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Begetting: challenges and responsibilities of overpopulation


Irresponsible avoidance of the overpopulation challenge
Propagation of children as an inalienable individual right -- reproductive rights
Cultivating a mannered response to a fundamental issue
Problems arising more or less directly from overpopulation
Illusory promotion of technical solutions -- whether available or to come
A faith-based world culture in denial?
Religious responsibility -- relevance of a gun control metaphor?
Assessing the responsibility of religions for suffering and death

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This overview has been produced partially in support of the proposed
Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse (2007).


The world is currently tortured by a wide range of problems. Most have been profiled in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. This deliberately avoids positioning any single problem as the ultimate cause of the other major problems. Traditionally religions have however focused on a limited set of problematic behaviours, values and attitudes -- possibly termed sins -- as generative of the plethora of social problems.

There is however a case for exploring the extent to which a significant proportion of the problems facing the world is the result of a certain attitude promoted by religions themselves. What follows is not intended as a criticism of religion or spirituality -- although a number of new studies of this matter have recently been published (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 2006; Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: how religion poisons everything, 2007). The focus is rather on the attitude promoted by religion to the unconstrained increase in the human population -- and its fairly direct exacerbation of many major problems. Deliberate efforts by organized religion to associate spiritual aspiration with this agenda is part of the problem.

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