I posted this comment at Spunky Junior's website about an article on low birth rates:
There's a myth amongst Evangelicalism at the moment that seems to equate childlessness with selfishness and pride - that materialism and love of the world have led to a drop in birth rates.
The CIA world factbook has a page that lists all the world's average birthrates. Click here to go to that page
The numbers on that page indicate the average amount of babies born per woman. Any number below 2.1 indicates a declining population while any number above 2.1 indicates an expanding population.
(Note: The effects of these are gradual. Most nations with a birth rate below 2.1 are still growing, but the rate of growth declines every year. Eventually, after a few decades of below 2.1, the population will begin to decline)
If you look at the list you wil find that most western nations have below-replacement birth rates. Germany has 1.39, Italy 1.28, Belgium 1.64, Japan 1.39, Australia 1.76, Ireland 1.87. The USA is 2.08 - just under the threshold.
It is tempting to think that these nations have low birth rates because of their materialism and "selfishness". However, the list also shows that a number of poorer nations have low birth rates too: Turkey 1.94, Sri Lanka 1.85, Iran 1.82, Tunisia 1.75, Thailand 1.63.
I think it is spurious to link that study about Germany's desire for "qualifications" to their birth rate. It is also spurious for other Christians to link materialism to low birth rates too, considering the birth rates of the poor nations I mentioned.
Low birth rates are a function of social demographics. Here in Australia, our Kangaroo population shrinks during drought. While many Kangaroos certainly starve during this period, it is a proven fact that many Kangaroos also put off reproducing. In effect, the drought forces Kangaroos to drastically drop their birth rate.
And they do this despite the fact that God said to them to "Be fruitful and increase in number" (Genesis 1:22) - the exact same phrase that God uses for man a few verses later (Genesis 1:28)
Put simply - low birthrates are not the result of sin or materialism, but because of a natural cycle that God put into place at the creation.
From the Theosalient Department
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.