Is Intentional Childlessness Biblical?

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 Time magazine’s provocative cover story last week, “The Childfree Life,” explores why some couples are choosing to deliberately not have children and taps into a larger, worldwide trend towards smaller families.

A good portion of the piece is rooted in cultural observation and fact.

Not surprisingly, some of the causes are found in modern life. Young couples are marrying later, if at all, and instead of having children, they’re increasingly choosing to pursue college and advanced degrees and becoming more active in the work force. Studies show they want to achieve financial stability before starting their families. But their pursuit of financial security can come with unintended consequences. A woman is most fertile in her 20s and early 30s and so many couples simply run out of time to have as many kids as they would have wanted, or to have any at all.

But could there be another reason why families are becoming smaller and an increasing number of couples are remaining childless?

The reasons cited by the women featured in the Time article were mostly individualistic in nature. Some of the women said they never felt that maternal instinct kick in. Others articulated a desire to maintain the level of freedom and financial success they were enjoying – the “indulgent life” as one of the women put it.

Yet – and I think most parents will agree – joy is measured in infinitely different ways for moms and dads.

And while this particular article focuses primarily on women deciding to remain “child free” – the preferred term, as one woman argued that “childless” makes it seem like they lack something – in many cases there are husbands who don’t want children, too.

To these couples, there is a sense of futility in putting in the investment needed to have and raise kids. They tend to see childrearing only in practical terms, like a business proposition – and the bottom line conclusion they reach is the whole endeavor is too much work for too little gain.

At this point, let me just offer a disclaimer. There are those who may be reading today who, for whatever reason, can’t have children. This post isn’t for you. The pain of infertility or prolonged but undesired singleness is not rare. If you’re grappling with these issues, I want you to know that you are not “less than.” Your heart is for children, and for family. Your quest and desire for children speaks to their value and worth.

The fact remains that the decoupling of sex from children and children from marriage is not a new development. However, its acceptance is on the rise, and sadly, even among Christians. And as a result, this growing attitude has given couples something the Bible doesn’t even envision. Allow me to borrow from a piece Al Mohler wrote some time ago:

Couples are not given the option of chosen childlessness in the biblical revelation. To the contrary, we are commanded to receive children with joy as God’s gifts, and to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are to find many of our deepest joys and satisfactions in the raising of children within the context of the family. Those who reject children want to have the joys of sex and marital companionship without the responsibilities of parenthood. They rely on others to produce and sustain the generations to come.

These are serious words Christian couples would be wise to consider.

To those of you who have children, I want to leave you with the words of a woman – a mom – who wrote about the calling of motherhood. Her words can be extended to fathers as well.

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

How true her words are.

Note: Adoption is a wonderful option for growing a family, and I know many couples who have prayerfully pursued it, and with wonderful outcomes. Focus on the Family’s Wait No More program is a terrific resource for couples interested in finding out about the topic.

 

 

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Victoria Macaluso More than 1 year ago
I am a 22 year old Christian woman, and I don't like most children under the age of 7. Being around children that young give me anxiety, especially if they are crying babies. I would never abuse or neglect a child, and marriage isn't just about the idea of sex without responsibility to me. I would argue that I actually place more value on children because I'm choosing to not put them in a situation where they would not feel all the love that they should. I would be more than inclined to change my perspective on having kids if there were any scriptures cited. I know there were references to scripture, but I did not receive any indication of this perspective from the scripture. Thank you, Jim Daly. I love listening to your program! :)
joe bergstrom More than 1 year ago

--This is a fantastic topic to discuss within the Christian community!

However,  I must ask... how can an article titled "is intentional childlessness Biblical?" site ZERO BIBLICAL PROOF TEXTS?? This post literally did not give one bible verse to underpin its assertion.

My point: please don't appeal to Biblical authority and then simply give your own opinion.  Thanks!

Nate Chasteen More than 1 year ago
I don't think you need a specific set of "proof texts" to know what is right.  Not every situation in life is addressed in the Bible.  But knowing God, and what He says about so many other topics, we can easily figure out what is true and what isn't.  But to your point, God's thoughts on children and having children are covered quite well in Scripture.
Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@MIlgenfritz, It sounds like you've had a wonderful and blessed life but that doesn't mean that everyone is called to have that same kind of wonderful and blessed life.

"I had to ask myself 'Am I willing to trust that God knows me and my family better than I do and will only give me those children that He wants in my family'". Is every conception God's will? I was conceived out of wedlock as they say. Did God will that my parents have the pre-marital sex that resulted in my presence? I think that it's pretty clear that God lets his laws of nature operate. Sometimes that means that people will be born that he didn't intend and sometimes that means that people will die earlier than he intended.

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@kevin, "When someone claims the whole bible is not authoritative or simply wrong, there is no way to discuss this and make any progress." I never said that the whole Bible was not authoritative or that the whole thing was wrong, just certain isolated parts. And you believe that too unless you believe that I may own as many wives, concubines or slaves as I can afford. And that a women victimized by rape in the city should be put to death but not if the crime had occurred outside of the city. And that the perpetrator of such a hideous deed can avoid punishment by purchasing his victim for a stated amount of currency. And that if my daughter is not a virgin on her wedding day that I should kill her. Let's hope that you don't really believe the whole Bible to be true.

Miriam Ilgenfritz More than 1 year ago

--As the mother of 16 biological children, ages 5 -29, I feel qualified to comment.   When we had 5 children(ages 6 and under) we thought - how could one have any more time, energy,money, love ... to have more children. God was gracious and clearly showed us, it was not His plan for us to limit our family.  Now looking at my 16, some of whom are married, with grandchildren, who would I not have had?

God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply.  He repeated it to Noah.  Where in scripture does He ever say "Enough now,the earth is full" ?  

I had to ask myself "Am I willing to trust that God knows me and my family better than I do and will only give me those children that He wants in my family "  

Don't be afraid to trust God in this area.  It's an adventure!!

kevin skinner More than 1 year ago

--@Jadis, yes, we have all seen that this is a significant topic, prone to irritate some, and cause men to truly think.  Don't lose heart, it's not a waste of time.  Consider that not everyone chooses a denomination or belief system based on their preconceived beliefs.  Some people really do seek God through his word, and make difficult changes based on the revealed truth.  God does change people, don't discount that.

@nemo has quoted, "There are parts of the Bible that are very wrong".  The topic is, "Is Intentional Childlessness Biblical", so when someone claims the whole bible is not authoritative or simply wrong, there is no way to discuss this and make any progress.  I understand your point, but there is no higher authority than God's word.  The bible does not qualify itself with wrong parts, and right parts.  Quite the opposite, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@Jadis87, I had a very wise professor in college who used to say that the Bible is one big Rorschach test. What people say that it says tells you more about them than it tells you about the Bible. But the Bible isn't some amorphous blob. It has a definite shape and says certain things and doesn't say other things. The problem comes when people make a statement of faith that they believe the Bible is literally true. But then they bump into two problems. They will find that the Bible supports something horrible, like slavery, or they will find that it doesn't support some core belief of theirs, like that birth control is sinful. This sets up cognitive dissonance. And rather than let the idea of Biblical infallibility slip a little they deny that the thing says what it says. If you try to point out the offending passages they will accuse you of mockery. Or they will believe that it says things that it clearly doesn't.

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@kevin, that aside of mine that you quote is not mocking the Bible it's pointing out an very important truth. There are parts of the Bible that are very wrong. There are parts that are wonderfully right but that doesn't change the fact that some of the parts are very wrong.

But as you note, that's a slightly different question from what is being addressed here. It could be that intentional childlessness is un-Biblical but from a part of the Bible that is wrong. But we're not addressing that issue which is why that comment was an aside. The first question is what does the Bible say about it.

Saint Paul is quite clear, intentional childlessness is not only acceptable but it's superior. And he and Jesus were both intentionally childless. Now, you seem to want to argue that intentional childlessness is wrong for married persons but not wrong for un-maried ones but you have no Biblical basis for making that distinction. All you seem able to point to are various versus that say that children are a gift from God. If that has some bearing on intentional childlessness then it would apply to the married and the un-married alike.

Yellow, on the other hand, seems to want to argue that because we don't see birth control used in the Bible it is not a part of God's normal plan for sexuality. But then we don't see automobiles used in the Bible either. But we do see Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebekah in open marriages. Or perhaps by "reasoned reading of the Bible" she means reading the Bible in the light of her already decided upon values and convictions.

Eugene Rossi More than 1 year ago

--And with all due respect, people seem to be able to make the Bible say almost anything- that probably explains why there are over 30, 000 denominations world wide, not including "new age"  psuedo christian spin offs and branches of "the emerging church". While I respect different religious beliefs, the logic seems simple- believe in a god who agrees with your views on most moral and social/political issues that were influenced by art, culture, and most of all one's religious up bringing. In the end of the debates and bible-fights people believe what they feel like believing anyway, so it seems kinda pointless. I'm not trying to be rude, just stating my opinion seeing as everyone else has stated theirs.

Eugene Rossi More than 1 year ago

--In my opinion this discussion has been completely 100% pointless. Think about it- clearly some people believe in a god who doesn't mind if couples don't have kids, and such a belief is upsetting people who believe in a differenr god- both sides make theological truth claims, both claims cannot be true, and neither side will admit they are wrong. Now I see why people don't like discussing religion or politics.

kevin skinner More than 1 year ago

--@nemo, my earlier reply was based on your mockery of the bible.  

You stated on page 1 of these comments: - begin quote.

(But then the Bible does say that I can have sex for what ever reason that I please with as many of my wives, concubines and slaves that I choose with or without their consent so the Bible might not be a good source for moral advice.) – end quote.

I do not attempt to judge your salvation, but it seems quite clear that you do not believe the bible.  The topic is “Is Intentional Childlessness Biblical?”

My point is that the bible (our source of truth) is clear on the issue.  Your personal feelings, however sincere, do not change God’s word.

Karen Walker More than 1 year ago

--If motherhood is a calling, then so is fatherhood.  But they aren't treated equitably in religous culture.  Even this article starts with parenting but finishes with a tome on motherhood.  But it's true; in Western culture, most mothers spend a LOT more time with the kids than fathers do.  

Let's go back to the Fall.  Much has been done to relieve the toil associated with Adam's punishment.  The biggest I see is that most jobs have overtime requirements, required breaks and lunchtimes, workmen's compensation for injuries received, minimum wages, unemployment, even nice perks, benefits, promotions, incentives, etc.  That helps Adam have some boundaries, even flourish.  Eve's punishment has been minimized to pain in childbirth, as though it can be correct that Adam's punishment lasts his whole life while Eve's lasts only a few hours.  The truth is Eve's punishment takes place in the family, in the context of child-rearing, and lasts her whole life.  Much as been done to reduce her toil, but there is far to go and Christians are often NOT helping the discussion.  What I couldn't have done with a lunch break, sick day, or overtime when the kids were small!

Any reasoned reading of the Bible shows that having kids is God's normal plan for sexuality.  Birth control is a great tool for relieving the toil of Eve's punishment.  But planned childlessness is not the Biblical pattern, noble intentions notwithstanding.

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@kevin, And as a married Christian who has no children but doesn't use birth control let me just say this, you have a lot of gall condemning your fellow Christians who come to a prayerful decision to use birth control. That is a matter between them and their Lord and none of your business. Attend to your own logs in your own eyes.

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

---@kevin, "I can tell you are somewhat educated about the bible, but from your comments, you don't seem to believe the bible.  Perhaps you secretly want to believe in God, but want to see how reasonable it is first." Parts of the Bible I believe, parts I do not. On the whole I take it to be authoritative because I am a Christian in the fullest sense of the word. I'm not trying to find a reason to believe in a God because I already believe in the one true God. In all honesty, I started out a Biblical literalist but over time I began to see that the Bible never asks us to read it literally. There are things in there that are clearly wrong. I do not point out that the Bible supports "polygamy, concubines, and slavery" in jest but to give examples of places where the Bible is clearly wrong. Discovering which parts are dead wrong and which parts are dearly right is an essential part of the working of the Spirit. It is far more Bionically authentic to say that the Bible is wrong about slavery then to lie to ones self and the world and say that the Bible doesn't support slavery.

But that has no relevance to this discussion. If the Bible said that contraception is sinful then we could discuss if this was one of the good parts of the Bible or one of the bad parts. But it doesn't say that, anywhere. You see the creation of Life as God's, so do I. God doesn't need our agency or consent in conception but he chooses to seek them. He didn't just make Mary pregnant with our Lord, he asked her permission first. Women don't just  become pregnant and they have several ways to avoid it. There is no Biblical foundation for saying that some methods of avoiding pregnancy are permissible and others are not.

kevin skinner More than 1 year ago

--@nemo, we seem to be going in circles.  I am convinced that biblical marriage is designed to be open to procreation, and you are not.  I see the creation of life as God's domain, you see it as man's.  There is a major difference in celibacy and a contracepting marriage.  I see abundant, consistent direction from scripture that God intends marriage to be open to children, and I understand that you do not.

I can tell you are somewhat educated about the bible, but from your comments, you don't seem to believe the bible.  Perhaps you secretly want to believe in God, but want to see how reasonable it is first.  Your earlier comments about "bronze age" seem to imply that any belief in a God who existed during the bronze age is archaic and foolish.  Is that true?  Would God be more plausible in the "modern age"?  You make jest of polygamy, concubines, and slavery, as if to hold a higher ethic.  What then, is your worldview?  Have you personally researched biblical context and explanation of those ideas?  Would you like some resource to challenge your thinking?  Or is the bible disproved because you think God isn't fair?  

What would you do if you learned of an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving and merciful God, a God who created the universe gave his own Son as atonement for your sin?  What implications would it have for you personally?  God is holy, just, and righteous, but also merciful, patient, and loving.  You and I both have no hope outside of the bridge between God and man, Jesus Christ.  I truly hope you will consider the truth of the book you seem to have read from a distance.

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@kevin, "The immense anger of God at Onan was at least partly due to his contraceptive act." You're just making that up. That's kind of like saying that it is sinful to name your child Otis because the immense anger of God at Onan was at least partly due his name beginning with "O". As you note the real reason is that he married Tamar under false pretenses and treated he very cruelly considering the cultural context. Leaving her childless meant a very miserable and hungry old age. But I would say that it is very sinful to marry anyone under false pretenses.

Mathew 19 is a little bit confused. "A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife."  It talks a bit about divorce and then it talks approvingly about eunuchs. I suppose the message of the chapter is that you don't have to get married, and nothing is said about having children but it does say that divorce is bad.

Malachi 2:15 is about the sin of Judah. The section uses the metaphor of marriage to describe the relationship between God and his people. Don't reject the wife of your youth and God hates divorce are both pleas for Judah to not forsake the God of their fathers for the local pagan deities. Nonetheless, there is a reference to God desiring Godly offspring. that either applies universally or it does not. If it applies universally then Jesus sinned by not having Children, therefore it does not apply universally.

You keep doing the same thing over and over. You take arguments from scripture that bolster the argument that all people should have children and misapply them to just married persons. If it is legitimate for Jesus to avoid procreation by using the method of remaining single why is it immoral for some couple to use another method?

kevin skinner More than 1 year ago

--@nemo, You have said: "You seem to have confused two very distinct questions: Are all people required to try to have children? and Is the use of birth control permitted?"

The answer to the first question is:  No. The command to be fruitful and multiply (from Genesis, and confirmed in Matthew 19 by Jesus) was given only to the couple, not every single (celibate) person.  There is a biblical case for the marriage union to be a "one flesh" model, open to the children that God brings.

The answer to the second question is: No.  The reasoning is as described in so many places above.  Historical, biblical, practical,...  

@nemo, you also said, "There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that says that birth control is not permitted. "  

This is a bold claim.  Have you read the story of Onan in Genesis 39, have you considered Malachi 2:15?  

The immense anger of God at Onan was at least partly due to his contraceptive act.  Understanding his require role as kinsman redeemer, we see that he did not fulfill it.  Additionally, although the punishment for failing to fulfill this role was clearly laid out in Deuteronomy 25:9, God saw that Onan had done more than simply fail to be the kinsman redeemer.  Onan was treating his sister-in-law as a prostitute; using her for sexual relations, but withholding his seed that was clearly due her.  I see abundant scripture confirming God's intent for marriage and sexual relations.  To ask "where is such and such perversion specifically forbidden?" is the wrong idea.  The ideal and intent is given, not every possible deviance is specifically stated.  

Kenneth Petersen More than 1 year ago

--Lisa, I'm one of those OB/GYN physicians (recently retired) you wrote about who don't understand how birth control pills work and am paid to prescribe pills--NOT!  The internet, contrary to your statement, is full of biased opinions and inaccurate medical information.  While it is possible to have failures with oral contraception, the mechanism for contraception is a shut-down of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian feedback system which results in  failure to ovulate.

Some other points to ponder:

1)  Twice in the Bible (after creation of man & woman and after the Genesis flood) there is instruction to populate the earth.  In these instances it was obviously important for procreation.    The context would indicate that this instruction was for a specific time.

2)  Those who state that contraception is never permitted, are sinning when they say no to their spouse's request for sex, if they do not have intercourse daily, or when they use "natural" family planning since that could be the time that God has plans for the creation of a new life.

3) Children are indeed a blessing (My wife and I are blessed with two girls and lost one who was born prematurely), however the Biblical verses stating that they are a blessing doesn't equate to a command to have them or provide a number that is God's will (? 3, 4, 6, 12....) for each couple to have.

There can be no debate from God's Word that man is born in sin and only through the grace of God and the gift of salvation through the shed blood of His Son, Christ Jesus, can we be saved and brought back into a relationship with God. Other issues are not as clear and theologians differ as to interpretation.  Rather than let these issues polarize, we should study the Bible, form our own Biblical convictions, and be gracious toward those who differ from us.   God clearly teaches in the New Testament that we are to love God, love people, and to "Go into all the world..." to reach the lost for Him. These are the issues that are really important as we seek to do God's will.

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@ kevin, You seem to have confused two very distinct questions: Are all people required to try to have children? and Is the use of birth control permitted?

Clearly, the answer to the first question is no. Lots of people who choose to not have children through the method of not getting married are considered particularly holy. Jesus comes to mind. And I get that this is something that you also disagree with.  But I've noticed an odd trend of people trying to say that birth control is not permitted by giving the arguments for why all people should try to have children. God opens the womb? If that's a reason that some people should have children then it's a reason that all should. You live in rich country? So then everybody in that rich country should be required to reproduce.

(I should make an important point about that rich country bit. I live in one of those, a very rich one but with a huge disparity between the rich and the poor. Health care is readily available to the rich but unavailable to many of the working class. And it turns out that childbirth in my county is more expensive than in other countries with higher overall costs of living. Moreover, when the poor and working class have children and find themselves in financial difficulty and avail themselves of what little public assistance there is there is much political backlash. I keep hearing the refrain that the poor shouldn't have children that they can't afford.)

There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that says that birth control is not permitted. Augustine, and those that followed him, were arguing from Aristotle and not from the Bible. The idea is that everything has a purpose and that a virtuous thing works towards its purpose. The purpose of sex is reproduction therefore virtuous sex works towards reproduction. This is wrong so many ways. And so wrong that even Rome has abandoned it and now allows for some types of birth control. Things don't have only one purpose and it is not wrong for things to work towards other goals. The purpose of a flower is to reproduce the plant. Or is the purpose of a flower to bring pleasure to the viewer? Or did God create the flower so that the bumble bee might have something to eat? If the flower is admired and the bee fed but the plant not reproduced is the flower not virtuous? Is there no good in it?

Saint Paul teaches us that children are a burden and should be avoided by avoiding marriage. But if your sexual appetites make this annoying then go ahead and marry. At the time that he was writing we didn't have modern methods of birth control. He couldn't tell us to get married to slake our sexual desires but use birth control to avoid those burdensome children because that birth control didn't exist. But in this day and time another option exists that fulfills both of Saint Paul's requirements. We can satisfy our desires and avoid those pesky burdens/blessings.

kevin skinner More than 1 year ago

--1) People have responded, "We feel led by God to not have kids".  My reply would be, "How can you be sure you heard correctly?  What does the bible say?"  See Genesis 1:29, Malachi 2:15.

2) Several commentors have mistakenly used Paul's option for marriage to apply to children.  Paul absolutely links children with marriage.  The choice is whether to marry or not, not whether a married could should pursue children.  If you can be celibate, go for it.  If not, marry and receive children as God provides.  

3) The stewardship defense is not biblical either.  God is Jehova Jireh, He provides!  You can not trade foreign missions for idolotry of the sexual act.  (By idolotry, I mean puttting self in the place of God, over procreation, which is His alone).  We are the richest culture in all history, and yet so many believers claim they can't afford to have children.  Really?  Even so, is it a matter of planning, or trusting?  Does God require you to get all the details in order first, then obey?  Once again, look to the word, not your own understanding.  As this article's title implies, we are asking, "Is it biblical"?, so let's look to the scripture.  

4) How do the church fathers over the first 1900 years interpret the sexual act?  Were they all wrong, and only now we have suddenly evolved beyond trusting God? Go read Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and on and on.  This is an air-tight historical fact.

5) May I reiterate, if God opens and closes the womb (and He certainly does), when do we ever get out of his way and let him?  We pretend to trust him when we want a child, then take control back on our terms.  We have used God as a magic rabbit's foot.  

6) How selfish to receive your own life though no action of your own, but deny the lineage that God may create through you.  Children are not for you, they are for God.  

Eugene Rossi More than 1 year ago

--I am doing the best I can to be respectful and not offend people. Most common is the phrase, "never discuss religion or politics", yet most of the blog discussions here at Focus are about those two things, so it isn't  very easy. With that being said.....

The Gospel as I have heard it preached in most  evangelical circles in a variety of denominations over the last 20 or so years of my life has been on the surface very simple - Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-7), there is no way I can earn salvation, for it is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and true faith results in work I do (James 2:17).

If I live by faith in Jesus Christ chances are I will not really go about my business thinking that just because Jesus died for my sins and I trusted Him as savior means I can live however I want - that would be beyond reason and would represent the antithesis of moral responsibility, and in all objectivity, no reasonable person really thinks they can or should just live however they want (moral relativism).

For that obvious fact, we are often told to follow the straight and narrow road to eternal life (Luke 13:22-25) and that not everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and does the literal work itself will actually be saved (Matthew 7:21-23) and Jesus actually calls them workers of lawlessness who merely thought they were true Christians, but were in fact fooling themselves all along. In Matthew 25 it seems to shift to a more utilitarian judgment – the goats on His left are sentenced to eternal doom because they failed to help those in need and were arguably more selfish, while the sheep on the right are granted eternal life for doing  the opposite. But an often overlooked fact is the sheep on His right don’t even seem to realize that they have served Christ (and it is interesting what C.S. Lewis believed about this).

The over-arching problem in question here in this discussion seems to be linked to a phrase I've often heard said by many Christians, "Salvation is free, but it will cost you everything", yet the Christians I talk to say they have assurance of salvation.

If it is as simple as pleasing God through faith and losing our selfish desires, how does one indeed have the assurance that they have shown enough faith to please God or “died” to enough of their selfish “worldly” desires?  Perhaps by having 3 kids knowing I cannot afford to give them a good home? Even if I were to arrive at such a conclusion with assurance, couldn’t that in itself be viewed as a form of egoism, seeing as in all of it I am in some way thinking of my own salvation and justification before God?

I say this because many of my Christian friends seem almost paranoid in their avoidance of "the world", arriving at moral conclusions regarding art, music, clothing, books, and even types of food and exercise regiments, and such conclusions are justified by referencing abstract Biblical terms such as "faith", "holiness", "the self", or "the world". I find this very confusing. One still may say, "God is leading me" or "that's between you and God", but such theories again lend themselves to relativism, and someone could make an argument that I am not a real Christian because I am doing something they think is against God's will, such as not having children.

But it seems as though we are getting somewhere, and I myself have grown tired of this particular debate on childlessness. Perhaps it would be best to move the discussion to Daly's other post regarding questions that children ask about Christianity.

Jeremy Bialek More than 1 year ago

--I think it is rather simple. Most of the Word points to us choosing to please God through faith and the death of our selfish desires (carrying our cross daily). Many of the arguments against having children are based in a lack of faith (won't have enough money, won't be good parents, will negatively affect our marriage, etc.) & selfishness (can't keep our standard of living, hobbies, schedules, etc.), which ultimately points to our love of controlling this life. Us-control is the antithesis of God-control. Is He Lord or am I Lord? I don't expect the world to desire/choose children. The world often rejects the greatest blessing we are all offered - forgiveness + eternal life + a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ - through His sacrifice. Why would it accept other blessings/rewards of His (e.g. children)? More shocking to me is how His church is more likely to follow the counsel & example of the world by rejecting the incredible blessing of children.

Eugene Rossi More than 1 year ago

--@kevin

Sorry. I'll rephrase that last comment I made.

I'm not necessarily saying its absurd to make personal decisions based on one's faith or religion if it is how you relate to God and its not hurting anyone. I'm simply saying that based on what I've read from CS Lewis and his form of Christianity I can't see him preaching to people that God is mad at them and is going to punish them for not having kids.

You will find that many pastors actually condemn CS Lewis as a "false prophet" for his views on salvation and Christianity. Personally, I have yet to discover the right version of Christianity- there are so many.

In my humble opinion, I find it hard to believe in a God who rejects people for not believing in a set of doctrines and rules or simply for disagreeing with him over petty issues

In my humble opinion, I don't think people feel very respected when someone tells them to start living a certain way because their god says so.

In my humble opinion, the world would be better off if we were more united and less divided over these things, and based more decisions on science and reason as opposed to fighting over the Bible and trying to make people to live by a certain version of Christianity.

I don't think its a big deal to not have kids. I think couples, married or not, childless or not, homosexual or heterosexual can love each other and contribute to society.

Of course, When one believes they've got the truth because God said so, there is no reason to listen to any amount if evidence, so what's the point of me saying another word?

Gina Schreiber More than 1 year ago

--I think that those of us that are single and childfree have a great opportunity to pray for those that are married and theat have children.  We can connect with and support them  in their day to day lives.  I am a single mom of one, I had my child when I was 29 and for a long time struggled to find someone and my parents were not supportive at all and though I "wasn't trying hard enough".  I did have a stressfull childhood and did observe those those that were single and childfree as that could be an option for me. I think child rearing in these days requires much time, effort, and money and that the long people are taking to get married the older they might not want to be as they are raising their children.  

kevin skinner More than 1 year ago

--@Jadis87, we are in agreement that respecting diverse backgrounds is a good thing.  But fighting for the truth and teaching what the bible says is not disrespectful.  My position is based on the bible, which I don't think is absurd.  I was simply making the point that the historical position on birth control is solidly anti-contraception.  But the merits of the anti-contraception position can stand on the bible alone, regardless of the overwhelming historical support.  Genesis 1:28, Matthew 19:4-6, Malachi 2:15, Psalm 127:3-5, Psalm 139:13, 1 Co. 6:19-20, Job 10:10-12.  

The biblical stance is that God opens and closes the womb, that he created marriage because he desires godly offspring.  Notice Malachi 2:15 does not say he simply created sex because he desires godly offspring, but that he made the two one (in marriage) for the offspring.  There is a clear inseparable intention by God that marriage is for God to bring new life.  There are secondary benfits of marriage, but God's intent is clear.