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How many kids should we have?

Posted by Chance on February 9, 2007

Last October I had a post about environmentalism and how there are two major views, one being that we should be cautious on using up the earth’s resources, and one that the world was designed by God to have enough resources till the end of the present age. I mentioned in the post that

1) Humans are not parasites. Some of the more extreme environmentalists – not the norm – would be happy if most of the population was wiped out, due to consumption of natural resources. I will say that I do not believe overpopulation is a problem. Granted, one should not have more kids than they can feed, but God says “be fruitful and multiply” and He does so without qualification. Yes, the “subdue the earth” is without qualification as well, but we subdue the earth for resources, and one can argue that these resources are limited, so we do not subdue it as much. The point is, “subdue the earth” is open to more interpretation; “be fruitful and multiply” is less so. Anyway, humans should never, ever be seen as a liability, and I believe that any measure to discourage population growth encourages this viewpoint.

I don’t simply want to nag on a point, but this is something that has been on my mind, and there was an interesting discussion primarily between Dan and I on the population issue. I had mentioned that people who have many kids tend to be less materialistic, but I just wanted to reiterate that I don’t think the converse statement is necessarily true: that people who have fewer kids are more materialistic. I’m saying that previous sentence is not necessarily true.

I still stand by my belief that as long as we can afford to feed our kids, it is okay to have as many as we want. Dan argued that this should apply to a global scale as well, because globally we are supposed to be running out of resources, and that we should consider the amount of children in light of those issues. I don’t know how to answer that, as I have little knowledge of sustainability issues. However, I still don’t believe people who choose to have 5 or 6 kids are doing anything wrong. As I said previously, God said to “be fruitful and multiply”, and He was addressing humanity in general. If God came to me directly and said “Hey Chance, be fruitful and multiply”, I would have at least 3 kids. (I am not saying everyone should have more than 2 kids, because I think God’s command in Genesis was to humanity in general, and I don’t think people are sinning for not having children.) Psalms says that

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.

5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Anyway, as I said, I don’t have any logical argument against the overpopulation issue, I just don’t think that people are doing anything wrong than having X number of kids. I have a coworker who has 5 children; I don’t think he is sinning. Also, he has to continually make material sacrifices because of his 5 kids. He’s not the type of person environmentalists have to worry about. Care for the environment and our resources is noble, but I’m afraid it can cause us to look at human beings as nothing more than consumers of natural resources.

I suppose this hits home for me because I have my first child on the way. To me, she is more than just a consumer of natural resources. If I want 7 more (which I don’t) then I’m going to have them.

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4 Responses to “How many kids should we have?”

  1. Neil said

    Good points. Somewhere along the way even Christians started looking at kids as a burden instead of a blessing. That is un-Biblical thinking.

    Blessings to you on your first child!

  2. Josh said

    I think every family should have 11 kids to play offense and defense for the family football team.

  3. Chance said

    Josh, 11 kids? Are you insane? You want them to play offense AND defense? You gotta have at least 22, and that’s not counting special teams.

    Thanks Neil. I believe you are right. We went from an agrarian society where kids were actually helpful farm hands to a service oriented society where we depend on other people for our food and services, so it seemed to change the family dynamic, among other things.

  4. Dan Trabue said

    Sorry I didn’t notice this thread sooner. A few comments…

    You said:
    “However, I still don’t believe people who choose to have 5 or 6 kids are doing anything wrong. As I said previously, God said to “be fruitful and multiply”

    But God said that to an empty world, in Genesis. We are no longer in that world.

    Think of it this way, we are approaching 7 billion people on the planet. Which is currently just about the amount of food we can create.

    What if the population were 15 billion…is it still responsible and loving to have many children? 100 billion?

    Obviously, there is a point where the population is as large as can be supported by finite resources.

    I think the evidence shows that that number was passed some time ago. We can feed 7 billion only because we are using (finite) petrofertilizers and unsustainable agricultural practices.

    But regardless if you accept the data that suggests this, surely you recognize that there IS a limit somewhere on how many folk a finite world can support? And continuing to have children beyond that point is neither moral nor wise?

    For info on Earth’s “carrying capacity” (ie, how many people the world can support with its finite resources), here’s an interesting article:

    http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0294/et0294s2.html

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