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The Plague
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Play a thought experiment.

Imagine that a plague hits the United States this year. Like a Biblical plague it affects only a chosen few, and none of those that catch it escapes death.

This plague only kills people that have not and will not ever have children – inside or outside marriage. Do not ask how it does this. That is the Biblical nature of the plague.

One morning the country wakes up and discovers every one of these have died in their sleep. It could be as few as 50 million or as many as 125 million. They are gone. We may not even understand the common thread that bound the victims. One day there were 300 million Americans; the next day there are only 200 million.

All other things held constant, one hundred years from that date would there be more, fewer, or roughly the same amount of Americans as would have been without the plague?

The answer? The population of this country would be roughly the same.

One hundred years from now most of those alive today will be dead. Those then living will be the descendents of those now alive. Since this plague only took those without descendents – no children, and therefore no grandchildren or great-grandchildren – there is no change in the number of those born, if everything else is held constant.

Redo the experiment.

Instead of the childless dying overnight it is those that will produce two or more children. Everyone that is going to father or give birth to two children vanish. This is also between 50 and 125 million people. Again, one hundred years from that date what would be the effect on the American population?

The effect would be more ominous. The only people to have more than one child following that plague are those born after it. If birth patterns went back to normal afterwards, there would still be a generation without siblings. For at least two decades, births would be down by at least two-thirds.

It may not pick up after those children mature. Having grown up in a one-child society, they may think that having a second child is somehow “wrong.” In that case, with every couple having just one child, the country would play a full-scale game of “Ten Little Americans.” Within 200 years there would be only one little American – produced by the last couple in the United States.

The point?

Children are the future. Not only their parents’ future – everyone’s future. Even children that are not yours become the workers that take care of you in retirement.

A society that cherishes children safeguards its future. One that despises them dooms itself.

This is why Christianity places such importance on family and children. It is the reason we foster and cherish marriage – it is less about the couple that unite than it is about the fruits – the children – of that union.

When you next see a family, say a prayer for them. It is a prayer for your future, as well.

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Written by Mark N. Lardas, copyright 2006, Mark N. Lardas, all rights reserved.  Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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