Sexual Relationships & Contraception
How do Christian beliefs about sex and contraception vary?
- Artificial Contraception- the use of a device (e.g. condoms,vasectomies,medication i.e. the Pill) to try and prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
- Natural Contraception- aiming to reduce the chances of getting pregnant. e.g.The rhythm or withdrawal method
- Abstinence- the decision to not be sexual active for religious (e.g. Love Waits) or medical reasons
- Celibacy- not having sexual relations for a period of time
- Chastity- no sex before marriage
- "Be fruitful and increase in number"- Genesis 1:28
- "Children are a gift from the Lord" - Psalm 127:3
- Let the husband render to his wife the affection due to her" 1 Corinthians 7:3
Traditionalists have interpreted this to mean that God would reject contraception as it is preventing humans from following this command.
Liberals have argued that contraception has not prevented humans from multiplying.
Sexual Relationships & Contraception.2
- Contraception is intrinsically evil as it prevents conception
- Aquinas' Natural Law- " the purpose of sex is to reproduce only"
- Contraception leads to promiscuity and therefore more abortions
- "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you"- Jeremiah 1:5
- 1968 Pope Paul VI forbade contraception in his letter Humane Vitae but natural family planning including The Rhythm Method is allowed.
C of E Teachings- ( approve the use of contraception)
- The proper place for sex is within a marriage
- C of E was the first church to issue a statement in favour of contraception at Lambeth Conference 1930
- In 1908 the Lambeth (C of E) Conference stated that birth control was "demoralising to character and hostile to national welfare"
- Protestant Churches- contraception is OK and better, leading to stronger families and better marriages. Churches should let believers use birth control as their own conscience dictate.
Explain Christian Teachings about Contraception
One teaching is RC saying contraception is intrinsically evil because it prevents conception. Roman Catholics believe that ensoulment occurs at conception so if you prevent conception from happening, you are trying to play God. "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" Jeremiah 1:5. This means that God had created a personal connection with every human being before they were born and this includes the potential lives that could happen if conception occurs and so preventing this is not only meddling with God's plans but also trying to play the role of God.
Another teaching that Roman Catholics use is that contraception is wrong , but natural family planning is acceptable. Pope Paul VI said " contraception is unacceptable, but natural family planning e.g. The Rhythm Method is allowed" Human Vitae. This means that in the Catholic Church, artificial contraception e.g. condoms is not allowed, but natural contraception e.g. Withdrawal or Rhythm Method is acceptable to some.
Same Sex Relationships
- In 1971 gay marriages were officially banned by law
- In 2004 gay "civil partnerships" were made legal in the UK
- Homophobia- the dislike or irrational fear of gay people
- Civil partnership- legal contract giving gay couples the same rights and responsibilities as in a marriage though it is not seen as equal to a marriage
- In 1967 being gay was illegal
- In 1971 gay marriages were made illegal
- 2013 The Gay Marriage Act was put to court to allow gay people to get married
- 2014 The Gay Marriage Act passed allowing gay couples to get married
- Western Society- USA, UK, Australia
- Eastern Society- Africa & Asia
Traditionalist beliefs about gay relationships
- Being gay is a sin
- Civil partnerships as well as gay marriages are also a sin and should not be allowed
Denominational Views on Homosexuality
- Gay couples should be free to commit to eachother because God made them just the way they are and He loves them too.
RC View- Traditionalist (Mostly Against)
- They use Aquinas' Natural Law to make moral decisions- purpose of humanity is to "Go forth and multiply" Genesis 1:22
- Aquinas "the purpose of sex is reproduction
- Cardinal Thomas Winning, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor both rejected raising the age of consent for homosexual relations-it goes against religious teachings
- July 2013 Pope Francis- hints to liberalisation of Catholicism "If a person is gay, and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" He said gay relationships are against teaching
C of E
- Being gay is incompatible with Bible teachings so gay unions are to be rejected
- Bishops from UK & US say "Christians can experience gay attractions"
Denominational Views on Homosexuality.2
C of E continued
- Disagreement over the ordination of gay bishops e.g. Bishop Jeffary John
- 2008 traditionalist Anglican met in Jerusalem to prevent gay relationships from happening and civil partnerships from occurring
- Gay relationships are celebrated
- In 1987, local groups would celebrate gay commitments through special acts of worship
- July 2009- at yearly meetings, they agreed to carry out gay marriages on the same basis as hetero marriages
- Procreation- humans created to have children
- Union- a loving partnership of living together
- Raising Children- channel for nurture and security
- Pattern for Society- family unit of mutual support
- One flesh- intimacy as an expression of love
- Sacred- blessed by God
- Endless- life long faithful relationship
- The Introduction
- Explaining the Christian teaching about marriage: it is a gift from God blessed by Christ and a symbol of Christ's relationship with his Church
- Marriage should be approached with respect, consideration and seriousness
- "Marriage is given, that a husband and wife may comfort and help eachother, living faithfully together, in need and in plenty, in sorrow and enjoy" Common Worship
- The priest will then ask if anyone knows of any lawful reason why the couple cannot get married. The Banns
The Vows- C of E Marriage Service- The Marriage Vows
- "I take you ... to be my husband/wife"
- "to have and to hold from this day forward"
- "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer"
- "in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish [and obey- woman]"
- "till death do us part, according to God's holy law; and this is my solemn vow"
The Rings symbolise:
- The promises the couple have just made to eachother
- That marriage cannot be ended by anything but death
- That love, like God is eternal- it has no beginning or end
The statement: "Those whom God has joined together, let no one divide"
Prayers, Blessings, Hymns and Bible Readings: these show this is a Christian marriage. These are not found at a civil wedding.
Register signing, receiving of marriage certificate- a legal requirement in Britain
Sacrament- an outward sign of an inward change e.g. blessing from God e.g. Wedding at Cana Divorce- the legal ending of a marriage
Why people get divorced
- Financial problems
- One partner has an affair
- False expectations of marriage
- Work and Stress
- Children- both having them and not having them
- People change as they get older
In 1971 the Divorce Reform Act allowed a couple to get divorced on the grounds of adultery, cruelty, desertion for at least 2 years etc. The Family Law Act 1996 allows divorce if the marriage has "irretrievably broken down" after a period of "reflection and consideration.
"Divorce is spreading like a plague" Pope John Paul II, 2002
" I hate divorce, says the Lord" Malachi 2:15
"What God has joined together, let no man separate" Mark 10:9
"A woman is bound... to her husband as long as he lives" Romans 7:2
- RC are completely against divorce but they do allow separation and annulments.
- Annulment- the dissolution of a marriage to say that it never happened on the basis of fraud, or invalidity
- Positive impact- brings an end to unhappiness
- As Christians we should forgive eachothers' mistakes
- Goes against early biblical teachings
- Breaks vows and promises
The Role of Women
- Men went to work and women looked after the household and looked after children
- Men led worship, women couldn't speak in Church
- Women had less rights and usually didn't have careers
- Men and women both work
- Women have had more rights after WWII when they had to do a lot of jobs men did
- In the Monarchy, the first born will be the heir, not just the oldest male
- "I will make a suitable companion for him" Genesis 2:7
- Women is her name because she was taken out of man" Genesis 2:23
- "The people of Israel went to Deborah for judgement or decisions" Judges 4:4-5
- The aged women...may teach the young women...to be obedient to their husbands" Titus 2:2-5
- Men and women are made equally Imago Dei
- "Then she began to torment him" Judges 16:18-19. Samson and Delilah
- The family is the first place children learn about love, companionship and forgiveness
- It provides love, protection and support
- It educates children how to be responsible
- It is where children learn about Jesus and Christianity
- Parents can set a good example for children
"All members of the family...have the responsibility of...making a family a school of deeper humanity " Pope John Paul II
The Bible and Family
- "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church" Ephesians 5:22
- "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church" Ephesians 5:23
The Role of Children and Parents
- "Honour your father and mother" Exodus 20:12
- "Listen to your father who gave you life and do not despise your mother when she is old" Proverbs 23:22
- "If anyone does not provide for his relatives...he has denied the faith" 1 Timothy 5:8
- "Discipline your son, and he will give you peace" Proverbs 29:17
- "Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged" Colossians 2:21
- "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother" Mark 3:35