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The wide gate

The path to destruction is a twisted form of the path to life

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Since Time magazine announced God was dead in 1966, people have done their best to manage without Him, notably in relationships. God’s narrow way of one man and one woman monogamously raising offspring has been paved over with multilane beltways, bypasses, and loops that must look sort of messy from angel altitude.

These include elective single motherhood (“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”) and joint homosexual parenting. But the latest offshoot is “platonic co-parenting,” an option generating lucrative business for matchmaking services like the Los Angeles–based Modamily and the U.K.’s PollenTree and CoParents.

The idea is that your biological clock is running out because you waited till your late 30s to think about having a baby. There’s no time for the niceties of finding a “true love,” getting married, and having kids the old-fashioned way. So the shortcut (to stick to the road metaphor) is an algorithm-driven online search for a person who embodies your wish list for a good parent—though not necessarily for a romantic partner.

Wouldn’t the guy who’s good father material also be good husband material?

In other words, you want your child to have a father like Ward Cleaver while you hold out for a hunk like the Sundance Kid. So you and Mr.-Right-for-a-father-but-not-for-a-heartthrob will agree to create a baby together ASAP (some use a sperm bank but why not do it the free way?) and share his upbringing. It buys you time.

The question it raises for me right off the bat: Wouldn’t the guy who’s good father material also be good husband material? One woman describing her child’s co-parent uses adjectives like “kind,” “gallant,” “flexible,” and “brave.” What’s not to fall in love with?

I know, I know, to each his own. It’s like Woody Allen said when challenged about the choice of his stepdaughter for a lover: “The heart wants what it wants.” Good luck with that. But evidently, for many, when it comes to mate choices, “fun” and “naughty” trump those prosaic aforementioned virtues.

Here’s my other question: If the purpose of this new approach is to find the most principled and high-minded parent for your child, how is that accomplished by birthing him into an out-of-wedlock, noncommittal union? And an instantly broken family, where he will be schlepped back and forth between Mom’s and Dad’s crib for 18 years? It’s bad enough we have unplanned broken families without creating planned ones.

Did anybody consider the likely complications of two people sleeping together while agreeing not to get emotionally attached? As the Apostle Paul writes, “Do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? … ‘The two will become one flesh’” (1 Corinthians 6:16). Or as C.S. Lewis put it in The Screwtape Letters, “The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”

“God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). Manifestly. When human hubris tries to fix what ain’t broken, we end up with the “cobra effect.” (In an attempt to solve a cobra problem in the city of Delhi, the British offered a bounty to anyone turning in the venomous snakes. Enterprising Indians not only delivered snakes they caught but bred more of them.)

The irony is how “platonic co-parenting” is a back-door acknowledgment of the superiority of God’s design. It tacitly admits that children thrive better with parents who exhibit qualities such as love, nurturing, faithfulness, and commitment, which is the Bible’s own teaching. The devil can never create an original, but only twist what God has created.

“For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her columns have been compiled into three books including Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides near Philadelphia.


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