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The Church's View on Contraception - Essay Example

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The Church's View on Contraception

Based on the Scriptures, particularly in the Book of Genesis 38:8-10, the act of Onan spilling his seed – which is an equivalent of coitus interruptus – was condemned by God and the Jewish law. Based on the ancient Jewish law of fathering children, it was a duty of the brother to perform to his sister-in-law the role of husband if his brother dies. However, Onan changed his mind about fathering a child which was supposed to be his brother’s and thus “spilled the semen on the ground…And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also” (Brom; Gen. 38:9-10). In Deuteronomy 25:7-10, it is stated that the man who does not give children to his sister-in-law in case his brother dies would naturally get punished with public humiliation. However, since God slew Onan, then the spilling of one’s semen – or more loosely, the concept of contraception – is obviously a more serious moral offense that simply not giving one’s brother’s widow a child. Other books of the Bible also condemn contraception. In the New Testament, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans states, “God has given them over to shameful passions. ...
These writings were after all based on the principles of the Bible and the natural law. Onanism, or the act of Onan spilling his semen, was echoed by several church fathers during the early years of the Church. One of the most prominent Church Fathers who condemned contraception in this way was Clement of Alexandria, who, in 195 AD, wrote in The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (Brom). Although the aforementioned statement of Clement of Alexandria somehow includes even acts like masturbation, it is still clear that the Church condemns contraception in whatever form that it can be carried out. The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther also expressed condemnation against onanism and referred to it as “the exceedingly foul deed of Onan” and that Onan “deserved to be killed by God” (Brom). Luther, therefore, emphasizes, through Onan’s example, that the sinner deserves God’s punishment. John Calvin of the Calvinist Church echoed Luther’s condemnation by saying that the intentional spilling of semen is “a monstrous thing” (Brom). Moreover, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, stated that onanism was “very displeasing to God” and was tantamount to the destruction of the soul (Brom). Contraceptives and methods to tighten the reproductive system have also long been condemned by the ancient Christian Church. Another Church Father in the name of Hippolytus of Rome indicated in his Refutation of All Heresies 9:12, in 255 AD, that “the so-called faithful [should not] use drugs of sterility or bid themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which ...Show more


(Name) (Professor) (Subject) (Date) The Church’s View on Contraception Based on section 14 of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae in 1968, contraception is defined as “any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (Brom)…
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The Churchs View on Contraception essay example
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