Childfreedom and Religion

I’ve always thought this was an interesting topic. I don’t know as though there is any real definite correlation between religious beliefs (or, more specifically, lack thereof) and the choice to be childfree. Though I will say, in my experience, it seems as though atheists and other non-religious people tend to be more likely to be childfree than their religious counterparts.

I myself am an atheist. I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which I stopped believing in from a very early age. I’ve since dabbled in mainstream Christianity and gave Unitarian Universalism a try, but I never felt quite right in any of them. That said, I’ve known from a very early age that I didn’t want kids, going as far back as the time I still considered myself a believing Mormon.

Of course, I was met with dismissive attitudes about my childfreedom back then as I am now. I know the LDS religion in particular is very much against childfree marriages (though contrary to popular belief they are NOT against the use of artificial contraception), and I don’t know a single married Mormon couple who doesn’t have children or who isn’t trying to have children. Though the doctrine doesn’t outright say that having a marriage without children is wrong, it is highly frowned upon, because they believe it is their duty to give God’s literal spirit children (conceived through celestial sex with God and his Goddess wife(ves?)) physical bodies. This goes directly back to the post I wrote about why people have kids (link).

Seeing as how I don’t have as much experience with other religions as I do Mormonism, I can’t much comment on how they view the childfree. In my experience though, more liberal Protestant denominations of Christianity (such as those that accept LGBT people) tend to be more accepting of it than the more conservative ones. Obviously the Catholic Church is all about breeding, considering their extreme anti-contraception stance. These are really the only ones I can say anything about. If there are any childfree Muslims, Jews, etc. out there I’d love to hear from you and how well you are accepted in your respective religious communities.

Just so you know what I’m basing my experiences on, I do have childfree Christian friends. Most of them are of the more liberal persuasion, though one is more conservative and they just feel that God is calling them to do other work. That said, one conservative Christian I used to be friends with on my personal blog has constantly reamed me for my “anti-child” posts and even brings my atheism into the argument saying that “at least I’m consistent about my atheism.” Well, if that were the case, wouldn’t all atheists be childfree? As it is they aren’t (and I know plenty of atheists who want/have children), so I think she’s just trying to cause trouble.

Even with all of that though, more religious people tend to have bigger families. I wonder though if it’s more a correlation with religion or if it has more to do with education, since there’s also a reverse correlation between piety and education level, just as there is a reverse correlation between number of children and education level (which will be a topic of a later entry). I know correlation doesn’t equal causation, but I wonder if one thing is effecting the other two.

To my readers/commenters: what’s your religion, and what has your experience been within your religious community?


About coolchildfreeguy

Childfree guy living in Mexico City. Professional pilot by day, all-around fun guy by night.

Posted on January 3, 2012, in Childfree, Parenting, Religion. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Interesting blog today! I may be the odd one of the bunch in a few aspects. My mother is atheist and does believe in an afterlife and spirits of our relatives watching over us. Her mother was raised Methodist, but by the time she had my mom she believed worship is personal and to take place in the home. My step father (heavy infulence on my life) is atheist and science all the way. We enjoy our conversations so much! They all had children.

    My brother and I were raised to believe in freedom of religion. As a result my brother chose to be baptised as a young man and has claimed to be atheist, recently. (I say claimed, because he seemed unsure when he annouced it and was going through a rough patch, only time will tell there.) He just had his first kid last year ♥

    Personally I’ve been on many walks of religion. Mainly because I know that there is something more. I can feel it. It’s hard to explain. I’ve dabbled in wiccanism and paganism and found that anything with rituals in it (including christain rituals) is just too strict for me. I know there is something more and that I can feel it. I don’t choose a religion though. It just is and that’s that.

    I’ve been a fencesitter for years and have finally settled on childfreedom. My religion has no bearing on my having children, but it does on my mother. She believes that you live through your children. Like a form of immortality and that when you die you are responsible for your living family. If she’s right I guess I’ll be one old dead aunt watching over some great great neice or nephew! The works never done! haha!

  2. I’m an atheist and have been for many years. I dabbled in paganism in my late teens and early twenties, and that’s where I met childfree women for the first time. Pagans are very liberal and accepting of others, which I appreciate.

    My local atheist community is a mix. There are two older CF couples and a CF woman around my age, there are plenty of people without kids (although I don’t know if that’s choice or circumstance), and some parents, but thankfully they don’t bring their kids along. The atheist group goes out to dinner, so not the most kid-friendly atmosphere. I’d like to be able to say that I’ve never had any problems being CF among atheists, but last year I was bingoed with “you’ll regret it” when I mentioned I was sterile. Most ironically, the bingo came from a CF guy who was sterilised at a younger age than me! Before I could say anything, he started hitting on me, with the disclaimer that he wasn’t actually hitting on me because he knows I’m married but he’d love to date a CF woman, etc. It’s a pity my husband wasn’t there.

  3. I’m Roman Catholic and CF. Because the Catholic Church is breederific, and getting sterilized is actually a mortal sin in the Catholic Church, I don’t talk much about my childfreedom with my Catholic friends! Yes, the Catholic Church equates getting sterilized with murder. The only way you can get away with being CF in the Catholic Church is to never marry and never have sex :/ I am not sterile, btw.

    I don’t feel called to parenthood. I believe my vocation(s) in life lies elsewhere. I take comfort in the fact that there were plenty of Catholic saints who never bore children, so I actually have a lot of Catholic examples to look up to. There are other things I like about the Catholic Church, which is why I’m still Catholic. I actually converted at age 16 from a Protestant denomination.

    It’s hard for me to connect with my own friends sometimes because the majority of CF people I know are not religious, and the majority of religious people I know have or want kids. I love my friends, but wish I had ONE friend who was religious AND childfree.

    • I can relate to some degree. I’m Catholic as well, but I am a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose. My Catholic friends (the few that I have) know me well enough that being CF doesn’t come up in conversation.

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