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The Bible teaches that sex is for marriage only, so singles should not be having sex — they should be celibate.

Married couples, even ones apart for a year or longer like people in the military where one spouse goes on deployment should be celibate. The Bible just does not give the green light to unmarried sex. But a lot of people, even some Christians, choose to follow their desires. Not everyone is xtian; some people who are disagree on sexual ethics. To some extent I have taken what I have read in your posts into account in general replies. So I have no desire to wade in with my size 10 hobnail boots with you and only make matters worse.

My criticism of childlessness, such as it is, is specifically targetted at those who have more than enough material wealth to comfortably look after them, yet choose even more material things over this.

I think ultimately this is to their loss, but in the end it is their business. But in the church, such materialist attitudes ought to be conspicuous by their absence. Mind you a pastor living in a mansion is hardly in a position to dish out advice on not being materialistic! My sister single and not altogether by choice used to teach in an area where the rank neglect of so many children, a common British phenomenon and not always just materially but in love and security and giving time to them, was proof of this.

The issue of being single by choice or circumstances is a different matter. The bible does address this, though not in any great detail. You write a very gentle answer, I should take a leaf or two out of your book I think Ken. Both have downsides, both have benefits. I had a friend once who had an arranged marriage with three kids and we had these kind of discussions I was single.

In the end we both agreed neither of us was better or worse off.

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We were neither envious of each other or consolatory. As a supposed intelligent, educated being, I have to live with myself, and the choices I make, and I hope never to use anyone for my own gratification. We are not our sexual history, we are so much more than that. And we are not our shame or pride, or regret, or smugness. Sexual pride, whether in virginity or shagability, is a carcass I choose not to drag along with me. I think way too much harm has been done to women over the centuries, by the church, and society.

Freedom to make my own choices. At the moment, I feel free to choose celibacy. It suits me — for now. True, but the pastor and his prosperity are a small part of it. There is also the idea that if you have money it means that God likes you specially in some way as compared to the guy down the street who is having trouble meeting the co-pay for his MRI, because the-bible-says. There is the idea that the man on the pew who is a high level manager at xyz corp has attained some spiritual level which can automatically be used by the church for ministry.

Or, I like this one. If you can afford to pack up your whole family for a couple of oversees mission trips you are so far ahead of the guy who only serves maybe one night a week all winter at the homeless shelter. In the world of women it can look like this: Where does this obligation come from? Why is having children called out as the one noble act that people with wealth are obligated to perform?

Children are more than just about resources. Why would we ever compel people who may not have the amazing and particular strength required to have children to do so anyway? I think what I am reacting to a bit is people I have read about or more importantly met who look down on children and family, who have substituted more transient things for this, who love themselves, who have never really grown up.

My grandparents and great-grandparents and earlier! They had to face war and economic depression.

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Previous generations even managed to reproduce without the benefit of Tim and Beverley LeHaye as well!! I once saw a program about a senior developer at Microsoft who retired with burn-out in his early forties. He and his wife and amassed a fortune and built a luxury house out of this. It had everything you could want in it, but was only ever going to have the two of them rattling around in it, they had left it too late for children.

You yourself mentioned widespread neglect of children, which is pretty clear evidence that the parents assuming they really are as neglectful as you allege are no more mature than the childless selfish materialists you keep talking about. In fact neglecting children you already have is, IMO, actually worse than remaining childless and just being self-centered.

The church absolutely should not be preaching or even implying this. Except this is hardly healthy, because eventually the children will grow up to be their own people, not just emotional supports for the parent. This is just as selfish as hating children because they will cramp your style and make you unable to go on your 35th cruise. And of course if your husband ends up dead, traveling, distant, etc. Hester, thanks so much for your comment. And poverty, which is a stark reality for far too many children in this world — even in this country, affluent though it is compared to most other countries.

Bridget posted this query for Ken yesterday, and she has not received a reply. It is such a good thought that it seems good to re-post, just in case it was missed the 1st time around…. I would see it as tragic if they felt that something was missing. If they are now wishing for children, I would say that they make for a cautionary tale. But those same issues can be and are lived out with children just as well as with material possessions unless the underlying heart issue is dealt with.

And as the church, we are better off helping people with their underlying issues than judging their symptoms. That was not addressed to me, but I want to say this. The birth rate is down pretty much world wide. There is more going on than anything merely local. Having children can be a purely selfish endeavor, or not, for the rich and the poor alike.

Some people should never have had children for sure. But if someone says they have no desire to have children, then I would not want them to be compelled to, unless their heart was completely changed about children. Maybe it is the baby care taking classes many of them are being required to take. They have to take care of a fake baby that is connected to a wireless program that lets the teacher know if there is neglect.

I hear complaints about it all the time.

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But an improvement over the sacks of flour mended with duct tape. This fake baby crys to be fed and cries over wet diapers and keeps you up at night. Many schools only do one weekend. Some here do it for a week and both males and females have to care for the baby.

They carry them around schools in back straps. It is hilarious to hear about the bleary eyed students who are worn out.

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That is what a I thought as well. Just hoping it is not getting pregnant at all as opposed to other options.

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That is a great idea. On the one hand, rationing and real austerity continued in the UK and much of Europe for a good decade after the end of the war. This does not seem to had led to a drop in the birth rate. On the other hand, rebuilding and the advent of relatively full employment banished the spectre of the pre-war depression. More than this, the welfare state in Britain was designed to ensure the grinding poverty, absence of opportunities to get an education or good medical treatment could be banished.

The financial insecurity of previous generations was massively reduced.

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The more long-term future for bringing children up looked good, all the more as the physical and psychological effects of the war began to recede. The drop in the birth rate occurred much later than this, despite generous welfare and medical provision, and despite a sustained increased in wealth and income across most of the population. There is a very real problem of neglect and abuse going on here. Welfare has infantilised a section of the population. Marriage has turned into consecutive polygamy. The church, both in teaching and example, should imo be setting a better example than this, in stable marriages and family life.

Teaching men — and women — not to shy away from responsibility, and supporting them when they do accept it.

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