Survey says that among currently married women, those with no religious affiliation used birth control at a virtually the same rate as Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, Black Protestant, and Mainline Protestant women without children.
That is a statistic that ought to stand out. Across the board, Christian women affiliated with Catholic, conservative, evangelical, and mainline (more progressive) churches report using birth control at a rate statistically no different from those with no religious affiliation. I am not sure when this statistic came about but it came even when Roman Catholics officially condemned all means of family planning and birth control except natural family planning.
The common judgment of nearly every Christian denomination prior to 1930, even those now considered more liberal or progressive, was that birth control was condemned. While Roman Catholics might point to Pope Paul VI and the 1968 encyclical Humane Vitae as the point when this issue hit the forefront for them, Paul VI was consistent with the dogmatic position of Rome and plowed no new ground with his encyclical. By 1968, however, the situation outside churches had changed. The birth control pill was beginning its promise of safe sex without the complication of pregnancy. Some Roman Catholics thought the spirit of Vatican II would prevail in accepting these changes but even Paul VI could see that birth control was about more than family planning.
|Women Ages 15 to 44 Who Have Ever Had Sexual Intercourse and Have Ever Used the “Morning After” Pill, by Religious Affiliation, Overall and Never Married, Combining the Last Three Survey Cycles 2013–2019 of the National Survey of Family|
Furthermore, the statistics show that the use of the morning after pill is likewise not significantly different across the religious spectrums and in comparison with those women with no religious affiliation. Again, one might have thought that there would be a more profound difference between women of faith and those without any religious affiliation.
It is clear that there is a greater difference when it comes to abortion. The graph below shows that across all religious affiliations, Christian women are less likely to have an abortion than their religiously unaffiliated counterparts.
|Women Ages 15 to 44 Who Have Ever Had Sexual Intercourse and Have Ever Had an Abortion, by Religious Affiliation, Overall and Never Married, Combining the Last Three Survey Cycles 2013–2019 of the National Survey of Family|
So what is my point? The influences upon our values are not simply our faith but even more significantly the cultural and societal acceptance of things even formally opposed by the faith and by the churches where we belong. I am not trying to pick on women here. In other statistics I am sure that the disparity between what you believe and how you live as Christian and what your church believes and teaches is the same or even greater among men. This area of concern affects some of the most central tenets of the faith regarding the sanctity of life and the morality of sexual behaviors that were once clear and unequivocal. We find ourselves at a point where the strongest influences upon the values of our people is not Scripture or the doctrinal standards of their churches but what is expedient, convenient, and accords with how they live their lives.
More to come. . .