One of my iFriends just pointed out an article titled Too Smart To Have Children on a blog called "Set Your Heart." To be fair, I should point out that I don't ordinarily read that blog, and I am unfamiliar with the belief tradition that its author is working from. (In fact, I wasn't initially sure that he was even a Christian; there's an awful lot of Jewish terminology in his writing. But the Statement of Faith for the place where he's an Elder explicitly includes both the Old and New Testaments as the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word Of God. So, y'know, pretty clearly Christian.) Also, this particular piece is from all the way back in July of 2011, so this is not what you might call a timely response.
Having said that... well...
Okay, first of all, it opens by quoting from Psalm 127. Understand, I don't think there's anything wrong with that particular Psalm in itself; it's just that people seem to read it... oddly. In particular, that's precisely the same Psalm that a father in the Quiverful movement recently told me that he "prayed over" before coming to embrace that particular lifestyle. (This was the same man who insisted that the "Godly Model" of marriage was obvious to anyone who prayed over it, and that anyone whose marriage was set up differently didn't have the faith to follow God's Plan For Everyone. I'm paraphrasing, but only slightly.) So seeing this particular passage again throws up a huge red flag for me.
Then I started reading the post itself, and the red flag was suddenly joined by all sorts of flashing lights and blaring sirens.
The recent census has reported that children are now making up less of America's population than ever before. According to the passage of Scripture above, children are a heritage (an inheritance, a gift) and a reward from Adonai. What can we deduce from these two facts?Okay, I can actually answer this. What can we deduce from these two facts? Not much. From a Biblical perspective, the U.S.A. now has less of the blessing of children per capita than it had before. That's about all you can deduce here.
Unfortunately, deduction isn't actually what our author has in mind.
Adonai has given us a choice; we choose if we want to be blessed or cursed. The Bible says that children are a blessing but Americans don't want children. In fact they consider them 'inferior goods.' The Bible says that debt is a curse but Americans will take take as much of it as they can get.See? This isn't a deduction. It's a mess of assertions and rampant over-generalizations. Frankly, I'm a bit irritated to be told that Americans don't want children: I'm an American, and I wanted children - and now I have two boys, and guess what? I still want them. I just don't want any more children.
Look, I'm down with the idea that children are a blessing. Thing is, they're also a responsibility. They take work, and use up resources: time, money, energy. They require attention. Saying that they're a blessing doesn't change that. I generally consider beer a blessing, too, but that doesn't mean I should be drinking as much of it as possible as often as possible.
That said, it's a nice rhetorical setup, isn't it? There's a choice between Good and Evil. Children are good. Debt is evil. Everybody wants debt, nobody wants children. Who has time to deal with nuance or complexity when the world is clearly going to Hell in a handbasket?
As our nation moves further and further away from God and His Torah (instructions), it becomes more and more profane. In the US it is now the norm to choose curses over blessings because the curses make more sense in this secular society and the ways of God are seen as archaic, antiquated and flat out foolish.Okay, first of all, these sorts of blanket statements about the rise of evil in the world? People have been saying that since at least 2800 B.C. So at this point in history, I'm having a hard time taking the assertion seriously.
Second, the ways of God are seen as archaic, antiquated, and flat-out foolish? Nonsense! The only reason I don't stone disobedient children is that I don't have a gate to drag them out to. Here in Texas, we're all in favor of imposing the death penalty for adultery. And, of course, the country has really never been the same since we gave up on the idea that anyone convicted of rape should have to marry his victim and pay her father fifty shekels of silver.
Last week I came across an article from Time Magazine that labels fertility [in women] as a stumbling block to higher education. A recent study has found that:The researchers of this study "find it necessary" to inform people of their findings, because that's what researchers do. It's not like they're conducting a smear campaign against pregnancy, here. They're pointing out that women are far more likely to finish their educations if they do so before they have children. This is factually correct, and something to consider if getting an advanced degree is one of your goals. So why would our author object to this?
"...women who had children early — by their mid-20s — were much less likely to continue their education beyond the required first two years of high school; they were also less likely to achieve a higher degree later in life than women who delayed childbearing until they finished their education."
The researchers of this study find it is necessary to inform young women about this potential difficulty in pursuing an education. It is their belief that by educating young women, they will be able to make better decisions, like how many children to have. But what does God have to say about education?
I can make a guess, of course: children are a blessing, so if women are putting off having children in order to pursue advanced degrees, then clearly they aren't receiving all the blessings they could be... and by extension, they're depriving the rest of us of those blessings as well. But, of course, our author does not explicitly say this.
Instead, he asks: "But what does God have to say about education?" I'm just going to go out on a limb here, and suggest: "Not much."
And, look! I'm right!
With the help of Bible software, I searched for the word 'education' in a few of the more popular translations of the Bible and did not find it once.But is that going to stop us from drawing conclusions anyway? No, of course not.
However, the Bible does mention the word 'knowledge' 130-169 times, depending upon the translation. In fact, Proverbs 1:7 declares that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." Before we can have a proper understanding about anything, we must first acknowledge Adonai as God and His Holy Word as relevant for our lives today. Only then will we be able to see the world through His eyes and make decisions that are in alignment with His will.And this is relevant how, exactly? I mean, okay, points for a boilerplate restatement of basic Christian doctrine, but this has nothing to do with higher education. It does nothing whatsoever to support your thesis.
And then, just as I'm shaking off the whiplash from that abrupt change of topic, our author changes direction again:
Am I saying that women should not pursue a higher education? Of course not.See? His Christian beliefs aren't repressive. Education is fine for women, as long as they understand that having as many babies as possible is far more important.
The point I am trying to make is this: we must be very careful when we handover our young adults to professors and teachers in secular universities and colleges.Oh, and we should be careful about letting women get educated. It might be dangerous. He's saying that, too.
So, to recap: education is fine for women, and it's dangerous so we have to be very careful about it.
When believing young women become immersed in a secular educational system, they can sometimes become too smart to have children. They may end up rejecting the blessings that our God desires for them.That's right. God desires the same blessings for all women, and those blessings are children. Advanced education, rewarding careers, and personal development are never blessings from God; babies are always blessings from God. Get your priorities straight, people: babies. Babies are the priority. Face it, if you're not having babies, you are not being blessed!
We may be one of the smartest nations in the world but we are obviously not receiving all the blessings that God intends for us to have.And the solution for that is clear: less education and more children.
But wait! The Apostle Paul clearly states that celibacy is the Christian ideal, and marriage is for people who lack the self-control for celibacy. So by delaying having children, and possibly even educating themselves to the point of complete unmarriageability, these young women that our author is so worried about may actually be moving closer to a Godly lifestyle! Clearly, this is something we need to encourage.
 I love the way "obviously" gets tucked in the middle of that sentence. It's the sort of thing that college Sophomores tend to stick into papers when they haven't actually defended or supported a conclusion, and they're hoping the professor won't notice.
 See the note on "obviously", above.