I was reading about Pope Benedict’s recent speech to a group of UN delegates sent to Italy for a conference on the impending global food crisis. He stated that technology should find a way to fix the crisis. I think that population, which begets poverty, which begets famine, which begets disease (like that Bible bit?) is a much more important topic, and something that the all powerful church could impact. So I told them they should condone contraception…
I am not an elegant or eloquent man, so writing to the Pope was initially a daunting idea. Of course, the probability that he will ever actually read my letter is somewhere in the infinitesimally small percentage range, so I went ahead and did it for piece of mind.
Dear Pope Benedict,
In your recent statement to the UN delegates in Italy you stated “hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world which, in reality, has sufficient production levels, the resources, and the know-how to put an end to these tragedies and their consequences.”
Humanity’s technological prowess should be able to conquer hunger and malnutrition. But hunger and malnutrition will always be predominant in countries with high population and high birth rates. Even Thomas Malthus said that population will outstrip any increase in the food supply. Would it not be prudent for the church to endorse contraceptive techniques in order to slow world population growth? Abstinence from sexual relations would be preferable to the church I am sure, but my own country the United States, has shown that abstinence programs do not work better than contraception and safe sex education.
In this day and age, I am sure Jesus would have understood that the health of humanity is of the greatest importance. The church has been reinterpreting the words of Jesus and the Bible for two-thousand years. I do not think literal policy derived from the Bible is possible here. In times past the command “be fruitful and multiply” had a direct correlation to the survival of a community and society. It does not have that impetus any longer. In fact, I would argue that the opposite has become the norm. The survival of humanity may rest in our ability to curb population growth. As you may know, the Earth is already at more than twice the human capacity it can handle naturally. It is only though our technology that many of us survive in the first place.
The fact that the population grows exponentially will eventually lead to far worse problems than hunger. Poverty is directly linked to overpopulation. Disease and pestilence are also on the heels of the hunger problem. I am not a member of your church, but I implore you to consider my words. The church and it’s massive resources could lead the charge in reversing this crisis on a different front than technology. Abstinence and alternatives to personal childbirth like adoption help, but could never out pace education about human sexuality and contraception. It is of paramount importance to our survival.