Category Archives: Woman, the Lifegiver

Third aspect of woman, from Gen. 3

Kill Your Baby, Save A Tree

The Scientific American has an idea for addressing global warming (or, if you prefer, climate change; whatever):  contraception and abortion,  The goal: reduce the earth’s population and, therefore, the “carbon footprint” left by all those babies who are never permitted to get outside the womb alive.

David Bielo begins the article with a breathlessly delivered statistic and a hopeful prognostication:

An additional 150 people join the ranks of humanity every minute, a pace that could lead our numbers to reach nine billion by 2050. Changing that peak population number alone could save at least 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year by 2050, according to a new analysis—the equivalent of cutting more than 10 percent of fossil fuel burning per year.

There are so many ways this could be lampooned, the mind boggles. 

First, there’s the whole climate change folderol, which in another decade will be the butt of endless jokes, except for Al Gore and his enviro-nuts who have drunk uncounted gallons of the kool-aid.

Second, there is the link between population and the so-called carbon footprint. On one hand, the advanced nations are already in population decline (a fact ignored by Bielo in The Scientific American), a decline so severe that it is nearing irreversibility in Russia, Italy, and the Netherlands.  A panicked South Korea, where three out of every four pregnancies ends in abortion,  has decided to begin enforcing a long-ignored ban on abortions because of its now-irreversible population implosion, a fate also facing Japan. 

According to The Scientific American, this is all a very good thing and needs badly to be replicated in the United States and in those parts of Europe not already in precipitous population decline. 

Finally, if one reads between the lines, it is not hard to find an anti-human, pro-anything-but-human ethic behind all this.  Jeff Poor, commenting on The Scientific American article for the Media Research Center Network, notes that even more radical ideas are out there:

Paul Watson, founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 2007 called for the world’s population to drop below 1 billion, meaning roughly 5.7 billion people would have to go away.

Okay, that’s radical, I suppose.  But it is any more radical than agitating for increasing the number of abortions, already in the tens of millions annually?  Is it any more radical than agitating for entire nations to commit demographic suicide?

[This blog is crossposted to St. Athanasius Anglican Church: Contra Mundum Redivivus]

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Filed under abortion, Woman, the Lifegiver

Breeding for God

babyThis week the National Center for Health Statistics reported that out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high, accounting for nearly four in 10 babies born last year.  As long as the link lasts, here’s an AP report published in the online edition of the Atlanta Constitution. What’s interesting is that this surge in unwed mothers does not appear among teen-aged girls, whose out of wedlock births dropped last year to the lowest level on record.  “Instead, births among unwed mothers rose most dramatically among women in their 20s,” Mike Stobbe, AP Medical writer reports. 

Most of the commentary I’ve seen so far among conservative Christians focuses on how these statistics point to the continuing diminution of the nuclear family.  This statistic joins another one that mom-dad-child households have now dropped below 50 percent of all households in America and, both together show that those chicken-littles who predicted such an outcome for the sexual revolution of the previous generations were not, after all, exaggerating.

On the other hand, I do not find anyone speculating on  how these statistics point to the wholly unknown territory of a nation populated by people whose “cradle culture” informs their own expectations of family life (or its absence).  In family life, as in other areas, like begets like.  Weak families have begotten weaker families, which beget broken families, which beget no families at all.  For reasons expounded by an increasing number of both conservative and liberal commentators, the end of all this is death not the killing of people already living (though, of course abortion does that by the millions each year), but in the simple failure to have any children at all.

Among conservative commentators, Mark Steyn has engagingly made this case numerous times, as in his C. D. Kemp lecture  in August 2006, in which he summarized the demographic statistics of secularist Europe with these words:

Seventeen European nations are now at what demographers call “lowest-low” fertility – 1.3 births per woman, the point at which you’re so far down the death spiral you can’t pull out. In theory, those countries will find their population halving every 35 years or so. In practice, it will be quicker than that, as the savvier youngsters figure there’s no point sticking around a country that’s turned into an undertaker’s waiting room. So large parts of the western world are literally dying – and, in Europe, the successor population to those aging French and Dutch and Belgians is already in place. Perhaps the differences will be minimal. In France, the Catholic churches will become mosques; in England, the village pubs will cease serving alcohol; in the Netherlands, the gay nightclubs will close up shop and relocate to San Francisco. But otherwise life will go on much as before. The new Europeans will be observant Muslims instead of post-Christian secularists but they will still be recognizably European: It will be like Cats after a cast change: same long-running show, new actors, but the plot, the music, the sets are all the same. The animating principles of advanced societies are so strong that they will thrive whoever’s at the switch.

Are there any counter-currents?  Yes, and you will find this discussed on the cover-story of Prospect Magazine for November 2006.  Eric Kaufmann, in “Breeding for God,” points to the demographics of faith, viz. that those who have a stable, forward looking faith reproduce, while secularists of no faith at all stop reproducing. Among the sociologists of religion he cites is Rodney Stark:

In his remarkable book The Rise of Christianity, the American sociologist of religion Rodney Stark explains how an obscure sect with just 40 converts in the year 30AD became the official religion of the Roman empire by 300. The standard answer to this question is that the emperor Constantine had a vision which led to his conversion and an embrace of Christianity. Stark demonstrates the flaws in this “great man” portrait of history. Christianity, he says, expanded at the dramatic rate of 40 per cent a decade for over two centuries, and this upsurge was only partly the result of its appeal to the wider population of Hellenistic pagans. Christian demography was just as important. Unlike the pagans, Christians cared for their sick during plagues rather than abandoning them, which sharply lowered mortality. In contrast to the “macho” ethos of pagans, Christians emphasised male fidelity and marriage, which attracted a higher percentage of female converts, who in turn raised more Christian children. Moreover, adds Stark, Christians had a higher fertility rate than pagans, yielding even greater demographic advantage.

Stark, of course, is not the only one to point to the demographics of faith.  Phillip Longman has riled the liberal establishment by pointing to the same factors at work in the American electoral system, where blue-state liberals are failing to reproduce, while red-state conservatives are having more babies and generating more conservative voters.

So far as we can tell at this point, the future is mixed.  If the Church and its householders continue to embrace the values and lifetyle of the world, America too will begin its demographic death spiral in the next generation or two.  On the other hand, if those with faith in the future and a God who guides it do as the demographers report they have always done, there may be a renaissance of Christian orthodoxy in America by the end of this century.  

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Filed under Complementarianism, Feminism, Woman, the Lifegiver

Hope for the Future

Last night, my wife Barbara spent the evening with five female students of Five Aspects of Woman, led by the wife of a couple who minister with an international evangelism/discipleship organization on the campus of my (and my wife’s) alma mater.  Four of them were single seniors on campus, one was a 30-something married next door neighbor.  We were in town to visit my daughter and son-in-law, and my wife took the opportunity to check in with this study, partly to encourage the facilitator, partly to refresh our “from the field” information. 

hope

When she left the meeting, she reported being encouraged more than she had for a long time.  As we discussed the reasons why, we came up with the following factors, some of them surfacing in her time with these young women, others emerging from similar conversations my wife has had with young women who appropriate the Biblical model of femininity into their lives:

Survivors of feminism: in North America, the public school systems both public and private have pursued a social engineering agenda unprecedented in western civilization: to inculcate, indoctrinate, and enforce upon the students’ worldview the notion that there is no inherent difference between males and females.  We are seeing the third full generation of children reared under this doctrinaire framework, and we are also seeing the first of the bitter fruits beginning to ripen in the culture. 

And yet …

Here are these young women, a minority of young women to be sure, but still … their femininity is still intact, intact in the sense that they do not identify themselves as inherently identical to males in social, psychological, and spiritual perspectives.  Moreover, they acknowledge a fair understanding of the feminist ethos imposed on them since birth; yet, they have also succeeded wanting something for themselves that comports with who they knew themselves to be: females, who are different from males, whose happiness and productivity is to be found in their created natures rather than the socially engineered identities of secular or religious feminism.

Clear-sighted about the past:  It’s been a long known notion that worldliness in the Church follows the culture by about 25 to 30 years.  Students of secular feminism can see this “lag” in evangelical feminism, still mired in the power politics and “justice issues” of the past couple of generations.  We have found that when young Christian women actually escape the indoctrination of the culture, they do so because of compelling evidence from their feminist grandmothers, mothers, and aunts, whose lives turned out to be painfully messy in ways that the youngsters connect with the feminist dogma their natural female mentors have pursued all their lives.  Childlessness, divorce, often serial divorce, lonely singleness, and the defeminizing effects of careerism — these young women have seen it in their female elders, and they want something better. 

Hopeful for the future:  Attending to the pain of the previous generations of women who followed the feminist dreams, these young women are ready to take up again the classical feminine identity, the “feminine mystique” scorned by Friedan, demonized by Millet, and lampooned by Greer back in the middle of the previous century, all the more so when they perceive the Biblical roots of classical femininity.  Their re-embrace of classical femininity will not change things in the culture in the immediate future, but these women literally bear the future in their wombs.  As wives and mothers, they hold the key to reshaping and reclaiming a culture of sexual sanity 50 to 100 years into the future.

Why? 

First of all, because feminism – including its religious versions – promotes death.  Whether one aborts one’s children, or simply refuses to conceive them, secular and religious feminists are keen to avoid multiplying and filling the earth with their kind.  Over time, feminism dies, because feminists both male and female do not reporduce.  On the other hand, fecundity is one of the most fundamental marks of femininity.

Second, the re-emergence of classical femininity provides an increasingly stark contrast between the life-time outcomes of those emeshed in the sexual chaos of feminism and the happy sanity of classical femininity.  Today’s refugees from egalitarianism give serious consideration to Biblical femininity mostly because they are seeking a viable alternative to what they observe does not work.  Tomorrow’s refugees will have an easier time, for the alternative will be “out there” for immediate observation, and unlike the spiritual sterility of feminism.

None of the young women in the class were pregnant in a biological sense (though the facilitator is).  All of them, however, were pregnant in a spiritual sense, holding within themselves the prospect of replanting Biblical Christianity back into their culture.  It’s a work that bears its best fruit two and three generations in the future. 

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Filed under Complementarianism, Woman, the Lifegiver