The modern West’s infertility gods | WORLD
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The modern West’s infertility gods

The veneration of childlessness is an integral part of the progressive war on the family

Pro-abortion activists rally outside the Supreme Court on April 24. Associated Press/Photo by Jose Luis Magana

The modern West’s infertility gods
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While the ancient Near East worshipped fertility gods, the modern West worships infertility gods. This is the thought that came to mind when I saw reports of a 20-foot inflatable birth control device (IUD) that had been erected in front of Union Station in Washington, D.C., with leftist groups like Planned Parenthood venerating their idol. The apparent occasion for this crass contraceptive display was a bill before the U.S. Senate called the Right to Contraception Act, which has since stalled. But this got me and others thinking. Why are progressives so obsessed with infertility?

In the ancient world, having children was universally understood as a blessing, so much so that nearly every ancient civilization had cults devoted to inducing fertility. These fertility cults worshipped idols with diverse names—Baal, Asherah, Dionysus, Aphrodite—but shared the same purpose: multiplying children. Unless every woman had at least two children, on average, civilizations would shrivel—shrinking agriculture, shrinking commerce, shrinking army. In short, civilizational death. A major theme in Scripture is God’s people encountering these fertility cults. Faced with questions about their own future flourishing, would they stay true to Yahweh, who is the author of life, or would they turn to these fertility gods for blessing? Much of the Bible is devoted to warning God’s people against idolatry and looking to anyone or anything other than the one true God for blessing (Exodus 20:3–4; 2 Kings 17:7–20; 1 John 5:21).

As misguided as these fertility cults were, at least they understood a basic formula that many in the modern West seem to miss, and that is the simple fact that no children means no future. Even horrific rites like child sacrifice in the ancient world were sometimes in the service of trying to coerce the gods to allow them more children, not less.

But think about this: The ancient Near East worshipped idols of fertility. The modern West worships idols of infertility.

Today, progressives promote intentional childlessness as an optimal lifestyle choice and vibrant path toward self-actualization. Movements such as the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign, celebrations like World Contraception Day, and ostentatious displays like the inflatable IUD in our capital city all point in one direction: Our culture has been infiltrated by infertility cults.

We dare not fight infertility gods with fertility gods.

This is bad news. Right at the time many are waking up to the devastating effects of cratering birth rates around the world, a trend directly tied to the progressive war against traditional marriage and family—a war that includes the militancy of sterile LGBTQ ideology—the infertility gods are being coronated.

What is the Biblical response? We dare not fight infertility gods with fertility gods. Instead, we must turn to the God who made us male and female from beginning and charged mankind to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). He is the one who promised father Abraham and his seed multiplication and blessing (Genesis 12:1–3), a promise fulfilled in the true seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), Jesus, and in all united to Him by faith.

And as Psalm 127:3 reminds us, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” The larger culture around us appears to be turning into a cult of infertility.

Colin J. Smothers

Colin serves as executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and executive editor of CBMW’s Eikon: A Journal for Biblical Anthropology. He also serves as director of the Kenwood Institute and is an adjunct professor at Boyce College. He is the author of several essays and books, most recently co-authoring an eight-week curriculum, Male & Female He Created Them (Christian Focus, 2023). Colin and his wife, Elise, live in Louisville, Ky. with their six children.

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