Our modern culture has a warped view of children and the purpose they serve.
In one respect, we idolize children as expensive commodities or accessories that contribute to our personal pleasure. Social media is flooded with images of “perfect” children — beautiful, healthy, charming and immaculately groomed. For parents, children can be a sign of maturity, financial success and personal virtue.
At the same time, we live in a society that advocates unrestricted access to abortion up until birth. While these two aspects of our culture might seem incompatible at first, they’re actually two sides of the same coin. We moderns believe that children are ultimately a choice. We want to control if, when, how and how many children we have.
A recent news story in the U.K. is a perfect case study into this modern Western view of children.
A couple’s misguided desire to “free” their daughter
The Daily Mail ran a story last month about a British husband and wife who aborted their baby daughter after a 20-week prenatal scan revealed the child had a “strong chance” of being born with Spina Bifida.
After two and a half years of trying to start a family, which included rounds of expensive fertility treatments, Jade Dodson, 32, and her husband Mark, 31, were told that their daughter Amalie’s condition meant her life would be “challenging” — she would likely suffer brain damage and possible bowel dysfunction and paralysis.
“It was a torturous decision that we had to face,” Jade said of aborting her first child. “Whilst it’s never 100 per cent clear with spina bifida how severely a child will be affected until they’re born, we had a confident diagnosis from two specialist doctors and lots of scans that Amalie’s case was a bad one. The spina bifida was high in the lumbar region and the higher up the spine, the worse a child is affected.”
The couple said their decision to abort Amalie stemmed from a desire to “free” their daughter from a life of likely suffering.
“We felt this was the best thing ethically for Amalie. Our decision was made entirely for her,” Jade told Mirror Online.
In the wake of the abortion, the Dodsons have decided to raise awareness and money for a charity called Action Medical Research, which funds Spina Bifida research.
What is the true purpose of children?
Our modern culture’s impoverished view of children is contrasted by the truths about human dignity laid out in Sacred Scripture.
The Bible has a lot to say about how God views children. Here are just a view examples that highlight this countercultural perspective:
Psalm 113:9 — He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.
Psalm 127:3-5 — Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
Psalm 139:13-16 — For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Luke 18:15-17 — People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
James 1:17 — Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
The Bible also has something to say about our modern striving for a pain-free, struggle-free life. In fact, the Lord assures us that such striving will prove futile:
John 16:33 — “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
As Christians, we must understand that God doesn’t bless us with children to increase our personal sense of fulfillment or even happiness. They are a gift, yes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be burdensome at times.
God doesn’t give us the right to decide which children to accept. We are called to love as He — the one who created them — loves them.
Christians must understand the true purpose of children laid out in Scripture if we can ever hope to end these widespread injustices against the unborn.