The Mothers Day baby dedication picture looks good, but it reminds us of a major problem today. First, let me congratulate (L to R) the Rogers, Suko, Nelson, Myers and Frizzell families on the dedications of Tobin Alexander R., Evangeline Rose S., Kennedy Grace N., Silas Robert M., and Brinnley Mae F. What a blessing it was to see them committing themselves to raise their children for the Lord.
The problem I mentioned came to my attention in the 1970's when I wrote a college paper on God's command to man to be fruitful and multiply. This was after the best selling Population Bomb book by Ehrlich came out saying millions would starve to death in a few years due to over-population. This resulted in panic and population rates dropping drastically in a year around the world to below the replacement rate of 2.1. However, I concluded that the Scriptural command still applied; there was plenty of food and that you could fit the entire population of the world into Texas in single family dwellings. Since then the Population Bomb book proved to be wrong.
Now a new book, What to Expect When No One Is Expecting, highlights the error of Ehrlich's book. The author Jonathan Last says various factors continue to drive population rates down to the point that demographers around the world are starting to sound the alarm. Being below replacement rate means the population pyramid inverts due to better medicine and people live longer while there are fewer young people to support the tax base and care for the elderly. This is the problem our Social Security program is facing. It also has alarming ramifications for meeting the needs of the military and the general work force.
Japan is an example of this with a growing older population and a shrinking young population. Recently they sold more adult diapers than children's and the finance minister announced that old people should do their duty by hurrying up to die. Vladimir Putin also stated publically that Russia's biggest problem is depopulation. Russia is expected to drop from 141 million to below 100 million by 2050. In one area they declared a Family Connect Day in which everyone got a day off from work to go home and make babies. Nine months later a Give Birth to a Patriot Day was planned to celebrate. New parents were given new 4x4's. Those with second or third children were given 250,000 rubles. China is facing this and has also relaxed regulations on family size. Europe is also looking at incentives to encourage growth. The problem is so pronounced that urban growth planning is not a job sought after. Instead people are being trained in how to demolish urban areas that have been vacated.
Other things driving the replacement rate down include the cost of having children, education costs, abortion, the sexual revolution, same-sex marriage, increased narcissism and the rise of contraceptives. In America in 1900 no religious denomination sanctioned contraceptives. Today almost all do. America remains below the 2.1 replacement rate at 1.86. Our current growth in population is due entirely to immigration.
Mr. Last says those who don't go to church tend to choose to have few children. They see the world as here and now and focus more on themselves and a more liberal outlook. On the other hand those who go to church weekly focus on the present with a view to the future. Their replacement rate is healthy and above the 2.1. In other words they seem to value people more. Interesting.
Christians are called to live here and now but with a view to the future. That is why we study prophecy. We value children as gifts from the Lord and created in the image of God. They carry the faith into the future. And...after all, our children, biological or spiritual, are the only things we can take with us to heaven. What do you think?
P.S. You can watch the baby dedication last Sunday in our Livestream for 5/15/2016. For an interesting interview with Mr. Last cut and paste the link below into your browser.