I've just come from the Cranach Institute's Love & Marriage conference. Some of our other bloggers were there as well and I'll look forward to hearing their summaries and reactions to the presentations as they relate to contraception. Christopher West had a lot to say about it and I think everyone who saw him would recommend his resources: www.christopherwest.com
Part of West's analysis against contaception concerns natural law reasoning - something much misunderstood among modern Lutherans. NL does not mean: "You have to let nature take its course." NL is not against vaccines, etc. Rather NL simply means that the moral law is written on our hearts and available to all human beings by nature. NL ethicists insist that contraception is immoral. The following explores this reasoning.
Here's a little something that I've been meaning to add to my "Should Christian Couples Use Contraception" paper - it needs a section more specifically about natural law.
All agree that sex has several purposes - usually listed as two or three. I'll give three here to cover all my bases: procreation, companionship, pleasure. These are God-given purposes. Now imagine - just taking the last two listed - any sexual act which is specifically designed to avoid and contradict one of those purposes. Could such acts ever in themselves be godly? If I seek to take pleasure out of sex by a medical procedure to my nervous system, or by seeking to inflict pain on my wife - is that ever godly? If I seek to have sex not for deep intimacy, but rather specifically seek to exclude intimacy from the act (by rape or an orgie or a random pick up) can that ever be godly?
I would say, along with NL ethicists, that specifically seeking to actively frustrate any purpose of sex is ungodly.
Now, in a fallen world there are hard cases. What of women diagnosed with 'frigidity' - a medical condition that means they basically can't enjoy sex? Can her husband lawfully seek sexual intercourse with her or should he abstain? That's a hard case. So first settle the easy cases because hard cases make bad law.
So likewise with procreation. To actively seek to frustrate this divine purpose of sex is intrinsically immoral - so goes the reasoning of NL ethicists. But there are hard cases: serious genetic defects, women for whom another pregnancy may be life threatening to her or the child, etc. But again my plea is to first settle the easy case and then apply the thinking you learn there to the hard cases.
So what you think ye? Any argument that purposely frustrating any of the divinely given purposes of sex is intrinsically immoral?