Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wombs: Fruitful and Barren

The call of the water is the stuff of legend and romance. From Jimmy Buffet to the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner to the book of Job, it haunts our poetry, our myths and our imaginations. When we stand at the place where the waters meet the dry land, our gaze is ever out to sea, never back at the land until we reluctantly turn away to our beds, our homes, our families, our lives. It has been compared so often to a womb, it is not surprising to find this line in a recent CT editorial:

"But worse is this: A sea hemorrhaging black oil now suffocates life instead of nurturing it."

Yes, wombs should nurture life. Never suffocate it. The gulf oil spill is indeed a tragedy. And because it affects the sea-womb important to so much of our country's economy, so many people's livelihood, it has captured our imaginations like an earthquake never could. But in a moment of absolutely hideous irony, CT elsewhere published these lines about a genuine myth, overpopulation:

"There is a population and resource issue, and the best way to love our children and to love the future's children and to love, really, all people, or all children, will be to limit our family size … . I love bringing babies into families. But there may be a higher calling, now that we have been fruitful and multiplied as a species, to think about limiting our families. "

On the one hand, CT is fussing about the deaths of a few sea turtles and fish while publishing advocates of life-smothering birth control. Just as the sea should nurture many kinds of life, a woman's womb is made to nurture human life. In the womb's hidden depths, a new human life is nurtured. This new human life, endowed by God with an immortal soul, swims in the amniotic waters, cushioned and kept safe there. And yet CT's "experts" would have Christians practice birth control (limit family size), would have them make woman's womb a barren place.

It is obvious which wombs the folks at CT wish to see barren of life, and which womb more importantly nurtures it.

reading suggestion: The Sea Within, Peter Kreeft

7 comments:

GL said...

"There is a population and resource issue, and the best way to love our children and to love the future's children and to love, really, all people, or all children, will be to limit our family size … . I love bringing babies into families. But there may be a higher calling, now that we have been fruitful and multiplied as a species, to think about limiting our families."

Oh, please. The best way to love our children may be to deny them existence? The best way to love future children may be to deny them existence as well, by denying their parents and other ancestors existence? There may be a higher calling than giving life? Denying life may be that higher calling?

Whenever I read this sort of "logic" my mind runs immediately to Romans 1:28: "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."

Scripture could not be clearer that children are blessings from God, that He blessed several couples (not just Adam and Eve) with the words, "Be fruitful and multiply," and that the man who has many children is particularly blessed. Throughout Scripture, fertility is a blessing and barrenness is a curse. Thus, St. John Chrysostom observed of those who used contraception, "What then? Do you contemn the gift of God [fertility and children], and fight with His laws? What is a curse [barrenness], do you seek as though it were a blessing?"

Stacy McDonald said...

Excellent observations, Kamilla. I don't know why I continue to be shocked by what CT publishes, but the quote you included made me gasp.

What are they thinking? Oh right - they're not.

Have they looked into the demographic data around the planet? European nations are paying people to have children. Japan is giving people time off to "invest" in their families.

The only significant segment of the global population that is still growing is the Muslim one.
Good thing we Christians are smarter than that.

whateverstate said...

beautifully, thoughtfully written

~Lea Ann Garfias

"whateverstate"

Kamilla said...

"Having children or not having children is not what makes one Christian. It shouldn't be made a mandate. Yes, children are a blessing but not if it's under compulsion. That decision to have children or not have children is ultimately between the husband and wife, not peers or pastors."

That's the latest comment on the CT article about Overpopulation. GL, you were right abou the "just me and my bible" bit, sadly.

GL said...

I have posted two replies on the CT thread. Some of the comments there are really pathetic.

Mary said...

I don't CT always gets it right but in fairness to them, the article about population was asking different academics and authors what they thought of the Australian's Anglican Church's call for Christians to have fewer children. CT published 8 responses, two of which I believe were unbiblical but 6 were spot on in favor of being fruitful and multiplying. The person you quoted was a sociology prof from George Fox College. Very, very sad response and scary that she's teaching Christian students but that is not necessarily the view of CT. Especially when they printed more in favor of the procreation biblical mandate than not.

Kamilla said...

Mary,

Since I have already responded to a similar argument elsewhere, I will have only this one response here.


Since CT has an extensive record on these matters, it is dangerous to take the one column and only the one to measure their views on this matter. This record includes similarly anti-natalist columns on their women's blog, for instance. Because this record is extensive, and given the juxtaposition with their own editorial on the Gulf Oil Crisis *and* given that Ms. McMinn is a listed author on their women's blog -- given all that, I feel quite comfortable that my assessment has been fair.

Kamilla