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Secularists eat their children

This is a fascinating article at Foreign Policy, arguing a point that I've intuited before: that the superior birthrates of the religious will lead them to overwhelm secular society by default. You can win the fight if you don't show up for it; our secular citizens are fighting their battles today, but aren't having any children to fight their battles with our religious citizens' children tomorrow. By their own inaction, they will slowly be replaced in the population until they are irrelevant; we can already see this process happening. What amazes me is to learn that the Greeks and the Romans had their own problems with growing their populations; what did they do in the days before birth control and the welfare state's disconnection of responsibility from behavior? And here I thought we were really inventing brand-new problems for ourselves with modern science and social movements. Apparently, nothing's new under the sun.

Yet that turning point does not necessarily mean the death of a civilization, only its transformation. Eventually, for example, the sterile, secular, noble families of imperial Rome died off, and with them, their ancestors’ idea of Rome. But what was once the Roman Empire remained populated. Only the composition of the population changed. Nearly by default, it became composed of new, highly patriarchal family units, hostile to the secular world and enjoined by faith either to go forth and multiply or join a monastery. With these changes came a feudal Europe, but not the end of Europe, nor the end of Western Civilization.
He doesn't say it explicitly, but the Roman Empire's heir was the Holy Roman Empire-in other words, Catholicism. I wonder if Europe's new religious ruling class will be a resurgent Catholicism or Islam. The odds are even, at this point...(in America, no question, it will be Christian religion, not Islam. Muslims aren't nearly the proportion of the population or new births here as they are there, and relatively few people are converting to Islam compared to the other major proselytizing and/or trendy faiths such as Mormons, evangelicals, and Buddhists. I don't think Eastern religion stands much chance in America, be it Buddhism (whose most ardent fans are the very sort of liberal Americans least likely to have children) or Islam (which in its present form offers nothing to any American who is not a self-absorbed criminal prisoner looking for a creed that gives him the moral upper hand to prey on mainstream society).

Posted by evariste on Mar 02, 2006 4:00 pm

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