Pro-Life, Christian Sites that Flirt With Denigrating Singleness and Childlessness In Their Quest to Argue Against Abortion / Re Eric Metaxas etc
If you are new to this blog: I am pro-life. I do not support abortion.
I have traditional values, and was completely a Christian up until a couple years ago; I currently reside somewhere between being a Christian and being agnostic. I am not hostile towards traditional marriage or “the family.”
I do, however, object to the fact that many conservative Christians have turned marriage and family into deity, and they marginalize and shame anyone who has not married or had children.
One troubling aspect I see in Christian sites or blogs that champion traditional values, or ones that argue against abortion, is a propensity to equate adult singleness, celibacy, and remaining childless to being selfish, to being opposed to God, the Bible, or biblical values.
Many times, these sites that argue for the nuclear family and against abortion do not take into account that many adult singles are remaining single not by choice, but due to circumstance.
See, for example, this post on this blog:
I myself had wanted to marry, but my relationship with my fiance did not work out so I had to break up with him, and I have not met anyone suitable since.
I cannot put a gun to a man’s head and force him to marry me, nor do I want to order a male-order mail groom, nor do I have a magic wand where I can wave it about and make a man appear out of thin air.
I don’t think Christians who obsessively advocate for marriage, natalism, and the nuclear family, appreciate that getting married is not as simple or easy as they seem to think it is.
For more on that typical mindset among Christians, please see this post at this blog: (Link): Typical Conservative Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough (or at all), Mr. Right will magically appear
I follow the site “Life News” on Twitter, and I tend to agree with many, though not all, of their views. I am not sure, but I think Life News is a Roman Catholic based organization, but many of their view points sound similar to Protestant or Baptist positions on marriage, abortion, and other topics.
Life News is a very pro-life site, which I am fine with. However, today, they tweeted a link to this page, and I do have some misgivings by how they have represented singleness and the state of being childless, via this editorial by Eric Metaxas:
I’m not sure, but I believe that Metaxas is Protestant. At any rate, here are some excerpts:
by Eric Metaxas
As you might suspect, this pro-choice “age of possibility” has room for almost anything—except children. Brooks notes: “The number of Americans who are living alone has shot up from 9 percent in 1950 to 28 percent today. In 1990, 65 percent of Americans said that children are very important to a successful marriage. Now, only 41 percent of Americans say they believe that.
And here’s the kicker: “There are now more American houses with dogs than with children.”
As Chuck Colson always said, worldview matters. And post-familialism, as it’s called, is a growing worldwide trend. “In Scandinavia,” Brooks writes, “40 percent to 45 percent of the people live alone. Thirty percent of German women say they do not intend to have children.”
So “choice” is behind the West’s well-known demographic death-spiral. The Age of Possibility is a one-way street to nowhere.
Why might so many people be choosing to ignore the Genesis command to be fruitful and multiply? One researcher puts it baldly: “Under the social and economic systems of developed countries, the cost of a child outweighs the child’s usefulness.”
— /// end Metaxas excerpts /// —
I’m afraid that Metaxas is incorrect on several fronts.
First of all, the “Be Fruitful” quote from Genesis is no longer applicable under the teachings of Jesus Christ, who emphasized personal evangelism, not what I would call “reproduction evangelism.”
(“reproduction evangelism” = i.e. the belief that the world will be saved via Christian parents having a lot of off spring, or that culture can and will be redeemed if only Christians have lots of babies. It is the Gospel that saves, via Christians telling the unsaved about Jesus; it’s not marriage or natalism that saves people from their sin).
That is, believers are to reach the world for God via telling the unsaved about the Gospel, not by marrying and raising “Christian kids.”
The Bible no where teaches that it was God’s intent for any society or church to promote “familialism.”
Evangelicals and other types of Christians today have turned “the family” and having children into idols. For more on that topic, please see these posts on this blog (by other authors, not by me):
When Christians keep stressing the so-called importance of children and marriage to the extreme they do, they make adult single celibates feel worthless or abnormal, which they should not be doing.
It’s quite frankly none of that author’s business if a person chooses to marry or not, or to forgo having children or not.
It’s not always a matter of “choice.”
There are many single, Christian (specifically, evangelical Protestant) women who wanted to marry, but as there are approximately three single Christian women to every one single Christian man, the math works against women who desire marriage. Such women either have to remain single – if they are bent on marrying another Christian – or marry a Non-Christian.
I know I had hoped and planned on marrying, but I never came across a compatible partner, and I refuse to marry any old guy who comes down the pike just for the sake of being married – such a marriage would only end in divorce.
My relationship with my ex was not working out, so I broke up with him. There is no way he and I could have sustained a lasting marriage. I think it better to stay single than marry in a case like that, all for the sake of saying, “Look at me, I have a husband.”
I would also like to point out that now, since there are more singles than married couples in U.S. society ((Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States), it is incorrect for evangelicals (and other Christians) to keep using the argument that, “since most people in our culture marry, marriage must be God’s norm and standard for everyone.”
(And yes, since my childhood to my adulthood, I have seen that argument used many, many times by Baptist, Reformed, evangelical Protestants, and fundamentalists, in their sermons, books, blogs, etc).
The Bible nowhere states that getting married or having children is God’s hope, dream, command, or expectation for anyone or for all or for the majority.
“Be fruitful” was a command issued specifically for Adam and Eve. The “be fruitful” advisement simply does not carry over under the New Covenant of Christ, who taught that loyalty to him is to take precedence to spouse (if one has a spouse), and to mother, brother, sister, and father.
Jesus did not put the weight of importance on pro-creating and getting married nearly as much as contemporary American Christians do. That is a fact.
Rather than go on and rehash the same points I’ve made many times in the past as to why Metaxas is wrong, here are a few posts I will direct you to, which indicate that God, under the New Covenant, does not command or expect anyone to marry or have children (I have more comments under this lengthy list of links):
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): No Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity – Nor Do They Support Adult Singleness – Christians Attack and Criticize Virginity Sexual Purity Celibacy / Virginity Sexual Purity Not An Idol
Quite simply, under the New Covenant, Jesus Christ and Paul elevate adult singleness and by extension, remaining celibate, and hence, being childless, and they de-emphasize marriage and natalism.
Jesus and Paul were already living in or associating with cultures that were heavily promoting the nuclear family, ones that thought poorly of celibacy, and they were seeking to undermine and change those views (see Jesus’ teaching about the family in Matthew 10, and Paul’s commentary on singleness vs marriage in 1 Corinthians 7).
Jesus and Paul did this, in part, so that people who were once marginalized in their marriage- and family- centric culture, such as singles or infertile women, now had a place at the table as well.
If a Christian spokesperson, organization, or church wants to argue in support of pro-life, marriage, or having children, they need to do so by making a positive case for each of those situations, and not by making a negative case AGAINST adult celibacy, adult singleness, or people remaining childless.
To debase and be critical of celibacy or adult singleness, as Christians who support natalism and marriage are often wont to do, is to attack the Bible itself and God, for God reveals in the New Testament he respects celibacy and singleness.
Jesus and Paul were both single and celibate and did not have children – and Christians are often instructed that Jesus is to be their role model.
How hypocritical it is, therefore, when a Christian finds herself single and childless, whether by choice or circumstance, as Jesus was, yet that woman gets scolded for it, but Jesus Christ is made the exception.
In your attempt to promote natalism, pro-life views, and marriage, please refrain from besmirching adult celibacy, adult singleness, and the state of being childless (or childfree). You’re not winning any converts that way, and you’re turning off your allies (such as myself).
Edit. February 14, 2015.
Unfortunately, as of today (of all days, Valentine’s Day!) Life Site News tweeted a link to an editorial that apparently runs down childfree people:
If a person chooses to refrain from having children, that does not make them horrible. Someone tweeted in response to that Life News Site tweet that childfree people are “heartless” and “soulless” which is a terrible thing to say about an entire group of people you do not even know.
Further, today is Valentine’s Day – there may be women reading that tweet who never met “Mr. Right” so they remain single and childless, despite having hoped to marry and maybe have a child or two. Do these people not care that Valentine’s Day can be difficult enough for some singles or childless?
Related posts on this blog:
(Link): Hypocrisy: Conservative Christians / Catholics Pressure Women To Feel Their Only Worth is in Becoming Mothers, But If Women Try to Use Medical Technology to Get Pregnant, the Women Are Condemned by The Same Groups
(Link): Pro-Life, Yet Anti-Celibacy, Anti-Childless Christian Site Tweets Story about Mother Who Slit New Born Infant Son’s Throat to Save Her Sex Life (Christians equating single or childless / childfree women to women who murder their babies)
Another example of what happens when Christians turn marriage into an idol:
(Link): Male Christian Researcher Mark Regnerus Believes Single Christian Women Should Marry Male Christian Porn Addicts – another Christian betrayal of sexual ethics and more evidence of Christians who do make an idol out of marriage
(Link): Why Christians Need To Stress Spiritual Family Over the Nuclear Family – People with no flesh and blood relations including Muslims who Convert to Christianity – Also: First World, White, Rich People Problems
(edited this post several times to correct typing errors, add links, etc)