I have a new article on Christianity Today’s website, “A Christian Response to Overpopulation.” I’m particularly interested in your response to the readers’ comments. For instance, is any talk about overpopulation racist in nature? What responsibility do humans have in “controlling” childbirth and family size? How do we understand God’s care for the earth and God’s promises in light of poverty and human suffering? What practical suggestions would you offer in response to this article?
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do
She gave them some broth without any bread
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. (Ps. 127:4-5)
If old nursery rhymes serve as any indication, people have been concerned about overpopulation for centuries. More recently, in 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote a best-selling book called The Population Bomb. He predicted mass starvation and other calamities as a result of overpopulation, although his conclusions were largely discredited later and his most dire predictions have not come to pass. More recently still, the United Nations revised their population projections for the next century. According to the U.N.’s numbers, the earth’s population may reach 10.1 billion people by the year 2100. Justin Gillis and Celia Dugger report in The New York Times, “Growth in Africa remains so high that the population there could more than triple in this century, rising from today’s one billion to 3.6 billion … a sobering forecast for a continent already struggling to provide food and water for its people.”
It seems like a simple problem—too many people—with a simple solution: have fewer children. But the reality is more complicated…
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