Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #98

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

If any of you know of Fr. Mitch Pacwa, I want to tell you about a documentary DVD that has been made of his life. I have not yet seen it, but I’ve heard it is very good. In the film, Fr. Pacwa takes you on his life’s journey from early childhood to the present. He opens up in interviews about his struggles with his parents as a child, his girlfriends in High School, and the circumstances that led him into the priesthood. And, in between the interviews you get to see slices of Fr. Mitch’s every day life – hunting, working out at the gym, etc. Anyone who is a fan of Fr. Mitch, or any young man thinking of the priesthood, should like this movie. If you would like to check out a trailer for the film, and/or get a copy, go to: www.saveriofilms.com.


I’m waiting on a reply from Pastor Eddie Walker to my last newsletter. I predict that after admitting his interpretations of the Bible could be wrong, and Catholic interpretations could be right, in this next reply he will probably back away from the consequences of that admission that I pointed out to him in this last newsletter. If so, then that will basically end the conversation. If, however, he surprises me – which he has done twice so far – and addresses head on the arguments that I made last time, then we might go another round or two.

In the meantime, though, I am going to pick up where I left off in Issue #95 on the subject of contraception. I’ll finish my explanation of why contraception is wrong, and then get into why Natural Family Planning (NFP) is not wrong.


I want to finish my argument against contraception, by simply noting that all Christian faith traditions – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox – used to believe that contraception is morally evil, and I would like to quote some Protestant theologians as evidence of this:

Martin Luther: “Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen…Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed…He was inflamed with the basest spite and hatred…Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed.”

John Calvin: “The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous.”

Adam Clarke (Methodist – 18th century): “The sin of self pollution, which is generally considered to be that of Onan, is one of the most destructive evils ever practiced by fallen man. In many respects it is far worse than common whoredom, and has in its train more awful consequences.”

Johann Lange (Reformed – 19th century): Onan’s sin, a deadly wickedness, an example to be held in abhorrence, as condemnatory, not only of secret sins of self-pollution [masturbation], but also of all similar offenses in sexual relations, and even in marriage itself…It is a crime against the image of God, and a degradation below the animal. Onan’s offense, moreover, as committed in marriage, was a most unnatural wickedness, and a grievous wrong."

Thomas Scott (Anglican – 18th century): Onan’s habitual conduct, was not only unnatural and detestable in itself, but full of envy and malice, and not without something of the nature of murder in it; for the same principle would have induced him to murder a child born to him but accounted his brother’s, if he could have done it with impunity."

Mr. Scott clearly saw that the contraceptive mentality leads to the abortion mentality and the infanticide mentality.

It wasn’t until the Anglican’s Lambeth Conference in 1930 that any Christian faith tradition approved of contraception. The 1930 Lambeth Conference approved of contraception only in “rare” circumstances, but the hole had been punched in the dike. Even though most Protestant denominations condemned the decision of the Lambeth
Conference at the time, within 20 or 30 years, pretty much all of them had changed their teaching on contraception. The Catholic Church stood alone on this issue.

Aldous Huxley, a British writer who was actually an atheist, wrote his book, “Brave New World,” as a response to the Anglican decision. In this novel, the “utopian” world of the future features promiscuous sex, human embryos grown in hatcheries [think test-tube babies], the separation of sex from reproduction, and so on. It’s pretty prophetic. In other words, here is an atheist, using principles of natural law, who clearly recognizes, back in 1932, what the wide-spread acceptance of contraception will lead to. If you haven’t read the novel, please pick up a copy.

On to Natural Family Planning (NFP). The argument is often made that there is no difference between contraception and Natural Family Planning…at least, when NFP is used to avoid a pregnancy. The argument is that since the end is the same – no pregnancy – then the means to the end – whether NFP or contraception – are morally equivalent.

Well, let’s look at an example and see if the means to an end matter, even when the end is the same. Let’s say we have two men, both of whom are the main breadwinners in their family. They both work at jobs where the desired end of their work is to provide support to their wives and children. One of them works at a bank. However, the other works at robbing banks. So, the end is the same – they both support their wife and children – but the means are different. So, are the means to the end morally equivalent, since the end is the same? Obviously not. One means of supporting your family is moral, the other is immoral.

So, I believe I can safely say that the means to an end do indeed matter. That even though the end is the same, different means to that end can indeed differ in terms of their moral standing.

Now, let’s look at NFP and contraception, specifically. Are they different and, if so, how?

First, what is contraception? Contraception – which means contra, or against, conception – is the deliberate frustration of the natural processes that occur in physical relations between a man and a woman. Contraception basically works by either causing the “spilling” of the man’s seed, or by interrupting the natural cycles of the woman and preventing ovulation. (Note: the birth control pill has both contraceptive and abortifacient properties – it either prevents ovulation (contraceptive), or, if ovulation and then conception occur, it causes changes to the lining of the uterus making it impossible for the brand new human being to implant in its mother’s uterus, thereby causing it to die (abortifacient)). In other words, contraception is the deliberate attempt to use a good given by God (physical relations between a husband and a wife), yet frustrate one of the God-given purposes of that good – the bearing of children. It intentionally separates the life-giving and love-giving aspects of relations between a man and a woman.

Contraception is akin to bulimia. With bulimia, someone will eat a big meal, but then frustrate the God-given purpose of eating – to provide nourishment to the body – by intentionally causing that meal to be regurgitated. They want the pleasure of eating, but not the results. With contraception, they want the pleasure of sexual relations, but not the results.

NFP, on the other hand, in no way interferes with the natural God-given processes that occur between a man and a woman. The man’s seed is not “spilled.” The woman’s natural cycles are not interrupted. Everything is just as God decreed it to be.

Now, someone might say, “But, if you deliberately have sexual relations only during the part of the woman’s cycle where she is infertile, then it is equivalent to ‘spilling your seed.’”

Well, my answer to that is to ask a series of questions: Is it immoral for a husband and wife to have sexual relations at any time during a woman’s cycle? The answer to that, is of course, “No.” Next question: Does God require of us that we have as many children as we are physically capable of having, or does He recognize that there are times when it is necessary for us to temporarily abstain from having children? I don’t know of any theologian, Catholic or Protestant, who says God requires of us to have as many children as we are physically capable of having. Next question: Since God does not require of us that we have as many children as it is absolutely possible for us to have from a physical standpoint, does He then provide us with a moral means whereby we can temporarily abstain from having children when we have sufficient reason to do so? I believe the answer to that question is, “Yes.” I believe the answer to that question is, “Yes,” because God has plainly given us a natural means by which to avoid pregnancies – carefully considering the woman’s natural cycles of fertility. Last question: Does the Bible give us any indication as to whether or not contraceptive methods are acceptable in God’s eyes? The answer is, “Yes.” Again, the story of Onan in Genesis 38 that I discussed in Issue #95 and to which the Protestant theologians I mention above refer to. And we see, quite clearly, from the Bible that God is not pleased with contraceptive practices. The Bible shows us they result in death.

So, to sum up these questions and answers: It is not immoral for a husband and wife to have sexual relations during the infertile period of a woman’s cycle; God does not require us to have as many babies as it is theoretically possible for us to have – He recognizes that there are times when foregoing a pregnancy may be necessary; as such, He must have given us some morally-acceptable way to at least temporarily abstain from having children; and He has shown us, in the Bible, that there are immoral ways to abstain from having children. So, is there a difference between NFP and contraception? You bet there is. Furthermore, contraceptive methods, as we see in Genesis 38, lead to death.

And we can see in our own times that death does indeed come from contraception. Physical death in the form of AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases that flourish because of promiscuous sex made possible by contraception and the widespread acceptance and practice of homosexual sex that is the natural consequence of separating the unitive (love-giving) aspect of sexual relations from the procreative (life-giving) aspects of sexual relations. Spiritual death that results from unrestrained lusts and sexual desires that are unleashed when the natural consequences of sex are separated from the sexual act itself. Men treating women as mere objects – within marriage and without – for their sexual gratification. Widespread pornography. Pre-marital sex. Extra-marital sex. The death of marriages. The death of nations and of peoples as their populations implode because of declining birth rates. The death of millions of unborn babies as the contraceptive mentality – the anti-life mentality – leads directly to the abortion mentality, and the deaths of millions of already born children as the abortion mentality leads directly to the infanticide mentality. The acceptance of contraception also leads to the basest of perversions – child pornography, pedophilia, bestiality, and so on. All of this results from the widespread acceptance of contraception. Death, death, perversion, and more death.

What else does contraception do? Well, since the most common contraceptive used is the birth control pill (and, lest anyone should write, the pill is also abortifacient, but most women who use it do not realize this), then we have millions upon millions of women chemically polluting their bodies. The birth control pill has led to all sorts of ill health effects for women, not the least being rising rates of infertility. Think about it. A woman who uses birth control pills is chemically telling her ovaries to basically shut down their egg-producing function – sometimes for 10 or 15 years or so. Then, all of a sudden she wants to have a baby and she expects that her ovaries will just kick right in after years and years of chemical abuse and inactivity? Sure they will…

Now, let’s look at what happens with NFP. With NFP, the love-giving and life-giving aspects of sexual relations are not separated. There is no natural outgrowth from NFP of all the horrendous consequences mentioned above that result from contraception. The NFP mentality, one of working within God’s design to temporarily avoid a pregnancy, does not lead to any of the consequences that the use of contraception does. And, even if NFP was widely misused, does anyone think it – with its built in safeguards against unrestrained sexual relations – would lead to the sexual excesses that contraception has led to? Ain’t no way!

And when I mention the possibility of NFP being misused, what I mean is this: As with anything, it can be misused for ill purposes. If a couple uses NFP to avoid having children on a more or less permanent basis, for reasons that are not “serious” – in other words, if they have a contraceptive mentality, even if they do not use contraception…if they have an anti-life mentality…then their use of NFP would be immoral. NFP is to be used when there are grave or serious reasons for avoiding a pregnancy…it is not to be used as a “natural” alternative to contraception. But, again, even if it is misused, the requirements of NFP – the periodic abstinence, the communication required between man and woman, and so on – keep some check on the passions, so that there would not be the same consequences as what happens when contraception releases the passions from all restraint.

I will close by saying this: Contraception seeks the pleasure of a God-given good, while deliberately frustrating the God-given consequences of that good. NFP, abstains from a God-given good, for a time, to avoid the consequences of that good. Again, it’s akin to bulimia vs. fasting. When one fasts – let’s say you skip lunch for a while – to lose weight, you abstain from the pleasure of eating so as to temporarily avoid the natural consequences (taking on additional calories) of eating. You also train your will to control your passions, as you do with NFP and periodic periods of abstinence. With bulimia, you enjoy the pleasure of eating, and then participate in the unnatural act of intentionally throwing up what you have just eaten in order to avoid the consequences of eating. Essentially the same thing with contraception.

NFP vs. Contraception – are they the same? I don’t think so.

In Conclusion

Well, I hope this made some sense. As always, all feedback will be read, even if I can’t respond to all of it.

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Apologetics for the Masses