I figured rather than send this only to a mailing list I might as well share it with the world of LiveJournal.
This is in reference to Pat Robertson's comments
about declining European populations.
Studies that I have read indicate that having babies is a sign of a faith in the future. You know, unless you believe in the future, you're not going to take the trouble of raising a child, educating a child, doing something. If there is no future, why do it?
I think having babies is a bigger sign of being horny and not using contraception.
Well, unless you believe in God, there's really no future.
If you believe in God and heaven, you think you'll live forever. So there's no reason to have kids to leave a legacy. On the other hand, if you think that this world is all we have, children are the only way to ensure that a part of you lives on.
And when you go back to the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, the whole idea of this desperate nightmare we are in -- you know, that we are in this prison, and it has no hope, no exit. That kind of philosophy has permeated the intellectual thinking of Europe, and hopefully it doesn't come here. But nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, Europe is right now in the midst of racial suicide because of the declining
birth rate. And they just can't get it together. Why? There's no hope.
What countries are declining in population?
Trinidad and Tobago
8 of 15 former Soviet republics. Several East European countries. A lot of island nations. And some African countries aren't doing well.
The former Soviets are perhaps the most interesting. Under Soviet rule, religion was officially illegal, but they've had 14 years for the church to do its work. If Robertson is right, shouldn't we expect an increase in faith, and therefore babies, in those countries?
In China, where the ethnic religion and philosophy don't focus on an afterlife and the Government has a strict population policy the growth rate is 0.65%. In India where the dominant religious belief is reincarnation (so you have a future no matter how many kids you have), the growth rate is 1.44%. In Bhutan, a country which is mostly Buddhists who believe that the goal of life is to leave the future, the growth rate is 2.11%.
Of the countries ranked in the top 30 in birth rate, the only non-African states are Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip. The highest Latin American country (where Christian faith is strong and birth control is rare) is Guatemala at #56. Most of those 30 are also at the top of the death rate and also have the lowest life expectancies on the planet; in many cases less than 40 years thanks to war and disease. Africa is not a place that inspires help in the future, yet they have a lot of babies.
As usual, this is another case of Pat Robertson asserting his beliefs based on an anecdote without any serious research. Actual demographers point out that population growth is fairly closely correlated with wealth. People who are well off don't need kids to help farm, carry water, or gather firewood. When you live off the land without major farm equipment, children are an economic advantage. When you have a desk job, children are an economic burden.