By John Jalsevac

April 22, 2008 ( – In a recent column Albert Mohler, the current president of the prestigious Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, comes out swinging against what he calls (echoing the words of Malcolm Muggeridge), “The Great Liberal Death Wish.” (

Mohler’s column was prompted by an apocalyptic piece that appeared in USA Today, entitled “Might our religion be killing us?” ( In the article Oliver “Buzz” Thomas argues that the commandment, given to Adam in the Garden of Eden, to “be fruitful and multiply” is leading to the destruction of the planet, and suggests that instead of encouraging procreation religions ought instead to be promoting smaller families, at a limit of two children. He also suggests that governments ought to introduce tax incentives for those who limit their families, instead of for those who have children.

Thomas draws a parallel between Christianity and the religion of the Aztecs, the latter of which demanded mass human sacrifice and encouraged widespread violence, and which ultimately contributed to the demise of the Aztec civilization. “We moderns are far more sophisticated, of course,” says Thomas, “but if we persist with some of our religious practices, we could be heading down the same disastrous dog trot.”

“Consider the Roman Catholic Church’s continued opposition to modern birth control or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ (i.e. Mormons) encouragement of large families,” he says. “This might not alarm you unless you realize that nearly one in every five humans on the planet is Roman Catholic and that the Latter-day Saints belong to one of the fastest-growing religions in the Western Hemisphere. Many Orthodox Jews and some Muslims also eschew birth control.

“Population growth hits hardest in the poorest nations, and as poverty increases, public health declines. I am quite certain that God is not the author of human misery, but by preaching against birth control at the same time we are preaching against abortion, it seems that we’re making God out as cruel, a buffoon, or both.”

“We must stop having so many children,” he concludes. “Clergy should consider voicing the difficult truth that having more than two children during such a time is selfish. Dare we say sinful?”

Mohler, however, retorts that Thomas’s article “fails on multiple grounds,” and instead points out, “The real population problem the world is almost certain to face in the future is too few babies being born – not too many.”

“Russia,” observes Mohler, “is experiencing a net decrease in population, a situation that could threaten social stability. In China, the nation’s disastrous ‘one child only policy’ has led to a dramatic gender imbalance…and the rapid aging of the population means that basic social needs will present a crisis.”

“In reality, population growth is already subsiding on a global basis.” This decrease in population will have particularly disastrous consequences for the developed world, says Mohler, asking, “What happens when the number of retirees approaches the number of workers? That economic experiment cannot work.”

Mohler accuses the ilk of Thomas as promoting an approach to population control that “is rooted in an elitist distaste for larger families and an ambition of some to control the reproductive destiny of others.”

“In any event, a couple deciding to have additional children will often reflect a rational approach to getting out of poverty – not the cause of poverty in itself. Put bluntly, even in economic terms children usually bring greater economic benefits than costs over the long term.”

He concludes, “For Christians, far more than economics is at stake. The far larger issue is the glory of God in the birth and maturation of godly progeny. Children are to be received – and conceived – as gifts, not as threats of environmental disaster.”

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