God's Babies

Natalism and Bible Interpretation in Modern America

by John McKeown

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Book Description

The human population's annual total consumption is not sustainable by one planet. This unprecedented situation calls for a reform of religious cultures that promote a large ideal family size. Many observers assume that Christianity is inevitably part of this problem because it promotes "family values" and statistically, in America and elsewhere, has a higher birthrate than nonreligious people. This book explores diverse ideas about human reproduction in the church past and present. It investigates an extreme fringe of U.S. Protestantism, including the Quiverfull movement, that use Old Testament "fruitful" verses to support natalist ideas explicitly promoting higher fecundity. It also challenges the claim by some natalists that Martin Luther in the 16th century advocated similar ideas. This book argues that natalism is inappropriate as a Christian application of Scripture, especially since rich populations' total footprints are detrimental to biodiversity and to human welfare. It explores the ancient cultural context of the Bible verses quoted by natalists. Challenging the assumption that religion normally promotes fecundity, the book finds surprising exceptions among early Christians (with a special focus on Saint Augustine) since they advocated spiritual fecundity in preference to biological fecundity. Finally the book uses a hermeneutic lens derived from Genesis 1, and prioritising the modern problem of biodiversity, to provide ecological interpretations of the Bible's "fruitful" verses.

This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY). You can download God's Babies ebook for free in PDF format (10.8 MB).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Natalism: A Popular Use of the Bible
 
Chapter 2
Protestant Natalism in the U.S.
 
Chapter 3
Martin Luther: Forerunner of Natalism?
 
Chapter 4
The Old Testament Context
 
Chapter 5
Augustine on Fruitfulness
 
Chapter 6
An Ecological Critique of Natalism
 
Chapter 7
Conclusion
 

Book Details

Publisher
Open Book Publishers
Published
2014
Pages
262
Edition
1
Language
English
ISBN13
9781783740529
ISBN10
1783740523
ISBN13 Digital
9781783740543
ISBN10 Digital
178374054X
PDF Size
10.8 MB
License
CC BY

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