Monday, June 11, 2007

The Spiraling Loss of Family Values in the West

At a time in world history when sexual promiscuity and out-of-wedlock births have reached epidemic proportions, an odd thing is taking place; birth rates have dramatically fallen. And at the center of the decline of morality world-wide is the parallel decline in Judeo-Christian numbers. "Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy" was interviewed recently and asked about "Western Europe's so-called 'birth dearth."

"Right now the European Union average is below 1.5 children per woman. It takes 2.1 to replace the population under modern conditions. Population demographers call anything less than 1.5 children 'very low fertility.' This model won't sustain any culture that adopts it." Yet, "even in Europe people say they want mostly two-child families. Why don't they have them?" Dear reader, what would be your answer to that question?

Gallagher's answer? "Television, restaurants, vacation travel, career ambition, movies, parties, bigger houses, less housework, less angst about husbands who don't pitch in." And why have these things taken priority over having children? Again, what would be your answer?

"As people adopt family and sex codes in tension with religions, they tend to leave it (religion, that is); and as people leave religions, they often lose the discipline and motivation to direct and channel sexual behaivor in ways that benefit the next generation. They marry less, have more sex outside of marriage, cohabit more, divorce more, and have fewer children - and more of them out of wedlock." As European nations prosper and "grow wealthy, they're adopting the Western pattern of non-family life." The logical question after these observations is, "could it happen here?"

Yes, it could. "Every developed country is experiencing a family crisis: first is 'family fragmentation' difficulties in getting parents to get married, stay married and raise their children together. Second is a collapse in birthrates to levels insufficient to sustain the population. Our problem is serious but not quite the same as in Europe. I suspect this has something to do with our higher rates of religiosity, patriotism and the pro-family tax code we have." Her conclusions, though a bit tentative, overlook the truth that in the American church our people are cohabiting, having out of wedlock births or pregnancies, divorcing at an alarming rate, and craving the perks that the world craves in order to find fulfillment in this life; I guess the American church has adopted a "Your Best Life Now" pattern of non-family life.

While maintaining an air of "religiosity," the American Christian while attending church has nevertheless lost "the discipline and motivation to direct and channel sexual behavior in ways that benefit the next generation." And we might add, in ways that encourage parents, married parents, to commit to their marriage and raise up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. There is no "birth dearth" in the U.S. at this time, but there is a "holiness dearth" threatening to follow the example of the West while abandoning Christ for Osteen and his kind.