Not least among the ironies of the United Nations' population conference was its location in Egypt, the land in which Israel became a great nation as God's people multiplied. This time there was no exodus, as population experts and bureaucrats hammered out a program that will use Western money to "control" population growth.
What was Cairo really all about? The preconference hype suggested it would be the most important gathering of our lifetimes. (See "Worldwide Abortion Set Back in Population Debate," p. 82.) With 11,000 people representing 180 countries and five billion people worldwide, the opportunity for the event to become a latter-day Tower of Babel was very real. Yet, at one level, a historic consensus emerged, affirming that: national and personal self-determination are essential global freedoms; balancing worldwide population growth must go hand in hand with appropriately developing the earth's resources; abortion is unacceptable as a method of family planning; and women's literacy and health are key in achieving sustainable development. This consensus gives encouragement to all biblically mindful peoples.
However, at a deeper level, the Cairo conference was about more than abortion and population targets. For Christians looking at the complex picture, the event was all about the worldwide spread of post-Christian values, and evangelicals need to confront this larger issue by raising four questions.
First, the global question: Is population growth a problem? To baby boomers, whose social conscience was formed in the sixties and seventies, this question seems most pressing. We were told that Thomas Malthus, the doomsday demographer of two centuries ago, was basically right: population growth would outstrip our ability ...