Monday, August 06, 2007

Be fruitful and ten.

Some coworkers and I were talking about that lady in Arkansas that just delivered her 17th child. The Associated Press announced the good news a couple days ago and I remembered the family from the Discovery Channel. The Duggar family had been the subject of a number of specials dealing with large families. They are especially memorable given that the number of kids as well as their, well, peculiar lifestyle.

The people that I was talking to balked at the idea of having that many kids with a few of them openly calling the Duggar parents crazy. I have to admit, I think that they are little bonkers in the head too. But you know, that’s cool on the other hand too. And it’s actually impressive that they are able to afford to have such a large family. There are some parts of me that would like to have a large family. (My definition of large stops at five kids just so you know.)

But their criticisms largely used the Duggars' religious faith. From what this article indicated, they are part of an evangelical Christian movement called Quiverfull which is encourages people to have faith that God will determine the size of your family. Without going into much research, I am supposing this means not using birth control and leaving the possibility of having children up to fate God. One coworker said that they whole family must be a brainwashed cult. I don't think so. I think that they are genuinely good people of faith. I just think that they put an emphasis on certain parts of scripture that many other Christians don't.

Like I said, I think that they are peculiar but I have nothing against them. What they believe in and how they live their lives is their business. From what I’ve seen, the children seem like they’re being well cared for and are happy. What I’m thinking is that it’s not for me. Clearly it’s not for me.

Statistically speaking, one of those kids is bound to be—You know, what? Forget it. I’m not going to go there.

NBC article here. (Video is also included.)


japanesewhispers said...

From how you'v described it on your blog this Quiverfull group just sounds like a group of people not willing to take responsibility for their lives and instead passing that responsibility onto God. God is not responsible for our actions we are. As long as the children are healthy, loved and looked after that's OK. However the problem arises whent they require help to look after their children. In that case they should look to God and not the state as if he can provide children He can provide the means for looking after those children.

I hate people who use religion to hide their own irresponsibility or inability to make a decision as an adult!

Minge said...

God has NOTHING to do with it.

Kapitano said...

I think JW is partly right. Many (perhaps most) believers in any religion do sometimes use it to avoid taking responsibility or control of their own lives. But to just leave it at that implies that people are capable of controlling their lives if only they make the effort.

Manifestly this is not true - we're all controlled, limited and manipulated by forces on all sides. But saying it a way of saying "whatever happens to you, you could have avoided it if you wanted to badly enough". In other words, if taken to it's (il)logical conclusion, it blames people for their own misfortunes.

As to whether some of the children will turn out gay - I'd be very surprised if some of them didn't. The question I'd ask is: If this family believes their number of offspring is determined by god, do they realise this means god made their children gay, as a means of doing this?

Sadly, probably not.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Duggers! I guess what gets me a little upset is that now that this family is famous maybe even before they were, they will now get handouts. Their children will probably get help if not free college scholarships etc......I just think its a little unfair because they chose to have this many children. Its not like they were popping fertility drugs and ooops we have five babies now.

David said...

@Japanesewhispers: I don’t believe that is the case here. As it was mentioned in the article, the Duggars do take care of themselves. This family is debt free--a claim that many American couples, without kids, can’t make. And instead of being a drain on a community as one might fear they have demonstrated that they contribute with their community projects (I think they did a baseball fundraiser if I remember right), as well as the father’s service in the state legislature. Quite frankly, I’m impressed.

@Minge: …Or maybe s/he has everything to do with it. Depends on what you believe.

@Kapitano: I think that the biggest mistake that people use religion for is to score political points. Take abortion. It’s one thing to vote no on it because it conflicts with your beliefs. It’s another to use it as a tool in driving a much larger agenda. Instead of the “I think God would want me to…” we start going with the “I think God would want us to…” For me religion is a personal experience that is shared with who you choose to walk with. That freedom of association with like-minded people is a value I would protect.

As for your last question (even though I said I wouldn’t go there), I don’t think that the question would get you very far. It has been my experience that conservative Christian groups accept that God makes you a certain way. What they don’t accept is that something such as homosexuality is in line with God. It is a result of sin. And just as everyone is born into sin, homosexuality is just one burden that one must overcome. If one of the Duggar kids turned out to be gay… I can’t honestly say how that family would react. My best guess is that if they were consistent with how I view their beliefs as operating, they would love the child and but do everything they could to suppress the “sin.” That of course, leads into dangerous territory with the ex-gay movement.

@Anon: It doesn’t bother me that they might get handouts or free scholarships. What private individuals or companies do is fine with me. Like Japanesewhispers was going at, I would be more upset if they were living off welfare. That’s free money people should be avoiding with care.

japanesewhispers said...

@David: I didn't actually meant that they required state help, having not watched the docu. I meant that should that the problem arises should the require the help of the state, then that's not fair. I am a very large supporter of the Welfare State, however I do have issue with those who use it as an alternative of a job and for those who use it because they're irresponsible adults that use childrens arguements as to why they can't take responsibility for their own actions. As pointed out by you that's not the case here.

David said...

^Even if it were the case the something should happen to either of the Duggar parents (both are in commercial property), I don't think I would be averse to them going on welfare because they aren't the family that takes welfare just because they can. It would genuinely be a need and just because their numbers are large, doesen't mean that it is an abuse of the system. After all, that's what welfar is mean for-- a safety net not a provider. It would be very different if the parents were actually sponging of the system on purpose. I guess it's more of a motivation thing for me.

Moncrief Speaks said...

Just ONE? More than one of those kids will be gay. Go there.

Minge said...

God having something, everything or nothing to do with it has nothing to do with anyone's belief.

How many children a person has, has everything to do with their state of health, how many times they have sex and when. It's that simple, really.

Nothing to do with God.

Think about the Catholic opposition to birth control and condoms. If the number of children a person had was controlled by God, no number of pills nor the wearing of a condom could stop a pregnancy, yet they do and popping pills and wearing condoms is seen as a sin.

Nothing to do with God, nothing to do with belief, everything to do with effing.

It's time these people thought about personal responsibility and grew up.