Tag Archives: Jehovah’s Witnesses

U.S. birth rate hits record low, despite secular left’s obsession with “overpopulation”

Total fertility rates have decreased globally by about half since 1960.
Total fertility rates have decreased globally by about half since 1960.

I had lunch with one of my co-workers on the secular left recently. I asked him what his biggest concern with the world. After telling me that he was a “libertarian”, he said that he was alarmed that people were having too many babies. I asked him what he wanted to do about it. He said keep abortion legal, and use the government to stop people from reproducing. Some libertarian!

Anyway, he was just factually wrong about the overpopulation, and I had to launch into a long, detailed explanation of replacement rates, birth rates across the world, and how the prosperity created by capitalism has caused birth rates to decline in even poorer countries. I also explained to him that once a country dips below the replacement fertility rate (2.1 births per woman), it never returns. I concluded my refutation of his assertion by stating that he should be more worried about underpopulation than overpopulation.

Anyway, I had to repeat the same explanation again with another secular leftist that same week. So when I saw this recent Daily Caller article about a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control, I figured I might as well equip you guys to respond to other people with the same wrong view.

It says:

The United States birth rate hit a record low in 2018 with numbers reflecting the lowest birthrates in the past 30 years, reports say.

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that almost every age group of women under 35 showed birth rate declines in 2018. The provisional number of births in the U.S. in 2018 was 3,788,235, down 2% since 2017. For every 1,000 women, the fertility rate declined 2% from 2017 to 1,728.0 births.

Birth rates had reached a record low in 2017 as well, marking a continuing trend of declining birth rates over the past four years, according to CNN.

[…]These 2018 birth rate numbers are below the necessary threshold needed for population replacement, which is 2,100 births per 1,000 women, CNN reports.

So we’re down to 1.73 births in the USA, which is below the 2.1 rate needed to maintain current population levels.

This new report isn’t an outlier. It confirms what we knew about from previous reports.

Here’s an earlier report from the far-left Pew Research Center, reported by the radically-leftist Slate, of all places.

Excerpt:

A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.

Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.

Now I have a couple tools for you to share to those people who might have irrational views of this issue.

Useful videos

This video explains what’s wrong with overpopulation fears:

And this one explains what the replacement rate number is:

You can share those for people who don’t have time to read. It at least makes the point, even if it doesn’t link to a reputable report.

A useful podcast

This podcast featuring famous economist Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse will be useful for you to understand why the overpopulation myth is something you should be concerned about.

The MP3 file is here. (from 1/22/2010)

Topics:

  • how the transition from country to city discourages child-bearing
  • how religion impacts how many children parents have
  • what is the US birth rate, is it high enough?
  • can we just import immigrants to alleviate the low birth rate?
  • has increased prosperity encouraged people to have more children?
  • how has the purpose of sex changed after the sexual revolution?
  • how does the demographic crisis threaten entitlement programs?
  • what do we learn from the declining birth rate in Japan?
  • how does population growth impact stock market performance?

This podcast explains how some countries aren’t making enough young workers to pay for the social programs needed by a growing number of elderly people wanting to retire.

Please share the post if you found it useful.

J. Warner Wallace: 10 important questions for Jehovah’s witnesses

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

So there’s this group of people called Jehovah’s Witnesses that use Christian language to describe a religion that denies key parts of the Christian worldview. They like to go door-to-door to tell people what they believe. Since you may might them knocking on your door to tell you about their worldview, it might be worth it to read this post from J. Warner Wallace over in advance.

I’ll just post a snip of the first I use when they come to my door. It’s also the first on Wallace’s list:

If I am to accept the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witness religion, I am first going to have to trust the source of this teaching. But how can I trust someone who claims to speak for God when they have been wrong about prior predictions?

There are a number of false predictions made either by Charles Russell, subsequent leaders of the church or the Watchtower Organization itself, including this limited sampling:

1886 The Millennial Reign Has Already Begun “The outward evidences are that the marshalling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing.” (Watchtower reprints 1, page 817 January 1886)

1897 The Millennial Reign Began in 1874 “ Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 4, page 621)

1899 The Times Described in Revelation 16 Have Begun “…the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.” (The Time Is at Hand, page 101 – 1908 edition)

1916 The Millennial Reign Began in 1873 “The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873.” (The Time Is at Hand, page ii)

1917 Armageddon Has Begun “The present great war in Europe is the beginning of the Armageddon of the scriptures.” (Pastor Russell’s Sermons, 1917, page 676)

1918 The Saints Will Be Resurrected in 1925 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, page 89)

“1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies…We are standing at the very portals of that blessed time!” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, page 105)

1922 Jesus Will Return in 1925 “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914.” (The Watchtower, September 1st, 1922, page 262)

1923 Jesus Will Return in 1925 “Our thought is that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge.” (The Watchtower, April 1st, 1923, page 106)

1925 Jesus May Return in 1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year.” (The Watchtower, January 1st, 1925, page 3)

1940 Armageddon is Eminent Within the Year “The year 1940 is certain to be the most important year yet, because Armageddon is very near.” (Informant, May 1940)

1941 Jesus Will Return in Months “Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon.” (The Watchtower, September 15th, 1941, page 288)

1946 Armageddon is “At the Door” “…the disaster of Armageddon, greater than that which befell Sodom and Gomorrah, is at the door.” (Let God be True, 1946, page 194)

1968 Jesus Will Return in 1975 “Why are you looking forward to 1975?” (The Watchtower, August 15th, 1968, page 494)

“Just think , brothers, there is only 90 months left before 6000 years of mans existence on earth is completed… the majority of people living today will probably be alive when Armageddon breaks out.” (Kingdom Mystery, March 1968, page 4)

This is the quickest way to see why you should not convert to their organization. In the Bible, it’s a serious crime to make a prediction about the future and then have it not come true. It’s actually a capital offense, and it’s something that “false prophets” do. But it happens all the time with JWs. Just remind them of this and say “I cannot be affiliated with any organization that fails to get their truth claims right over and over again, because it shows me clearly that they don’t speak for God”.

Wallace actually has the quote from the Bible in his point 3:

Deuteronomy 18:20-22:

20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’

22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

The other one I use is John 1:1, which Wallace’s first point under the “Biblical Questions” heading. Really, though, the failed predictions alone should be enough for you to falsify the Jehovah’s Witness worldview.

If you want a longer treatment of this topic, check out Michael Licona’s PDF document on Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

J. Warner Wallace: 10 important questions for Jehovah’s witnesses

So there’s this group of people called Jehovah’s Witnesses that use Christian language to describe a religion that denies key parts of the Christian worldview. Since you may might them knocking on your door to tell you about their worldview, it might be worth it to read this post from J. Warner Wallace over in advance.

I’ll just post a snip of the first I use when they come to my door. It’s also the first on Wallace’s list:

If I am to accept the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witness religion, I am first going to have to trust the source of this teaching. But how can I trust someone who claims to speak for God when they have been wrong about prior predictions?

There are a number of false predictions made either by Charles Russell, subsequent leaders of the church or the Watchtower Organization itself, including this limited sampling:

1886 The Millennial Reign Has Already Begun “The outward evidences are that the marshalling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing.” (Watchtower reprints 1, page 817 January 1886)

1897 The Millennial Reign Began in 1874 “ Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 4, page 621)

1899 The Times Described in Revelation 16 Have Begun “…the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.” (The Time Is at Hand, page 101 – 1908 edition)

1916 The Millennial Reign Began in 1873 “The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873.” (The Time Is at Hand, page ii)

1917 Armageddon Has Begun “The present great war in Europe is the beginning of the Armageddon of the scriptures.” (Pastor Russell’s Sermons, 1917, page 676)

1918 The Saints Will Be Resurrected in 1925 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, page 89)

“1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies…We are standing at the very portals of that blessed time!” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, page 105)

1922 Jesus Will Return in 1925 “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914.” (The Watchtower, September 1st, 1922, page 262)

1923 Jesus Will Return in 1925 “Our thought is that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge.” (The Watchtower, April 1st, 1923, page 106)

1925 Jesus May Return in 1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year.” (The Watchtower, January 1st, 1925, page 3)

1940 Armageddon is Eminent Within the Year “The year 1940 is certain to be the most important year yet, because Armageddon is very near.” (Informant, May 1940)

1941 Jesus Will Return in Months “Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon.” (The Watchtower, September 15th, 1941, page 288)

1946 Armageddon is “At the Door” “…the disaster of Armageddon, greater than that which befell Sodom and Gomorrah, is at the door.” (Let God be True, 1946, page 194)

1968 Jesus Will Return in 1975 “Why are you looking forward to 1975?” (The Watchtower, August 15th, 1968, page 494)

“Just think , brothers, there is only 90 months left before 6000 years of mans existence on earth is completed… the majority of people living today will probably be alive when Armageddon breaks out.” (Kingdom Mystery, March 1968, page 4)

This is the quickest way to see why you should not convert to their organization. In the Bible, it’s a serious crime to make a prediction about the future and then have it not come true. It’s actually a capital offense, and it’s something that “false prophets” do. But it happens all the time with JWs. Just remind them of this and say “I cannot be affiliated with any organization that fails to get their truth claims right over and over again, because it shows me clearly that they don’t speak for God”.

Wallace actually has the quote from the Bible in his point 3:

Deuteronomy 18:20-22:

20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’

22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

The other one I use is John 1:1, which Wallace’s first point under the “Biblical Questions” heading.

If you want a longer treatment of this topic, check out Michael Licona’s PDF document on Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Greg Koukl responds to cultists knocking on his door

Here’s a commentary from Greg Koukl. He talks about dealing with Mormons, and what their approach to evangelism says about them.

Here’s the problem:

When LDS missionaries knocked on my brother Dave’s door while he was working, he took off his tool belt and sat down to talk with them. When he began to press them on their case, though, they took offense. “We just came here to share our point of view and now you are trying to have an argument with us,” they said. “We’re not here to argue with people. We just want to talk about our view and our experience.” Dave pointed out that they knocked on his door for the purpose of changing his point of view. They weren’t just “sharing.”

Sometimes they’ll take another tack. When you try to offer evidence counter to their view they’ll say, “You’re persecuting us.” I have heard that as well. I’m not sure if LDS missionaries are actually taught to take that approach when challenged. Maybe they just see it modeled by their mentors, or maybe they have a persecution complex, but this is ready on their lips the minute you offer an objection to their point of view.

How do you get around that? If those young men I saw pedaled up to my house and knocked on my door, I’d want to politely set some ground rules.

And here is the ground rule for dealing with Mormons:

Here’s the way I’d introduce the first question: “Great. I’d be glad to talk to you. I just want to be clear on a couple of things before we get going. Do you think your religion is actually true, I mean really true?”

Now this is a “yes” or “no” question. Either they’ll say “yes” which is the right answer, because they do think their religion is true and that’s why they’re proselytizing or they’ll say “no,” in which case I would ask, “If you don’t think Mormonism is true, then why are you knocking at my door?” So they are probably not going to say that. They might say, “Well, it’s true for us.” Then I’m going to ask what that means. If it is just “true” for them that is, just their opinion that works for them then why should I listen? I have my own “truths” that work for me. What we are getting at is the fact that they actually believe their view about religion is right and ours is wrong. It’s not just true for them. That’s why we should change our religion and become Mormon.

Of course, that’s a politically incorrect way of putting it, and they may be uneasy having their position stated so baldly. (I had one LDS young man say, “I would never say anyone else is wrong in their religious view,” a statement he ultimately retracted after my probing questions forced him to think a little more carefully about that remark in light of his missionary efforts.) To ease the discomfort you might say, “I’m not in the least offended by that view. My religion is a missionary religion, too. We think we’re right and others are wrong in so far as they differ from our beliefs. I just want us both to be clear on our positions. We both think we’re right and the other is mistaken. That’s all.”

We continue. “Okay, so you believe your view is correct. That’s why you’re here. If my view is different from yours, then mine is incorrect and I should change my view if I’m a reasonable person and become a Mormon. So what this discussion is about is who’s view is true, yours or mine. Is that fair? Great — come on in.”

I can remember like yesterday my encounters with Mormons in high school. I told them about the evidences for the Big Bang, and then asked them to square their view of eternally existing matter with the Big Bang. And they replied “we don’t really try to make our religion fit with what science shows”. Later on when I started working, I got into a debate with another Mormon. I noticed she was reading the Book of Mormon. So I asked her why she had chosen Mormonism out of all the other faiths. And she said “because it makes me feel good”. It just doesn’t seem like Mormonism is a religion that you arrive at after some careful investigation, because none of the ones I’ve know or read seem to be able to defend it to me when I ask them.

Here’s another commentary from Greg Koukl. In this one, he gets a visit from Jehovah’s Witnesses. They come to his door, ring the door bell and ask him if he wants some of their apocalyptic literature.

So Greg says this:

“I’m a Christian pastor,” I said, directing my comments to the younger convert, the one less influenced by the Watchtower organization and more open to another viewpoint.  “In fact, I’m studying theology right now.”  I held up the tome I’d been reading, Turretin’s 18th century Institutes of Eclentic Theology.

“It’s clear we have some differences, including the vital issue of the identity of Jesus.  I believe what John teaches in John 1:3, that Jesus is the uncreated Creator.  This makes Him God.”

And they run away!

“You’re entitled to your opinion and we’re entitled to ours,”  was all she said.  No question, no challenge, no theological rejoinder.  This was a dismissal, not a response.  She turned on her heels and started for the next house–young cadet in tow–in search of more vulnerable game.

Greg reflects:

Third, they don’t take the issue of truth very seriously.  Religious evangelism is a persuasive enterprise; the evangelist is trying to change people’s minds.  He thinks his view is true and other views are false.  He also thinks the difference matters.  Follow the truth, you win; follow a lie, you lose–big time.  A commitment to truth (as opposed to a commitment to an organization) means an openness to refining one’s own views, increasing the accuracy in understanding, constantly searching for more precision in thinking.

A challenger could always turn out to be a blessing in disguise, an ally instead of an enemy.  An evangelist who’s convinced of his view would want to hear the very best arguments against it.  One of two things is going to happen.

He may discover that some objections to his view are good ones.  The rebuttal helps him make adjustments and corrections in his thinking, refining his knowledge of the truth.  Or it may turn out he’s on solid ground after all.  Developing answers to the toughest arguments against him strengthens both his witness and his own confidence in his religion.

But my visitors didn’t wait to hear my thoughts to inform their own beliefs, so they might know the truth more accurately.  They didn’t pause to hear the reasons I reject the Watchtower’s authority, so they might try to refute me and gain confidence in their own view.

I remember my own days of dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses who were trying to convert a member of my family. They came back to our door and I stepped outside the house and shut the door behind me. Then I asked them about the failed predictions for the end of the world that their organization had made, especially 1914, 1975 and so forth. They had never heard of the predictions that their organization had made, so I showed them the printouts I had made. Then I asked them why I should trust their organization to tell me the truth, if they were trying to make these prophetic statements and failing so miserably. They left and never came back.