Saturday, October 29, 2005

DIVORCE IS NOTHING TO PARTY OVER

I nearly lost my cookies when Matt Lauer had on his show the author of the book "The Woman's Book of Divorce: 101 Ways to Make Him suffer Forever and Ever". This book encourages divorce parties -- full-blown, hula skirt and drinking with the girls -- parties. To his credit, Mr. Lauer asked the author a decent question if divorce shouldn't be taken more seriously? The author responded that "divorce is a fact of life." Instead of answering the merits of the question, the author dodged the issue. Cancer is a fact of life too, but it's not a reason to party.

After this exchange, just days later I see in our local paper that Kathryn Lopez, with the National Review Online, had an opinion piece titled, "Divorce: No party for children" (Owatonna People's Press, Saturday, October 29, 2005). In the article were the following facts drawn from Elizebeth Marquardt's "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce" (Crown):
"Children of divorce,...have a level of discomfort that kids with married mom and dad just don't have. Sixty-nine percent of children in two-parent families reported going to one or both of their parents for comfort, while only 33 percent of children sought help while living in a divorced family.
That makes for a lot of uncomforted children. And:
Children of divorce are also less likely to feel protected by their parents, feel less safe at home, and are less likely to attend religious services."
In the article and book just mentioned, most divorces occur for not very good reasons, which Marquardt calls "low-conflict marriages." And often the reason is something that can only be called boredom. People are divorcing because they are bored with their spouse, with their house, their car, their job, their life. People don't like to admit that they make such monumental decisions for such selfish reasons, but it is true. We can be very selfish and very sinful when we don't have God in our lives. People are going to divorce no matter what the consequences are to children and many times, for no better reason than being bored.

When I see the hurt and turmoil which divorce creates, I think about something in the book of Malachi, where God says, "I hate divorce." In an article I wrote a few years back, titled (WHY DOES GOD HATE DIVORCE?), I showed that children of divorce encounter many problems that last into adulthood. An added danger to children of divorce is live-in boyfriends. A recent study (November 2005) says that children are 48 times more likely to be harmed by a live-in boyfriend than when they live with both biological parents. God hates divorce and so should we all. Divorce represents failure and should not be celebrated.
___________
Myths about children and divorce.

12 comments:

  1. I'm sure people divorce for all sorts of reasons. Boredom may be surely among them. It is a time of terrible sadness when a marriage and family are destroyed by divorce. It is not a time to celebrate and rejoice. Those who act in such a way are trying to sooth a guilty conscience and rationalize their behaviour. It is a serious problem that can be solved, in part, with better marriage preparation including the nature and purpose of marriage (Matrimony for Christians) and not simply the fluff of "compatibility" and "money issues." Contraception also needs to be exposed for the evil that is widely accepted. This evil is too often ignored.

    "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." -Matthew19:6

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  2. Hi Pazdziernik,
    Thanks for the comments. It is a matter of great concern when the first government, the family, begins this disintegration. It is the responsibility of those who know the truth to call attention to this and hopefully make a difference with couples and society. No other government can replace it, though the Lord's church can be a big help.
    Respectfully,
    Dan

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  3. I really do not want to sidetrack the real issue in this post, but I feel I must throw in two cents to protect the legitimacy of a real problem. Divorce is a hideous scourge on our society as Discipler briefly addressed. We know that God hates divorce and that Jesus taught only one valid reason (adultery) for it. We know this because it is written in the Word of God. But there is no such clear law or instruction regarding contraception. Placing contraception next to divorce as a moral equivalent trivializes a serious problem. It makes a mockery of the one who does so.

    Discipler, I have read all of your posts and have found them to be well written and researched. You seem to be one that stands with the Bible. I hope that you are not trivializing divorce by agreeing that contraception is an evil that also must be addressed. I look forward to your response.

    Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel;
    Gal 1:7 which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
    Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.
    Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.

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  4. 1. All Christian Churches and communities were united against contraception until the Anglican Church allowed it for married couples in 1930. Today, contraceptives are sold next to the Pokemon and baseball cards at the convience store check-out counter. “We’ve come a long way baby”! Surely, they could not all have been mis-interpreting the Word of God for so long or have had faulty reasoning. (I am well aware that many people today think that they are smarter than those in the past.)

    Sacred Scripture does indeed reference forms of contraception. They are in a negative light as something bad, not to be done. In fact God struck Onan dead for this type of sin!

    “Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother.” –Genesis 38:9

    Sterilization which is a form of contraception is also condemned.

    “No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” -Deuteronomy 23:1

    2. Jesus did not allow adultery as grounds for divorce. The “exception clause” of Matthew 19:9 "And I say to you: Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity (“porneia” in Greek), and marries another, commits adultery" is not adultery (“moicheia” in Greek.

    Rather “porneia”, in short, seems to be an unlawful marriage which would prevent a valid marriage from taking hold. This “exception clause” does not appear in the parallel passages of Mark (Mark 10:11-12) and Luke (luke 16:18). Matthew wrote for a Jewish audience. Mark and Luke wrote for Greco-Roman audiences. Adultery was much more prevalent in the Greco-Roman world than in Jewish society. If there was an exception for adultery then it would have been a significant omission indeed!

    Paul does not mention this “exception” when he discusses marriage. His only exception is for converts (1 Corinthians 7). Much more could be said, but divorce is not acceptable for adultery. Sacred Scripture does not support this.

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  5. With respect, I am more concerned with Discipler’s response. I knew what Padziernak would say. While every point can be answered and refuted, I am pretty sure it would be a waste of time. As I wrote earlier, I have read all of Discipler’s posts and I have found him to make his stand on the Bible. In his first reply he left the issue of contraception unanswered which I suspect is because he did not want to sidetrack a serious issue. But left unanswered, I am afraid that he damages his credibility. I want to know where he stands on this issue so that I can know if I should continue reading his posts.

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  6. Dear 1000 yards,

    OK, fine, I will respond to this matter of contraception. Before your prompting, I had thought I would let it slide by, even though I thought it had nothing to do with the post at hand. I knew that by responding to it, Pazdziernik would get the discussion sidetracked as has become the case.

    I'm glad that Pazdziernik sees the importance of following Jesus' teaching on marriage; but instead of bringing up an entirely different issue, perhaps he could have stayed on topic to explain why the Catholic church allows for the exit from marriage and remarriage for their "impediments of secrecy or disparity of worship", which are clearly reasons beyond what Jesus allowed in Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:31,32. These are loopholes which the Catholic church has created which nullify the spirit of Jesus' commands.

    Concerning contraception, their use does not necessarily imply (and we may only infer God's will on a specific matter if He has necessarily implied it) that a sin has been committed. The matter of Onan who wasted his seed on the ground was clearly a sin, but the sin was not the practice of contraception in general. Onan was required by God's law to produce a child to his dead brother and sister-in-law (Gen. 38:8). But he was selfish, knowing the the child would not be his, and thus disobeyed God by refusing to impregnate his brother's wife.

    Now what Pazdziernik has done with this matter is to argue from the general hypothesis that all contraception is sinful and he has sought to prove it with scant evidence. That Onan sinned by breaking a specific law in the Old Testament is not proof that all contraception is sinful. And if couples, using their discretion, decide to interfere with the natural process of conception, it does not logically follow that they disobeyed the command to be fruitful and multiply. Why so? Because by God's design, by circumstances beyond the couples control, and for reasons medical or otherwise, sometimes impregnation is not possible or it is not wise. God allows for this because He must also require that wisdom and discretion be factored into the decision to have children. Marriage is God's general design, but wisdom due to changing circumstances can be cause to not marry. Likewise, to have children in marriage is the design of God, but various circumstances that are political, medical, or economic can and should be considered. The upshot is that marriage is a choice and having children is choice that God allows man and woman to give consideration to.

    Pazdziernik has not proven that contraception is sinful. Sure, a contraceptive device that terminates a life is sinful and not to be practiced. Because the human being is created at the point that the seed and egg are united, methods which work after the point of conception, perform in essence an early form of abortion, and are morally wrong. But contraceptive methods which work before this only hinder the formation of a life, and do not terminate a life. That distinction cannot be ignored.

    The responsibility of most married couples is not like that of Onan who had a specific requirement to produce an offspring for his brother. He did not kill a child, but instead refused to create a life which he was commanded to do. The Law Onan broke cannot logically be applied to the general requirement that man be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). Onan had something specific that he and only he could do (unless he died or was physically incapable). But the general command to be fruitful and multiply is a general command which is required by all where it is necessarily applicable. If there are not medical or other extenuating circumstances making it impossible or unwise to do so produce, then couples should produce children. But the general population of married couples cannot be held to account for a law that was given to specific individuals and to fulfull a very specific purposes. Contraception in general has not prevented man from fulfilling the command to be fruitful and multiply.

    Like you said, there is no moral equivalency between divorce parties in specific and contraception in general.

    Respectfully yours,
    Discipler

    p.s. I'm trying to figure out the meaning of "1000 yards". Short distance running must be your specialty. Just kidding, I'm not very good at jokes.

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  7. Discipler, thanks for responding. I am glad that I have not neen disappointed by your stand. I could add a point or ask a question about your coment, but I will save them for a post where you addressing contraception or Onan in particular. Thanks again for a great blog.

    The user name is an inside thing. My friends know what it means and that's about all I can say. I appreciate the attempt at humor.

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  9. I am surprised that your are not disturbed in conscience on the topic of contraception. It is a major factor in divorce because the man and woman say "no" to each other with their bodies. They say "no" to God’s plan. They say "we alone will decide when a new human life will come into being."They say "we don’t trust that God can create a new human life AND take care of that life." They in effect reject each other by withholding themselves from each other.

    The nature of the sexual act is both unitive and pro-creative. Contraception not only prevents a new human life from coming into being but also damages the unity between the spouses. Each sexual act of intercourse is intended by God to be a renewal of their marriage vows. Do you realize that God participates in every sexual act? To consider the topic of divorce without considering a major root cause (contraception) is really weird. We all know that each act of sexual intercourse does not result in a new human life. To deliberately frustrate either the unitive aspect or the pro-creative aspect is called contraception. It takes the form of pills, devices, contraptions etc.

    Please consider that homosexual activity is the "perfect" contraceptive act: no union and no pro-creation. The rise of the popularity of contraception not only is the cause of the explosion of divorce but also of the explosion of homosexuality. "I will decide. Not God" is the rally cry. How unbiblical!

    On Onan (Genesis 38:9)The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deuteronomy 25:7–10). However, Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This shows that he actually violated a natural law precept. Right reason attests then, as now, that contraception, including this Onan’s form of contraception is not good. The natural law is part of God’s Law and everyone, Christian as well as non-Christian, needs to follow it. Sacred Scripture presents this story of Onan as an example of what not to do. His punishment was not simply because he did not fulfill his duty as a brother-in-law.

    You may reply that God added death as a punishment. Well, Genesis comes before Deuteronomy: God could only have subtracted "death as punishment."

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  10. Responding to the last comment.

    P-Pazdziernik
    D-Discipler

    P: I am surprised that your are not disturbed in conscience on the topic of contraception.
    D: All contraception is not the same - I said that contraception that terminates a life is morally wrong. Hindering the fertization is not the same thing. One is murder and one is not.
    P: It is a major factor in divorce....
    D: Give proof
    P: ....because the man and woman say "no" to each other with their bodies.
    D: Really, this is not proof. How do you know this to be true?
    P: They say "no" to God's plan.
    D: What plan was that? Let's see, the plan was to impregnate the wife of your dead brother? Logical fallacy: it does not follow.
    P: They say "we alone will decide when a new human life will come into being."
    D: Having children is a choice that God has placed into the hands of husbands and wives. So to a certain extent, they do decide. But you overstate this matter.
    P: "They say 'we don't trust that God can create a new human life AND take care of that life."...
    D: If a husband and wife practice natural contraception, don't they say this also? Couldn't they be saying, "God has put this responsibility in our hand; we must be prepared before having a child."
    P: They in effect reject each other by withholding themselves from each other....
    D: Logical fallacy: you suppose you know what husbands and wives are doing?
    P: The nature of the sexual act is both unitive and pro-creative....
    D: But it is not by design pro-creative every time that it is unitive. So your premise is wrong.
    P: Contraception not only prevents a new human life from coming into being...
    D: Already answered.
    P: but also damages the unity between the spouses....
    D: Unprovable.
    P: Each sexual act of intercourse is intended by God to be a renewal of their marriage vows....
    D: I do not deny the importance of the sexual union, but don't pretend to speak for God. You have offered no Bible to support all that God "intends".
    P: Do you realize that God participates in every sexual act?...
    D: What does this even mean? Do you have a passage from the Bible that says God is participating in every sex act?
    P: To consider the topic of divorce without considering a major root cause (contraception) is really weird....
    D: "Major root cause"? You act like you have proven something. Selfishness might be a major root cause, but you act like you have proven that most selfishness has to do with contraception. Your logic is baffling.
    P: We all know that each act of sexual intercourse does not result in a new human life....
    D: Yes we all know this and we know that God does not intend all sexual intercourse to produce a child. This is true by design.
    P: To deliberately frustrate either the unitive aspect or the pro-creative aspect is called contraception.
    D: Your whole premise is wrong. You continue to argue from the specific incident with Onan, with specific purposes to give his deceased brother an offspring, which had nothing to do with the rest of the population and God's plan of procreation; and yet you apply it to the entire population.
    Can you see that it does not follow?
    P: It takes the form of pills, devices, contraptions etc.
    D: Which have nothing to do with Onan who disobeyed a specific command from God.
    P: Please consider that homosexual activity is the "perfect" contraceptive act:
    D: Now you take another leap from logic. You cannot equate the "unitive" relationship of husband and wife with the immoral activity of homosexuals. Can you please stop making these leaps?
    P: no union and no pro-creation.
    D: A husband and wife, using contraception, have no union. Again, you speak without proving your point.
    P: The rise of the popularity of contraception not only is the cause of the explosion of divorce....
    D: Prove your points. Support with Scripture or some valid research. Because you say it doesn't make it so.
    P: ....but also of the explosion of homosexuality.
    D: Let's see, contraception creates homosexuality? Does not follow. You have proven nothing.
    P: "I will decide. Not God" is the rally cry. How unbiblical!
    D: You are repeating yourself. God obviously gives people the choice of when to have children when it is wise to do so. If parents are blessed with triplets, you say they sin if, after this, they make the choice to hinder the procreation process.
    I don't think you know what is Biblical.

    Now here is where your ability to discern Scripture is called into question:
    P: On Onan (Genesis 38:9)The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deuteronomy 25:7–10).
    D: The public humiliation was for a brother-in-law who refused to help. The death was for Onan who pulled away at the last minute. He had sex but then pulled back and spilled his seed on the ground. I don't think this is so hard, but maybe it is.
    P: However, Onan received death as punishment for his crime.
    D: Again, his crime was worse than the sin you site in Deuteronomy 25:7-10.
    P: This shows that he actually violated a natural law precept.
    D: Again, this showed nothing of the sort. Levirate marriage is not what you call "natural law."
    P: Right reason....
    D: Pazdziernik, has not offered much in the way of "reason".
    P: ...attests then, as now, that contraception, including this Onan’s form of contraception is not good.
    D: Not proven.
    P: The natural law is part of God’s Law and everyone, Christian as well as non-Christian, needs to follow it.
    D: You said the Levirate marriage law is natural law, and you state this without support.
    P: Sacred Scripture presents this story of Onan as an example of what not to do. His punishment was not simply because he did not fulfill his duty as a brother-in-law.
    D: You make big assertions, but you do not have proof. Don't get me wrong. Selfishness is at the root of all sin. But Pazdziernik has not proven that contraception used by Christians--the kind that does not act upon the fetus--is selfish. Everything Pazdziernik has supported seems to begin with a man-made regulation and then the Bible is scoured to find anything even vaguely related, to support the regulation. This is very tiring. We end up spending our time disproving what is a manmade regulation.

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  11. I did find some stats that relate contraception to divorce rates.

    "Among spouses teaching Natural Family Planning with the Couple to Couple League, the divorce rate is 1.4 percent. It is estimated that the divorce rate for all couples using Natural Family Planning may be up to three times this number, or 4.2 pecent, which is still less than a tenth of the national divorce rate." (Janet E. Smith, "Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later, CUA Press, Washington, D.C. 1991).

    Natural Family Planning respects the God-given rythum of a women and fosters communication between married couples. It is a highly effective and moral means for either delaying having children or for having children. Contraception on the other hand does not respect the God-given rythum of a women and frustrates communication. I hope this helps.

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  12. Paz: "Among spouses teaching Natural Family Planning with the Couple to Couple League...."

    Dis: The stats offered here don't suggest there was a very large sample in the study, and "among those teaching" you might expect a lower divorce rate. Also, the correlation that is suggested here does not mean causation. Proving causation is a much harder thing to do. Maybe the cause for lower divorce rates is some other theological issue -- maybe God's hatred for divorce is also stressed. I don't find this very helpful; sorry. Being a father of five, I doubt that "Natural Family Planners" have more love or appreciation for children.

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