Why Aren’t Christians Talking About Overpopulation?

I’ve been listening to a series of podcasts on Homebrewed Christianity called “Homegrown Christianity” which addresses ecotheology and creation care. It’s been a very enjoyable series so far, and I recommend you check it out for yourself. I’ve also been reading a book by j. Snodgrass called Genesis and the Rise of Civilization, which talks about the book of Genesis in light of the writings of Daniel Quinn, who tends to reflect very critically on the Neolithic Agrarian Revolution. An excellent book, it’s chock full of cool stuff about Genesis, including Midrash legends about the text.

Neither one of these things, though, is addressing overpopulation, at least at length (or as of yet; the podcast series still has two more interviews coming).

In fact, I don’t see many Christians talking about this all. Do a Google search of “Christian Response to Overpopulation,” and, aside from a single article in Christianity Today, all you’ll get is a slew of conservative Catholic and Protestant bloggers talking about how overpopulation is a myth. The Christian reaction seems to be either to deny it, or to just ignore it as something God will fix at the Eschaton.

Google searches of ecotheology and overpopulation do yield results in the form of academic articles and Google Book excerpts, but such results are far from the mainstream. It just seems as if this is an issue that Christians of all strains have difficulty addressing. Granted, if you’re into Process Theology, there’s some material out there talking about some rather dire ecological scenarios (John Cobb’s Is It Too Late? comes to mind).  Otherwise, it seems that even progressives are silent on the matter.

Why, you ask?  I blame the elevation of humans to the position of rulers over Creation.  We get priority in all things: food, water, territory, resources, you name it.  It’s ours! Ask Ann Coulter:

The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use.God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet — it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars — that’s the Biblical view.

Because of this mindset, we put our survival first, and when we do everything we can to ensure that every human lives through every disease, every famine, every shortage of whatever we might be low on, we’re making MORE humans that will continue to use those resources.

I am even incredibly bothered by typing such a thing.  It’s as if we’ve put ourselves in the position of God and suddenly realized we have no idea how to actually BE God. It’s terrifying!  No wonder most Christians don’t want to touch this with a ten-foot pole!

I’m probably oversimplifying a very complex issue here, but given the silence on much of the Christian community, what else would you expect to happen?  Somebody help me out here!  Besides John Cobb, is anyone else actually talking about this?


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