Did you know there is a group of people who claim that they’ve found the cure for human suffering? It isn’t faith, family or community, it’s death. The anti-natalist movement believes that life is not a gift but is actually the ultimate harm you can inflict on another person.
Of course, that reasoning is completely nonsensical and irrational, but this tiny movement is starting to grow.
Anti-natalism first came to international attention when an Indian man, Raphael Samuel, decided to sue his parents because “he was conceived without his consent and therefore his parents should pay for his life.”
“I want everyone in India and the world to realize one thing: that they are born without their consent,” Samuel said in an interview. “I want them to understand that they do not owe their parents anything. If we are born without our consent, we should be maintained for our life. We should be paid by our parents to live.”
As reported by The Guardian, Samuel argues that his suit is more symbolic than anything else and he is only looking for a single rupee in compensation. A sitting judge doesn’t agree, and Samuel has been told that he would be “fined” for wasting the court’s time with such a frivolous lawsuit.
One of anti-natalism’s most passionate defenders is David Benatar, a philosopher who coined the term and wrote the book Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence (2006). His central belief, as summarized by the National Review, is that “human life, since it is meaningless and full of suffering, should be avoided whenever possible. Once sentient life comes into being, however, it should generally not be destroyed, because death only creates more suffering and causes the annihilation of a human life.” He also believes that abortion is not only permissible, but a moral obligation.
This philosophy is both incredibly nihilistic and depressing.
On YouTube a woman, who posts under the name The Friendly Antinatalist, shared a video where she said: “I truly believe that if you do care at all about humanity, if you aren’t a complete and total nihilist and most of us aren’t, we have some duty or obligation to reduce suffering in this world. The best way to go about doing that is to not procreate and not create life to suffer in the first place. Anti-natalism is the only argument, the only viewpoint that stops the problem before it starts, the problem being life, the problem being suffering.”
Perhaps her most concerning statement is her wish that humans could “walk hand-in-hand together into extinction.” She also has an entire video celebrating her hysterectomy, which many women in this movement seek out to solidify their convictions.
It’s incredibly troublesome to read about and listen to people who seem to hate humanity and feel like eliminating the human race is the answer to suffering. That’s not a solution, it’s destruction.
In Romans 5:3-5 (ESV), Paul writes: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
There will always be suffering on this earth until Christ returns, but that’s part of the human experience and the result of the sinfulness of man. However, Christ suffered an agonizing and brutal death on the cross so that humans may experience eternal life with Him where there will be no more grief, sorrow or pain.
It must be truly terrible to believe that there is no hope for eternity and that life has no meaning or purpose.
There is always hope, even in the midst of tragedy. A philosophy, that by its nature hates humanity and the human experience will only lead to destruction, pain and suffering, which is ironically the very thing these people are trying to avoid. Purpose in life isn’t found in anti-natalism, but in a relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s where these people will find the purpose and fulfillment they so desperately seek.
Please pray that these deeply broken people will find peace and hope in the Gospel.