Pro-Life or Anti-Death?

Against killing babies.  Against killing old people.  Against killing oneself.   All laudable causes no doubt. But for Life.  Pro-life? 

No doubt to be anti-death is in one sense pro-life. But there is no doubt that those in the pro-life community are known mostly for that they are against, namely death. And there are many reasons for this, but I feel there is one more reason that is rarely admitted. There it a uneasiness is talking about being pro-life is the positive sense because of one topic. Above is the actual screen shot from a recent search of mine on the Lutheran’s for Life website. I once asked the Director if they had any resources on the topic of whether Birth Control was appropriate for Christians in general. He said, “No. We don’t want to get into that at all.” And from my search, it seems that this is still the case.

No doubt, there is a difference between abortion and thwarting birth through artificial (or even so called “natural” means) biologically. But we must admit there is a similar attitude or ideology at work in either action. The shared idea governing both choices is that children, at least at certain times and certain situations, are not blessings but an inconveniences. Truth is, many inside the pro-life movement are much more anti-death than they are pro-life. They are against killing while still being anti-life based on their own reproductive choices.

After all it is hard to genuinely claim to be pro-life by protesting at the abortion clinic when you then go home and figure out how to most effectively make sure no life is created in your bedroom. It is hard to to convincingly say you are being consistently for life in telling a young girl to give birth to her unintended child shortly after popping the pill which makes clear your intention is to not give birth. Its is inconsistent it seems to me to say “yes, yes” to everyone else while saying “no, no” to God.

It just seems to me that if we want to genuinely claim that are pro-life and gives a consistent witness to the sanctity of life, we must be for all life. We must be open to all life that God might create, rather then just that which he already has created. Comments?

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Marriage and Family, Sexuality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Pro-Life or Anti-Death?”

  1. Erich Heidenreich DDS Says:

    Your post is right on the money. I posted similar comments on our blog back in January 2008.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Complex territory for sure. I personally don’t believe that abortion is a good solution, but I don’t think that the choice to use birth control would be in conflict with my faith. Yes, I believe that children are a gift from God. I believe that everything I have is a gift from God, and just as Jesus taught through parables I am to be a responsible steward of his gifts. I believe that fertility is a gift. Just as god wants me to make healthy financial choices, I think he also wants me to make healthy reproductive choices. If I’m not pregnant, to me that means bringing life into the world when I am in a place where I have the ability to meet the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of that child. I do also believe in stepping out on faith. Just having had a baby, I don’t know how I would afford another one right now. And it might test my sanity. But I do believe if God gave me that gift, he would also provide me a way to nurture that gift, just as he provided for the sparrow. However, I’m not going to try to get pregnant right now, just as I’m not going to go by a gazillion dollar house right now, and say “eh, whatever, God will provide.” Because, in the end, I think it’s all sort of academic anyway. I don’t think there is a person on this Earth that God did not will into being – not one person that isn’t part of his creation plan. If God wants something to happen badly enough, there’s not a pill in the world that can stop it. I have known people who got pregnant while using the pill and even a couple who got pregnant after a vasectomy. I can see why the church doesn’t want to get into it in a way because there are a lot of tangential issues that arise out of this discussion…when people talk about birth control they usually think pill, condoms, etc. What about vasectomies? If we shouldn’t interfere in reproduction, essentially letting whatever happens happen, what is the flip side to that? Does that mean infertile couples shouldn’t use hormone therapy or IVFs to artificially aid in conception??? Of course not. I think we should be responsible stewards of our bodies and our health, and that sometimes pharmaceuticals or surgeries are a part of that process. However, I also believe that once you are pregnant, you are a parent, and then you are responsible for the stewardship over two lives and should make choices that best preserve both of those lives which is why I’m against abortion.

  3. Seeking Says:

    I think the average number of children is 1.5 per family in our very affluent LCMS congregation. No one has more than three children. I want my kids to learn that having a large family is a real option. I don’t want them to feel pressured to “plan” their families. I don’t want them to internalize an unspoken expectation that no one has large families any more; it just isn’t done. I want them to know that refraining from contraception entirely is consistent with their faith and they should not feel it is in any way irresponsible. I feel my generation was pressured to have small families and the church did not really counter the secular birth control culture. Now, some of us feel great regret. The shine didn’t wear off our material wealth until it was too late. So, if you have some suggestions for Biblical teaching on the subject, please pass it along. It will be used and appreciated.

  4. life Says:

    Unfortunately this same kind of logic could be used against prolonging someones life by giving them adequate medical care. If somebody is seriously ill should we just let it take its course and trust that God will heal them without medicine? Forgo all forms of cancer treatment, etc. Because by using these methods we are using the gift of modern medicine to prolong someones life, but then are we not accepting God’s timing in death?
    To say that by using any means of birth control is somehow not allowing God to create life is a bit arrogant. No form of birth control will get in the way of God’s plan. Nothing is 100% effective. But just like other modern medicine it has its benefits and can help provide a child with the best possible life.
    Abstinence is also the avoidance of creating life, is that wrong too?
    God has provided us with many gifts, and they can be abused certainly, but that does not inherently make them wrong. Ultimately the decision relies on God, but He has provided us with a means to be responsible in our decisions.

  5. mom Says:

    I’ve read on the blogosphere contraception compared to eating moderately (being a responsible steward of God’s gifts and making wise decisions–arguments similar to Jennifer and life’s). Then someone responded to this defense of BC with the best analogy I’ve read yet: A contracepted union between a man and his wife is like the bulemic’s misuse (abuse?) of food. Sex is for mutual physical and emotional pleasure and comfort, and for procreation. Not either/or, but both. Food is for comfort, pleasure, and the nutrition and sustaining of the body (meals also have social use). A contracepting couple rejects the whole gift (including possibility of a child) for the immediate aspect, pleasure and comfort; likewise, the bulemic rejects the whole gift (nutrition and sustinance).

    Please do not make the argument that not existing is better than existing under less-than-ideal conditions. As Christians we know that this life is but a breath. The children God grants us, out of his Love and Mercy, are His, not ours. You can not compare a child with an eternal soul to a house or any other material possession, simply because our children are not “ours.”

    Also, do not compare the prevention of children to the prevention of cancer or other disease. BC is not a “medicine.” In fact, the physical effect the Pill has on women may be detrimental.

  6. Seeking Says:

    “God has provided us with many gifts, and they can be abused certainly, but that does not inherently make them wrong.”

    If average family size were going from 4 kids to 3 kids, one could at least argue that it isn’t being abused. However when the average number of children is less than 2 per family there is no way to make that argument. Europe will lose 75% of its native population by 2100 because its birthrate is so low. That is a recipe for social collapse. It is like the prodigal son who wants his inheritance to squander it rather than pass it on to the next generation. It is a shame that the civilization of Europe will be gone at the end of this century because the people just wanted more now rather than provide for their posterity.

  7. Philip Hoppe Says:

    @Erich – Thank you. I appreciate your comment and blog. I look forward to working with you.
    @Jennifer – Thanks for your comments. You say that if God gave you that gift he would provide. And that is the whole point. There is simply nowhere in scripture that suggests that we are to be stewards of childbearing in the way you suggest. Rather, we are to be open to God blessings, and receive them as he gives. While there is no promise that God will provide the means to get that huge house, there is the promise that God will provide the basic needs of each life. And while it is true that if God wanted to give a child he could do so even in spite of a pill, that is far from reason to seek to not receive his gifts. It would be like saying God can bring all people to faith even thought we hide the Word of God away. He could, but it is not the normal way he has revealed he works. And yes I would suggest that we need to refrain from many of the means the world gives to help fertility. That is a another post altogether though. Better to follow the model of the women on scripture and begs such blessing of God in prayer.
    @Seeking – Your words are so pointed they hurt. I fell the pain in your words. And I hope you continue to admit this truth. It will save many from experiencing you pain which is a wonderful gift to give. As far as resources, I would suggest a book called the Bible and Birth Control by Charles Provan. Click here. It is not perfect, but wonderful. For general readings, you could click on the tag in the left column that says birth control to see more of what I have written. Also, check out
    @life – Thanks also for commenting. There is a major difference here. One thing (children) is always talked about as blessing. The other (sickness) is spoken always in connection to sin and brokenness. The bible never speaks of using something to thwart birth in a positive way, but does speak of using the medicine of the day (oil and wine) to heal sickness. And I would think arrogance is rightly defined as suggested that I can make better decision that God when it comes to family size. Also, is it our goal to give a child the best possible life, or simply to give it the life that God provides?

  8. Philip Hoppe Says:

    @mom – Thanks. I think I repeated some of your points because I has not read your comment in full yet. The obvious connection between marriage, sexuality, and children is so often missed in our day.

  9. mom Says:

    Yes. I realized in college that Christians have no grounds to argue against homosexual unions when they themselves separate sex from procreation.

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