Global anti-natalism is the position that it is always morally wrong to have children. It’s not wrong to adopt, but it is wrong to bring new people into the world.
There have been various arguments for this conclusion; however, contrary to what some groups on the internet think, none of the arguments for global anti-natalism are “knockdown” arguments. In other words, for example, the arguments for global anti-natalism aren’t anywhere near as strong as arguments against factory farming.
One problem with anti-natalism is when it comes to religion. How is an anti-natalist going to convince a religious person that anti-natalism is correct? Generally, the religious person believes various things that entail there is nothing wrong with having children. For instance, they believe in an all-powerful and all-loving God. God created us, and God (in various religious texts) says to be fruitful and multiply. Afterall, it would seem that life might very well be intrinsically valuable if God exists. If God exists, we can realize our deepest good as finite beings, which is to be in a relationship with God. A relationship with God is perhaps even an infinite good. At the very least, a personal relationship with a perfectly loving being is such a great good that it’s not obvious that it doesn’t outweigh the negative things and suffering in life.
Not to mention, it seems that global anti-natalism presupposes that there isn’t an afterlife. If there is an afterlife with various great goods, including a relationship with God, it would seem that it isn’t wrong to always bring someone into existence. Even if someone’s life on earth was really bad, one can easily see how the goods of an afterlife will eventually outweigh the suffering.
The obvious objection is that some people will go to hell, according to various religions. But, not all religious people sign up to the existence hell.
So, for a lot of religious people they have a collection of beliefs that looks like the following:
1. God exists
2. If God exists, God is perfectly loving, all-good, and all-powerful
3. If God exists, an afterlife exists
4. An afterlife exists
5. Life is intrinsically valuable
6. God not only allows us to have children, he even commands it
7. God created us
8. Everyone will eventually get into heaven
Given these set of beliefs (give or take some beliefs), it looks like anti-natalist arguments will be of little use in convincing many religious people. Hence, if the global anti-natalist wants to convince religious people, they are going to have to try and refute the religious beliefs themselves.
Even if a religious person became convinced that an anti-natalist argument was compelling, they might just give up a certain religious belief. For example, if a religious person believes in hell, they might give up believing in hell, but they won’t necessarily give up the belief that it is generally/sometimes morally permissible (perhaps even morally obligatory) to bring new people into existence.
The upshot is that global anti-natalism seems to assume various things that are not obvious to a lot of religious people. And, perhaps, anti-natalism assumes things that are not obvious to a lot of individuals who are not religious too.
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