Too Many Children? Oh God, Here We Go Again
“Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22; 9:7)
I am not a religious man, but I don’t have much of an interest in passing judgment on those who are. I figure, with the world being what it is (equal parts wondrous and horrendous–eh, maybe not always so equal) that one needs to find inspiration and guidance where it is available. But to me, in my limited secular view, religion seems like a very personal choice that should be ever-evolving and subject to speculation and maturation overtime, not something that you are born into as minion or disciple.
As a continuation of an earlier post (“Too Many Children”), I am delving into the idea of what constitutes too many children and what motivates parents to indiscriminately multiply like rabbits.
As a parent myself, I could honestly say that God (or G-d if you are Jewish) didn’t really make an impact on my choice to procreate or say–just act like I am trying to procreate. But for many of the pious and devout, religion is the sole determinant to having children.
Take for instance the Quiverfull movement. This is a evangelical religious movement existing largely in the United States (with populations in Canada, Australia, and the UK as well) that follows a sort of biblical mandate, and thoroughly believes that God, and only God, should and will determine what the right number of children should be for any given family, because ultimately it is God’s design. Therefore, for those of the Quiverfull faith, the idea of birth control, sterilization, or even abstinence among married couples is an anathema. The result is (as anyone could guess) abundant Quiverfull families packing into Sunday church meetings and staunchly following the psalm that inspires their name:
“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Normally this sort of thing wouldn’t bother me, let alone get my attention, but there is an element here that is a bit less wholesome and slightly more disconcerting with the modus operandi of the Quiverfull faith. Beyond setting out to be fruitful and multiply, the Quiverfull objective is to multiply the faithful and rework the balance of Christians against the non-believers and non-Christian faiths of the world. With increasing numbers, it is the belief of the Quiverfull faithful that they will be able to repopulate the world of the “morally-lapsed” and take over cities like San Francisco and trouble spots like the U.S. government. This breeding of a Christian army is seen as a direct effort to protect the likes of evangelical Christians against the rise of moral relativism, Islam, secularism, and the like.
Now, I don’t doubt that Quiverfull parents love all of their children (even if they can’t keep all their names straight) but I do wonder why? Why, in an effort to propagate ideas, however important they may seem to you, do you have to assign them to a unique individual (or individuals) to carry them out? Isn’t this something we could and should do on our own, without burdening our children or our population index? And is one group or individual’s fear of religious or cultural obsolescence enough of a reason to add a few names to the census roster? Does this even work?
Feel free to enlighten me.