Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Christian antinatalism

Just when you think you’ve seen it all comes a comment from a “Christian antinatalist.”

Actually, antinatalism is anything but nihilistic. You effectively admit this in your comment, Ironically, antinatalism is so nihilistic because it’s so idealistic. When idealism comes into contact with a fallen world, the result is bitter disillusionment. To be idealistic, one has to believe in some sort of standards by which to judge a thing – again as you effectively admit in your comment about antinatalists having “bitter disillusionment”. To be “bitterly disillusioned” at having this world fall short of our standards presupposes we do believe this world should be something other than the way it is.

i) There's an elementary difference between having “standards” and having standards that map onto what is right and true. Skinheads can have ideals–twisted ideals. A suicide cult can have ideals. Perverted ideals.

Antinatalism seeks to prevent more suffering in this world – including the suffering of a soul in Hell. It also seeks to minimize suffering of others through generously giving a helping hand to others, comfort others, and so forth – in short, values any civilized and human person would strongly agree with.

Yes, like a civilized sniper. He’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now he’s mad at the world. Mad that others have a chance to go on living while he is dying. So he decides to take as many with him as possible. “If I can’t be happy, then no one deserves to be happy!”

And, really, the sniper is doing them a favor, right? After all, life is so dog-gone rotten. Our schoolyard sniper isn’t committing murder. No, he’s euthanizing all those kindergarteners. Sparing them a life of pain and suffering.

He’s a philanthropist, you see. We should give him a humanitarian medal for every kindergarten he empties with his machinegun.

Or the civilized serial killer who works as a psychiatrist. All those depressed patients. But he puts them out of their misery with a shot of pentobarbital. That’s the generous thing to do.

All this actually supports the idea that we DO have standards of morals by which to judge the worthiness of the world – so antinatalism is not nihilistic at all. QED. In fact, antinatalism – even its atheist varieties - actually has more in common with Christianity than Nihilism.

Ah! Orwellian doubletalk. To be so despairingly pessimistic that you wish to terminate the whole human race isn’t nihilistic. Nah. Banish the thought!

Aren’t we Christians ourselves disillusioned (or at least disappointed) with the human condition? Or find there is something terribly wrong with this world? As a Christian myself, I know this is true, and I think you are too.

No, I’m not disappointed with God’s plan for the world. I judge the process by the end-product.

The only difference is that I came to see that the only way to guarantee non-condemnation for any of my would-have-been descendants is not to have children in the first place.

Scripture treats children as a blessing, not a blight.

 Still, even the “secular” reasons that don’t explicitly contradict Jesus’ teachings were enough to convince me that I had no right to force people into this world who could not consent to it.

Actually, you’re forcing your jaundiced outlook onto your “would-have-been” descendents. And your attitude represents the epitome of ingratitude. 

 Moving to your previous statement Antinatalism represents the reductio ad absurdum of the argument from evil. It takes the argument from evil to its logical extreme, and–in so doing–exposes something fundamentally twisted about the argument from evil–by exposing the nihilistic presuppositions of the argument. I don’t find this any more “twisted” than saying The All-Powerful God’s judgment against the wicked. Christian antinatalists like me seek to prevent souls from going to Hell, as said by not having kids in the first place (among other things).

That reflects a fundamental mistrust in God’s wisdom and goodness.

It also reflects the spiteful notion that no one should have a chance at happiness unless everyone is happy. If just one person is miserable, then he should spoil life for everyone else.

If we believe Hell is a place of eternal torment, and if we believe that Christians are quite literally the “chosen FEW”, then it’s hardly a reducto ad absurdum to say it’s better for them to have never been born.

It’s better for the damned that they were never born. That hardly makes it better for the “would-have-been” saints who will now miss out on the joys of heaven and the new Eden. By your lights, if anyone loses, then everyone ought to lose. Yes, that represents such a generous, magnanimous spirit. 

The secular version of antinatalism simply substitutes “this earth” for “hell”, thereby concluding that nobody deserves to be born onto “this earth” (which even I find imminently sensible – for if a person is not born, then he or she has no spiritual needs or no soul that can be punished.

Except that treating some people better than they deserve is an act of kindness.

Me? I simply weighed the potential rewards and potential benefits and decided that it’s more important to save my otherwise-Hell-bound descendants from eternal torment than it is for my otherwise-heavenboudn descendants to experience God’s glory; for as I said, the nonexistent have no souls that can be harmed.

Which simultaneously deprives your “would-have-been” heavenbound descendents of eternal bliss. Nonentities also have no souls (or bodies) that can be blessed. 


  1. "Christian antinatalism"

    If this person doesn't want to have children, well, okay.

    But I hope this "Christian" antinatalist understands that abortion is murder.

  2. Walter Sobchak:

    "Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, but at least it's an ethos."