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Thanks for this thoughtful and interesting response,  My interest is also in the sociology of religion which asks the "why" it takes certain forms and the functions it fulfills.

ChrisCook:

For instance, is it any surprise that most "fundamentalists" of Abrahamic traditions proscribe contraception because at the time the "code" was written life expectancy was so short, and large families a necessary response?

I do however think it wrong to  project opposition to contraception back so far.  I doubt there was any concept of conception much less contraception two millenia ago.  A far more likely explanation (in my view) is the competition for membership power and influence between religious groupings today.  

In practice very very few people actual choose their religion - i.e. convert from one to another as adults.  Almost all adherents to religions do so because they were raised in that tradition and some traditions have very severe penalties towards apostates.

Key to the survival and growth of a religion is therefore a high fertility rate amongst its members.  Thus the opposition to abortion and contraception, thus the opposition to womens rights and focus on their role as mothers, thus the emphasis on the family as the primary means of passing on the religious adherence to the next generation.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 08:53:41 AM EST
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