In a World of Demographic Despair, Christ is the Answer

John Swayze and E. Calvin Beisner | Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation | Friday, November 01, 2013

In a World of Demographic Despair, Christ is the Answer

With a rapidly shrinking population leading to grave economic and social problems, Japan is now reported to be experiencing a strange phenomenon: lack of interest in sex — not just for procreation, but even for recreation.

Strange? Yes. Surprising? Perhaps not.

Around the globe young people — especially in developed countries — are taught to live in what Michael Crichton aptly called a State of Fear. The Internet and more traditional media feed that fear with incessant claims of danger from every side and dire predictions of calamity: climate, population, pesticides, GMOs, radiation, guns, terrorists, bullies, corporations, wealth (of others), poverty, too much government, not enough government, materialism (of others), on and on. Things that “everyone knows” are considered incontrovertible because of frequent repetition. High school students report seeing Al Gore’s catastrophist video An Inconvenient Truth multiple times — as many as ten — in school.

Even while existing in an era of relative peace, prosperity, health, comfort, safety, and technological advances beyond the wildest dreams of their grandparents, many think apocalypses are around every corner.

In the absence of joy, that State of Fear becomes a State of Despair. Instead of singing “I’m but a stranger here, heaven is my home,” we have many versions of “Is That All There Is?” Without the hope and comfort of eternal joy, temporal fears dominate “lives of quiet desperation” built on a foundation of vague but seething discontent. Every day, new chapters of The Screwtape Letters are written as the father of all lies laughs himself silly. Post-Christian Europe is already hurtling down the highway to demographic suicide, and post-Christian America will eventually experience the same phenomena.

We’re not surprised at a decline of interest in sex, as a symptom of “Is that all there is?” Our toxic generation told the world that a primary source — maybe the ultimate source — of human fulfillment lay in unfettered recreational sex. Paradoxically, we also fostered the notion that children are punishments for it.

Though natural human desires still exist, their attraction diminishes in the absence of joy. Realizing that procreative activity may lead to procreation, those living in a state of despair have little desire for children. Perhaps it’s reasonable that desire for activities that produce them also diminishes.

Does Christianity offer a solution? Yes. Rather than seeing people as merely consumers and polluters, as modern environmentalism depicts them, Christianity sees them as the image of God and therefore capable of being producers and stewards, blessing each other through their labors. It sees children as a blessing, not a curse (Psalms 127 and 128; Genesis 1:28). It sees the solution to human sinfulness in the redeeming work of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

As Indian philosopher and Cornwall Alliance Senior Fellow Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi has argued in The Book that Made Your World, the Christian faith brought civilization, the Rule of Law, recognition of human rights, science and technology, economic productivity, and the pinnacles of the fine arts to the world. The despair and nihilism of the modern world need not continue to grow. The gospel of Christ is the answer.

John Swayze, Ph.D., a retired organic, medicinal, and agricultural chemist, is a Contributing Writer for the Cornwall Alliance. E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Cornwall’s National Spokesman.

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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