One plus one equals three; 10; I Believe...
All one plus one equals three for. Any gun you go on. I wonder when it was made me. Been done. It's not. Down to me.
It is estimated that in 16 50 there were 400 70 billion people in the world. It took two centuries for that figure to double. It took only one century to double again. Today there are well over three and a half billion of us sharing this planet. Demographers tell us that by the year 2000 the world population will swell to almost seven billion. This series of programs is about this problem about what happens because one plus one equals three or. Four or. Five. I believe. What. Are we honestly aware of what we believe. And how these beliefs influence our lives in such fundamental areas as I relationships with other people. The way we treat our environment. The number of children we have. The attitude we hold on the question of population.
Religion has been defined in many formal and informal ways. On an individual basis. Religion has been defined as the outlook indicated by the sum of a person's day in day out activities. Of faith that individual claims to hold may have little influence on his actual behavior. Today on this program we're going to be looking at some of the world's major religions and assessing their influence on the question of the world's population problem. Well I think that religion is of course an important factor. A religion that claims most of the population of a nation was strongly influenced the prevailing ethic of that country. Mrs Edith LAN is the National Science Foundation fellow doing Advanced Study in sociology at the University of Illinois in Obama. She commented on the influence of one religion in Thailand right off I can think of the fire land. Where the religion requires that two sons be available in a family to carry on a religious tradition and so forth. As a result the people very much concerned with having
two and possibly more sons because of the high death rate usually involved. However I think that religion may have been grossly under or overestimated because we do know for instance in Puerto Rico where we do have a high and high percentage of Catholics. Birth control does take place and it's in an odd way. They are the practice of sterilization is or is being used and what we find is that the church vehemently attacked sterilization practices because of its basic tenets and the result was that the population became increasingly aware of this one method of keeping large families small or not getting into you know into larger families and people practice it while in spite of their religion. I think that the whole population issue is a normative problem. People through centuries or since the development of man have felt it important to have large families.
It has always meant growth and has always meant wealth. In many of the religious readings you will find that the less it is the man who is. Who has many sons or. Everything is really stressed towards the end of having large families and many children. I think one of the problems simply is that something has developed for so many centuries cannot change over night. We simply have developed mechanisms that are within the population that are they have been so important they couldn't have been left to the individual bullish in tremendous normative pressure was brought upon people as a whole to have large families and without really thinking too much about it. It was imperative for the survival of man. Now ideas are usually not quite as flexible as practices. We have such a thing as. People simply doing as they have been doing for again for
centuries and. The imposition of any kind of new idea as to the desirability of smaller families is simply going to take time to take hold. Dr. Philip Hosmer feels that religion may not be a significant factor in the population problem. Dr. Hauser serves as the director of the Population Research Center at the University of Chicago he said. While the truth of the matter is that in the economically advanced nations in the western world religion plays an insignificant a minor role in this country for example a Roman Catholic families make up part of the approximately 95 percent of the American people who practice birth control. There are only 4 5 6 percent of the people or couples in the United States. Every pro-life they have never used any method of birth control man and never will. If you examine Lee countries and Western civilization that is
countries such as Spain Italy France and France was the first nation to have a reduced birth rate of Belgium. These countries which are Catholic countries have birth rates just as now and our than the Protestant countries. So no matter what the theology as the position of the churches be and it is perfectly clear that an economically advanced countries Catholics are using birth control and a number of surveys show that they are using methods condemned by the church. Moreover more than three fourths of the Catholics in this country report they're in favor of limiting family size and over half of my definitely using methods that are banned by the church so that in this sense religion plays a very minor road. It's one thing to have a position there's a position of the church it is another thing to discuss and see what people actually do now. And Latin America it may well be that the position of the Catholic Church may retard the advent of
family planning with a more positive means than the one so called illicit means of abstention that is limited abstention the so-called remedy or so-called rhythm method now. It may retarded son but the evidence is that even in Latin America other people are not going to adopt family planning family planning methods. I was at a conference and Caracas by a year and a half ago most of the nations in Latin America were represented. It was held out of the aegis of the organization of the American states. One of the resolutions passed at that conference at which incidentally some 15 members of cabinets of as many different countries were present was at every public health program and not in America. In addition or as part of his public health problem should include provision for family planning. The church was well represented at that conference I might say this was before the papal
encyclical humanity time. There was not a single voice of dissent from the representatives of the church against that resolution. And when I discussed this with the monsignor who was every who was present at the conference he shrugged his shoulders and said well a good many of the clergy have begun to feel that the rising of the ocean in Latin America Rising family desertion infanticide. I mean by concubinage these were much more serious problems than birth control. The Roman Catholic Church has been the center of considerable controversy in the area of birth control. Officially the Church is opposed to most forms of birth control. Yet even among its clergy and followers and there is opposition to its stand Dr. Jacqueline Grant president of New York's Hunter College noted that particularly among the young official policies may carry little weight. I don't pretend to be an authority on that first of all I'm not a statistician or a
sociologist. I firmly I my own. My own hunch on it is supported by all my own anecdotal and information is that a substantial majority of Roman Catholics have resolved their own conscience on this subject strongly. They have resolved that conscience not in flaunting authority but in listening to authority and incorporating the positions of the pope and of others. I. Would venture to guess that of the college age population an overwhelming majority of formed their own conscience at this point. And it will never be changed in different ways I think and with different frameworks. But I do believe it has been established in the Roman Catholic conscience at this point as the right for the conscience to establish it in the majority no other numbers of course. Who who who is conscience of the state has established itself in support of the
pope's position. How are various religious groups grappling with the problem of population. The United Methodist Church is one Protestant faith that has taken a stand in favor of birth control. Dr. R. Benjamin Garrison serves the West the United Methodist Church of Urbana Illinois. He had these comments on his church and birth control. The Methodist church. In my opinion was probably one of the first. Church is to take a positive stand on the question of birth control. As far back as the I mean in modern terms far back as the early 40s the denomination adopted a stance which it didn't call birth control but what you'd call responsible parenthood and which might involve birth control under some circumstances and others it might be responsible to have two more children I suppose. At least that's a judgment which could be have been defended prior to the
current concern about. The total world population. But anyway not only is there been no prohibition against the use of artificial contraception what this concept of responsible parenthood is construed as a positive encouragement for. Christian families to to use these now I think the position for that would be that what type of contraception might be employed is a medical question on which they would we would presume to have no. Particularly authoritative opinion. What is the theological basis for the stance. What about the genesis 1:28 quotation regarding God said unto them Be fruitful and multiply. Replenish the earth and subdue it. Then ask me two questions on the Genesis question. For one thing Methodists there will be some who will claim I'm not being very Methodist when I say this but
they say that anyway. But Methodists are not either by tradition or by doctrine committed to the notion of. The literal in errancy of the Scriptures. But even without that. I don't see the present concern for population control and environmental concern as any contradiction of the Genesis passage. It doesn't say be overly fruitful and multiply and deplete the earth. And a case could be made I believe for the fact that some of the things which are being suggested as social and individual policy are quite in line with the idea that the Earth should be an environment in which a man's potential can develop at its finest. Now what about the grounds upon let's say family planning. Which I suppose is the one question that is being talked about by most people.
Basic to the Judeo-Christian tradition is the in the importance of the individual and the integrity of the personality and even a casual reading of some of the horrible personal and individual costs of the ghetto of a dire poverty of. Health results of two large families and so forth. Could raise grave questions about whether or not the individual potential of the of the unit is really being realized as a result of the fact they have been careless about what one particular family unit can responsibly foster and encourage and make strong personalities out of. So what would be the value of the individual I think. And that begs some questions that you haven't raised like the value of the individuals who may not be born as a result of such
policies and so forth. But go directly to your question I think it would be the value and integrity of the person. Then there is no question of going to the idea that children are an act of God. Not in my mind. A gift of good in the sense that life is what not beyond that. Not to rob Benjamin Garrison commenting on the stand of the United Methodist Church. American Jews do not have a formalized church organization. Individual rabbis can and do disagree on various aspects of their faith. Two rabbis from Champagne Illinois Rabbi Edward feld and Rabbi Samuel Weingart commented on the Hebrew faith and birth control. Rabbi Feld is heard first. In my experience. So far I haven't had anyone who's come to me to ask what the position of
the rabbit would be in regard to these things except this radio interview I think that it's probably the case that. The. Most jews are using contraceptives and. We have. Basically no influence over that one way or the other. So it's a personal decision. I think so yeah. Rabbi Weingarten has your experience been much the same. Yes I would say so I have not been consulted as a rabbi in terms of this particular area. The whole area of family planning the use of contraceptives and so on has been taken up in Jewish tradition extensively in our rabbinical sources in the tamad and in post Talmudic rabbinical literature. I think one might make a statement which I hope many of my colleagues would agree with me on that Judaism even though recognising that the first positive commandment in the Old Testament Testament is a multiply
and be fruitful. At the same time still recognizes that there are conditions of physical psychological socio economic and that would gravitate against an individual multiplying children in a certain situation. And so I as a rabbi would say that I think a case could be made within the Jewish tradition under certain carefully guarded circumstances for family planning. So it's not a matter of. Family planning being against traditions. You. Know as I say if if there are reasons for example a family being impoverished a low level of income not being able to afford to raise children as they would like to because of straitened circumstances in a case such as this I believe in my from my own interpretation of Jewish law that Judaism would allow for family planning.
There are two levels which operate here. One is certain theological thoughts. The other is the corpus of Jewish law. The corpus of Jewish law. I maintain that. Contraceptive devices can be used in case of. Danger to the mother. Now. It's problematic in Judaism because. We haven't really faced this situation before. You know there are two there are two opposing things here. One is that the Genesis statement of. Go out to the earth and subdue it was made before or the time of. Ecological science. You know and
and I think that. Traditionally we have the view you know let's let's go out and subdue the earth. And you know be fruitful and multiply. And now the question is raised that that these views of Genesis which are primarily based on I kind of sense of unlimited economy you know can do whatever you want and that's a very good thing. And now may very well be out there. And I think this must represent. A crisis at least in my own thinking and I think generally in a religious outlook. Could we have follow the commandments too well. I don't know. One would like to think too that there were always within the tradition certain safeguards which haven't been followed. For instance the Old
Testament mentions that. When. The Jews campaigned in the conquest of the camp of Palestine they were not allowed to cut down any fruit bearing trees. There are numerous agricultural laws of of the Old Testament and one wonders if these laws had indeed been carried out. If our attitude had been the same as that which appears to be in the Old Testament then I wonder whether we'd be in the same place today. In other words I think it's two conflicting parts of the Old Testament Genesis and then the other parts of the Old Testament which seem to to make statements about preserving nature and man's relationship to nature. I wonder if I might say a further word in this connection in terms of Jewish tradition. We have stated in the Talmud I believe four times in different tractate of the
Tolman the following statement and I quote There are three women who when experiencing sex relations with their husbands may or must take the precaution of using an absorbent to prevent conception. A minor a pregnant woman and a woman who is still nursing her baby. I think what the rabbis were trying to tell us simply is that the prevention of pregnancy in a minor was permissible in order to safeguard the health of a prospective mother. That it was legitimate in the case of a woman already pregnant for her sake as well as the sake of the child that she carried. And finally that it was acceptable when a mother was still nursing for the welfare of a child already born. I think the area of disagreement perhaps in the tradition is whether or not under any of these foregoing circumstances a woman may or must use a contraceptive device. And I think I would also say as a rabbi in my opinion that it's clear from that evil and pre-modern rabbinic sources
that contraception was deemed permissible in cases where a woman had given birth to children who were mentally retarded or suffered an incurable congenital disease. In other words I think that only a torturer has kind of logic could twist the Jewish tradition into a blanket prohibition of birth control. I would agree with Rabbi Edward feld and Rabbi Samuel Weingarten commenting on the Hebrew faith than family planning for a broad assessment of the influence of religion on the population question we turn to Dr. Norman writer Burstein Bevan professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. We asked Dr. Ryder How important is the factor of religion in assessing the problem of population. Well there are several levels on which you can talk about this. In some countries it is really difficult to talk about their religion without talking about their total way of life because religion actually is
diffuse and permeates the whole of the social fabric. And when you talk for example about the yearning of. I had a couple for a son and you were talking about something which they want very very badly in terms of their own social psychological attitudes. But they want it badly also because they are Hindu. It is build into their religious system and in general the social structure in a country is founded on a bedrock of religious underpinnings and so that when we talk about major changes in the way of life we are threatening the religion as well as they as the established social system. How to get down to more specific terms I think that many people when they are talking about religion I thinking specifically about Catholics and I think it's worthwhile to say a word or two about that. It is by no means a simple and clear picture. It is true in the United States that Roman Catholics have larger families than
white non-Catholics. These these data are are well-established and quite clear it appears to be a combination of two circumstances in the United States. One is that there seems to be a genuine intention to have larger families not large but larger by much we're talking about a fraction of a child but larger clearly. The second circumstance is that when Roman Catholic couples decide to terminate their families because they have reached the size that they think is appropriate. They tend to use a method of contraception rather much more than others do and that is a very ineffective method and leads to even larger families than they wanted. So these two circumstances led to Roman Catholics having somewhat larger families in the United States. Now if you look around at European countries you find that the introduction of the designation Roman Catholic does not help to explain much the variability from country to
country. There are Roman Catholic countries with very low fertility Roman Catholic countries with moderately high fertility and some in between. It is apparent that there is one difference and that is that typically speaking a Roman Catholic country will be one in which the age of marriage is somewhat later. In other words this is a mode of fertility regulation which does have some effect on which it is. Much more likely to be chosen in a Roman Catholic country than in a country that is not one country has carried this to an extreme and that is Ireland. I think of Ireland as and a rather peculiar society and indeed perhaps in some respects a sex society had adopted a Roman Catholic orientation towards population and has stuck with it and that has been the one example of a country where population has not increased substantially since the middle of the 19th century. That has been accomplished in part by
a very late age marriage of very low proportion who ever get married. And finally by a very large influx of people to the other British Isles and to the United States. This is the one example of a country which cannot be described in its demographic patterns without saying this is a Catholic country but aside from Island you what you notice particularly is a much more sluggish movement of public officials in the population area because of their apprehension about the Catholic hierarchy and about the people's beliefs. This is certainly true in Latin America Latin American political leaders have been very loath to say anything about population and birth control because they have been apprehensive about the Catholicism of their populations. It is certainly true in Italy as well in
Spain and so forth. But when you look at the behavior of the people you are not struck by the outstanding differences. I think that Catholicism has played the role of making somewhat more sluggish the path towards a what I would regard as a rational policy of fertility regulation for the population but it has been why it has not been a definitive barrier and just something that has slowed down the path a little. DR NORMAN Ryder professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin. I believe. I believe in the choices I make and the sometimes unconscious reasons why I make the choices I do. What my church or my face says as moral may influence what I do in terms of my family and my children.
To listen extent at least religion plays an important role in the problem of our world population how the major world faiths respond to the question the population will have an important influence on us all. You have been listening to one plus one equals three four five a series of programs about the problems we face because of our growing population. Your host for this program has been Dennis Corrigan special music performed by Rhea Truscott engineering by Edna Haney. You know I am one of the night when I meet women and write that many Night night meet women and like many you know meet meet and there is little to meet man. And I know one week down and
- One plus one equals three
- Episode Number
- I Believe...
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 71-5-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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