The Muslims do it. The Catholics do it. The Jews do it. The Mormons do little else. Breeding more captive souls.
It seems to be anathema among many young atheists to marry and have children. People have swallowed the propaganda message that was aimed at the selfish breeders and they have taken it on board. I am sure that the religious people are absolutely delighted that the birthrate among rational secularist people is well below replacement level, they must be dancing in the aisles at the prospect of a future in which people with a commitment to religion breed at a much higher rate than those who regard religion as dangerous nonsense.
There are several problems with population, not all of them have the same solutions. The absolute number of the world population is high, significantly higher than at any time in the past. The current level of population may well prove to be unsustainable if the world has a crisis over energy supplies. Only a few dangerously deluded people believe that oil and gas will be inexhaustible, without cheap and easily available energy supplies our current lifestyle would be in severe danger of catastrophic collapse. One thing is certain, adding significantly to the current world population is very unlikely to be a good thing. However it does not follow that any and every effort to reduce the population would be a good thing.
The world will be better off and a more comfortable place to live if there were fewer people and they all had a clear vision about how to live in harmony with their environment. It is not a great strategy for those who are most able to ensure that the future is optimistic and realistic to be the ones who refuse to breed leaving the populating of the future only to those who have faith in the providence of a benevolent sky god.
The first thing to say about religion and population is that we can forget the Jews, their population is so small it is lost in the category of “others”. If there was a new holocaust today that wiped out every Jew in a single day the world population would be up above yesterday’s figures in less than three months time. Anybody who talks about “the three great monotheistic religions” or the “Judeo-Christian tradition” is giving Jews far more attention than their population size merits. The world gentile population grows each year by several times more than the entire Jewish population. Several minority Indian religions which the average redneck (you know the type who doesn’t know that Africa is a continent, not a country) would never have heard of have more adherents than the sum of world Jewry.
There is a clear correlation between religion and breeding intentions. Among advanced western societies (Japan, Europe, North America and the southern hemisphere white diaspora) birth rates are low and below replacement levels everywhere except in the USA. Optimists see this as a clear indication that the world’s population problems can be solved by making everybody richer (a nice solution) rather than by war, famine, disease or government diktat (nasty solutions). But looking at it the other way shows that if a population is heavily religious, like the USA, making people richer does not stop them breeding like the Waltons. If people believe it is their religious duty to breed they will keep on breeding even if they are otherwise rich enough to see the material advantages of having a smaller family. When the chances of survival of your children to adulthood is very high breeding at the rates typical of Europe and North America in the nineteenth century is clearly unsustainable. If families of six children are normal the growth rate is startling:
Three couples move into a new area. That’s a community of 6. If they have 6 children per couple that gives 18 children plus the original 6, 24 people. Assuming those 18 children can manage to form 8 couples between them who go on to have 6 children each that gives 48 of the third generation plus probably 17 of the second generation and 3 of the first, that’s 68 people, more than a TEN FOLD increase in population in a single lifetime. But that is unrealistic because it assumes the community will be self-sufficient in new blood. A more realistic scenario includes the 6 people bringing along some of their elderly relatives too and several of those 18 children from the first generation bringing in spouses from back East (whether from New England or a little village near New Delhi the sums work the same) and the flourishing community attracts other noble and brave pioneers to come along as well. Rather than the 18 children of the second generation forming 8 families perhaps they form 14 couples, who each go on to have an average of 6 children. Why assume the bringing in of spouses from back East will finish in the second generation? Or ever? Why assume that the new community will integrate into the native community? It didn’t happen in North Dakota or Nairobi so why assume it will happen in Paris, Amsterdam or Bradford? Did the Jews integrate into the Palestinian community? Did the white New Zealanders integrate into Maori tribal society? Integration is the exception, not the norm.
We have conflicting models of integration from looking at history. Some people integrate and assimilate easily, for example the Huguenots were French Protestants who fled to England to escape persecution but the combination of favourable factors such as their religion and skin colour plus their small numbers (too small to preserve their language) ensured that they integrated easily. America is a nation of immigrants and for the most part it was the desire of immigrants to become Americans rather than just live in America which ensured that integration of most immigrants ran smoothly. But there are other models too, such as British migration to Spain in which the migrants show little desire to integrate and seem to prefer to live isolated lives within their own language communities while making negligible efforts to integrate into the community. Recently there was a story of an English migrant to Spain, who does not speak Spanish, who had become mayor of a Spanish town by default after a corruption scandal lead to the arrest of several Spanish councillors. Just imagine what the Daily Mail would have to say if there was even a single councillor elected anywhere in England who could not speak English.
Nobody likes to discuss this subject because it is so very incendiary. Any suggestion that you are interested in such issues at all is regarded as suspicious. It is assumed that there is some automatic failsafe mechanism which will ensure that countries are not swamped by immigrants. I don’t think the fate of the native people of South Africa, Australia and the Americas leave us with any room for complacency. A century ago the Jews of Palestine were a minority who were peaceable and friendly to their Muslim and Christian fellow Palestinians. But that scenario has changed somewhat, hasn’t it? Mass immigration, legal, illegal and then actively encouraged by the new inherently and blatantly racist Zionist state saw a dramatic increase in the Jewish population and the Palestinians were soon being persecuted in their own native land. When God is on your side it follows that anybody opposed to you is evil and should be crushed, in Palestine the one and only god is clearly on their side and they both can prove it.
Palestine should be the model we use to explain to Muslims why we are concerned. Even if we thought Islam was innocuous, which we don’t, we would have a perfectly respectable reason to be concerned about the rising Muslim population and its ability to change the nature of European countries. Religiously motivated immigrants were a very serious threat to the Palestinian people. As nobody stood up for the rights of the Palestinian people not to have their homeland invaded and taken over by immigrants filled with a religiously fired political demand they were dispossessed. How can it possibly be unforgivable to want to defend your own home from immigrants and their descendants when they clearly have a very different idea of what the future of your country should look like? My opinion is clear, immigrants who wish to join and enrich my country are welcome, immigrants who wish to change my country are not. If you want to come to my country then you should adapt yourself to the culture that is already here and adopt the values of this country. Of course, it is unreasonable to expect immigrants to throw away every aspect of their culture but it is not reasonable for the immigrant to make negligible concessions and expect the host nation to extend a welcome and change their society to fit the tastes of the in-comers. It is not reasonable for the immigrant to wear the clothes they wore back where they came from and make no effort to speak the language of the country they have chosen to live in. It is rude, arrogant and disrespectful to a very high degree. The same goes for the Urdu speaker in Birmingham, the English speaker on the Costa Blanca and the Spanish speaker in San Diego.
In the classic ages of European empire, Christianity was spread by sword and missionary. The soldiers and conquistadors protected the missionaries who returned the favour by (usually unintentionally) ensuring that European diseases arrived ahead of the troops and decimated the ranks of those who might otherwise have shown armed resistance. As Christians have so dominated the teaching of history for so long it is difficult to disentangle religious propaganda and a perspective heavily but innocently coloured by pro-Christian sentiments from the basic facts. Is there any significant difference between the way Christianity and Islam have been spread? I don’t think so, both show clear evidence of a combination of military conquest, trading empires and migration as engines of expansion. There is no part of the world which speaks Spanish or Portuguese which is not Catholic. There is no part of the world which speaks Arabic which is not Muslim. Ireland alone stands as an English speaking country that is not more Protestant than Catholic and the strains of that cultural clash have stained world history. The desire to spread “the true word of God” across the world has been a major engine in world history encouraging migration, war and conquest.
Since Catholics and Protestants have learnt to get along together in most of Europe, with the exception of Northern Ireland and a few pubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Western Europe has been a peaceful and prosperous place. This is in contrast with the Balkans where religion and orthography really matter and give people reason to hold grudges for centuries. It is the religion which defines the differences and makes them seem significant. There are plenty of ethnic and language divides in Europe but these no longer cause the simmering resentment that is possible when such cleavages are reinforced by religious division. The English and the Welsh have distinct language and culture but because there are no stark religious divides along the same lines there is very little brooding resentment and violence, certainly the idea that ethnic cleansing could ever take place is unthinkable.
In the Balkans, people speaking the same language can stay at each others’ throats for centuries because religion maintains those divisions. Serbs and Croats can understand each other when they speak because they speak the same language. It is only when they write things down that the difference emerges: in Croatia the people were taught to write in Catholic schools so they use the Roman alphabet whereas in Serbia it is the Russian Orthodox Church which runs the schools and so they teach the Cyrillic alphabet and tales of atrocities committed by the foreigners who live alongside and among them. They are both Slavic people sharing the same language, it is their religion which determines who they will be taught to hate and where their sympathies will lie. Croatia was good recruiting ground for the Nazis because of a shared history of Catholicism and looking towards Rome for guidance on how to be civilized while Serbians were far more open to listening to the Russian communists because they were familiar with the idea of looking to Moscow for spiritual leadership. Even when religions have gone they leave scars and ingrained patterns of thinking behind. This is clearly demonstrated in Russia where Orthodoxy and absolute monarchy was replaced by Communism which in turn was replaced by Orthodoxy and yet throughout those complete about turns life went on and they hated the Germans, loved the Serbians, sought to crush Muslims, expand their territory, respect strong leaders and carry on as if Western Europe considers them to be barely house-trained peasants whose only talents lie in ballet, circus and a few exaggeratedly intellectual novelists. How can you explain how a communist regime can embrace capitalism and Orthodoxy and yet keep its thermonuclear missiles aimed at the same targets throughout?
How long can religion keep people hating their neighbours? As long as a religious identity can last, which is obviously thousands of years. If every generation of Hebrews is taught not to take women from the people of the land for their wives then there is no reason for old hostilities and divisions ever to go away. Religiously segregated education and voluntary geographical separation within towns and cities may seem like a good thing for community integrity, which is another way of saying that it will ensure that the community will never integrate with and blend with the surrounding community. Religiously segregated education has to be resisted because it is setting up permanent ghettos within European towns and cities. If the people of Europe don’t want to see tension between Muslims and non-Muslims in perpetuity we must act to break up concentrations of Muslims and to scatter them more widely. Or perhaps we should simply give out the message that Europe is not the place for Muslims and it never will be. The current pattern is clearly not working.
Why would any fundamentalist Muslim have wanted to come to live in Europe? It doesn’t make sense, any Muslim coming to Europe must have wanted to live in a prosperous western society, one which is tolerant of their religion. Europe has not been Muslim territory. It should have no attraction for any fundamentalist Muslim. So why are there fundamentalist Muslims living in Europe today? They have been born here, in segregated communities or they have been sent especially to radicalize the existing Muslim community. The first generation of immigrants were Muslims but tolerant and wanting to be accepted, but the second and third generation have spawned a minority who see Islam as a political cause. Continuing the isolation of Muslims will continue this process of creating radicalized young idiots, of course only as a minority but with people like this large numbers are not required to create a problem. A few dozen radical Muslims is all that is required to ensure that there is a permanent state of alert for terrorists. As well as the tiny minority who might actually be seduced into terrorism there will be a wider penumbra of willing mask-wearing demonstrators keen to show that their town is not behind in the race to show who can be the most fanatical and intolerant when a book or its author needs burning. Breaking up Muslim enclaves and resisting any moves to allow separate education is probably the best weapon against these problems. If young European Muslims are allowed to live in a Muslim-only comfort zone, never encountering non-Muslims for any length of time there is a clear danger that they will live an entirely detached lifestyle and see the country they happen to be living in as the enemy. This phenomenon is clearly evident today in France.
Muslims maintain a higher birthrate than most Christians and non-believers for similar reasons to why white Americans breed more than white Europeans. There is little that we can do to force down the average family size of the Muslims in Europe or the Mormons in America. What we can do is stop the sheer idiocy of thinking that their over-production of children can or should be offset by us not having children. We should regard two children as a quota, having one child or no children is just as much of a crime against posterity as having six or more. We need to have enough children to replace our numbers. By that I mean the people like us, however you define that. If half your friends are gay you should consider taking up their quota. I’m deadly serious. Just imagine the world when you are in your seventies if all the liberal and progressive people in your country left the breeding to the Muslims, Mormons and born again Christians.
If you don’t want to pass on your faulty genes to the next generation, which is a noble sentiment, then look into adoption. Religion is not genetic, it is upbringing and education which makes new liberal secular progressive citizens. By adopting you are not adding to the global population but you are adding to global happiness and ensuring that the world contains another person who values liberty and reason. While it is possible to live a happy and productive life while coming from the background of a state or charity-run children’s home it requires special personal qualities that only a few possess, most children will be substantially better off cared for in a family than in any form of orphanage or whatever the current politically correct term for the child placement of last resort is. If you are smart enough to have read this far don’t you think that you could be a better parent than either a religiously inspired family, a religiously inspired charity or the state?
Also be very wary of falling for the memetic contraception that the religious deploy against us. It is in their interests that atheists, rationalists and liberals don’t breed and they are quite skilled at tricking us into thinking that marriage and even procreation are somehow antithetical to our principles. This is absurd. Marriage has never been a religious invention. You can use their own scriptures against them here: Adam and Eve did not get married, but that does not mean that we’re all descendants of bastards. Eve simply was Adam’s wife because he took her as his wife, no oath, vow, ritual or ceremony was required. Marriage, the formation of stable couple relationships based at least at first upon a sexual partnership, is normal human behaviour and it exists in diverse societies around the world, whilst not strictly being a human universal it is very close to it. Religion has to get involved in marriage because people regard marriage as significant and many would regard keeping a marriage partnership going as more important than religion. Any cult which attempts to suppress marriage is doomed to being small and vilified. Religions have to embrace everything that they cannot suppress. This rule is now being seen clearly in the liberal Episcopalian Church in America, it has lost its will to condemn homosexuality and is now under increasing pressure instead to embrace it. Ambivalence is unstable, the ambivalence towards marriage that was clearly documented in Paul’s epistles could not continue and that was resolved by the unusual but effective tactic of embracing both marriage and celibacy through the creation of the formally celibate priesthood and other celibate holy orders while declaring the Church’s respect for and ownership of marriage and family values. Marriage is no more the property of religion than is the respect for life and property or the repertoire of the pipe organ.
The religious need to mark everything good in life with their mark in just the same way a dog has to mark every vertical object he encounters. It is a primitive urge that they can’t explain or justify, they just know that they have to do it. Be aware that this is their hang-up and don’t let them foist their delusions upon you. Marriage has nothing to do with religion in the same way that the grain harvest is nothing to do with religion but that will not stop the religious from pushing to the front of the crowd celebrating any wedding or harvest and claiming that this is their god’s work and everybody gathered around now needs to pay the Church some money. Feel free to embrace marriage and family values, they are human values and not religious values. The religious can get their thieving hands off all the best bits of the human condition and take their vile poisons away with them.
The religious have been hijacking every decent aspect of the human condition for as long as there have been priests and witch-doctors.
Don’t let them castrate the atheist movement with their lies, there is nothing hypocritical in an atheist having children. The world needs a stable population not a collapsing population made up of old people with no young people to love or support them. To take all the reasonable people out of the breeding stock is surely a clear recipe for future disaster. With all those who are able to respond to the message of moderation in family size over-reacting and not having children at all the future would belong to the religious fundamentalists who see breeding as their duty and there would be nobody left to tell them of their folly. The world would be consumed by wars over resources stoked by religious schisms and enmities. It surely would take a religious man to start a nuclear war. Only a man of faith would be able to blow half the world to hell and think he was doing the right thing.
The world needs at least as many rational and intelligent people in the next generation as it has in the current generation. The cripples, idiots, the slow-witted and religious bigots will breed, like it or not. We need to make sure that we balance them out with intelligent, free thinking and freedom loving people who will be productive and will preserve freedom for those good people who will emerge from less promising stock. The greatest possible folly would be for those who are smart enough to see how the world could be made better to avoid having any children and the future be inherited by the incompetent, the indoctrinated and the complacent.