I saw a blog awhile ago, I forget whose, but it was about some video on population mechanics. The long and short of it was that americans and europeans weren’t breeding enough, so our populations were going to decline, and with it our culture and religion and oh noes the muslims will take us over etc etc. Setting aside that european and american populations are generally growing, just less rapidly than less developed countries’ populations, the video got me thinking about population dynamics and religion.
I had been giving a lot of thought lately to why people believe in the religion they do, and it comes down to three causes, coersion (“believe in our religion or we will kill/torture you”), indoctrination (“yes Timmy, santa really does live at the north pole”) and desperation (“the only way to get over your addiction/disease/depression, have meaning and hope in your life etc is by faith in our deity” – a monstrous lie btw). 1 and 3 are the same thing, coersion, but to different extremes. 1 doesn’t fly in our society anymore, 2 is everywhere you look and 3 works but not nearly as well as 1 and 2.
Now this got me thinking about population mechanics, because say you need 2.2 kids per couple average to maintain a population size (because 0.2 will die or immigrate to another country or be impotent or die alone etc). If you have more than that (again assuming that’s the figure, I don’t know the exact number) then the population will grow, and if you have less, the population will decline. Well religious populations work the same way. Most of the biggest religions tell you to go forth and multiply, as well as requiring that you indoctrinate your children. Imagine if say the catholic church with it’s 1.1 billion adherents lead a strong movement against indoctrinating impressionable, mentally under-developed youngsters, and promoted the use of effective birth control. Think their numbers would continue to increase?
There’s a song American Jesus that has a good line in it, it goes “I don’t need to be a global citizen ’cause I’m blessed by nationality, I’m a member of a growing populace, we enforce our popularity.” In science, in philosophy, ideas and beliefs live or die based on their merits. But in the evangelical world, the popularity of beliefs are enforced, foisted upon us by people convinced they know what we ought to be thinking, and population dynamics are one way this occurs.
So what does this have to do with sex education?
Abstinance-only sex “education” as it is laughingly called, is basically “keep it in your pants until marriage” education. Tell kids to abstain and dear sweet jesus whatever you do don’t tell them about condoms.
The problem with this is that any decent parent or child psychologist will tell you that that’s the best way in the world to get your kids pregnant. “Don’t” is the greatest aphrodesiac in the world, and especially to a rebellious teenager. That’s why you don’t tell your 17 year old “don’t”, you tell them why they shouldn’t, otherwise when they hit their rebellious streak all your “don’ts” will be on the top of their “do” list.
So abstinance only programs seem to be either ineptly designed, or they’re designed to get teenagers pregnant (and kill a whole lot of them in the process, as well as cause a whole lot of abortions to be sought). Policy makers know that even if you think premarital sex is the crime of the century AO programs don’t actually stop it, the teens from religious schools with AO programs and “abstinance pledges” have sex before leaving highschool at the same rate as the kids that learn about condoms and STDs, except they’re more likely to get pregnant or catch a disease.
So why have these programs been pushed for so much? They’re morally bankrupt, ineffective and there’s no reason for even a well-informed puritan to support them in their current form.
But what if religions are promoting them because they have known for over a century that the number 1 way they get new converts is through people indoctrinating their kids? Basic population dynamics, if say catholics have more kids than protestants, there will be more catholics. And of course more tithes and more political influence. Think of how strong the push is for evangelism is in this country in the christian religions compared to judaism and islam and other religions, you don’t think they’d manipulate people? These are the same organizations that lie to addicts and tell them they can’t get cured without christianity and suppress information about new drugs that help lessen alchohol cravings among recovering addicts. We’re talking about the catholic church that until veeeery recently has had an official policy of telling peope in africa how sinful condom use is knowing that many of them will die of AIDS as a result.
They wanna save your soul, they don’t care so much about your body or your mind.