Misapplication of Biblical Verses About Fertility (also mentions early marriage) – a paper by J. McKeown

Thanks to a recent blog visitor, Mr. John McKeown, I was made aware of this paper (PDF) – I just realized he is also the author!

(Link): US Protestant Natalist Reception of Old Testament “Fruitful Verses”: A Critique – from The University of Liverpool

Above link no longer works, please try this one: 

(Link): Title: US Protestant natalist reception of Old Testament “fruitful verses”: A critique (PDF)

Thank you, Mr. McKeown, for the information. I’ve so far read only about one fourth of the paper – it’s long (and I will be reading the rest eventually) – but one thing I’ve noticed so far is that the paper makes the case that people in Jewish culture of the Old Testament era did not have children so much because they’re considered a blessing in and of themselves, or that God considers parenting a person’s highest calling in life or some other lofty, sentimental, or religious reasoning, but due to practical purposes.

Child mortality was higher back in those days, is one factor discussed. In yet another section, the paper quotes from scribes or kings in the Old Testament who said how wonderful it was to rule numerous peoples, and the reason they felt a higher population was better is that it made a king seem more kingly and impressive, and more subjects in a land meant more tax – in other words, more people meant more wealth for the king.

A desire for increased fertility was also due in part because the more citizens a nation had, the larger their army, which made it easier to defend one’s territory.

So it’s not that ancient peoples mentioned in the Bible were having kids because they thought kids were so wonderful, but due to practical, and may I say, from selfish motives, as well.

Looking over the Table of Contents of the paper, it looks as though there is a lot of material refuting some of the arguments by American Christian fertility cultists (such as Quiverfull, Reconstructionsts) in favor of militant fecundity.

As I’ve said, I’ve not read the whole thing yet for myself, but it looks to be a worthy read, especially if you’re like I am and tired of being told by certain types of Christians that you are a failure, or in sin, for not having married and had twenty kids, because God supposedly commands all believers to marry and have lots of children. I have skimmed down to read farther in the paper. Here is one line from the paper:

    Some commentators on fruitful verses note a distance between ancient and modern worlds, and warn that OT [Old Testament] pro-fertility ideas are not necessarily appropriate for contemporary application.

The paper also mentions early marriage vs. late marriage (people who marry later in life, not in their teens or twenties). Do take a look. Here is a link to the paper again:

(Link): US Protestant Natalist Reception of Old Testament “Fruitful Verses”: A Critique – from The University of Liverpool / Mr. John McKeown

UPDATED LINK:
(Link): Title: US Protestant natalist reception of Old Testament “fruitful verses”: A critique (PDF)

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Related posts this blog (please note that I have many more blog pages about these topics; what you see below is just a few selections.

Use the search features off to the right hand side of the page to find more entries like these):

(Link): Fertility crisis myth? Rates unchanged, even though more waiting to have kids (articles)

(Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview).

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): The Decline in Male Fertility (article) (Link): Infertility/ Kids/ The Male Biological Clock

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Un Happy Mother’s Day – universal church continues to worship parenthood, family

(Link): Un-Happy Father’s Day!

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage (and “family”) by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo) – The Christian Tendency to Worship Family, Motherhood, and Children

(Link): Why all the articles about being Child Free? On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian

(Link): Population Decline and Bay-bee Obsession – Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Traditional Family, Christian Gender Complementarian Nuts

(Link): Mormons and Christians Make Family, Marriage, Having Children Into Idols (Link) Have we made an idol of families? by A. Stirrup (copy)

(Link): Fatherhood Not Quite the Producer of Manly, Mature, Godly Men Some Conservative Christians Make It Out To Be

(Link): Get Married This Year! and other lies (from L. Turner’s blog)

(Link): Article: Smart Women Are Stupid for Choosing Not To Have Children

(Link): The Deification of Family and Marriage (re: Kyle Idleman book)

(Link): I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent (editorial by G. Dalfonzo) – The Christian Tendency to Worship Family, Motherhood, and Children

(Link): Jesus’ Family Values by Deirdre Good challenges conservative Christan emphasis on “family” (copy)

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): The Child Free City

(Link): Childfree Christians / Childfree childless

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

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