Only since 1970 and the publishing of Paul Erlich’s secular book, The Population Bomb (he studied insects for a living), has the notion that having more than two children was a mortal sin against the planet become part of the modern psyche.
There is no population crisis in Western industrialized nations. In fact, quite the opposite. Instead, the crisis we face today is the polar opposite of what the strident environmentalists warned us about in the heyday of mood lamps, LSD, and Bob Dylan.
The alarming reality is the birth rates in all of Western Europe, Japan, Russia, and even China are in serious decline. These nations are not only failing to replace their current population but their very future existence is in doubt. In some cases they are losing people at a current popular rate of decline of 20% or more.
Responsible economists are predicting that if this population rate of decline is not reversed, it’s only a matter of decades until their economies collapse from lack of workers and a dearth of spending consumers. It might be of interest to note the Scriptures speak to such a foreboding dilemma, “A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined” Proverbs 14:28.
The United States is only sustaining its current population due to the large influx of immigrants who are having large families. Otherwise, we would be in the same sinking ship as Western Europe, Russia, or other nations, which are actually paying families to have more children.
But are we overrunning the planet? We had someone from the funeral industry once explain that if you buried all the earth’s population right next to each other it would fill up a space the size of Rhode Island and perhaps Connecticut. So if there is not a genuine overpopulation crisis at work today in our society (just the opposite is actually true), why the renewed calls for one or two children families?
We believe the current birth dearth is more a philosophical or theological crisis than an ecological or economic one. As we have turned away from the Judeo-Christian ethic to a secular and agnostic belief system, we have in the Western cultures at the same time lost faith in our purpose, meaning, and destiny as a society. If we really have no reason to exist other than to serve ourselves and our narcissistic ambitions, why have kids at all?
The false gods of materialism, hedonism, and even the worship of nature (what Francis Schaeffer called the idols of “personal peace and affluence”) have left us so empty and drifting that we have no reason to reproduce another generation. Saving the whales has become more important to us than saving our way of life or saving souls. After all, the little crying creatures can be costly, an irritating interruption, and a real nuisance if pursuing your personal space and higher standard of living are your only real goals in life.
Let us say it clearly — the threat of having too many children is not America’s looming crisis, rather it’s having too little reason to live and to create another generation that is the real problem.
Just 100 years ago, Americans faced far more disease, lack of medical resources, and harsh standards of living than we do, yet they chose to have large families. Was it simply to make sure a few kids survived or because they lacked access to contraception? Perhaps in some cases, but the primary reason was they believed in the promise of America, the joy of family, and in a faith that said God would take care of them. The result was the most prosperous, industrious, creative, forward-looking and blessed society that our world has ever seen.
Our six precious children (and our son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and grandson), are all gifts from God, and they will tell you they are glad their highly educated mother (Master’s degree) stayed home to raise them. Furthermore they will admit she did not waste her education in doing so. Instead of squandering her hard-earned resources she invested them in the next generation by providing a secure and loving environment for our children.
Twenty-five years ago when we discovered we were pregnant with our fourth child (we have six altogether), a very concerned and sincere nurse at the clinic asked us, “Are you two part of some cult?”
“No,” we answered, “We’re just making sure there is someone to pay your Social Security when you retire.”
There was more truth in our answer than we knew at the time.
For more information about the population crisis, Mentoring Moments recommends the fascinating yet chilling video Demographic Winter.
If you are viewing this post in an email and can’t see the video, you can click the linked title to view it on You Tube.
Bob & Cheryl Moeller