Is Fatherhood a choice

What is happening in our world?  Fatherhood is on the decline, even well intended men like myself, are finding it harder and harder to understand what it means to be an intentional father who trains up our children in the Lord.  I was reading an article by Andrew J. Peach, an associate professor of philosophy at Providence College in Rhode Island, entitled On the Demise of Fatherhood and he brings up some serious critiques of society at large and why the decline of Fatherhood is occurring.  In short, he attributes it to voluntarism and functionalism.  The following quote aptly illustrates voluntarism:

“If women have the Constitutionally sanctioned individual liberty to terminate their pregnancies, as Justices Brennan and Kennedy affirm, then it can hardly come as a surprise that men, too, see no reason to be bound by unplanned parenthood. David Boonin, a philosophy professor at the University of Colorado, is forthright in his embrace of voluntaristic fatherhood: “If the man took reasonable precautions and made clear to the woman that he was unwilling to become a father, then while we may still be justified in saying that he is now behaving selfishly or callously, it may seem less clear that we would be justified in saying that he is violating the moral rights of the child or the woman.” And although the law persists in hypocritically pursuing dead-beat dads, the logic of Roe and Casey has not been lost on men: What makes a woman a parent is not that she is, in fact, a biological mother but, rather, that she chose to be a parent. And why shouldn’t men have the same choice? Why should they be tyrannized by the happenstances of biology?”


To understand functionalism, this quote will suffice, 

“What began as the necessary and commendable move in law and the culture at large to equate biological and adoptive parents for reasons of stability (as well as to defang abusive or absent parents) has led to the view that blood relations are insignificant in regard to families. As a consequence, a barrage of alternative arrangements—intentionally mixed families, artificial insemination by donor (AID), heterologous surrogacy—is now being justified on the grounds of the irrelevance of biology… the message here is clear: To father is a function, and with the proper planning, procedures and safeguards in place, this function can be filled, at least in principle, by anyone.”

Fathering, no longer requires a father. While Peach’s article doesn’t outline a solution, he starkly paints the picture of modern society in which we live.  Now, we need to return to Scripture and reclaim the nuclear family which God ordained.  To which I ask – How are you intentionally fathering your children and training them in the ways of the Lord?
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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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