Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The "Childfree" Lifestyle

Southern Baptist Albert Mohler wrote an opinion piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal a couple weeks ago editorializing against couples who deliberately choose to remain "child free". The language is in places very Protestant in style, but it's an interesting read. The following are excepts, but it's worth reading the whole thing.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Joe and Deb Schum of Atlanta aren't worried about baby proofing their house or buying a car seat. As a matter of fact, the couple doesn't ever intend to have children, and they are proud of their childlessness. According to the newspaper's report, "the Schums are part of a growing number of couples across the country for whom kids don't factor in the marriage equation."

The paper also pointed to the fact that the nation's birthrate fell last year to an historic low of 66.9 births per 1,000 women age 15-44. That represents a decline of 43 percent since just 1960. "Many childless couples," according to the report, "revel in their decision, despite badgering from baffled mothers and friends. Others struggle with the choice before keeping the house kid-free." ...

Christians must recognize that this rebellion against parenthood represents nothing less than an absolute revolt against God's design. The Scripture points to barrenness as a great curse and children as a divine gift. The Psalmist declared: "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate." [Psalm 127: 3-5]

Morally speaking, the epidemic in this regard has nothing to do with those married couples who desire children but are for any reason unable to have them, but in those who are fully capable of having children but reject this intrusion in their lifestyle....

The Scripture does not even envision married couples who choose not to have children. The shocking reality is that some Christians have bought into this lifestyle and claim childlessness as a legitimate option. The rise of modern contraceptives has made this technologically possible. But the fact remains that though childlessness may be made possible by the contraceptive revolution, it remains a form of rebellion against God's design and order....

The church should insist that the biblical formula calls for adulthood to mean marriage and marriage to mean children. This reminds us of our responsibility to raise boys to be husbands and fathers and girls to be wives and mothers. God's glory is seen in this, for the family is a critical arena where the glory of God is either displayed or denied. It is just as simple as that.

The church must help this society regain its sanity on the gift of children. Willful barrenness and chosen childlessness must be named as moral rebellion. To demand that marriage means sex -- but not children -- is to defraud the creator of His joy and pleasure in seeing the saints raising His children. That is just the way it is. No kidding.

Now, the big point of difference I'd have with this fellow (and I think this is probably the Catholic/Protestant difference) is in his thinking that all adults should marry and be parents. Beyond the obvious example of priests and religious, the Church sees the non-consecrated single life as a legitimate vocation.

I think one factor (though honestly probably a minor one) in our society's problems in thinking about marriage and its relation to childbearing is that when you assume that absolutely everyone should be married, yet concede that some people are simply not (by inclination or temperment) cut out to be parents, you end up backing into the view that some people are meant to be married but intentionally not have kids.


Steve said...

I like this line: "But the fact remains that though childlessness may be made possible by the contraceptive revolution, it remains a form of rebellion against God's design and order...."

julietwhiskey said...

I think this was a great article to post, despite what I believe personally. Thank you for the perspective.

Anonymous said...

Oh the irony. The article writer quotes Psalms 127: 3-5 but left out Psalms 137:9 -
"Happy shall be he who taketh and dasheth thy little ones on the rocks."

kitchen table said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I really enjoy reading it. I love every line in that article. It is an article that we all should read.

Anonymous said...

This article is very interetsing to me to say the least. I am a 22 year old Black Female in college and have already decided to be childfree. I see so many avenues in life, so many posibilities and find that having children would be an unneccessary burdon for me. Why should I have children to add to my worries? Id rather be able to have the freedom to get up and go whenever and where ever I please. And with regards to this biblical scriptures proclaiming-err demanding- that people have children, these same radicals often leave out passages on how God has given every individual the freedom to CHOOSE. We do not have to do anything the bible tells us, regardless of our religion, and that's IN the bible.

There is nothing wrong with being Childfree. Its a safer, more fun, financially secure, and joyous life!

Abu Daoud said...

Hi 22bf, where is that in the bible? Nowhere...or perhaps you will become a nun? Now that would be a biblical pathway actually.

In the long run,you are assuring, by having no children, that your own beliefs will be eliminated and replaced by the beliefs of your fellow Americans who do have children.

Peace. --AD