Maybe. In a fascinating summary, at NewGeography.com, of global demographic research, Joel Kotkin points the finger at Enlightenment secularism for the ballooning budget deficits and low birth rates in industrialized countries:
The increasingly perilous shape of public finance in almost all advanced countries — largely the result of rapid aging and diminished workforces — can be ascribed at least in part to secularization’s role in falling birthrates.
In the future, many high-income societies, whether in East Asia, Europe or North America, may find that religious people’s fecundity is a necessary counterforce to rapid aging and eventual depopulation of the more secular population.
In other words, religion correlates with Darwinian reproductive fitness (in case you were wondering why religion persists):
In virtually every part of the world, religious people tend to have more children than those who are unaffiliated. In Europe, this often means Islamic families as opposed to increasingly post-Christian natives. Decline in religious affiliation — not just Christian but also Buddhist and Confucian — seems to correlate with the perilously low birthrates in both Europe and many East Asian countries. […]
This pattern is reflected in the geography of childbearing. Where churches are closing down, most particularly in core urban areas such as Boston or Manhattan, as well as their metropolitan regions, singletons and childless couples are increasing. In more religiously oriented metropolitan areas like Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Salt Lake City and Phoenix, the propensity to have children is 15% to nearly 30% higher (as measured by the number of children under the age of 5 per woman of child bearing age– 15-49).
Religion is also good for you personally:
Religious people . . . tend to live longer and suffer less disabilities with old age, as author [Charles] Murray notes.
And religion, dammit, is even good for business (as an agnostic, I do not quote these facts with pleasure):
Overall the most cohesive religious groups — such as Mormons and Jews — still outperform their religious counterparts both in educational achievement and income. Both Jews and Mormons focus on helping their co-religionists, providing a leg up on those who depend solely on the charity of others or the state. […]
Researchers at Harvard, looking at dozens of countries over the past 40 years, demonstrated that religion reinforces the patterns of personal virtue, social trust and willingness to defer gratification long associated with business success.
But perhaps the most important difference over time may be the impact of religion on family formation, with weighty fiscal implications.
So there you have it. Enlightenment secularism, committed as it is to strict rationality and the liberation of individuals from religious and communal constraints, has unintended consequences: among them, low birth rates straining the budgets of welfare states and Islam’s potential demographic triumph over the European continent.