I’m listening to Diane Rehm Show; the present segment features Paul Ehrlich. It’s a fascinating discussion about population control – fascinating not just because Ehrlich’s opinions, but also because of the statements and questions posed by listeners. Ehrlich jests that cars are best suited to host teenagers making love and not at all appropriate for daily commutes. He also directly correlates population control with the rights of women (not just abortion, but equality in the work place too), holding up Europe as a positive example.
Here’s the link to the program…listening to it directly will be more edifying than me trying to offer you a decent summary.
Anyway, if I could call in, there are two seemingly opposite things I think I’d want to say…
On one end of the social spectrum, I have this special plan, a brilliant plan (or at least I think it is, and many of my friends have suffered through my explanation of why it’s so brilliant) to control population, and more importantly protect children from being trapped in unhealthy and dangerous environments.
Some form of birth control should be placed in the water. Women would consume the water and be infertile until they decide they are ready to have children. Upon making that decision, the woman and man she intends to conceive with will undergo a series of interviews and tests. Then, once they are deemed capable, safe and loving, the women will be given the antidote and the be able to conceive.
Yes, that is a little bit mad scientist meets Stalin, but it is a plausible idea.
Now, on the other end of the spectrum, I wonder what this conversation says about our collective understanding of God’s identity and nature. Is the power of God (whatever your perception of God may be) greater than any broad sweeping governmental plan, any revolutionary medical procedure and any looming population disaster?
If we fail to consider the identity and nature of God in the scope of this conversation, aren’t we in essence saying that perhaps God’s not real, or at the very least God can’t do much?
I don’t think acknowledging the power and love of God illegitimates the urgent needs connected to the worldwide population boom. We are running out of space, fresh air and food. That’s a fact.
But what about God? Is God a fact? Or a fairy tale?
A fairytale God has no influence on the situation. That God’s hands are tied. That God is as relevant to the situation as Super Man.
But if we’re willing to acknowledge that God is a fact (even if we can’t all agree on who or what God exactly is), the rhetoric will change. We’ll trust that there’s something bigger going on than we could ever really know. We’ll trust that the something bigger gives and takes away – both freely and lovingly.
My far-fetched birth control in the water idea may be practical, but it is not powerful. It stands upon a foundation made of facts and figures, not upon faith.