UPDATE: Since Inmendham posted a link to this entry on his site, but has banned me from commenting on his videos because he is an asshole, I will reply here: no, I never said that Christians cannot be antinatalists. In fact, my conclusion in this entry is more or less the opposite, that Christians MUST be antinatalists, or they are being absurdly evil.
If antinatalism is based on any ethical principle, it must be based on the principle that we are responsible for the harm we create for others. We are to be punished for generating harm to others; we are not, however, to be rewarded for generating benefits to others, and these do not cancel each other out. A doctor who saves a patient’s life, and then punches him in the face, is responsible for that punch regardless of the fact that he also saved his life.
Antinatalism is therefore nothing more than the extension of basic principles of ethics and justice to the realm of the creation of human lives. There is nothing innately difficult or complicated about it; all that’s really needed to understand to become an antinatalist is that creating harm for others is wrong, and that creating human lives necessarily entails the creation of harm for others, especially, and most importantly, for the life that is created.
It seems to me, therefore, that antinatalism entails a strong condemnation of Christianity, more than any other ideology. If one is a Christian, believes in the existence of Hell, and that one cannot be guaranteed of not going to Hell (for even if one believes in Jesus today and believes that this is all one needs to do to go to Heaven, one can never be guaranteed that he will steadfast in that belief for the rest of his life), then it seems that the probability of any given new human life going to Hell is more than trivial.
And now, for the kicker: since Hell is an eternal, that is to say infinite, punishment, and any proportion of an infinite term must necessarily be infinite as well, we must conclude that the Christian breeder who creates a new life is guilty of bringing about infinite suffering into the world!
Why is no one noting this? It is a titanic ethical issue. Combined with the fact that Catholicism and other Christian sects have taken radically pro-reproduction stances throughout history and still today, we have on our hands an evil that is so incalculably vast that it cannot even be imagined. Either every single Christian breeder doesn’t really believe in Hell, or every single one of them has more guilt in bringing about suffering than all serial killers, dictators and rapists put together, for no finite amount can be compared to any infinite!
To a Christian, this conclusion may seem absurd on its face. How can it be infinitely evil to bring new life to term in this world? They consider it a great virtue. Well, many great evils have been called virtues in the past. But more importantly, we often acknowledge that it can be evil to bring about human lives when we know those human lives will not be worth living (for instance, when they will be afflicted with some crippling genetic disease). It is only fundamental human decency and compassion to not bring human lives to term when we know they will not be worth living. But what if there is a good chance that this human life will be chosen for terrible torture and death? Would this not be a good argument against bringing that life to the world as well? But Hell is eternal torture, which is infinitely more terrible than earthly torture.
One may argue against my position that I don’t really believe in Hell anyway, so what am I complaining about? My point here is not that I literally believe that Christian breeders are infinitely evil. Rather, I am pointing out that Christian pro-natalist positions cannot be reconciled with the notion of an eternal Hell where anyone may in theory be thrown if they stop fulfilling some condition. Indeed, many Christians would argue that they themselves do not know if they will go to Heaven, let alone their children. My position is that any Christian breeder who does believe in Hell and decides to have children anyway must be either a callous person to that extent, or simply so imbecilic that they never realized what they were doing.
Look at the stark facts. There are anywhere from 14 million to 36 million atheists in North America alone (from adherents.com). According to Christianity, all these people will clearly go to Hell. And we know that most of these people were raised by Christians, and that more than half of these Christians believe in Hell. This is not, therefore, a trivial argument or case. We are talking about tens of millions of people who, from the perspective of their own belief system, have inflicted eternal suffering on their children by creating them. These people, in my view, are purely and simply evil.
Of course, Christianity is founded on the antithesis of justice and compassion, being innately nihilistic in nature, and I don’t expect Christians to understand ethical arguments such as this one. I don’t expect Christians to stop breeding on the basis of their own stupid beliefs, either. It’s not like there aren’t plenty more reasons not to be a Christian, anyway: anyone who believes in its pile of disgusting nonsense long enough to have children has more problems than I can explain or solve in any number of entries. I just thought it was an interesting angle on the antinatalist issue that might interest other atheists as well, and perhaps be used as an argument to rebuke Christians. Use it as you will.
Why should we have children? Why should we perpetuate the species? This is a fundamental question which two thousand years of Christianity have utterly failed to answer, despite one of the religion’s most prominent tenets being “be fruitful and multiply,” and promoting childbirth through an oppressive clergy. Therefore, Christianity fails to provide the meaning for life that it promises, and it is a religion unfit to exist on this planet. It needs to be eradicated.