Thinking Christianly (January 10, 2019)
It seems that not a day goes by anymore where a major story is not released showcasing the increasing divide between the Western, secular worldview and the Christian worldview. Contrary to popular belief, America has never been a Christian nation, because there has only ever been one truly Christian nation (1 Peter 2:9), and it is not of this world (John 18:36). Perhaps one of the starkest, ever-increasing divides between the Western mind and the Christian mind is how we think about babies. Yesterday, NBC News released a bleak, though not surprising, report:
"Americans are having fewer and fewer babies, a new government report finds. In fact, we now aren’t making enough babies to replace ourselves.
For the population to reproduce itself at current numbers, the “total fertility rate” needs to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age per year, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in their report, released early Thursday. But the latest data show a current rate of just 1,765.5 per 1,000, or 16 percent below the number needed to keep the population stable without additions through immigration."
This report should not be surprising to Christians. We have been watching the West become increasingly calloused toward babies, and children in general, for decades. It is not uncommon to hear women speak with disdain about the "pregnancy" inside of them, and to even blame babies and any society that would not allow them to terminate their babies for their lack of educational or career advancement. Some have taken to openly teaching children that abortion is merely when doctors "suck the pregnancy out."
Again, this should not surprise the thinking Christian. When my wife and I were expecting our third, I recall going for our first sonogram. I was disturbed to find that the technician who worked with us would only call our baby by the euphemism pregnancy. In fact, any time we called her our baby, she would shift uncomfortably in her chair. The report goes on to read:
"Experts say the decline isn’t due to a single cause, but rather a combination of several factors, including changing economics, delays in childbirth by women pursuing jobs and education, the greater availability of contraception, and a decline in teen pregnancies."
Experts may claim that the decline is not due to a single cause, but thinking Christians know better. We are quite aware of the fact that Western Pragmatism, a total disregard for life, and the self-affirmation mindset have bred within our society what has been coined in recent decades a culture of death. The West is killing itself through mass murder, selfish ambition, and a steadily declining and isolationist church.
As Mainline Protestants have declined in cultural influence and even taken to affirming many of the anti-Christian ideals of the surrounding culture, and as Evangelicals have begun to imbibe isolationist and even defeatist doctrines into their worldview, our ability to be salt and light in this dark culture has steadily declined as well. In the list above of reasons for the decline of birth rates, many within the church can say, "Guilty," myself included. In our home, we regularly joke with our three kids that we want six grandbabies from each of them. The oldest usually quips back, "Well, you only had three," to which we must admit that we put off having kids, and it gets more difficult to have kids as you get into your 30s.
As we seek to think Christianly about this issue, we must not think in a bubble. Instead, as we have the opportunity, we should think about these issues in public. They should come up in our homes, in our churches, and even on our social media platforms. We should be seeking opportunities, looking for them wherever they may be found, to talk about how Christians ought to think differently about these matters. As I have stated before, and as is demonstrated in the video linked above, if we are not catechizing our children, we can be certain that the world is.