February 14, 2010

This barren earth

Question: What do you do when you do believe that people (ideally Christians) do have the God-given right to have large bountiful families and simultaneously you hold that no holds barred environmental rape is a Bad Thing?

Short Answer: I think that means you're invisible. The enviro-wackos think you're a huge crock of whatsit, and the Far Right (or the religious right) will look at you in disbelief when you try to start a thoughtful conversation about mining on federally protected lands.

Seriously, I've been lurking on this backpacking thread talking about how humans as a species already take up too much space and that going around breeding like we owned the place is a threat to the very values that "we" (outdoor aficionados) hold dear. They're serious. They want to see women educated to a point where they no longer want to have large families, free contraceptives and sterilization, tax laws that punish large families, etc. All this in the name of mother earth and sharing with other species. And it's not like they think each family should get a resource budget that they can use for one kid or for ten. They think you just shouldn't be having that many kids -that even if you raise your six kids to bike commute, compost, and never use plastic bags you're still hurting then environment because you're having way more kids than you "need." It actually makes for some kind of scary reading. Misguided too. Face it, the birthers are always going to win because they're the one's having the kids that are going to outvote, outfight, and plain outnumber the kids you aren't having. These people talk about technology like it's bad because it enables the earth to support an artificially inflated number of people. "Who gave them the right to breed like this and clog the earth with our species?" Uhhh, God? Oh right. You don't believe in God. The point is that they want people to be barren so that the earth will be fruitful. But that doesn't seem to be the way God set things up. If you look at Scripture God is all about fruitfulness. Children are fruit. The works of righteousness are fruit. Fruit on a fig tree is fruit. The children of fruitfulness cultivate the garden so that it will bear even more fruit. In God's economy more seems to equal more. The more we need grace the more it abounds. The more we forgive the more we experience forgiveness. God wants and calls us to cultivate abundance. How exactly this works on environmental issues I don't quite know, but I do know that Christians are called to populate the earth and that as a reflection of God's glory we should strive to use this earth in the most beautiful and fruitful possible. Fertility should call forth fertility and abundance reap as it has sown. The arguments posed by people wishing to limit population size are in some ways compelling if you accept that people can (and do) use the earth in less appropriate ways. However, their arguments lack wisdom because they rebel against God's revelation. I've stayed quiet on this particular issue (on the forum I read) because I doubt I can contribute anything useful to the discussion. Like I said, people like me seem to be largely invisible to the wider culture. We aren't busy creating Christian versions of the latest earth fad, and we aren't on the street corners chanting "Drill! Drill!" We're those quiet people who reject most of the environmentalist's premises and yet think that Christians can and should have thoughtful discussions on cultivating this earth in a distinctly Christian fashion. And I think that discussion needs to begin and end with an attempt to understand what God views as fruitfulness.

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