say "usually", in today's Western society - involves more than just doing what comes natural. People relying on LAM for a birth control method, if they're doing it correctly, have to feed the baby at least every four hours, which can mean waking a sleeping baby up, not because he's hungry, but because not doing so might indirectly result in another conception. Mothers may also modify their behavior in other ways - say, a mother who isn't anti-paci, but who doesn't give her baby a paci because it's against the rules for LAM. Or a mother might nap with her infant even though she doesn't feel tired, because you're "supposed" to. I don't think any of this is evil, but it's not just normal life either. It's a set of behaviors meant to postpone the return of fertility. It's perfectly "natural" for some babies to sleep 5 hours plus at a stretch quite early on, and for a mother's body to regain its fertility quite quickly after childbirth - it happens all the time. Ecological breastfeeding tries to stave that off for birth control purposes.

cagnew: Your view seems to be pretty much the quiverfull view. I believe it's more consistent than the birth-control-is-bad-but-NFP-is-OK view, and somewhat more logical, but I still disagree with that, 'cause I'm ornery. Sorry.

The thing is - and this is based on my view of causality and predeterminism and stuff, which is Calvinist and distinctly non-Catholic, but here goes - I don't believe God is any more or less involved in the creation of a human life than in whether you change your socks. He's God - He's involved in everything that happens, including human decisions. Making a baby is no more inside His control than making a flower or making a person decide to go to the grocery store - it's all inside His control, because nothing can be done apart from His divine decree.

So I'd say a couple's attitude towards conception should be the same as it is towards life in general - not a fatalistic passivity, but a conscious and godly decision-making process based on theology, practical considerations and so on. Yes, whatever happens will have been predetermined, but as we can't know ahead of time what will be predetermined, we have to go ahead and decide things - ie, we have to live life on our particular temporal non-omniscient plane of existence, doing the best we can.

But this is probably veering towards my other hobby horse, the free will thing, so I'll shut up now.

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#63 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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One thing that came to my mind cagnew is that your argument seems to depend a lot on defining "birth control" as negative. I'm not sure that is entirely true from a Catholic perspective, not just now, but also in the past. Someone mentioned earlier that in the Orthodox Church, when a couple has finished having children, it is considered quite acceptable for them to live as brother and sister. I believe this has also been the case in the Catholic Church up through to the medieval period at least.

Also, I have noticed a fair bit of talk about how people just managed with more children, because having to abstain totally meant that people thought really hard about when that was really necessary. I think that is true, and is an important point for NFP. But I think it is also important to be historically truthful - in many cases wives had no choice about this, as their husbands simply wouldn't agree. THis was true well into the 20th century. And the fact is, it was the women who bore the brunt of bearing and caring for the children. Of course a husband who doesn't care about his wife in such a situation isn't being a good Christian, but that is not much consolation for the wife. I think it is important not to paint a picture of perfect Christian couples either welcoming the children God sends them or abstaining prayerfully when the situation warrants.

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#64 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 01:49 AM
 
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Toolip: The reason I say ecological breastfeeding is artificial to an extent is that in practice it often - I'm tempted to say "usually", in today's Western society - involves more than just doing what comes natural. People relying on LAM for a birth control method, if they're doing it correctly, have to feed the baby at least every four hours, which can mean waking a sleeping baby up, not because he's hungry, but because not doing so might indirectly result in another conception. Mothers may also modify their behavior in other ways - say, a mother who isn't anti-paci, but who doesn't give her baby a paci because it's against the rules for LAM. Or a mother might nap with her infant even though she doesn't feel tired, because you're "supposed" to. I don't think any of this is evil, but it's not just normal life either. It's a set of behaviors meant to postpone the return of fertility. It's perfectly "natural" for some babies to sleep 5 hours plus at a stretch quite early on, and for a mother's body to regain its fertility quite quickly after childbirth - it happens all the time. Ecological breastfeeding tries to stave that off for birth control purposes.
I have to disagree. In that scenario, it is the pacifier that is "artificial" not the affect that bfing has on a woman's fertility. And yes, maybe some babies sleep for 5 hours, many do not. LAM is natural, it is modern practices that are not. Throughout history, babies have spent much more time skin-to-skin then they do now, which promotes ecological breastfeeding. So now that we have more contraptions to hold our babies, ecological breastfeeding is artificial? Try as I might, I do not see your logic

Maybe the desire to have LAM forces us to go back to more historical/natural baby rearing practices, but does that make it artificial?
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#65 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 02:32 AM
 
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I think you're confusing Catholics with some kind of fundamentalist. OTOH, if you can't see the difference between abortion and cough medicine, then I really don't know what to tell you.

saimeiyu, thanks for your great responses.
I did not ever say that I can't tell the difference between abortion and cough medicine! I never said abortion at all!

I don't know what to say.
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#66 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 03:20 AM
 
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I have to disagree. In that scenario, it is the pacifier that is "artificial" not the affect that bfing has on a woman's fertility. And yes, maybe some babies sleep for 5 hours, many do not. LAM is natural, it is modern practices that are not. Throughout history, babies have spent much more time skin-to-skin then they do now, which promotes ecological breastfeeding. So now that we have more contraptions to hold our babies, ecological breastfeeding is artificial? Try as I might, I do not see your logic

Maybe the desire to have LAM forces us to go back to more historical/natural baby rearing practices, but does that make it artificial?
It's artificial inasmuch as it changes a woman's behavior for the purposes of preventing pregnancy. Yes, the nipple is more "natural" than a pacifier (although pacis and the like go back a very long way!), but that's not what I'm talking about. Even if Western behavior is aberrant, LAM can still mean a mother does what feels unnatural to her. She isn't just living life as it comes, she's following a set of rules to avoid pregnancy.

There are some women who do LAM-type things as a matter of course, not even thinking about the birth control aspect, and it's natural for them: but that's not a terribly common situation today. There are lots of freakout threads on MDC saying "Oh no, the baby slept for 4.5 hours today, can I get pregnant?" - and that's a birth control mentality, not a "this is how normal life is for us" mentality.

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#67 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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So I'd say a couple's attitude towards conception should be the same as it is towards life in general - not a fatalistic passivity, but a conscious and godly decision-making process based on theology, practical considerations and so on. Yes, whatever happens will have been predetermined, but as we can't know ahead of time what will be predetermined, we have to go ahead and decide things - ie, we have to live life on our particular temporal non-omniscient plane of existence, doing the best we can.
Which works back to the quote I posted upthread:

Quote:
Using responsible contraception puts us in mature partnership with, not opposition to, our God when it comes to procreation.

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#68 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Smokering: Thanks for that dose of humility, lol. I never even thought to check out the quiverfull beliefs. I might have saved myself a lot of time if I had!

Bluegoat: As you know, it's hard to compare the ORthodox Church and the Catholic Church because they are different. However, I am curious about what you said- that the Orthodox live a celibate life when they finish having kids. Anyone who is Orthodox care to elaborate on that? What determines when you are finished? Also, I would have to disagree on the birth control not being negative thing. Birth control is thought of as an immoral thing in the Church, and that is the teaching. Even NFPers in the Church get all up in arms when NFP is referred to as birth control.

As for history- I am pretty sure the Church still teaches that husband and wife should not refuse the "marriage debt" if it's asked for. Although in the past, the language was much stronger than "should not"... it was more of a "could not." And I don't think for a minute that in the past every pregnancy was celebrated and welcomed. I read a book written by a Catholic midwife who practiced midwifery in Germany at the end of the 1800's and up until world war II. It was an excellent read and provided a lot of incite into what pregnancy and childbirth and marriage were like. It certainly wasn't all rosey! Child birth was often dangerous and husbands were often indifferent and cold. Not always, of course, but often enough. Thank God we live in a time when pregnancy and childbirth isn't as dangerous. And even though I think woman should be home raising the children and taking care of the family, I am thankful that most men have abandoned the old tendency to be completely detached from child rearing and helping the wife. Of course, more than 50% of marriages still end in divorce, so things still aren't perfect... I have my theories

Trigger: Smokering is not Catholic, so whether or not she follows Church teaching does not matter. Your quote is directly in opposition to official Catholic teaching. The fact that she agrees with it is irrelevant to Catholics who follow the Church.

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#69 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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Bluegoat: As you know, it's hard to compare the ORthodox Church and the Catholic Church because they are different. However, I am curious about what you said- that the Orthodox live a celibate life when they finish having kids. Anyone who is Orthodox care to elaborate on that? What determines when you are finished? Also, I would have to disagree on the birth control not being negative thing. Birth control is thought of as an immoral thing in the Church, and that is the teaching. Even NFPers in the Church get all up in arms when NFP is referred to as birth control.
This isn't the practise of all members of the Orthodox Church, but it is considered a very acceptable thing. It isn't unknown for a husband and wife to even enter monastic life once they are finished raising children, though I don't know if it is that common. But this was more common in the past, not only in the East, but in the Western Church as well.

I know that NFP followers will sometimes be quite incensed about the term birth control and talk about the "birth control mentality". I think that they are wrong in their understanding of the Catholic position: more of a problem though is that I think they are defining the term in a way that begs the question, and also in a way far removed from how it is used by most people. Most people simply understand birth control as being a way to exercise (imperfect) control over the conception of children, and if you tell them NFP doesn't do that, they rightly scoff and don't bother to listen any farther. The CC doesn't condemn the desire to avoid conception when appropriate either, and if fact says that prudence is required in having children.

I think Smokering is right, you should have a look at some quiverful stuff, and maybe also try some searches on the Catholic response to them.

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#70 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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No one is expected to live a celibate life while married. You can do the deed so long as you are physically able. although drugs that unnaturally prolong ones ability to preform (whats the little blue pill again?) are officially not ok. However, if at any point a couple wishes to remain celibate and live as brother and sister that is fine. Sex is not a mandate in marriage. I kinda joked about the fasts but if you did spend your marriage keeping the fasts and with pregnancy as a natural result of coming together always in the forefront of your mind and having certain activities addressed and restricted it tends to make sex a more balanced, less addictive thing in the marriage. It sheds a whole new light on it. Its not the central focus as it is in many marriages today. So giving it up completely may not be as hard for someone who has lived that sort of life putting God first above all things including sex. Of course most people blow off the churches teachings entirely.......we are by no means congregations of super holy people who are not enslaved to our passions like everyone else. But in theory. It could be very good.

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#71 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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The way we have learned the Creighton model is that we are making a sacrifice and abstaining during certain times of the month. With birth control, there is no sacrifice. It is evil, indulgent, and selfish. If God wanted to, He could have made women be completely dry, or the opposite, year round. Instead He gave us cycles of fertility and infertility with physical signs.

I do think that many, if not most Catholics use NFP for any dumb reason. This is why it is important that they seek the guidance of a priest to help them discern their reasons. My husband and I believe our reasons are serious, and our priest has confirmed it when meeting with him about this subject.

In short my opinion is that NFP is probably being abused by most Catholics, but NFP is totally a blessing for those who do need it, being that you are still open to the will of God and that you are using the signs He has naturally given you.

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#72 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 06:58 PM
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Cagnew, God is the one in control of whether or not a life is created, but he doesn't do it without us. We still have the ability to control whether or not we have sex. He even cooperates in creating and giving a soul to people who were conceived in ways that are considered by the Church to be immoral such as children conceived out of wedlock or through IVF, etc, basically people who would not exist if everyone had followed Church teaching. I really don't intend this as a judgment on anybody, but if you believe the Church is correct, that God does not want people to have sex outside of marriage or take part in IVF or any other condemned fertility treatment, then God created those lives even though they would never had existed in a perfect world.

Is it not possible that God would similarly have a desire for a husband and wife to conceive or not conceive at a particular time as part of his vocation for them, but not be able to create a life because the couple chose to abstain or choose to create life based on following the scientific principles he himself created based on a couple choosing to have sex during the wife's fertile period even though he was trying to call them to something different?

Your ideas about conception are bordering dangerously close to predestination. God does not force a couple to have or not have sex in order to create life or not. Any couple having sex has to assume that God may create life through their union, regardless of how remote the possibility. God does not create life regardless of the couple's actions. He does it with their cooperation.

The couple does not conceive without God, either. It takes action from the husband, the wife, and God (when done morally). A couple may not conceive even though they have sex during the fertile period, or various factors may cause a woman (or man) to be temporarily or permanently infertile. God is not forced to cooperate and give them a child just because they have sex when they are supposed to in order to conceive.

God usually follows the biology that he created. In a healthy man and woman having sex during the fertile period, God will very frequently create a new life with them. In a man and a woman practicing NFP and not having sex during the fertile period, God will almost never create a new life. Telling a couple that they must have sex often in the fertile period will likely result in many children in quick succession if the couple is healthy. This has to do with biology, not necessarily vocation. The same is true for a healthy unmarried couple who is consistently having sex in the fertile period.

Just as in many other ways in our lives, God calls us to do one thing or another. God calls us to take one job or another, to marry one man or another, to be a SAHM or not because of circumstances, to have another child now or because of circumstances, to put it off. God expects our cooperation.

Certainly, there are times when having sex to get pregnant would absolutely be the wrong thing to do. This would include times when the couple is not married (according to Catholic teaching) or, in my opinion, times that the couple knows fully that getting pregnant would almost certainly result in the death of the mother or child. In those cases, it would be prudent for the couple to completely abstain. If the married couple needs sex to avoid other sin, they should practice NFP very, very carefully.

Beyond that, it is a matter of seeking to cooperate with God's will. Practicing NFP well is a great example of Proverbs 16:1 "We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands." We seek to prudently discern God's will, making our plans about our family size and spacing as we believe God is calling us to do, and then we openly leave the final outcome up to God. The most important thing, though, is discerning God's will because he will not usually cause miracles to happen (causing or preventing a conception against science) in order to correct us, though we should be very thankful when he does.


As far as NFP vs. contraception is concerned, I can admit that there are similarities. You can have the mentality that you are leaving the final outcome in God's hands while using contraception, and you can have the mentality that you are absolutely not willing to get pregnant because having a baby would interfere with what you want while using NFP. The Catholic Church does require of everyone having sex that they be acting out of prudence and willing to leave the final outcome in God's hands, and I will admit that NFP does not automatically create this, and contraception does not automatically prevent this. I would, however, argue that it is easier to have to correct mentality while using NFP because the sacrifice of abstaining during the fertile periods lends itself more easily to the couple asking themselves whether or not this is really that important.

The right mentality is only half of what the Church asks of us. The other half is that we use a moral means. Since a couple is never required to have sex or not have sex by mutual consent at a particular time, they are not required to have sex during the fertile period or to deliberately use only the infertile time that God designed and avoid sex during the fertile period because of a serious reason. Deliberately making an otherwise fertile period infertile is different, no matter how slight the difference may be. Christopher West gives the analogy that of the difference between waiting for Grandma to die naturally and causing her to die when she would have been alive. The result may be the same, that Grandma dies, but the difference as far as Catholic morality is concerned is very different.


As far as medical treatments are concerned, there are two important things to weight: the end and the means to the end. For any action to be moral, both have to be good. A good end as far as medical treatment would be concerned would be one that takes a body that is functioning improperly and causing it to function properly. Treatments such as birth control pills, sterilizations, and abortions do the opposite, and are therefore immoral. Scientific research on human embryos, aborted fetuses, etc, are condemned because it is an immoral means, even if the end is moral. The end doesn't justify the means.

I could agree that medical treatment is not always the best thing to do in certain situations. The Church has also defined basic care (basically, food, water, and air) and heroic care (most everything else). Basic care must always be given to a person, regardless of their situation. Heroic care does not always need to be performed. This is another case for discernment. In the last days of my grandfather's life, he had several strokes. The first, he went to the hospital. They determined that he had a stroke and that this was the end. His cancer was taking over. They sent him home to die with his family a couple days later. My mom stopped taking her antidepressant medications because she wanted to take control over her mood herself. My aunt and uncle tried heroically to save my drowned cousin and then prayerfully made the decision to disconnect life support. My sister decided to use medication to treat her bipolar disorder.

These are all decisions that need to be prayerfully discerned. Maybe it is God's will that you live with the pain, that it is part of the cross that he asks you to bear. Maybe God wants to make you whole again using medical treatments. Maybe God allowed you to break your arm and bear that pain, but he also desires that you seek medical treatment to be made whole again. Maybe your arm and the rest of your body have been crushed in a car accident so badly that mending your arm will not help, and all you need is a cool drink of water and some loving words and prayers as you end your life. This is another area of life that does not have clear answers and requires much discernment.
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#73 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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Smokering: Thanks for that dose of humility, lol. I never even thought to check out the quiverfull beliefs. I might have saved myself a lot of time if I had!
I think there's a Catholic quiverfull thread around here somewhere. I'm not sure how far a Catholic could ally herself with the movement as a whole, as Catholicism pretty much requires Catholics to believe that NFP is OK as far as the Church teaches; but I guess she could believe that and still practice the QF model for herself. I actually come out of a QF background myself (one of six kids).

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#74 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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Cagnew, God is the one in control of whether or not a life is created, but he doesn't do it without us. We still have the ability to control whether or not we have sex. He even cooperates in creating and giving a soul to people who were conceived in ways that are considered by the Church to be immoral such as children conceived out of wedlock or through IVF, etc, basically people who would not exist if everyone had followed Church teaching. I really don't intend this as a judgment on anybody, but if you believe the Church is correct, that God does not want people to have sex outside of marriage or take part in IVF or any other condemned fertility treatment, then God created those lives even though they would never had existed in a perfect world.

Is it not possible that God would similarly have a desire for a husband and wife to conceive or not conceive at a particular time as part of his vocation for them, but not be able to create a life because the couple chose to abstain or choose to create life based on following the scientific principles he himself created based on a couple choosing to have sex during the wife's fertile period even though he was trying to call them to something different?

Your ideas about conception are bordering dangerously close to predestination. God does not force a couple to have or not have sex in order to create life or not. Any couple having sex has to assume that God may create life through their union, regardless of how remote the possibility. God does not create life regardless of the couple's actions. He does it with their cooperation.

The couple does not conceive without God, either. It takes action from the husband, the wife, and God (when done morally). A couple may not conceive even though they have sex during the fertile period, or various factors may cause a woman (or man) to be temporarily or permanently infertile. God is not forced to cooperate and give them a child just because they have sex when they are supposed to in order to conceive.

God usually follows the biology that he created. In a healthy man and woman having sex during the fertile period, God will very frequently create a new life with them. In a man and a woman practicing NFP and not having sex during the fertile period, God will almost never create a new life. Telling a couple that they must have sex often in the fertile period will likely result in many children in quick succession if the couple is healthy. This has to do with biology, not necessarily vocation. The same is true for a healthy unmarried couple who is consistently having sex in the fertile period.

Just as in many other ways in our lives, God calls us to do one thing or another. God calls us to take one job or another, to marry one man or another, to be a SAHM or not because of circumstances, to have another child now or because of circumstances, to put it off. God expects our cooperation.

Certainly, there are times when having sex to get pregnant would absolutely be the wrong thing to do. This would include times when the couple is not married (according to Catholic teaching) or, in my opinion, times that the couple knows fully that getting pregnant would almost certainly result in the death of the mother or child. In those cases, it would be prudent for the couple to completely abstain. If the married couple needs sex to avoid other sin, they should practice NFP very, very carefully.

Beyond that, it is a matter of seeking to cooperate with God's will. Practicing NFP well is a great example of Proverbs 16:1 "We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands." We seek to prudently discern God's will, making our plans about our family size and spacing as we believe God is calling us to do, and then we openly leave the final outcome up to God. The most important thing, though, is discerning God's will because he will not usually cause miracles to happen (causing or preventing a conception against science) in order to correct us, though we should be very thankful when he does.


As far as NFP vs. contraception is concerned, I can admit that there are similarities. You can have the mentality that you are leaving the final outcome in God's hands while using contraception, and you can have the mentality that you are absolutely not willing to get pregnant because having a baby would interfere with what you want while using NFP. The Catholic Church does require of everyone having sex that they be acting out of prudence and willing to leave the final outcome in God's hands, and I will admit that NFP does not automatically create this, and contraception does not automatically prevent this. I would, however, argue that it is easier to have to correct mentality while using NFP because the sacrifice of abstaining during the fertile periods lends itself more easily to the couple asking themselves whether or not this is really that important.

The right mentality is only half of what the Church asks of us. The other half is that we use a moral means. Since a couple is never required to have sex or not have sex by mutual consent at a particular time, they are not required to have sex during the fertile period or to deliberately use only the infertile time that God designed and avoid sex during the fertile period because of a serious reason. Deliberately making an otherwise fertile period infertile is different, no matter how slight the difference may be. Christopher West gives the analogy that of the difference between waiting for Grandma to die naturally and causing her to die when she would have been alive. The result may be the same, that Grandma dies, but the difference as far as Catholic morality is concerned is very different.


As far as medical treatments are concerned, there are two important things to weight: the end and the means to the end. For any action to be moral, both have to be good. A good end as far as medical treatment would be concerned would be one that takes a body that is functioning improperly and causing it to function properly. Treatments such as birth control pills, sterilizations, and abortions do the opposite, and are therefore immoral. Scientific research on human embryos, aborted fetuses, etc, are condemned because it is an immoral means, even if the end is moral. The end doesn't justify the means.

I could agree that medical treatment is not always the best thing to do in certain situations. The Church has also defined basic care (basically, food, water, and air) and heroic care (most everything else). Basic care must always be given to a person, regardless of their situation. Heroic care does not always need to be performed. This is another case for discernment. In the last days of my grandfather's life, he had several strokes. The first, he went to the hospital. They determined that he had a stroke and that this was the end. His cancer was taking over. They sent him home to die with his family a couple days later. My mom stopped taking her antidepressant medications because she wanted to take control over her mood herself. My aunt and uncle tried heroically to save my drowned cousin and then prayerfully made the decision to disconnect life support. My sister decided to use medication to treat her bipolar disorder.

These are all decisions that need to be prayerfully discerned. Maybe it is God's will that you live with the pain, that it is part of the cross that he asks you to bear. Maybe God wants to make you whole again using medical treatments. Maybe God allowed you to break your arm and bear that pain, but he also desires that you seek medical treatment to be made whole again. Maybe your arm and the rest of your body have been crushed in a car accident so badly that mending your arm will not help, and all you need is a cool drink of water and some loving words and prayers as you end your life. This is another area of life that does not have clear answers and requires much discernment.
This is a really good post. I have two things to add.

The first is that I think in many cases there may be more than one "right" answer. God does not have one path set out for us that we have to choose or fall afoul of him - that isn't really free will either. An individual may really have the choice of, for example, marrying and raising a family, or becoming a missionary teacher. Both would be good things in line with God's will.

And secondly, I think it is really important that people have some sort of spiritual adviser to be involved with making some of these big decisions. The fact is that it is very difficult for us to see situations we are involved in and emotionally affected by clearly. It can be easy to justify and make excuses, or become overly scrupulous. Choosing to use NFP is one decision that having a good spiritual adviser could make a really big difference; even just giving one's reasons out loud to someone else can sometimes be very revealing and help us realize if we are being honest with ourselves.

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#75 of 146 Old 09-28-2010, 09:06 PM
 
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I thinkI'm not sure how far a Catholic could ally herself with the movement as a whole, as Catholicism pretty much requires Catholics to believe that NFP is OK as far as the Church teaches; but I guess she could believe that and still practice the QF model for herself. I actually come out of a QF background myself (one of six kids).
My parents were pretty close to Catholic Quiverful. I'm also one of six kids. The youngest two were born at a VERY difficult time financially, while my father was changing careers. They were on WIC, and the school-age children were on the free lunch program for the year we were in public school.

You could say that things worked out eventually. With the energy and financial resources of six teenagers / adults largely concentrated on two little ones, they got a lot of attention & material gifts.

OTOH, many large families put a LOT of the childcare responsibility on the older girls. The year we were in public school, there wasn't any work in the area that my mom could do. So she spent all day at home with the youngest 1-2, and then passed them off to her oldest daughter as soon as we got home from school.

I did a lot of homework with an infant on one knee. This was a MAJOR reason why I practiced NFP to avoid conception while I was working on my degrees. I did not need to go through that again. I was not interested in forgoing my education to live a life of poverty.

There is a lot of discernment to be made.

Anyone who has read some of my older posts on other deleted threads would know, I do not believe the planet earth can support 10 billion human beings. I am aware that Genesis says "Fill the earth and subdue it", but I think that in the 20th century we pretty well accomplished that mission. Genesis also asks us to be Stewards of creation, and I do not consider turning our home into a toxic garbage dump to be a good example of stewardship.

I may not be Catholic anymore, but I do recall the news a few years ago along the lines of the Church teaching environmental damage also being sinful. I do agree that large families *can* live responsibly on the earth, I just think it is more difficult.

I would be curious to know if population growth models were a factor in the changes in NFP reasoning that the OP pointed to.

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#76 of 146 Old 09-29-2010, 07:41 AM
 
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So - using this logic - where do you suppose elective plastic surgery fits in? I'm not talking facelifts and Barbie breast implants here, I mean stuff like reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy (or a breast reduction for severe back pain), cosmetic surgery for someone disfigured in an accident, etc.

The gall bladder, spleen, tonsils, adenoids, and appendix are examples of organs that have a fundamental purpose, but there are times when their presence causes serious health problems (even life-threatening). Do we just let them be, and trust that God will provide?

Personally, I think that God gave us some common sense, and medical science, for a reason.
I'll be honest and admit that I've never really looked into cosmetic surgeries, except to say that I think common sense applies.
If the aim is to fix something that broke- I.E. reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy, or a breast reduction for severe back pain would be IMO perfectly fine. Correcting disfigurement caused by an accident or which interferes with function (ie cleft palate) would also be just fine.

Same with a diseased organ being removed. The aim isn't to alter the function, the aim is to remove or alleviate the disease. Altering the function would be a side effect of curing the disease. (see the double-effect above) That's why it's perfectly OK for a woman who, in the middle of, say, a c/s hemorrhages and the doctor ends up giving her a hysterectomy-- the aim is to save her life, not remove her fertility. Thus, it's not a sin, and later, it's not a sin for she and her husband to have sex-- the aim is not sterility, that's a byproduct of stopping the hemorrhage.

Cagnew, I want to address something you said:

Quote:
God is all- knowing. He knows everything- past, present, and future. He is the creator of everything and everyone. God is not only loving, He IS love. God loves every single person more than the human mind can comprehend. God has a plan for everyone, and that plan is the best thing for that person. Why? Because God loves that person and wills only good for that person. His will for the person is perfect.

Now, God gave all of us the ability to reason, and He expects us to use that ability when we make decisions. He expects us to use our reason to make prudent decisions. He also gave us a conscience and uses it to prompt us to make prudent decisions (although not everyone has a very well-formed conscience). These decisions can be on matters as small as “Should I buy a new dress for the wedding?” or as large as “Should we put Grandpa on life support, or let him go?” Obviously, when bigger decisions are required, we should pray earnestly and, if necessary, seek counsel from a spiritual advisor.

When it comes to NFP, the decision that “has” to be made is: “Can we have another baby right now?” The answer to that question dictates whether or not we engage in the marital act during the fertile period.

Supporters of NFP say that we are called to use our reasoning and prudence to be “responsible parents,” meaning we should evaluate our living situation and decide if it’s prudent to have another baby. They say that couples should pray and decide if God is calling them to avoid pregnancy (or achieve pregnancy).

I disagree. I think the question of whether or not to conceive a child is not something a couple should be worrying about. The reality is, no matter what they decide, they cannot conceive a child by themselves anyway. Why? Because sperm and egg do not make a human being- a man and woman alone are not capable of creating life. They are merely co-creators. I say “merely” because even though the ability to co-create life is awesome and amazing, the role they play is only possible because of God- He gave them that ability. Man and woman cannot create a baby without God- but God can create a life without man and woman if He so desired.

I think there is a big difference between having to make choices like buying a dress or putting someone on life support, and whether or not to have another baby. In most of our choices, the decision we make and the actions that result from the decision do not require a direct act from God. I do not need God to reach down and pull the plug from Grandpa. I do not need God to begin chemotherapy or refuse chemotherapy. In fact, if I make a decision, it requires me to act in one way or another. I can’t just sit back and expect God to do the action for me. Instead, I pray about these decisions and do my best to make a good choice, and then I follow through. I will be held responsible by God for the choices I make, but a direct action from Him is not required to make the choice. In fact, unless it’s a supernatural occurrence, direct action from Him does not happen.

snip...

Given all that I have just said, how can it ever be acceptable for a couple to decide to avoid pregnancy? How can a couple evaluate their situation better than God? How can they be more “responsible” than God? Remember, God will never do anything “bad” to a person. He allows bad things to happen, yes- but He never does the bad Himself. If it would be truly bad and against the good of the child and the good of the parents (and family), then is it not reasonable to think that no child will be conceived, even if the marital act is done at the most fertile time? Doesn’t God know the situation the family is in? Doesn’t He know the financial, social, mental, and physical situation? If a couple believes God is all-good and all-knowing and all-loving, they should not be afraid of Him sending them a child. A child is not a punishment, it’s a blessing. Would God send a baby to someone just to punish them? Would He send a baby and not give them the ability and grace to care for it? Would He abandon the child and the family?
God gives babies to people who don't have the ability and grace to parent a child all the time. Granted, sometimes, they don't have it because they choose not to, but nevertheless, I run on the assumption that children who are abused are not being properly cared for. Who knows the reason why? Perhaps it's mental instability, or lack of grace because of the lack of God in the parents' lives-- but nevertheless, it's a lack of something fundamental that causes parents to snap and abuse or kill their children. So this argument does not hold water with me-- because, God does not *cause* bad things to happen. Therefore, something got screwed up, and the children suffer for it.

The other thing is this: Under normal circumstances, I would absolutely agree with you that most families could and probably should open their lives to more children.
But that's the thing-- using NFP to avoid pregnancy should be for serious reasons only-- a mother who is mentally ill, or who would suffer devastating health consequences if she got pregnant, or who is on chemotherapy and whose drugs would have extremely awful teratogenic effects on the baby-- those things, IMO are clear indications from God that maybe-- just maybe-- you should just hold off, practice some self control, and buckle down in prayer more-- I mean, really-- If you're so sick or bad off, financially, that you really believe in your heart of hearts that you SHOULDN'T be trying to have more kids-- then-- logic, to me, follows that you SHOULD be using that time that you might have sex with your spouse to PRAY with your spouse for that cup to be passed, or for the difficulties to resolve.

I honestly think that if one is choosing to abstain during fertile periods, it should be replaced with prayer. If it's not, then I believe you're misinterpreting your own desires for whatever else it is as God's will and intention, and not truly examining God's will as best you can.

Another thing-- I absolutely, 100% believe that the decision of whether to put a family member on life support is every bit as important as deciding whether or not to bring another child into the world. I don't see how it wouldn't be.

God created the world. He created all the rules for biology. He put the signs there, I can only assume because He intended for us to figure this stuff out one day. He MADE the rules, and we are taught to believe that He STICKS to the rules for the most part-- that's why miracles are miracles. You and I don't know the rubric for when or how God decides to create the miracle of life through conception. What we do know, and can infer, is that when God gives us knowledge, he also gives us responsibility for that knowledge. In the case of conceiving, I don't think God really argues much with biology. Yeah, he might override once in a while, but since God set up the rules, I'm pretty sure He doesn't routinely violate them, otherwise, what's the point of the rules?

Also? We know that people screw with God's plans all the dang time. He might have one plan for us, but since most of us (except Smokering) believe in free will, we ALSO know that free will overrides God's plan-- because we have to CHOOSE to cooperate. I think we can often make the mistake of choosing to do the opposite in the belief that God will do what He wants anyhow. And I do think that probably most people today err on the side of what's most fun for them-- Yay sex! I can have lots 'cause I'm married! and use whatever justification necessary to their reasoning about why it's not the wrong choice.

Here's a thought for you: When Paul is talking to the Corinthians, (1st letter) he says this:
"Everything is lawful for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is lawful for me, but I will not let myself be dominated by anything."

He goes on to talk about sexual immorality, not sinning against the body, etc. Then he says
"Now, in regard for the thing you wrote to me about: it is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman, but because of cases of immorality, every man should have his own wife, and every woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his duty toward his wife, and likewise the wife toward her husband. A wife does not have authority over her own body, but rather her husband, and similarly a husband does not have authority over his own body, but rather his wife. Do not deprive each other, except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to be free for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan cannot tempt you through your lack of self-control. This I say by way of concession, however, and not as a command."

To me, this clearly indicates that the preferred state is abstinence, even in marriage, by mutual consent, but because people generally don't have enough self control, (i.e. to not commit adultery), not to stay apart forever or for long so that sin can be avoided.
If the fertile period is replaced with genuine prayer, then I see no real reason that it would be wrong.

The only thing I can genuinely find in the bible regarding a condemnation about having or not having sex is the part where God condemns Onan for having sex and pulling out to avoid giving his brother's widow a child.
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#77 of 146 Old 09-29-2010, 06:41 PM
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As far as overpopulation is concerned, there are two Catholic answers to that. For one, if we handle our food well, a decrease in the amount of food per person will decrease the body fat percentage of people enough to make women infertile long before it would cause massive starvation. The starvation that we see now is the result of variations in crop success and corrupt governments. Working toward sustainable agriculture and just governments will help to solve the problem of starvation much better than artificially controlling population.

A second argument is that the population capacity of the Solar System has been estimated to be in the trillions, and by then, we would probably find more systems to colonize. If we want couples to continue to have large families indefinitely, branching out into space may be a wise move.

A third way that overpopulation could be avoided that would also allow large families would be an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Theoretically, those people are not reproducing.

Some thinkers in the Catholic Church have suggested that concerns about overpopulation or being unable (not selfishly unwilling) to provide materialy for another child on their own is a reason to avoid pregnancy through NFP. Theoretically, if food is scarce, more families would be avoiding.
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#78 of 146 Old 09-29-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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Personally, having seen the "math" that goes into the overpopulation arguments, I think they're all fundamentally flawed.

They always center on the idea that food and arable land are limited resources with a finite end-point. They aren't. I mean, yes, arable land is limited, but arable land is not the only place you can grow food. There's aquaculture, hydroponics, raised-bed gardening, etc. There are as many ways to grow food as we can imagine.

Thus, IMO, the question is not one of resources but greed. People are starving in Africa not because there isn't enough food to feed them, but because corrupt governments and organizations prevent the food from being distributed equally.

The same really applies to about 90% of the resources on the planet. Yes, fossil fuels are limited-- but they're also dirty and irresponsible, thus, I believe they shouldn't be used as much as they are anyhow. Once the human race has "grown up" enough to be mature in technology and responsibility, I believe we'll stop using fossil fuels all together.

All of the really important resources are pretty much unlimited, if we can just get to the point where we are responsible enough to use them and manage them and distribute them with minimal interference from greed and corruption.
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#79 of 146 Old 09-29-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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Personally, having seen the "math" that goes into the overpopulation arguments, I think they're all fundamentally flawed.

They always center on the idea that food and arable land are limited resources with a finite end-point. They aren't. I mean, yes, arable land is limited, but arable land is not the only place you can grow food. There's aquaculture, hydroponics, raised-bed gardening, etc. There are as many ways to grow food as we can imagine.

Thus, IMO, the question is not one of resources but greed. People are starving in Africa not because there isn't enough food to feed them, but because corrupt governments and organizations prevent the food from being distributed equally.

The same really applies to about 90% of the resources on the planet. Yes, fossil fuels are limited-- but they're also dirty and irresponsible, thus, I believe they shouldn't be used as much as they are anyhow. Once the human race has "grown up" enough to be mature in technology and responsibility, I believe we'll stop using fossil fuels all together.

All of the really important resources are pretty much unlimited, if we can just get to the point where we are responsible enough to use them and manage them and distribute them with minimal interference from greed and corruption.
I agree that using resources wisely, and eliminating greed, would mean those resources would go farther. But that doesn't make them anywhere near "unlimited".

I also find the space travel idea a bit premature at this point, since we are no where near having off earth colonies for substantial numbers of people, and we can see, now, places where there are serious population pressures.

In any case, I don't think we really need to go as far as the global level when considering the problem of overpopulation. There are places where every day, people are having to deal with considering the problem of local over population. Of course politics and greed play a part, but it doesn't mean that the ethical question doesn't exist for the people stuck in those places. If I live in a refugee camp without enough resources to care for everyone, and no end in sight , what am I to do? Totally abstain? What if that puts me, or my spouse, in a position of giving in to sin?

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#80 of 146 Old 09-29-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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To me, this clearly indicates that the preferred state is abstinence, even in marriage, by mutual consent, but because people generally don't have enough self control, (i.e. to not commit adultery), not to stay apart forever or for long so that sin can be avoided.
I don't see how you get that from the text. "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" is clearly referring to premarital abstinence, and contrasted with marriage - the implication being that "touching" will be involved. He then goes on to specifically endorse regular sexual relations.

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#81 of 146 Old 09-29-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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Personally, having seen the "math" that goes into the overpopulation arguments, I think they're all fundamentally flawed.

They always center on the idea that food and arable land are limited resources with a finite end-point. They aren't. I mean, yes, arable land is limited, but arable land is not the only place you can grow food. There's aquaculture, hydroponics, raised-bed gardening, etc. There are as many ways to grow food as we can imagine.
The soil for raised-beds has to come from somewhere.

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Thus, IMO, the question is not one of resources but greed. People are starving in Africa not because there isn't enough food to feed them, but because corrupt governments and organizations prevent the food from being distributed equally.
True.

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The same really applies to about 90% of the resources on the planet. Yes, fossil fuels are limited-- but they're also dirty and irresponsible, thus, I believe they shouldn't be used as much as they are anyhow. Once the human race has "grown up" enough to be mature in technology and responsibility, I believe we'll stop using fossil fuels all together.
Not quite. Fresh water is another limited resource, perhaps even more critical than food. People need about 2 gallons of water per day for drinking and washing. Gardens and farms also require water, and even if there is a well on the property it can lower the water table for the surrounding area. If river levels get too low, then fish can't live in those rivers. Already, parts of Australia, China, India, California, all are experiencing water supply problems.

Desalination of ocean water requires energy that has to come from somewhere, whether fossil fuels, solar, wind, or nuclear.

One of the main reasons that we have so much food today is because of the chemical pesticides and fertilizers that are contaminating our land and creating dead zones in our oceans.

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All of the really important resources are pretty much unlimited, if we can just get to the point where we are responsible enough to use them and manage them and distribute them with minimal interference from greed and corruption.
Not unlimited. And this also doesn't address the second half of what I said: waste. That ~2 gallons of water per day gets returned, but it's dirty. Sure, greywater systems could use the water to help with some agriculture. But then there's the blackwater, and the agricultural runoff, etc.

For 10 billion people to average one egg per day (wether scrambled, fried, or in a baked good), if a chicken averages 1 egg per 1.5 days year-round, that's 14 billion chickens. Requiring how much food? Water? And producing how much waste?

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I also find the space travel idea a bit premature at this point, since we are no where near having off earth colonies for substantial numbers of people, and we can see, now, places where there are serious population pressures.
That, is a matter of political will. We were able to land humans on the moon within 10 years because of a strategic (political) imperative to do exactly that. The political will of late has been largely to maintain the status quo. Moonshot programs have not tended to last.

The science is coming back indicating that there is water on the moon. And they have grown plants in lunar soil. There are concerns about the length of the lunar day (14 Earth days of sun, 14 Earth days of night), and how to handle medical emergencies when return to Earth is a 3-day journey. People have been working the problem to varying degrees for 40+ years. Give them the money and authorization to solve the problems, and they'll make it happen.

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In any case, I don't think we really need to go as far as the global level when considering the problem of overpopulation. There are places where every day, people are having to deal with considering the problem of local over population. Of course politics and greed play a part, but it doesn't mean that the ethical question doesn't exist for the people stuck in those places. If I live in a refugee camp without enough resources to care for everyone, and no end in sight , what am I to do? Totally abstain? What if that puts me, or my spouse, in a position of giving in to sin?
If I live in a "food desert" in the inner city, without enough resources to care for everyone, and no end in sight, what am I to do?

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#82 of 146 Old 09-29-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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If I live in a "food desert" in the inner city, without enough resources to care for everyone, and no end in sight, what am I to do?
I'm not sure if I'm understanding your point correctly, but yes, there are people faced with the problem of simply not having enough to eat in cities, for one reason or another. (Though cities could be a lot more productive than they are.) I was trying to give a simple example more like local over-population, which is slightly different - I probably could have chosen something better.

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#83 of 146 Old 09-30-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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I'm not sure if I'm understanding your point correctly, but yes, there are people faced with the problem of simply not having enough to eat in cities, for one reason or another. (Though cities could be a lot more productive than they are.) I was trying to give a simple example more like local over-population, which is slightly different - I probably could have chosen something better.
I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I meant it as an additional, supportive, example. The impression I'm getting from the earlier posts on this thread (and I can't say I have read them deeply, so apologies if I am mistaken) seem centered on the developed world, i.e. the United States.

So I was trying to bring the story even closer to home, that this isn't just about peasants in a 3rd World country selecting one child to starve to death because the family can't feed everyone. (A news story I read once. The mother carried the toddler, but that child was given no food.)

There is hunger in America. Not because there isn't enough food to feed them. But because minimum-wage jobs do not cover reliable housing, utilities, and regular meals. And unlike most other developed countries, the U.S.A. tends to believe that a safety net inhibits risk-taking, innovation, and successful businesses.

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#84 of 146 Old 09-30-2010, 07:24 AM
 
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Smokering-- He specifically says that he is endorsing regular sexual relations between spouses as a concession. Combined with the previous comment that not everything that is allowed is beneficial, and the gazillion references in the bible to moderation and self-control being gifts of the spirit, I can only assume that moderation and self-control also apply to sex. Sure, sex is necessary and pleasant and all that jazz-- but the point people in this thread are making is that they think abstinence in marriage is basically a stupid and possibly sinful concept unless one is fasting. I heartily disagree. Even if you aren't fasting for a particular reason, I do not and cannot wrap my mind around the idea that it's somehow unnatural and wrong for couples to mutually decide they'd rather not have sex 'cause they'd rather not add to the family just now. I don't know, maybe, since I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who might have sex three times in a good month, I really just do not see how it's such a HUGE burden to not have sex all the time that it will immediately impel people into sin. Also, You keep going on about how women are "naturally" the most willing to have sex when they're fertile, and, I really gotta tell you-- maybe it's that way for you, but it's certainly not universal. The time I most want to have sex is two days before my period starts. When I'm about to ovulate I'd like to curl up in a dark hole and wait for the mittelschmertz to GO AWAY.

Anyhow, obviously, since I fundamentally believe in the existence of free will you and I are going to have fundamentally different interpretations of many things in the bible.

kcstar & Bluegoat:
Yeah, I know about the water problem, but I believe that those problems can be solved successfully. If the political will exists to do it, then the scientific and energy concerns can be adequately met. Certainly the ability to desalinate ocean water and purify wastewater must come before we can even dream of moving people out into the solar system.

The soil from raised beds doesn't actually need to be "soil" as we commonly think about it. With better household waste and food-waste disposal, city or community compost bins and vermicomposting activities could supply plenty of nourishing media for planting raised beds. We waste far too many resources, sending too much to landfills that we really ought to be reclaiming and reusing, recycling, etc. And because we waste so much, we're also poisoning the land and the water-- but these things are not inevitable and can be stopped- again, given the political will.

My point is that the resources exist, just as they exist now, but are not being managed. Therefore "overpopulation" is a manufactured problem,the result of irresponsibility, greed, corruption, and mismanagement. It isn't an inherent fact of life, but almost every proponent of the overpopulation problem and advocates of zero population growth speak, think, and act like it's an inherent problem with the existence of resources. It is fundamentally not a problem of resources but of management.

And, of course, I am speaking philosophically. Yes, people need to be able to make their lives how they can where they are at-- but we shouldn't be misled into thinking that things are this way because they *have* to be. If we don't recognize that, then we can't change the way things are to be something better.
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#85 of 146 Old 09-30-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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Smokering-- He specifically says that he is endorsing regular sexual relations between spouses as a concession. Combined with the previous comment that not everything that is allowed is beneficial, and the gazillion references in the bible to moderation and self-control being gifts of the spirit, I can only assume that moderation and self-control also apply to sex. Sure, sex is necessary and pleasant and all that jazz-- but the point people in this thread are making is that they think abstinence in marriage is basically a stupid and possibly sinful concept unless one is fasting. I heartily disagree. Even if you aren't fasting for a particular reason, I do not and cannot wrap my mind around the idea that it's somehow unnatural and wrong for couples to mutually decide they'd rather not have sex 'cause they'd rather not add to the family just now. I don't know, maybe, since I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who might have sex three times in a good month, I really just do not see how it's such a HUGE burden to not have sex all the time that it will immediately impel people into sin. Also, You keep going on about how women are "naturally" the most willing to have sex when they're fertile, and, I really gotta tell you-- maybe it's that way for you, but it's certainly not universal. The time I most want to have sex is two days before my period starts. When I'm about to ovulate I'd like to curl up in a dark hole and wait for the mittelschmertz to GO AWAY.

Anyhow, obviously, since I fundamentally believe in the existence of free will you and I are going to have fundamentally different interpretations of many things in the bible.

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Yeah, I know about the water problem, but I believe that those problems can be solved successfully. If the political will exists to do it, then the scientific and energy concerns can be adequately met. Certainly the ability to desalinate ocean water and purify wastewater must come before we can even dream of moving people out into the solar system.

The soil from raised beds doesn't actually need to be "soil" as we commonly think about it. With better household waste and food-waste disposal, city or community compost bins and vermicomposting activities could supply plenty of nourishing media for planting raised beds. We waste far too many resources, sending too much to landfills that we really ought to be reclaiming and reusing, recycling, etc. And because we waste so much, we're also poisoning the land and the water-- but these things are not inevitable and can be stopped- again, given the political will.

My point is that the resources exist, just as they exist now, but are not being managed. Therefore "overpopulation" is a manufactured problem,the result of irresponsibility, greed, corruption, and mismanagement. It isn't an inherent fact of life, but almost every proponent of the overpopulation problem and advocates of zero population growth speak, think, and act like it's an inherent problem with the existence of resources. It is fundamentally not a problem of resources but of management.

And, of course, I am speaking philosophically. Yes, people need to be able to make their lives how they can where they are at-- but we shouldn't be misled into thinking that things are this way because they *have* to be. If we don't recognize that, then we can't change the way things are to be something better.
I totally agree with you about abstinence, and in fact that is pretty much how it has been practiced by Christians as well. And I also read the passage from Paul the same way.

I do think there is a limitation to the Earth's carrying capacity - whether we are at it is another question, but we could easily get there. We can't just desalinate water without it affecting the oceans - look at Israel - and we are already pushing out many species due to habitat loss, just because of the space we take up.

I also think that the idea that the Earth is limitless has caused huge problems with the way we look at the world, our whole economic model of endless growth, which is so unhealthy both physically and spiritually, is based on this idea. It is essentially a concept that turns our society into a kind of cancer.

Now I don't think, although it may seem like it follows, that small families of one or two are really the cure for this. In fact, they seem to me to be part of the whole mind-set of more-more-more. If we imagine a society where having a family is a real vocation, normally including a good sized family, many people would not see that as their vocation at all. In a medieval European setting, it wouldn't be odd to have a quarter of the population as religious of some kind.

Unfortunately at the moment, even a person who would like a big family is often living in a culture not really set up to accommodate them, so they still may not be able to do things as they would really want to.

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#86 of 146 Old 09-30-2010, 12:45 PM
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Space colonization is a lot closer to attainable than you might think, and mining for resources (which could help raise the carrying capacity on Earth) could be done very soon. There are a couple companies that are designing vehicles to carry people out into space for a significantly lower cost than ever before, which is going to make putting humans in space much more accessable. Just because NASA has been sitting on their hands for the last half a century does not mean that other people have not been working out the details. If there was ever a drive, it could be done in 5-20 years.

Saimeiyu, composting is not going to give us more soil. It is just going to help us keep the soil we already have. In a truly sustainable system, everything you take out will eventually go back in. We would need to compost all food scraps, plant scraps, bodily waste, and even our bodies to return to dust. The carrying capacity of the Earth is a lot bigger than we think it is, but it is not limitless. There is a finite amount of certain essential nutrients on the Earth, without which, we will not be able to survive and reproduce.

I do not think we have to reach this carrying carrying capacity through mass starvation. We just really need to look at how to be sustainable. Mass starvation happens when a non-sustainable system stops sustaining itself. Previously, there was food to feed these people, and now there is not. If the amount of food available remained roughly constant, less food per person just means that people are leaner and less fertile naturally. With how we are going about agriculture right now, there is so much waste that the system will eventually fail, causing mass starvation. We are using our farmland to produce far more food than that particular land can produce forever using chemicals to provide nutrients that will eventually render the land infertile, potentially leaving behind a massive population that can no longer be supported. From a pro-life, pro-family, and pro-human perspective, it is very important to research and implement truly sustainable food production so that we can be realistic about what we can and cannot produce instead of claiming that there is no limit or that we have already passed the limit just because we are assuming that we can continue to or have to produce our food the way we do.

Bluegoat, I agree with you that our society is not set up for large families to live sustainably. This is actually a matter that is very close to my heart as DH and I discern our vocation as parents. We feel very alone, fighting for religious, pro-life, gentle, and environmental causes.
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#87 of 146 Old 09-30-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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Bluegoat, I agree with you that our society is not set up for large families to live sustainably. This is actually a matter that is very close to my heart as DH and I discern our vocation as parents. We feel very alone, fighting for religious, pro-life, gentle, and environmental causes.
I am really having difficulty with hhis at the moment. We've recently added a third child, and I am a bit of a loss trying to figure out where we should, and can, go from here. (And of course it's complicated by personal issues around my last birth, and the fact that my family who I rely on for help because my dh works away from home, would not really approve of more kids. ) It makes it hard to figure out what is a valid concern and what is just my preference masquerading as a real concern.

I am also finding that there aren't a lot of other people who see these things the way I do, which makes it really hard to have supportive friends, or just people to commiserate or bounce ideas off of.

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#88 of 146 Old 09-30-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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It seems to me that the understanding of Paul's passage hinges on what "this" is referring to, as in "I say this as a concession, not as a command". I believe the "this" is referring to the whole permission-to-marry clause, not the sub-clause about not abstaining, (Anyone know Greek? I wonder if the grammar would give us a clue.) In other words: "It is good for a man not to marry, BUT - concession - lust is bad, so marry and do not deprive each other - BUT, I'm not saying you have to marry, because I would rather everyone were single like me."
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I am really having difficulty with hhis at the moment. We've recently added a third child, and I am a bit of a loss trying to figure out where we should, and can, go from here. (And of course it's complicated by personal issues around my last birth, and the fact that my family who I rely on for help because my dh works away from home, would not really approve of more kids. ) It makes it hard to figure out what is a valid concern and what is just my preference masquerading as a real concern.
I'm struggling with this too. I'm currently pregnant with our second, would like to have three, and would ideally like to be the kind of person who could cope gracefully with four. From an ex-QF standpoint (and the one-of-six-kids standpoint) 3 kids really seems like the "bare minimum" for a "proper" family - I loved having lots of siblings, and I just think big families are more interesting and richer. But on the other hand, the math is fairly clear that more kids are likely to have more kids, etc... ad I'm taking the environmental thing much more seriously than I used to, partly because I get very annoyed at a certain subsection of Christianity which has the attitude that Jesus loves plastic bags and conserving water is a commie hippie liberal plot to keep prayer out of schools... or something. It seems like Christians should be MORE mindful than the rest of the world, not less, about bringing children into it (and other environmental issue).

But then, I live in NZ, which has a plummeting birthrate, an ageing population and plenty of space. Given that the government isn't planning to import 20,000 African families to rectify the population imbalance... in a way, more kids would be better for my local social environment, at least. I dunno. It's a tricky one.

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#89 of 146 Old 09-30-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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It seems to me that the understanding of Paul's passage hinges on what "this" is referring to, as in "I say this as a concession, not as a command". I believe the "this" is referring to the whole permission-to-marry clause, not the sub-clause about not abstaining, (Anyone know Greek? I wonder if the grammar would give us a clue.) In other words: "It is good for a man not to marry, BUT - concession - lust is bad, so marry and do not deprive each other - BUT, I'm not saying you have to marry, because I would rather everyone were single like me."

I'm struggling with this too. I'm currently pregnant with our second, would like to have three, and would ideally like to be the kind of person who could cope gracefully with four. From an ex-QF standpoint (and the one-of-six-kids standpoint) 3 kids really seems like the "bare minimum" for a "proper" family - I loved having lots of siblings, and I just think big families are more interesting and richer. But on the other hand, the math is fairly clear that more kids are likely to have more kids, etc... ad I'm taking the environmental thing much more seriously than I used to, partly because I get very annoyed at a certain subsection of Christianity which has the attitude that Jesus loves plastic bags and conserving water is a commie hippie liberal plot to keep prayer out of schools... or something. It seems like Christians should be MORE mindful than the rest of the world, not less, about bringing children into it (and other environmental issue).

But then, I live in NZ, which has a plummeting birthrate, an ageing population and plenty of space. Given that the government isn't planning to import 20,000 African families to rectify the population imbalance... in a way, more kids would be better for my local social environment, at least. I dunno. It's a tricky one.
Yeah, I wonder about the immigration thing. The Catholic writings on social policy say that people have the right to migrate, it is part of being human, and I think that is true. Countries have the duty to control migration to maintain good order, but that has to be done in a way that really considered the good of all people. I find it hard to know if my country is really doing that.

But I think what is local is really the answer, if we imagine the politics is working well, more or less. People in a place where a higher population would be good would have more kids - people where there are serious population pressures would be motivated to have fewer.

I find the whole communist-liberal thing annoying too - especially when they really seem to think one can actually be both a liberal and a communist.

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#90 of 146 Old 10-04-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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I'm struggling with this too. I'm currently pregnant with our second, would like to have three, and would ideally like to be the kind of person who could cope gracefully with four. From an ex-QF standpoint (and the one-of-six-kids standpoint) 3 kids really seems like the "bare minimum" for a "proper" family - I loved having lots of siblings, and I just think big families are more interesting and richer. But on the other hand, the math is fairly clear that more kids are likely to have more kids, etc... ad I'm taking the environmental thing much more seriously than I used to, partly because I get very annoyed at a certain subsection of Christianity which has the attitude that Jesus loves plastic bags and conserving water is a commie hippie liberal plot to keep prayer out of schools... or something. It seems like Christians should be MORE mindful than the rest of the world, not less, about bringing children into it (and other environmental issue).
Just another thought... I do love having the big extended family too. My own plans were to have two birth children and then get into adopting. There's so many kids out there that need good homes, that's what I'd rather do. YMMV.

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