I recently read a long Canadian opinion piece called It's the Demography, Stupid: The Real Reason the West is in Danger of Extinction. It's a fascinating secular take on why Islam is the fastest growing religion…and how the Western World is going extinct. In the article, Mark Steyn states, ''the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they're running out a lot faster than the oil is. 'Replacement' fertility rate–i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller–is 2.1 babies per woman." The author quotes statistics from many different countries, demonstrating that the countries well above this replacement rate tend to be Islamic, and many western nations fall below the replacement rate.
Steyn throws in the following numbers in an attempt to scare the liberal left about the growth of not only the Islamic nations but also conservative Americans — his words should greatly encourage those of us on the conservative side of the fence: "In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans–and mostly red-state Americans."
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D, wrote an incredible response to It's the Demography, Stupid entitled, It's the Sex, Stupid: A Response to Mark Steyn. If you don't have time to read the original article, I hope you'll find the time to read this response. Dr. Morse feels that the way western culture views sexuality has "created the demographic collapse of the West, and the human void into which Islamic fertility is rapidly flooding."
Speaking from a secular, naturalist viewpoint, Dr. Morse says that "the modern world has completely lost sight of the social purposes of sex. We now regard sex as a private recreational activity, with no moral or social significance. Unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting is the quintessential modern entitlement."
Dr. Morse goes on to describe consumer sex (what she often refers to as Wal-Mart Sex): Sex is a consumer good and our sex partners are objects that please us more or less well. Morse submits that this view of sex is "at the root of the West's demographic death spiral…Consumer sex inverts the whole natural order of sexuality. Instead of drawing us out of ourselves and into relationship with others, we turn sex inward, on ourselves and our own individual pleasure."
Dr. Morse states that demographic collapse is hardly surprising. She observes the risky business of having children without a permanent bond between parents. As we as a country move toward indifference as to whether a child has parents who are married to each other, or even whether the parents are of different or the same sex, we create a culture that is "hardly conducive to having a higher than replacement level of fertility."
As a woman who waited until reaching tenure to have a child, she recognizes that she is "part of the problem of the well-educated, high-income women who can't bring themselves to replace themselves" and ends her article with these challenging words:
"What women do and want will be decisive in determining whether the West survives the demographic clash with Islam. If intelligent, educated women believe children are an unacceptable distraction from their careers, we won't have many kids. If women regard flash cards as beneath their dignity, educating the next generation will be left to hired help. If women think raising a child alone is less trouble than dealing with a pesky man, we'll have a lot of stressed out single mothers and poorly raised kids.
"So, stay at home moms, don't let anyone tell you that you are wasting your talents. Without your contribution of a healthy, functioning next generation, all the strength of the U.S. military won't be enough to protect us from the primal force of Islam that believes in itself enough to replace itself. Your actions show that you believe in your civilization enough to invest in its future. "
As Dr. Morse points out, few have noticed the short, direct line between seeing sex as a commodity, to seeing a sex partner as a commodity, to seeing a baby as a commodity. If we in conservative Christian circles can grasp the depth, spirituality, and significance to these gifts from God — sex, spouses, and children — we will well be on our way to making a lasting mark on our world.