I was feeling pretty good about life, and so decided to fix by that by reading Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement,' by Kathryn Joyce. That knocked me into a depression in no time. I would say something along the lines of I should feel fortunate that it's just a fringe movement in the conservative Christian circles, but the book is pointing out that some of the more mainstream conservative Christians are making noise about how women should have more children, and using birth control is denying God's authority over your body.
Two things of interest: One, there's a mentality in the book about a "one of ours," and it's about how contraception is bad. To quote, a Quiverfull version of "He's one of ours": selectively appropriating historical figures who were the later-born children of their families to create a canon of the Waster world's six-, seventh-, or eight-born geniuses and greats. The moral is that the "contraceptive mentality" would have precluded the births of Washington, Mozart, Beethoven, and, by implication, possibly a savior."
The basic idea seems to be that if women use contraception, there will be a whole lot of necessary people no longer born. Now, I don't know if the implication in the quote is the author's interpretation, or if it's something Quiverfull people actually hinted at, but ... Jesus was the result conceived in the womb of a virgin. God didn't even use sex in the first place to create Jesus, so how could contraception have interfered with that in the first place? No only that, but my understanding is that conservative non-Calvinist Christians feel that people both have free will, and that God is in control, and has a plan, and is sovereign. So if God's plan involved Mozart being born, wouldn't God have seen that through, regardless if the woman was using contraception or not? Are they seriously suggesting that a hormonal pill is enough to stop an omnipotent God?
Then there's how this works in reverse -- perhaps we wouldn't have Mozart. But I believe Mozart considered his elder sister to be just as talented, if not more talented, than he was. Yet we don't know anything about her, because she was a woman, and only had two proper roles in society: wife and mother. How many geniuses have we lost in society because women had no rights, and were only expected to marry and produce children? How many geniuses have we lost because women couldn't have any control over their reproduction?
Second, one of the themes in the book is basically raising an army for God. Because these women are having anywhere from ten to eighteen children, they'll be able to take back society in a few generations, because they're rapidly out-breeding the non-Christians. The assumption on the Quiverfulls is that the children will be that type of Christian by default.
Doesn't that kind of conflict with the free will idea? One of the standard responses to why there's evil in the world, or why people will go to hell is that God loved us so much that He allows us to choose whether or not to follow Him. Yet these parents aren't saying that they'll give their children a choice in following God, they're raising their children to absolutely guarantee that the children will follow God. When the children reach the age of accountability, is anyone going to be surprised by their choice? Can we even say that they freely choose God, when no other option would've been presented?
Now, I can understand why these parents are doing this. Most parents do raise their children in the path they feel is morally right -- if a Christian feels that atheism is wrong, the Christian is not going to encourage his/her child to be an atheist. They would probably even say it would be extremely unloving of them to raise a child to be anything less than a Christian, considering the consequences of not being one. But in a way, are they respecting their child less than God is?
I just suddenly have this weird picture of all these people who were raised and accepted Christ as their Savior, suddenly faced with a God who tells them they aren't saved, because they didn't freely make the choice. Their parents made the choice for them based on their upbringing.
I'm also unsure how the Quiverfulls approach the concept of free will. There was a definite Calvinist/Reformed Theology trend in the book.