17th March 2009

“From Salt Lake City to Gaza, religious people tend to marry younger and breed faster than non-religious ones. An ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman in Israel will produce nearly three times as many children than her secular peer. By some counts, three-quarters of the growth in the hotter varieties of American Protestantism is down to demography.”

The Economist

7 Responses to “17th March 2009”

  1. Chris Says:

    This also tracks closely with socioeconomic conditions. Basically, the less educated and poorer you are, the more superstitious you are.

  2. John Sutton Says:

    If we accept that there is a population problem one could then conclude that, with regard to family planning, the more selfish, greedy and antisocial a person is the more likely they are to be religious.

    Secondly – should we be concerned that these people are engaged in passing on the religious genes or is it just their religious culture their children inherit.

    Thirdly – should atheists also embark on a programme of uncontrolled breeding. If so – me first.

  3. Nefari Says:

    Excellent point #3!

    “I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious… service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.” is good advice from Dr. Strangelove.

  4. Larry Huffman Says:

    My wife and I are ex-mormons. We were devout…I had been a member since a small child, my wife a later convert. When we got married, we were directly counselled to start having children by our local priesthood leaders. The prophet of the church at the time, Ezra Taft Bensen, very openly stated that members of the church should have children…as many as they could was the implication not too veiled…and we were told by him that we should do so without much concern for money or such, that if we had large families ‘the lord would provide’. This message can be found in his books, as well as his talks at general session. Spencer Kimball is also on record ahving said this kind of thing as a ‘prophet’.

    There is no question in my mind…that of a ex-devout-mormon…that the mormon church very directly influenced their young members to have lots of children…and it was because of membership. We were told in various priesthood meetings, on more than one occasion, that having large families was “bringing spirits of the lord into the world into righteous families rather than to unbelievers”

    So, though we could not afford it, we had five children. I do not regret any one of them individually, but from a common sense and proper family planning standpoint, it was far more than we could afford or should ahve had. I love them of course, but I would not have had such a large family if I had not had the outside religious pressure leading me to believe that I should so so in service of my (former) god.

    (We are both very happily atheists…and the only real bright spot is my kids…now late teen and young adults… are all very open and even outspoken atheists today…who have a strong distaste for the mormon church, especially after the prop-8 mess…guess me having that many kids kind of backfired.)

  5. Chris Says:

    Larry – thanks for your well presented story. It’s inspiring that folks like yourself are able to break away from your former faith. I know how strong those bonds can be and the break has its costs.

    Your story reinforces for me the belief that religions are perpetuated by a deep and self-serving cynicism. My best to you and your family.

  6. Larry Huffman Says:

    lol…I want to amend something…When I said ‘only real bright spot’…I meant in context of religion influencing me to have so many children. All of my kids are bright spots for me…and always have been.

  7. Please engage brain Says:

    Excellent post Larry. You’re obviously an educated chap which proves that there is no direct link between your level of education and how superstitious you are/were.
    Dr Rowan Williams is another example. Highly educated but misguided.

    John’s second point is excellent. Just why are religious leaders so keen on their flock breeding? It must be to strengthen their numbers and pass on the religious ‘gene’.