Today, we will complete our eight-month-long series responding to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five* (actually one-hundred and four) Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.
In this last posting, we will examine the proof-text Armstrong uses to defend Catholicism’s ban on all forms of contraception:
#104) Genesis 38:9-10: “9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10 And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also.”
Beneath the passage, Armstrong writes, “Catholics believe that contraception is a gravely disordered violation of natural law, because it removes from sexuality its deepest purpose and function: procreation. To contracept involves a deliberate attempt to make conception not possible, or highly unlikely, while still enjoying the pleasures of sexuality. It attempts to tie God’s hands, so to speak. But most protestants today do not regard contraception as sinful at all, but simply as morally neutral (or even obligatory) part of family planning.” – p. 215.
It’s very evident from the context of this Bible passage that Onan’s sin was NOT practicing natural contraception via coitus interruptus, but of failing to fulfill his obligation under the Mosaic Law to sire a son with his deceased brother’s wife, Tamar, in order for his brother’s estate to remain within his immediate family.
Use of contraceptives by married couples is sinful if they are abortifacients; i.e., drugs or devices that destroy a fertilized egg/zygote/human life, however, there is no sin involved in using non-abortifacient contraceptives such as condoms and cervical shields.
Catholicism’s radical opposition to contraceptives derives from its historical view of sexual intercourse as a necessary yet decidedly profane and even “dirty” activity. Virginity was exalted within the church as a characteristic of a superior spiritual state. If Catholic married couples were going to engage in sexual intercourse, it could not be disengaged from the possibility of conception, for such, they said, would be a defiance of the natural order. Remember, these were so-called “celibate” priests making the rules for married couples.
Following the Second Vatican Council, progressive prelates called for the church to liberalize its ban on contraceptives. Instead, pope Paul VI doubled down by issuing his “Humanae Vitae” anti-contraception encyclical in 1968, which resulted in a tremendous loss of credibility for the church in the eyes of its laity. Catholic sources report that 87% of all Catholics believe use of contraceptives is morally acceptable and that 98% of sexually active Catholic women in the United States have defiantly used contraceptive methods banned by the church even though they are told they commit a mortal sin every time they use a contraceptive.
The church strangely approves of Natural Family Planning (NFP) aka “the rhythm method,” while the goal is the same as that of using contraceptives, and contraceptives are much more reliable. The thinking layperson easily perceives the contradiction of the church’s condemnation of contraceptives and its simultaneous approval of NFP.
The church’s rigid ban on contraceptives goes beyond the limits of reason and charity. Married couples in which one of the partners has a sexually communicable disease are told they cannot use condoms. Neither are women with the Zika Virus allowed to use barrier contraceptives. A Catholic workmate of mine and his wife, who already had five children and were approaching age forty, visited their parish priest asking for a dispensation (i.e., exemption) from the contraception ban. The priest refused and the wife subsequently became pregnant again with a very sickly child. Who paid for all of the child’s medical bills? Not the priest. Catholicism’s ban on contraceptives has brought unimaginable trials to credulous Catholic married couples.
Nothing has eroded the Catholic laity’s confidence in their church as much as its ban on contraceptives, except for possibly the ongoing pedophile priests and cover-up scandal. It’s quite ironic that the Catholic church has played traffic cop within its married members’ bedrooms while its “celibate” priests, bishops, and cardinals have pursued their own warped sexuality unhindered until only recently.
For more information on the Catholic church’s disastrous misinterpretation of the “sin of Onan,” see the article below:
What is onanism? – Got Questions
Today’s posts is our last regular installment in this series addressing Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong’s alleged Catholic verses that are claimed to “confound” Protestants. Thank you for your support! After reviewing all of the verses and passages presented by Armstrong, we can confidently say we are not “confounded.” Praise God for His Word and the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
Next week, I will be posting a convenient index to the entire eight-month series.