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Contraception Its Significance within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Natasha Wallace, SCTR 19: Religions of the Book June 4, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Contraception Its Significance within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Natasha Wallace, SCTR 19: Religions of the Book June 4, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Contraception Its Significance within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Natasha Wallace, SCTR 19: Religions of the Book June 4, 2007

2 Judaism  Sexual intercourse is considered to be an important part of marriage within Judaism.  Views on contraception vary with each branch, depending on how Jewish law is interpreted.  Orthodox Judaism – allows contraception under certain circumstances. Example: the mother’s life would be endangered by pregnancy. Condoms and diaphragms not used as methods because they block the path of semen.  Conservative Judaism – more lenient; allows birth control, but encourages adherence to Jewish Tradition.  Reform Judaism, other liberal branches – accept contraception according to couple’s personal ethics.

3 Contraception and the HB  Arguments against contraception are commonly based on several accounts in Genesis:  Genesis 1:22; 8:17 – “Be fruitful and multiply”  Genesis 38 – Onan uses the withdrawal method of contraception while having intercourse with his brother’s widow, and is killed by God as a result.  These passages are used to assert that wasting the seed is sinful, going against God’s command to populate the earth.

4 Christianity  Like Judaism, Christianity’s various branches differ in their opinions on contraception.  Catholic Church – opposed to any form of artificial contraception; natural family planning is encouraged among married couples.  Eastern Orthodoxy – permits use of contraception if not an abortifacient, and if children are not excluded from the marriage entirely; couple consults their priest beforehand.  Protestantism – vast diversity of views on birth control, from conservative to liberal.

5 Contraception and the NT  Contraception is never directly addressed in the New Testament, but procreation is a gift from God.  Mark 10:13-16 – Children are said to be closest to the Kingdom of God.  Luke 1:5-80 – The miraculous conceptions of Jesus and John the Baptist.  1 Timothy 2:15 – Paul says parenthood is an important part of devotion, acknowledges God’s power to create life.  Revelation 9:21 – Condemnation of "magic potions" may refer to early contraceptives and chemical abortions.

6 Islam  No ‘official’ view on contraception within the Islamic community.  Opinions vary within both Sunni and Shi’a branches.  Some Islamic countries embrace family planning as a method of preventing overpopulation and establishing a stable economy.

7 Contraception and the Qur’an  Surahs 6:151; 17:31 – ‘Do not kill your children for fear of want.’  Can be interpreted to suggest that all Muslims should trust in God to provide them with what they need, instead of preventing pregnancy.  Surahs 3:6; 16:70-78; 22:5; 31:33-34  God creates and sustains life.  Surah 39:5-7  Showing ingratitude to God’s creation brings retribution.

8 Contraception in the Hadiths  The withdrawal method (‘azl’) is mentioned repeatedly in numerous Hadiths, often depicting the prophet Muhammad expressing his approval.  Hadiths according to Jabir, Abu Sa’id, ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, and other early members of the Muslim community. Hadiths according to Jabir, Abu Sa’id, ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, and other early members of the Muslim community.

9 Contraception/Infanticide in the Ancient World  No knowledge of the interaction between sperm and egg  Semen thought to produce human independently once incubated within the womb.  Infanticide denounced repeatedly in HB, NT, and Qur’an, respectively, possibly influencing view that wasting “seed” kills potential whole children, not just half of the “equation.”

10 Main Questions  Do the Hadiths contradict the Qur’an’s emphasis on children and the family?  Do religious leaders in impoverished nations have an obligation to encourage the use of condoms in order to prevent diseases, or help control the population?  Should these ancient Qur’anic and Biblical beliefs be disregarded, reinterpreted for modern relationships, or followed as literal commands from God?  How does our understanding of biology now affect how we look at scriptural views of reproduction?

11 Articles  Reform Jewish activists unite with Christian organizations to protest the FDA’s obstruction of the Plan B pill (10/26/05) Reform Jewish activists unite with Christian organizations to protest the FDA’s obstruction of the Plan B pill  An alliance between Christian and Jewish organizations attempting to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions.  Emergency contraception denied at a pharmaceutical chain in Atlanta (3/8/07) Emergency contraception denied at a pharmaceutical chain in Atlanta  Critics of the pill argue that it “encourages promiscuity and unprotected sex.”  Vatican debates use of contraception in AIDS infected counties (5/4/06) Vatican debates use of contraception in AIDS infected counties  Church and health officials questioning whether preaching abstinence will help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa.  Islamic scholars debate over the use of contraception to control populations (5/6/05) Islamic scholars debate over the use of contraception to control populations  Pakistani officials are in favor of developing more family planning programs within their country, though conservative Islamic leaders are in opposition.

12 Works Cited  Adams, Jason T. “Birth Control, Contraception, Christian Sexuality”. Omsoul.com. One More Soul. 5 April Contraception.htmlhttp://www.omsoul.com/pamphlet146.The-Bible-vs- Contraception.html  Akbar, Khalid Farooq. “Family Planning and Islam: A Review”. Muslim-canada.org. The Canadian Society of Muslims. 15 April canada.org/family.htm#controlhttp://muslim- canada.org/family.htm#control  “Religion and Ethics – Contraception”. Bbc.co.uk. 3 June British Broadcasting Company. 20 March  Rich, Tracey R. “Kosher Sex: Jewish Attitudes Toward Sexuality”. Jewfaq.com. 15 April Judaism March  “The Ancient Roots of Judeo-Christian Sexual Prohibitions”. Cybercollege.com. CyberCollege. 2 June


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