Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blessed is the Man Whose Quiver is Full of [Children]

I read a book I received from my church right before I came to college called How to Stay Christian in College. I thought it had some valid points and practical advice, but I couldn't help questioning the author on one point. The author talked about dating and said it was important to date a person who you would consider marrying; this is something I agree with whole-heartedly. He went on to say that you should also look for someone who would make a good parent because what God wants is for us to be fruitful and multiply. He went from talking about dating to telling me that if I'm able to have children, God expects me to do so. He didn't come right out and say it, but the implication was birth control shouldn't come into the mix.

I struggled with this because I've never been really big on the kids, and I have also never felt that God expects all Christians to have children and especially not as many as they turn up with without using birth control. This also opens the door to the question, when is it alright to stop having kids? If God will provide children for the people he wants to have children, doesn't it follow that we would just have children until God quit giving them? Well these people think so. This Quiverfull movement is made up of people who think birth control is the wrong way to go. While I understand where they're coming from, I still can't believe God would want us to be irresponsible and have more children than we can handle; that is not to say that they're being irresponsible, but I could see the problem there. The truth is, economic times are hard, and it doesn't seem like the best time to start bringing unknown numbers of babies into the world. I could see where people would offer the argument that God would not give them more children than he would provide for, and I may be limiting God here, but I struggle with this idea. The alternative to using some sort of birth control would be abstinence, and I don't think that's what God wants within a marriage either.

I don't have the scripture to justify my wariness of this idea. It may be that God expects me to have as many children as he gives me and be happy about it someday when I'm married; however, until he communicates that idea to me, I can only see the terrifying side of living this way.

And the part that scares me most about that article is the idea that:

We look across the Islamic world and we see that they are outnumbering us
in their family size, and they are in many places and many countries taking
over those nations, without a jihad, just by multiplication.

and then there's this one:

If everyone starts having eight children or 12 children, imagine in three
generations what we'll be able to do,' " Joyce says. " 'We'll be able to take
over both halls of Congress, we'll be able to reclaim sinful cities like San
Francisco for the faithful, and we'll be able to wage very effective massive
boycotts against companies that are going against God's will.

Oh, dear. It's very scary to me that they are worried about outnumbering the Muslims. They want a little army to take down the devil. We've all heard about super-conservative families where the kids go bad, and if they have umpteen siblings also vying for Mom and Dad's attention it's likely at least some of these kids will rebel in a big way. Then your army is not only full of defecting soldiers, but they're also leaving with a vendetta and spreading the news that you're crazy. If you aren't a Christian, please understand that statement is not wholly representative of Christian ideas, and we aren't trying to create our own army of fanatics.


Jessica_Leigh said...

This was a big debate in Christian Ethics class where we read two opposing articles: one was by a Roman Catholic couple who was all about the birthing of babies as the sole purpose of sex (though interpersonal relations were a side effect).

They also said women were babymaking machines.

I understand where people are coming from when they say God wouldn't give us more children than we can handle...but I also understand that God gives us common sense to prevent tragedies from occuring. Just because something happens doesn't mean it was specifically God-ordained...not that God isn't in control, but really, do we think God orchestrated and manipulated humanity so that certain populations were bombed by terrorists?

It goes back to my free-will roots, but even though God is involved in my life, He is not coercing me into all decisions. He might allow me to have children, but He gives me the common sense to know when that would be appropriate. He gave me the means to wait. (But once that baby is there, I think that life is sacred--no abortion!)

And I never really understood the concept of anti-birthcontrol people being for abstinence. Really, that's first of all creating a separation between the married individuals that is difficult to breech without physical intimacy, and second, it's really just its own form of birth control as well.

Anonymous said...

i know this is late late late but I wanted to add that there is NO place in the BIBLE that tells us to have as many kids as we possibly can.