Am I morally obligated to reproduce?
Are you morally obligated to produce offspring just because your ancestors have done so since the beginning of life on Earth? Evolutionarily speaking, the only reason you were created was to perpetuate the genes passed down to you throughout the eons. Ceasing your genetic path will be the endpoint to a 3.8 billion year old tradition. How bad would you feel about being the broken link in this chain? Reevaluate this while understanding that our planet is capable of only a finite amount of resources. Please, discuss.
Although religions, especially the Abrahamic religions, strongly contend that people should be fruitful and multiply, no one is obligated to have children. People should have children because they want to and are enlightened enough to guide, encourage, and nurture them to be highly conscientious adults. People should furthermore assess the aspects of parenthood before they have children.
Too many people have children, later regretting such a decision. Having children involve a lot of responsibility and sacrifice. It is not a decision to enter into blindly and mindlessly. There was a poll done by Anne Landers in the 1970s in which over 50% of the respondents indicated that if they had to do it over, they WOULDN'T have children at all. Most people have children because they feel obligated to do so by their friends, parents, religious teachings, and/or society. Our pro-natalist culture and society strongly inculcate people that to have children is the ultimate sign of adulthood. Our pro-natalist culture and society insist that those who elect to remain childfree are immature at best and abhorrently selfish at worst.
As a result of this incessant need to reproduce, many people are merely perfunctory and reluctant parents. They really don't enjoy their children, seeing them as noisome nuisances at best and intolerable burdens at worst. There are parents who can't wait for their children to go to school, a summer camp, or OUT because they find their children to be totally unnerving. It's as if they want to get their children out of their hair so to speak. Their children know this.
To reiterate, no one is morally obligated to reproduce. To perfunctorily reproduce is an act of selfishness, irresponsibility, and thoughtlessness. All children should be wanted, not just merely tolerated. If people thought before they become parents, there would be more people deciding not to have children and the children born are born to parents who really desire and love them.
The first question IMHO you will have to answer that question since morality, which is the distinction between right and wrong regarding values and principals, is firstly of the individual. To answer correctly would be having knowledge of your morality and the basis of its foundation and subsequent change(s), of which simply I am not in possession of.
Answering the second question is 'No' I am not morally obligated to produce offspring. Simple enough. Answering the third question is relatively I do not feel 'bad' about breaking the 'chain' you pointed out.
Morality is the debate of whether something is right or wrong. Having kids to spread your genes isn't inherently right (it's actually quite selfish, which could be considered wrong), and avoiding having kids isn't inherently right either. What makes it "feel" right is in the basic nature of all animals on this planet--our need to reproduce. If it's a question of whether it is right to ignore this instinct or not, then the answer is obvious. We can ignore our instincts. We can ignore our need for selfishness and replace it with altruism in order to benefit the greater good. Therefore, we are not morally obligated to reproduce whatsoever.
But, I also want to address the last part of your question specifically. When you say the planet is "capable of only a finite amount of resources," I assume you are looking at our population growth and our drainage on a variety of different resources. Is it irresponsible as a species to use up resources in excess, while others in our same species live impoverished? Would creating more humans worsen this burden?
The answer? I'm not entirely sure. If it's a yes, would it be morally "wrong" to have children while our world is in its current state?
Would it stop people from having children and decrease the world's suffering? Who knows?
No. In my case, I was morally obligated not to reproduce. I don't have the means or the skills to be a parent, or the support system, so I felt it would be irresponsible to breed. There are plenty of people doing a great job of perpetuating the species, and there's nothing special about the genes passed down to me. Some lines have to die out in order to make room on the planet for those that are thriving, so I feel OK about being the end of my line.
I never wanted children. I believed that having children would curtail my freedom in terms of lifestyle choices. I am having a fulfilled life w/o them. I am at the end of my line too but that is so immaterial really.
I reproduce, not for my ancestors, but for my own happiness. I hold that existence - life - is a good thing. The more life, the better. To say that evolution dictates my reproduction, does not negate that it is an effective means of creation. Breaking the 'chain' is immaterial. Life will go on, hopefully, genetic bottlenecks or not, if some choose not to reproduce. Placing a artificial finish line – limited resources – is a rather myopic. Look up on a starry night. Resources abound. Do you really think we, as a species, will not continue to 'evolve', barring disaster(s), and expand far beyond the hunk of rock we call Earth? Even Columbus knew that the earth was not flat and neither is our universe.
I think a person who has kids is selfish, but also selfless. What I mean is that initially we do it because we want children for our own personal satisfaction. Then after you have them and if you are a good parent, you put all of their needs before your own. You devote your life to another human being.
I don't think anyone is obligated in any way to have children, but if someone asked my advice on whether they should have them or not, I would say that if one is prepared to give everything they have to being a parent, then go for it. If not, then don't.
It is the most satisfying thing I have ever experienced in my life. It has made me a better person and I also think I have given the world something special in my two boys.
Nobody is morally obligated to reproduce but it is encourage, because society as a whole want their country to survive and the blood line of their existence member to continue here and want the species as a whole to survive, the best way to do it, encourage reproduction.
Coming to morals or faiths, we in Hinduism believe that having a son is important for our soul attaining salvation or moksha after our death. He is required to perform the death rites and show our path to heaven. So, reproduction is needed. Further, he or she will be a protection to us at our old age, when we become helpless and dependant. These can be selfish motives.
But, as you say, it is not proper to produce when you are unable to provide them with all their requirements. When you yourself are unable to earn sufficient to feed you, how can you produce one more to starve? So, in that sense, reproduction is not advisable. You may not worry about broken link in your chain. There will be many others to carry that link.
Regarding unlimited resources available, one should consider this point also before reproducing. It is better to have birth control and other tools to save the resources so that they can be available to those in needy. Here, you should concentrate on saving resources in best possible ways by controlling your consumptions, apart from considering birth control.
I am nearly 70 years old and I have never fathered a child. And because I do believe in God, I am of the notion that my "failure" to reproduce was His will.
And let me tell you, The Lord knew exactly what He was doing. If I had helped to produce a child back in the day when I was young stud, it probably would have been a case of "God help the child."
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