Tag Archives: birth control

Evangelism Implosion!

Stop the madness!

“The Church of England is set to signal to members that speaking openly about their faith could do more harm than good when it comes to spreading Christianity,” writes John Bingham in The Telegraph of London.

That makes me think the long-standing work of Evangelism Explosion has been more like an evangelism implosion.

Here’s why, in highlights from Bingham’s article:

“The study, called ‘Talking Jesus’, was commissioned jointly by the Church of England, the Evangelical Alliance and ‘Hope’ an umbrella body which brings local churches together in different areas, in an attempt to arrest the decline in attendances….

“Non-believers were asked if a practising Christian had ever spoken to them about their faith. Of those who said yes, only 19 per cent said it made them want to know more compared with 59 per cent who said the opposite.

“While 23 per cent said it made them feel ‘more positive towards Jesus Christ’, 30 per cent said it left them feeling more negative.”

As church attendance declines in the United Kingdom and the United States, Islam is rapidly catching up with Christianity in terms of numbers, and likely will surpass it globally within the next century. Why? Because, according to the Pew Research Center, Muslims are more likely to have more children—more likely than Christians and much more likely than the average of all non-Muslims.

I can’t imagine Christians out-reproducing Muslims, whether statistically or practically speaking. For Christianity, the war of numbers appears to be lost. For that matter, the war of argument appears to be lost, too. I can’t imagine Christians meaningfully winning debates with the New Atheist folks, either, because like any supernatural religion, Christianity depends upon revelation and tradition as its primary modes of authority, and those two modes can be difficult to challenge with evidence and reason. Impasse. Deadlock. (A few subtle and nuanced thinkers believe they have found their way around it, only to be vilified from all sides.)

Oddly enough, if the so-called New Atheists want to win the world, they might want to stop debating and start procreating. I didn’t say start boinking—my guess is they’re already quite adept. They might need to stop using one of the (very good) things their intellectual forerunners fought to have in Western society: birth control. After all, people tend to stick with the religion in which they were born, sayeth Richard Dawkins. And apparently, more people are being born into Islam.

And, New Atheists, you can’t just shoot for one or two kids. Pew says the average Muslim woman will have 3.1 children. Luckily, those three children will become good people, and only the 0.1 has a chance of becoming a terrorist or joining ISIS. I’m sure that’s similar to the possibility of a kid born into an American Christian family becoming an abortion-clinic bomber. In either case, there are scary outliers wearing popular labels.

Think about it: 3.1 children per Muslim woman. The Christian women aren’t going to beat that birth rate. They’ve been fully appropriated into middle-class American/Western dreams, which get complicated and difficult to achieve with three or more kiddos—with just one kiddo, for that matter.

So, New Atheists, you gotta beat that birth rate.

Procreating is ideological warfare.

If evangelism—whether the religious or the atheistic sort—isn’t likely to change people, then I guess what wins the world is the point of view most commonly held among the biggest families.

A certain religious prohibition against birth control was never strictly moralistic or patriarchal, you sillies; it was global strategy.

Once again, we revert to ancient concerns: How can my tribe survive and thrive?

Clarifying the confusion about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision

Update, July 1, 2 p.m.: This Religion News Service article, published in The Washington Post this past January in anticipation of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, explains the controversy about how the words “contraception” and “abortifacient” are used — and, in fairness, demonstrates why my definition of “abortifacient” below is not shared by everyone. (Basically, some say an abortifacient does its work after fertilization of the egg, while others say an abortifacient does its work after implantation of the fertilized egg.) Also available is this New York Times article which annotates the ruling and illuminates some of the nuances of Justice Alito’s thinking. For me, two particularly interesting quotations were, first, “As we will show, Congress provided protection for people like the Hahns and Greens by employing a familiar legal fiction: It included corporations within RFRA’s definition of ‘persons.’ ” And second, “…it seems unlikely that the sort of corporate giants to which HHS refers will often assert RFRA claims.”

Following today’s 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby employees keep insurance coverage for 16 forms of contraception.

Hobby Lobby employees lose insurance coverage for 4 abortifacients.

Contraception prevents conception, which is the fertilization of an egg.

Abortion ends the fertilized egg or the resulting fetus. An abortifacient is a medicine or device that causes abortion, typically in an early phase.

People who believe in government funding of abortions probably will be upset that Hobby Lobby employees have lost insurance coverage for 4 abortifacients.

However, as the phrase “birth control” and the word “contraception” are used in the discussions following today’s SCOTUS decision, a confusion of terms can be very inaccurate.

Owners of the “closely held” company known as Hobby Lobby did not oppose contraception, or the prevention of pregnancy.

The owners of Hobby Lobby opposed abortifacients, or the use of medicine or devices that end the growth of a fertilized egg.

It’s a safe guess that the Hobby Lobby owners believe human life begins at conception, and they believe that based on their religious beliefs.

But it’s absurd to say that the owners get between an employee and abortifacients.

Hobby Lobby employees can still buy abortifacients.

The owners don’t want to contribute to abortifacients, and now, as a result of today’s Supreme Court ruling, they don’t have to.

The strange rhetoric of our times often conflates “not paying for” with “preventing.”

This evening, I have not paid for millions of 20-something ladies to have adult beverages.

I guess that means I’m preventing millions of 20-something ladies from drinking.

Oh well. I guess there’s no shorter path to political incorrectness than accuracy.