GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY
'Go forth and multiply!' boomed the voice from the sky one fine morning before breakfast, how long ago must it have been? Abraham, Noah, or was it Jacob (Joseph Heller would know) looked up, and with a great grin stretching his earthy face, nodded his consent. He was going to have a wonderful time. And if a few of his sons turned out to be 'queer', so what? He'd been given a clear, unequivocal directive to get his end away. What more could a man wish for, except to have enough food inside him? "The way to a man's heart", it is often quoted, "is through his stomach"...
Oh, how lucky is modern man with his modern machinery. For Abraham, Noah, Jacob, or was it Joseph, it was back-breaking toil as they set to work to provide their families with sufficient food to enable them to praise the man in the sky. Yet they would have little conception of the world's future - its famines on a massive scale, The Black Death, mechanized warfare, the drug problem, AIDS: you name it. Nor too of course would they have had much idea of its rich cultures of philosophy, art, music and literature, nor the immense task involved in preserving such cultures against huge odds.
'Go forth and multiply!' the bloke had said. And so it came to pass, in the wink of an eye and most certainly before the last trump, the earth became rather crowded. The Lord appeared to have ignored the fact it takes time to grow enough food to feed a multitude... All very well for Christ to turn on a bit of magic at the last moment in order to save embarrassment or to make a point. But what about the ordinary man in the street? 'Ah, but there are no industrialized cities in God's plan', I hear some of you cry. 'Too bad you gave up working the fields.' Maybe you have a point. But now we hear another voice calling: 'Nothing must interfere with the gift of life,' entreats The Pontiff of Rome. What about the gift of death? He says little about the great strides that have prolonged life beyond nature's own time. Hasn't medical science interfered with God's purpose?... So, how, in God's name do we feed all these people? "Consider the lilies", says the English Bible, "they toil not; neither do they spin. Yet I say unto you: Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Beautiful words; images. Fine observation. But the question remains: how the hell do we feed ourselves? And where can we live in peace, with a little space?
At the risk of being branded a warmonger or son of Satan, I would suggest war is still an effective way of reducing the world's population. And who would deny it needs to be reduced? But hold your horses, dear reader. I am not a warmonger: I hate the idea of killing; I hate man's cruelty to man; I deplore the obliteration of any form of human decency and dignity, the arrogance and distortion of man's soul in the process, the plight of refugees, and all the other consequences of a single madman's twisted ambitions. But unless something is done fairly quickly about over-population, then I fear the world will truly become a foul place in which to live. Some people might prefer to live on top of one another. But there are other things in life apart from a cuddle and a good screw - though, from a voyeur's point of view, it might be like paradise...
It seems we have but two choices: war, or birth control. Which is it to be, Your Holiness?
© 1990 TONY SHARP