Last year Grist did a piece on why the childfree had finally gone mainstream. I had to disagree. While this choice is talked about more than ever before, it’s not hit mainstream acceptance by a long shot. One big reason? Religion. This “Happily Childfree” post by a Catholic medical student is a sure reminder of how certain religions will always stand in the way…
Take a moment to read his post (it’s not long.)
Here are just two conservative Christian ways of thinking she talks about that reflect unshakable views of the childfree:
The childfree fear responsibility.
She is criticizing a woman’s comment that gave her and her husband’s reasons for not having children, including overpopulation, wanting time to dedicate to each other” to continue having a deep marriage, wanting “the freedom of being able to do what we want, when we want,” and not wanting the “responsibility of how the child’s life could turn out.”
Do the childfree fear responsibility just because they don’t want the responsibility of raising children? Seems to me knowing what responsibilities you want, don’t want and why is actually, well, very responsible. It is not about fearing “personal failure;” it is having the responsible, mature wherewithal to know what is best for us and what is not.
We are selfish because we have exclusive concern for our own interests.
Just because we don’t have kids means we are only concerned about our interests? Why is it that church just can’t budge off of the idea that procreation is “the” symbolic” selfless act? How is it that the church (and this guy) fail to see the many ways those who have no children give to their families, loved ones, communities and the world? How can it be so blind not to see how much selfishness there can be in the act of parenthood?
There is a third unshakable view related to the world in general. It doesn’t only come from the conservative Christian community, but from other segments of the population as well:
Overpopulation is a myth.
This guy does math to make the point that even with the current 7 billion, there is 9500 square feet for his family of nine, and asks why isn’t it as obvious to others as it is to her that there is still plenty of room for more people on the planet. Room, maybe, but survivability of those growing numbers, and the rest of living creatures and things on the planet? Talk about a limited view.
Now there are population”experts” who would agree that population isn’t the problem, but the more I learn from the whole field of experts, population is indeed the problem, and the consumption that goes with it.
As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way baby, but views like these remind me we have a ways to go to changing the societal views on parenthood truly being a choice.
Childfree Christians: How do you react to this person’s piece? How does the church view the childfree in your experience? How can stubborn negative views be influenced to truly change?