Thus says the LORD:
“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”
Thus says the LORD:
“Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
There is hope for your future, declares the LORD,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
(Jeremiah 31:15-17 ESV)
Children are a sign of blessing and hope for the future. It is through children that men leave their legacy and by bringing forth children one shows hope that there is a future for your children. A society with hope for the future will usher forth many children.
On the other hand, failing to reproduce is a sign of despair. A society not reproducing itself has given up on itself. A society failing to reproduce is a society lost in hopelessness.
Our society has given up on itself.
They might not say it outside of private conversations or obliquely in public opinion polls, but everyone knows the West is dying. They despair for they know there is no hope for our civilization; winter is coming.
This is why they don’t reproduce, why we don’t reproduce.
We are stuck in the polar twilight, knowing the polar night is descending, but we do not wish to our children to have to endure the harsh, cold winter night. Instead, we enjoy the revelry of twilight, eating and drinking, for tomorrow we die.
The saddest part of this twilight is the state of the church.
Christians have been given the first blessing and first command, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We have been given a promise of a new life, yet we have given into the world’s despair.
This struck me recently at a church I occasionally visit. The priest was speaking on Psalm 137. During the sermon, he stated that ‘biblically, babies always mean hope‘.
This church is one of the few growing, young churches I know of. It’s congregation is composed of a couple hundred is mainly young adults. Despite the youth of the congregation, there are few young children. The church is perfectly poised to carry out the first command if only it would accept the first blessing. I still have some hope for it, but only some.
I talk with Christians. I asked my father if he had to do it over again, if he would get married or stay single.* He said he might marry but he wouldn’t have children in this age as our world is going to soon enter times of trouble.
I talk with other Christian men my age, some agree that children are a sign of hope, yet still are limiting the number of children they have. I talk with Christian women my age, children are a low priority for most. Their careers, teaching, music, writing, are more important to them at this point.
I talk with other Christians my age of the Kali Yuga, of our decline, none seem to actually reject the notion, some even embrace it. We talk of the dying church; everybody knows the church is dying, none dispute it. Yet, I talk of how the church could reinvigorate itself and retake our civilization if only Christians embraced the first blessing, yet there is always something more important.
I doubt any would say they despair, but the sinking nihilism of progressivism has taken hold.
The despair is not emotional, it is existential.
I despair for the church emotionally, yet there is existential hope.
The church has survived dark times before and can do so again.
Civilization has always re-arisen from the ashes.
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
(Jeremiah 29:4-7, 10-14 ESV)
This then is the reactionary project: show hope, have children.
Traditional communities in Idaho are okay, recreating gangs and tribes is excellent, but these are sideshows.
Winter is coming, the darkness descends. The collapse is inevitable. We need to write of the reasons for the decline and illuminate it as it occurs, so that future generations can learn from our mistakes, rebuild, and hopefully stave off a future decline.
We also need to reproduce so there is a future and raise our children right so they can look forward to a brighter future.
We need to have hope, endure, and out-wait the night.
Finally, you don’t have anything more important to do than reproduce.
Only a fraction of a percent of the population has something more useful to impart to the future than children. Unless, in this hyperbolic world, your work is regularly described as “ground-breaking”, “world-changing”, and/or “revolutionary”, it’s probably not anywhere near as important as another well-raised child or two would be.
Are you Norman Borlaug?
All the jobs, all the economic activity, everything we build is made for people. Without people they are worthless. Are teachers of any value if there’s no one to teach? Is writing of any value if there’s no one to read? Is a bridge of any value if there’s no one to drive over it?
We build things, we create, we save, so that future generations can benefit from them. All worthwhile economic activity is for future generations. What isn’t for the future is empty consumerism.
The choice for the vast majority of people is reproduction or consumerism. For the exceptional, such as the aforementioned Borlaug, important improvements for future generations.
If demographics is destiny; children are the weapons of ideological war.
Evangelicals often complain of how the US is no longer a Christian country. Well, they make up a quarter of the country; if every evangelical followed the first command, had five children, and trained them up in the way they should go, the US would be a Christian country within two generations. If evangelicals in their 20s and 30s were fruitful, they could all live to see the re-Christianization of the US. They would win the culture war within my lifetime.
Will anything you do: your career, finding yourself, your hobbies, etc. have more impact than that? Probably not. If you are a Christian and you aren’t a missionary, evangelist, or priest, your children are the most important thing you can do for the furtherance of the Kingdom.
If you think something you do is more important than reproduction, in all likelihood your priorities are wrong. You are probably thinking in selfish, narcissistic terms, where “important” is defined as what you think feels good for now rather than what’s good for the future.
* I asked a number of my married friends this as well. The general response was; being married is different but not necessarily better, you gain some, but sacrifice some. Although none regretted it.