Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Non-Choice of Contraception

So let's say I didn't want toast. Yet every morning I went to my toaster, put two pieces of bread in it, and then turned it on. And let's say--because I didn't want toast remember--I'd cover the bread in fiberglass insulation, I'd spray water on the bread, or I'd shoot cool air into the toaster from a high-powered fan so that a few minutes later I could hear the little "ding" and pull my bread out perfectly untoasted--just how I like it.

Well, basically, that's exactly what people are expecting the Church to say when it comes to birth control...and I'll explain why.

The toaster in my analogy is the Reproductive System. That system is a machine with a purpose. It does exactly what it is designed to do. And what is it designed to do? Reproduce. That's what it's for.

If that is what it's for--and I challenge anyone explain it any other way evolutionarily--then it seems a bit curious to play this little game of engaging it halfway and then frustrating it in its natural conclusion. More sensible to simply not engage it in the first place right? Leave the toaster off, and there's no worry about toast.

This is fundamentally what the Church objects to in the act of contraception--this halfhearted, confused act of auto-frustration.

She does not object to the choice itself, nor does she object to whichever way a human being decides to go. She supports our yes, and she supports our no. Every man and woman who have children she elevates as participators in the divine act of creation. Every man and woman who do not have children she elevates as a model of celibate chastity. There have been married men and women in her annals who have deliberately decided not to have children even in marriage--a spiritual or Josephite marriage--and they have been celebrated for it.

The stupidity in the modern thinking on this is precisely here--that the "choice" to have children is thought to be in the frustration of the natural act of sex, and not in the choice to engage the sexual faculty in the first place.

What the Church strenuously objects to is a no-filled yes, and a yes-filled no--one where we do everything in our power to make toast, while we do everything in our power to not make toast. One where we deny ourselves a real choice, a real freedom to decide one way or another, for this strange half-state where we haven't really chosen anything.

The Church knows, sensibly, that there are saner ways to satisfy our need for a nice little "ding".

1 comment:

  1. To make the analogy more apt for how many people, unfortunately, engage in contraception, you'd have to spray the inside of the toaster with some sort of acidic heat-retardant compound which could eventually make it non-functional.

    Also, what happens if you accidentally make toast? You're going to need to be willing to destroy a lot of potential toast and throw it in the garbage.

    I think you'd be better off just removing the heating element all together or else putting your bread in a paint shaker or some other device with a timer if you can't do without the little "ding".