Del wrote: Cleon wrote:
serapion wrote:Hasn't this always been the Catholic (and for that matter Muslim) strategy? Out-reproduce 'em. Don't knock it till you've tried it! It works.
I think it's been the Christian way up until recent times. Christians give birth to Christians. It's a very simple covenantal concept that goes back to the beginning.
Why is everyone looking at me?
Jee, I don't know. Lol!
Del wrote:It is common in history that the life-affirming cultures supersede the cultures of death. Muslims are quietly conquering post-Christian Europe after 1300 years of failing to conquer Christian Europe.
That remains to be seen. But birth rates alone don't determine the success of a civilization. Not to mention the conquerers are more often than not the biggest problem of all. In so many ways some of the Barbarian tribes of Europe are more attractive to me than the conquering Romans. And just think of the horrors we Americans did to the native American cultures.
But I wonder about your view of culture, Del. It almost appears as though you desire a sort of static culture of sorts. I think cultures change as they come in contact with other cultures. It doesn't matter if it peaceful or not, cultures change with contact with other cultures. Some cultures didn't like change so they shut off contact with the outside to one degree on another. This happened in Japan for a long time. Historic Russia had similar policies for a while in that non Russians were relegated to certain small quarters of the capital city. The local Russians liked to call the visiting Catholic westerners heretics! Go figure the Russians finally did away with feudalism long after the west did. And when that happened the Russians were like children and the next thing you know they killed their czar and embraced communism.
But anyway, I'm happy with a slight increase of my own culture. We have been influenced by culture south of the border. I like much of it and embrace it. Now if they were Muslims I would be more worried, if sharia law was on the table. But most Muslims I know are more secular than I am so I don't worry about it too much. But birth rates alone won't save Europe from change and perhaps Europe might gain something from their southern neighbors. Europe just might be able to convert Muslims to secularism faster than conservative Muslims with convert Europe to sharia law. I'm not sure that's actually altogether better but it probably is.
Del wrote:As a personal testimony, my wife and I regret that we only had two kids. And our sons agree that they would be happier with more brothers and sisters, and less stuff. And we didn't even have a good reason for limiting our family -- it was just the style of the time, and we didn't think to question it.
So why are you questioning it now? This is the thing that bothers me about certain sectors of Catholic and Orthodox culture that I have come into contact with. It's as though they demand large broods or judge harshly if you don't have one. They are bent on making happy families of one, two, three or four kids unhappy because unless you have more than four you just aren't good enough. I wonder how you really came to conclude that you would be happier with more children? How can you know this? I know a couple that wanted more kids. They had twins which raised their number of children to five. One has a serious brain condition and today their marriage barely survives the stress. Trust me, they were happier with three.
Del wrote:As to the "carrying capacity" of the planet -- our ability to grow and transport food has expanded much faster than the world's population. We have never had more capacity to feed and comfort humanity than we enjoy now. Yet the Malthusian myth of "over-population" never dies. (I think it is racist at heart.... folks who favor population control are pretty quick to blame all problems on all of those Africans and Asians. The UN has a pretty aggressive program of reducing their "surplus population.")
First of all, it's not just about people. Second of all, whether or not we can feed the whole world is subject to whether or not we will. Third, even if we do, will that change the social and political conditions that lead to the starvation to begin with?
I don't think there's a problem with middle and upper class westerners having large families. If we have stable marriages and reasonably stable incomes it's all good. But we still need to consider other impacts to the ecosystem that we cause. I'm a hunter and outdoorsman. I see first hand what happens when urban sprawl takes place. It's not what I like to see. families big or small buy homes where wildlife used to raise their families. Come on out to So Cal and I'll show the extent of the damage. It's sad. And yes, we have destroyed too many trees to build our big houses. That's sad too. It's not that I hate humanity but I do think we are smart enough to consider our impact and act accordingly.
The rest of nature has checks and balances but we humans have cheated nature. We now live longer, save more of our children from an early death and can breed all year long. We build roads and huge villages right through the land deer used to use. We don't like abortion, we don't like genocide and we don't want to kill off our elders either. Controlling birth rates and living in smaller spaces is the only logical step to take if we care about the rest of creation.
Del wrote:I go to a parish that has several young families with four and six and more kids. They are always so extremely happy. I encourage young people to be open to that happiness. It means some material sacrifices, but the joy and love pay off so much better in return!
Most people are happy with their children if they have healthy families. The number of children doesn't typically dictate that. Sure enough, some people like myself would like more children, but some families are stressed with lots of children. Yes, I do know families at my parish with 5+ kids who struggle to feed and cloth them for years while they keep getting pregnant. Sure, they love their kids but they need to stop having more until they can figure out how to properly care for the ones they have! I know other families at my parish with 5+ kids who are doing OK financially. That's fine but we all need a place to live and our freeways need to get bigger and bigger. . .