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Author Topic: Orthodoxy's view on contraception?  (Read 26248 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #90 on: May 12, 2010, 06:17:08 PM »

How certain are you that this is the only motivation for using what you call artificial birth control?

Indeed. Let's posit that, for example, a woman undergoes multiple cesarean sections because there are multiple complications with the vaginal deliveries of several infants. After having two or three of these, her doctor informs her that to have additional children would endanger her life and safety, because her uterine wall will likely rupture from the multiple incisions. In other words, it would be suicide to have anymore kids.

Are her and the husband then forever forbidden to engage in sexual activity, knowing that they would have to use some form on contraception (be it a vasectomy or at least condoms) to ensure the safety of the wife's life? In this scenario, it has nothing to do with avoiding children, but rather has to do with protecting life while seeking to retain the intimate bonds of affection in marital relations.

First, you continue to assume that artificial birth control is the only effective means of precluding conception. That's a false assumption.

Second, if impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?

You see, anytime we go against God's natural will and order, we cause ourselves harm. That's my point.

Rather than looking at it from the negative ("God forbids this and that," etc), we should look at it from the positive. Life is a blessing, children are a blessing, sex is a blessing, marriage is a blessing- and they all go together. Satan always wants us to see God and His laws as burdens, but they are actually liberations.


Selam
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« Reply #91 on: May 12, 2010, 06:24:44 PM »

I am willing to discuss it, as I have been. Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.

I don't think I can speak to "Orthodox teaching" anymore as every Orthodox seems to have a different opinion!  Cheesy However, so far as I have read, the Church Fathers did not make distinctions such as natural vs. artificial or active vs. passive. Those who spoke against contraception spoke against the act of having sex with the intention of avoiding the creation of a child. The condemnation, when it was made, included "natural" birth control methods known to the ancients along with the "artificial" ones. It was the intention that the Fathers focused on, not the method. If your intention was to have sex while avoiding the possibility (or probability) or procreation, then (if they spoke on the subject at all) they considered you in the wrong. If my computer hadn't died I could supply you with some quotes, but alas, all my files were lost a few months ago, and I still haven't recovered the data.
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« Reply #92 on: May 12, 2010, 06:25:46 PM »

Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.
I'm certain that I never said, nor do I think anyone has said, that your comments or thoughts are heretical. You stated them, however, in a way that clearly implied you considered them to be absolutely true.

But absoluteness has an extremely elusive quality to it, as my questions about your definition of artificial quickly demonstrated.  The OP asked a question about our faith.  Your answer was clearly intended to communicate that there is only one correct answer.  With that conclusion, I vehemently disagree.

Chrevbel and Alveus,

I am not a Pope. I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation." I simply stated what is natural and unnatural, and that artificial forms of birth control stem from an anti-life mentality. I gave an opinion which I believe is very Orthodox, and I said that I will recant if I am promoting anything heretical.  


Selam
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« Reply #93 on: May 12, 2010, 06:30:17 PM »

I am willing to discuss it, as I have been. Still waiting for someone to show me how my original comments are heretical or out of line with Orthodox teaching.

I don't think I can speak to "Orthodox teaching" anymore as every Orthodox seems to have a different opinion!  Cheesy However, so far as I have read, the Church Fathers did not make distinctions such as natural vs. artificial or active vs. passive. Those who spoke against contraception spoke against the act of having sex with the intention of avoiding the creation of a child. The condemnation, when it was made, included "natural" birth control methods known to the ancients along with the "artificial" ones. It was the intention that the Fathers focused on, not the method. If your intention was to have sex while avoiding the possibility (or probability) or procreation, then (if they spoke on the subject at all) they considered you in the wrong. If my computer hadn't died I could supply you with some quotes, but alas, all my files were lost a few months ago, and I still haven't recovered the data.


Right. That's why I said earlier that I'm not sure what my Church teaches regrding natural birth control. I think you are correct about the intentions, which is really the crux of my point. Satan is always trying to plant seeds in our minds that Life is bad, babies are burdens, children are chores, etc. So I think that we have to fight against that. I definitely struggle with it myself.


Selam
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« Reply #94 on: May 12, 2010, 06:33:22 PM »

I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?
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« Reply #95 on: May 12, 2010, 06:43:44 PM »

I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?


None. But I am not the Pope. I am only an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, promoting the beliefs of my Church. Most people here are EO, and maybe their Churches teach that artificial birth control is a subjective matter to be decided by married couples and their Priests. But I believe in the objective Teachings of my Faith, without apology.


Selam
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« Reply #96 on: May 12, 2010, 07:56:05 PM »

For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam

Gebre,

It's not what you say is a bunch of "bunk." I just believe that it's a pastoral issue because this is not a black and white issue.

What do you say to the couple who has been told if the woman gets pregnant, she will die because her heart can't handle a pregnancy?

What do you say to the couple who keeps getting pregnant even while using "natural methods" but can't afford to feed anymore children?

I am not looking for you to answer these questions but to realize that the Church recognizes the need for economia, and that internet forums are not the place to seek advice on such a sensitive topic. It may be easy to just say to a couple "abstain from sex," but to a young couple (or any married couple) that is a very harsh statement. To tell a man that he may never be intimate with his wife for fear of causing her death could be destructive to the relationship.

Just because one recognizes the need for condoms does not make one anti-life. I think to paint someone with such a broad brush is unfair.

You have said yourself that you see things as black and white. The Orthodox Church, however, does not. That is why our priests may exercise economia, and may provide grace for the situation.

You don't have to agree with me, but I would caution you against passing judgment on those who disagree with you as "anti-life."

In XC,

Maureen
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« Reply #97 on: May 12, 2010, 08:02:12 PM »

For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam

Gebre,

It's not what you say is a bunch of "bunk." I just believe that it's a pastoral issue because this is not a black and white issue.

What do you say to the couple who has been told if the woman gets pregnant, she will die because her heart can't handle a pregnancy?

What do you say to the couple who keeps getting pregnant even while using "natural methods" but can't afford to feed anymore children?

I am not looking for you to answer these questions but to realize that the Church recognizes the need for economia, and that internet forums are not the place to seek advice on such a sensitive topic.

Just because one recognizes the need for condoms does not make one anti-life. I think to paint someone with such a broad brush is unfair.

You have said yourself that you see things as black and white. The Orthodox Church, however, does not. That is why our priests may exercise economia, and may provide grace for the situation.

You don't have to agree with me, but I would caution you against passing judgment on those who disagree with you as "anti-life."

In XC,

Maureen

I am not passing judgment on anyone. I am pointing out the objective fact that by definition "contraception" is an act that is "against conception," i.e. against the creation of life.

As for the hypotheticals about pregnancy endagering the life of the mother, I said earlier:

If impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?


Selam
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« Reply #98 on: May 12, 2010, 08:08:06 PM »

I am not passing judgment on anyone. I am pointing out the objective fact that by definition "contraception" is an act that is "against conception," i.e. against the creation of life.

As for the hypotheticals about pregnancy endagering the life of the mother, I said earlier:

If impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?


Selam

Glory to God that you are strong enough to be willing to abstain from your wife!

But not everyone is.

That is my point. You are seeing things through your tunnel and applying things directly to your life.

What about everyone else?

In any given parish, you will have people such as yourself, who are on fire for their faith, spiritually strong, and able to handle such a burden. You have others who are less strong. And then you have others who are so weak, they are practically crippled.

The Church must administer to each according to their needs.

I understand that contraception is against the creation of life. No one has stated otherwise. Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death. This is why we have Spiritual Fathers. To help navigate us on the road of life with difficult issues such as this.
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« Reply #99 on: May 12, 2010, 08:54:20 PM »

For those of you that have remarked that my comments are "bunk," please tell me what I have said that is contradictory to biblical and apostolic teaching. Here are my comments again, and I will break them down so as to afford others the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how I am in opposition to the Teachings of my Church. I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

1. The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act. ("Contraception" by definition means "against or contrary to procreation." Thus artificial birth control is inherently an anti life action.)

2. Sex between man and wife is not only for procreation (it is also for intimate marital pleasure and for fighting worldly temptations, as Asteriktos said)... (Why is this bunk? Do you think that sex is only for procreation and not for pleasure and intimacy between man and wife? That would seem to be the Catholic view, not the Orthodox one.)

3. ...but it must not be artficially separated from procreation. (Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)


Selam
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« Reply #100 on: May 12, 2010, 09:03:35 PM »

The problem with any form of aritificial "birth control" is that it is essentially an anti-life act.

Termination of life and prevention of perpetuation of life are entirely different realities. Contraception does not involve termination of life. Thus, it cannot be treated as if it is in the same umbrella as abortion, state sponsored execution, war, euthanasia, or any of the other issues actually related to termination of life. Some of the reasons against terminating life cannot apply to contraception.
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« Reply #101 on: May 12, 2010, 09:06:19 PM »

I am certainly prepared to repent if I have stated anything heretical.

You haven't stated anything heretical. Rather, what you have done is dogmatize a theologumenon.
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« Reply #102 on: May 12, 2010, 09:09:13 PM »

(Do you think that God's purpose for sex within marriage is strictly pleasure? Then why marry? If the only purpose for sex is pleasure, then fornicate freely. But this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view either. I would consider it the hedonist view.)

Actually, neither pleasure nor procreation are the qualities that justify marriage. They could both very easily be accomplished through promiscuity. It is rather the third fundamental quality, unity of the two through intimacy, which is what justifies marriage and orients pleasure and procreation in a proper context.
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« Reply #103 on: May 12, 2010, 09:14:06 PM »

4. Since there are natural means of "family planning," artificial barriers to the conception of life are antithetical to God's plan for sex and marriage. (Please notice that I have never indicated that married people must have children, or that they must have many children. There are natural ways of preventing the conception of a child without using articficial "contraception." These natural means do require a modicum of self discipline and restraint, which again are things that seem quite compatible with Orthodoxy.)

You actually think God intended people to use the natural rhythms of the menstrual cycle to avoid conception, another natural aspect of certain other rhythms of the cycle?
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« Reply #104 on: May 12, 2010, 09:18:27 PM »

We want the physical pleasure without the natural and spritual benfits that were intended to accompany that pleasure.

1. What natural benefits? Surely you must not be talking about conception,b ecause you just said it was fine to intentionally avoid conception through the rhythm method.

2. What spiritual benefits exactly are you talking about and how does the use of condoms prevent them?
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« Reply #105 on: May 12, 2010, 09:24:11 PM »

It is not the only motivation, but I am very certain that in this society it is the primary motivation.

Perhaps among the unmarried. But why would people bother to marry if pleasure was all they were looking for? Promiscuity is much more effective if pleasure is all you're looking for.
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« Reply #106 on: May 12, 2010, 09:27:05 PM »

Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.
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« Reply #107 on: May 12, 2010, 09:33:28 PM »

babies are burdens

Babies are burdens, from what I have seen. Regarding them as only that is wrong. Letting that quality overwhelm the others is wrong. However, it is none the less it is one among various qualities of what babies mean to parents. They require a vast amount of time and resources. And sometimes people have the sufficient time and resources to be life partners to each other but not to take care of children (or a certain number thereof) on top of that. My conclusion to that is that it would be better for married folks to not bring new life into the world that cannot be sufficiently taken care of.
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« Reply #108 on: May 12, 2010, 09:36:20 PM »

I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?


None. But I am not the Pope. I am only an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, promoting the beliefs of my Church. Most people here are EO, and maybe their Churches teach that artificial birth control is a subjective matter to be decided by married couples and their Priests. But I believe in the objective Teachings of my Faith, without apology.


Selam

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in comparison to the whole communion of orthodox churches (whether that be the OO or the EO as well), is liable to error. Its teachings, thus, as well as the teachings of any particular church, should be open to criticism, even by those belonging to them.
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« Reply #109 on: May 12, 2010, 09:37:57 PM »



In any given parish, you will have people such as yourself, who are on fire for their faith, spiritually strong, and able to handle such a burden. You have others who are less strong. And then you have others who are so weak, they are practically crippled.

The Church must administer to each according to their needs.

I understand that contraception is against the creation of life. No one has stated otherwise. Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death. This is why we have Spiritual Fathers. To help navigate us on the road of life with difficult issues such as this.

Wow. Really? So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses? I thought the Church calls us to holiness and provides the Sacramental graces to help us attain holiness. But you seem to be saying the opposite. If we are unable to resist temptation, then perhaps our Priest can minister to us according to our needs and give us certain exceptions. You are really advocating a relativistic spirituality that is quite unOrthodox.

Now let's look at your statement: "Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death." So you would allow a negative potential to cause you to thwart a positive reality? The conception of any human life is a positive reality, regardless of the circumstances of conception.


Selam
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« Reply #110 on: May 12, 2010, 09:41:17 PM »

So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses?

I think you are constructing a straw man fallacy here. She never said she was recognizing it as sin.
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« Reply #111 on: May 12, 2010, 09:42:36 PM »

I never made any statements about what is "always wrong in any or every situation."
Fair enough.  In what hypothetical situation would you consider condom use to be acceptable?  In what hypothetical situation would you consider taking birth control pills to be acceptable?


None. But I am not the Pope. I am only an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, promoting the beliefs of my Church. Most people here are EO, and maybe their Churches teach that artificial birth control is a subjective matter to be decided by married couples and their Priests. But I believe in the objective Teachings of my Faith, without apology.


Selam

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in comparison to the whole communion of orthodox churches (whether that be the OO or the EO as well), is liable to error. Its teachings, thus, as well as the teachings of any particular church, should be open to criticism, even by those belonging to them.


The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is not "any particular church." You are free to believe what you want, but you cannot be a faithful member of the EOTC and hold views that are contrary to its Teachings and Tradition. It is not you or I that detemine whether or not the Church is in error. It is the Church that determines whether we are in error.


Selam
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« Reply #112 on: May 12, 2010, 09:45:41 PM »

So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses?

I think you are constructing a straw man fallacy here. She never said she was recognizing it as sin.

Well let me ask you then: If you knew that impregnating your wife would result in her death, and you knew that no form of birth control is 100% effective, and you still had sex with her kowing there's a chance that she could become pregant and die, then that would be pretty selfish and sinful would it not?


Selam
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« Reply #113 on: May 12, 2010, 09:49:54 PM »

babies are burdens

Babies are burdens, from what I have seen. Regarding them as only that is wrong. Letting that quality overwhelm the others is wrong. However, it is none the less it is one among various qualities of what babies mean to parents. They require a vast amount of time and resources. And sometimes people have the sufficient time and resources to be life partners to each other but not to take care of children (or a certain number thereof) on top of that. My conclusion to that is that it would be better for married folks to not bring new life into the world that cannot be sufficiently taken care of.

We are all burdens, if you want to see it from such a negative viewpoint. Satan loves this mindset, and it's what drives abortion. Over population paranoia, "every child a wanted child," etc. But I never see any of these people volunteering to eradicte themselves from existence. Somehow they don't see themselves as burdens, but the innocent little babies are.


Selam
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« Reply #114 on: May 12, 2010, 09:52:22 PM »

Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.

Because the rhythm method, for example, requires self control and self denial, which are altruistic qualities.


Selam
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« Reply #115 on: May 12, 2010, 09:53:33 PM »

So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses?

I think you are constructing a straw man fallacy here. She never said she was recognizing it as sin.

Well let me ask you then: If you knew that impregnating your wife would result in her death, and you knew that no form of birth control is 100% effective, and you still had sex with her kowing there's a chance that she could become pregant and die, then that would be pretty selfish and sinful would it not?


Selam

This must be entirely hypothetical, as I have no wife.

I think that would be walking a fine line between the reliability of birth control and the slim chance of pregnancy using it. Obviously it would have to be talked over with one's wife. It should probably be decided by consensus. However, there would definitely be merit in not having vaginal intercourse anymore.
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« Reply #116 on: May 12, 2010, 09:54:37 PM »

Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.

Because the rhythm method, for example, requires self control and self denial, which are altruistic qualities.


Selam

The basic intention behind both is avoiding conception.
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« Reply #117 on: May 12, 2010, 09:58:15 PM »

It is not the only motivation, but I am very certain that in this society it is the primary motivation.

Perhaps among the unmarried. But why would people bother to marry if pleasure was all they were looking for? Promiscuity is much more effective if pleasure is all you're looking for.

The divorce rate amongst professing Christians is parrallel to that of unbelievers. Most married Christians use some form of artificial birth control As I said, the sexual standards of society have permeated the consciousness of Christians, and the results speak for themselves.

Divorce is the result of people no longer being "satisfied" by their spouse. So many Christians marry for pleasure, be it sexual or otherwise. And then when their married existence ceases to be pleasurable, they divorce. Birth control is perahps the clearest indicator of this phenomena.



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« Reply #118 on: May 12, 2010, 09:59:06 PM »

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is not "any particular church."

In the same sense that the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic churches are particular churches liable to error, so is the EOTC.

You are free to believe what you want, but you cannot be a faithful member of the EOTC and hold views that are contrary to its Teachings and Tradition.

I think if you could support the notion that you were supported by the more common teachings of the other OO churches, I do not think it would be erroneous to challenge one's particular church's teachings.

It is not you or I that detemine whether or not the Church is in error. It is the Church that determines whether we are in error.

The EOTC is not the Church. It is part of the Church.
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« Reply #119 on: May 12, 2010, 10:01:21 PM »

Because self control is not an interference but rather the path to theosis.

When you control yourself you are interfering with your sinful inclinations. Are you not getting my point?

I get your point. And my point is that natural birth control is not interfering with God's plan for sexuality. The rhythm method involves self-coltrol, which is a good thing. Also, when married couples use natural means of not conceiving out of altruistic motivations, then this is also a good thing.  


Selam

How could avoiding having children through "natural" by inherently any more altruistic than avoiding children through "unnatural" means? The intention appears to be exactly the same.

Because the rhythm method, for example, requires self control and self denial, which are altruistic qualities.


Selam

The basic intention behind both is avoiding conception.


You are talking about intention. My comments about altruism addressed motivation. The intention may be the same, but the motivation can determine whether or not the action is righteous.


Selam
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« Reply #120 on: May 12, 2010, 10:07:34 PM »

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is not "any particular church."

In the same sense that the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic churches are particular churches liable to error, so is the EOTC.

You are free to believe what you want, but you cannot be a faithful member of the EOTC and hold views that are contrary to its Teachings and Tradition.

I think if you could support the notion that you were supported by the more common teachings of the other OO churches, I do not think it would be erroneous to challenge one's particular church's teachings.

It is not you or I that detemine whether or not the Church is in error. It is the Church that determines whether we are in error.

The EOTC is not the Church. It is part of the Church.


If anyone wants to provide me with OO teachings that contradict my position, then fine.

We can challenge the Church's Teachings or we can conform to them. Which one we do will detemine whether or not we are a Christians.



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« Reply #121 on: May 12, 2010, 11:11:54 PM »

This thread sure got a lot of post since I last checked it!

Thanks everyone for their posts. I have another question. What about the "pull-out" method. No one has mentioned it so far.

And sorry for asking all these personal questions. I just feel weird as a female asking my male priest some of this stuff.

And for the record, I did do a search on this topic on this website, but then the ones I found in the search just told the OP to do a search! So I had trouble finding any info.
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« Reply #122 on: May 12, 2010, 11:22:14 PM »

This thread sure got a lot of post since I last checked it!

Thanks everyone for their posts. I have another question. What about the "pull-out" method. No one has mentioned it so far.

What you ask has been thoroughly covered in this thread - just replace "birth control" with "pull out."   Wink

And sorry for asking all these personal questions. I just feel weird as a female asking my male priest some of this stuff.

Would asking a female monastic help you ease your discomfort?   Huh

And for the record, I did do a search on this topic on this website, but then the ones I found in the search just told the OP to do a search! So I had trouble finding any info.

A lot of people have great discomfort talking about human sexuality for it quickly deteriorates into controversial topics (some of which are under moratorium) on this board.  I wouldn't use this board to discuss sexual concerns - my $0.01 worth.
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« Reply #123 on: May 12, 2010, 11:41:39 PM »

Wow. Really? So those who are not spritually strong enough to avoid sin should be accommodated to our weaknesses? I thought the Church calls us to holiness and provides the Sacramental graces to help us attain holiness. But you seem to be saying the opposite. If we are unable to resist temptation, then perhaps our Priest can minister to us according to our needs and give us certain exceptions. You are really advocating a relativistic spirituality that is quite unOrthodox.

Actually I am advocating a spirituality that is quite Orthodox. It's the Orthodox principle of economia. Something which seems to be foreign to you.

During Great Lent, are we not advised to seek counsel from our Spiritual Father before beginning any sort of fast? Are we not admonished to not judge our brother based on how they may fast?

If a Spiritual Father is willing to excercise economia or akribeia in terms of diet, knowing how spiritually beneficial or damaging such a thing would be, would he not be willing to use the same principles in counseling a married couple on birth control?

Now let's look at your statement: "Sometimes, it is wiser for us to prevent the creation of life than to bring it into the world to potentially create death." So you would allow a negative potential to cause you to thwart a positive reality? The conception of any human life is a positive reality, regardless of the circumstances of conception.

Selam

I'm sorry, but the death of the mother is not a positive reality. I'm sorry you see it as such. 
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« Reply #124 on: May 12, 2010, 11:48:26 PM »


I'm sorry, but the death of the mother is not a positive reality. I'm sorry you see it as such. 

You are talking about a potential, not a reality.


Selam
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« Reply #125 on: May 13, 2010, 12:00:05 AM »

This thread started out with the question of whether marital sex is seen as sinful.  How did it become yet another discussion of contraception? Huh
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« Reply #126 on: May 13, 2010, 12:01:00 AM »


I'm sorry, but the death of the mother is not a positive reality. I'm sorry you see it as such. 

You are talking about a potential, not a reality.


Selam

No, I'm talking about reality. My head isn't in the clouds. My feet are planted firmly on the ground.
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« Reply #127 on: May 13, 2010, 12:01:35 AM »


Would asking a female monastic help you ease your discomfort?   Huh


Absolutely Smiley I would be happy to ask a female monastic but I am new to Orthodoxy and didn't know where I would find one. I have only met the priest and several deacons. I'm not sure how I would find a female monastic.

If you PM me, I would be happy to help you find one. Smiley
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« Reply #128 on: May 13, 2010, 12:12:42 AM »

To be frank- the pull out method is horrible in my opinion.

First- the success rate of that method (as in the ability to actually avoid conception) is VERY bad- pre-ejaculate can impregnate you (I know many a woman with babies as proof of that!)

Second- it is a mood killer. I won't go further then that because the specifics of sex really don't need to be discussed.


All that said- NFP, rhythm and calendar methods of birth control are three VERY different methods. NFP or "fertility awareness" is a great deal of work for the wife. If you want to know more about it read "Take charge of your fertility." My husband and I have used this method for about 10 years and we have 4 children ages 8, almost 5, almost 3 and almost 1. You can ovulate twice in a cycle, my two youngest are proof of that Wink Calendar/rhythm is mostly about counting and since most women don't adhere to the "average" cycle where you ovulate on day "x" the failure rate of this type of pregnancy avoidance is higher then NFP/fertility awareness.

If you combine fertility awareness with a barrier method during fertile periods then you don't have to avoid very often. Otherwise there would likely be at least 2 weeks out of the month when you would have to avoid since the menstrual cycle is around a week and you have to avoid for a few days as your fertile signals start to ramp, while you are fertile and for a few days after. Women tend to have an increase in libido during fertile periods, so avoiding during that time can be (for some) a very difficult thing to do. And with fertility signals sometimes being a "gray" area (if you read the book you would understand more what I mean. There are "fertile" signs, "possibly getting fertile" kind of signs and "not fertile" signs that a woman's body gives.)

Gebre- you speak like men are the only ones that want to have sex! That isn't the case! laugh When you avoid during fertile periods you are depriving BOTH people.
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« Reply #129 on: May 13, 2010, 12:18:54 AM »


Gebre- you speak like men are the only ones that want to have sex! That isn't the case! laugh When you avoid during fertile periods you are depriving BOTH people.

 laugh Well said Quinault. Many people thought I was a man at first when I posted this thread. But as a female convert hoping to find an Orthodox husband it was very important to me to know what the general consensus is on this topic.
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« Reply #130 on: May 13, 2010, 01:31:53 AM »


Gebre- you speak like men are the only ones that want to have sex! That isn't the case! laugh When you avoid during fertile periods you are depriving BOTH people.

 laugh Well said Quinault. Many people thought I was a man at first when I posted this thread. But as a female convert hoping to find an Orthodox husband it was very important to me to know what the general consensus is on this topic.


Nothing I have said in any way indicates that I think men are the only ones who want to have sex! I am married, and my wife and I have three children and one on the way. So, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I know that my wife enjoys sex very much.


Selam
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« Reply #131 on: May 13, 2010, 02:32:33 AM »

You spoke of how you would be selfish if you continued to have sex with your wife if she had a health condition that would kill her if she was to get pregnant. You didn't say that the BOTH of you would be selfish. You don't take into account the concept that the wife may not WANT to be in a celibate marriage because of a health condition.
If impregnating my wife would cause her death, then I would not have sexual relations with her anymore. How selfish would I be to take that chance? It would be better to abstain from sex and trust in God. He can work wonders you know, and perhaps my wife would be healed of her condition and be able to bear children once again. But if I had a vasectomy, then what?


Selam
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« Reply #132 on: May 13, 2010, 09:47:22 AM »

Thank you HandmaidenofGod and Quinault for your excellent posts. Too often discussions like these are entirely dominated by men (me included) who cannot see things from the viewpoint of the wife and mother.
It is not the men that has to wrestle with questions of their own life and death when health concerns complicate things in a marriage.
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« Reply #133 on: May 13, 2010, 10:53:42 AM »

Nothing I have said in any way indicates that I think men are the only ones who want to have sex! I am married, and my wife and I have three children and one on the way. So, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I know that my wife enjoys sex very much.

Those who exalt their marital relationships will be humbled at some point.   Wink
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« Reply #134 on: May 13, 2010, 11:07:58 AM »

I have to agree with Quinault here:  NFP sounds really good until you try practicing it.  It takes an enormous amount of monitoring, self-control, and communication with your partner.  That's not to say that those things immediately rule NFP out as a possibility and indeed, I think it's a good way (used in conjunction with a barrier contraceptive) to be more responsible and not violate the teachings of the church.  However, biology is often unpredictable.  As much as one can monitor, abstain, etc., there is always the possibility that the calculations are off or the wife misread her body's cues and to me, it is irresponsible in this current economic and sociological climate to just leave it up to chance whether pregnancy occurs.  Do not think I am saying that children are a burden or are unwanted when they are conceived, because I believe they are wonderful and I thank God for the two I have now.  I am saying that medically and financially speaking, sometimes it is better to prevent pregnancy than to become unable to care for yourself and your children.
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