In dealing with a religious tradition one should realize that the truth does not always lie in front of us. Religious traditions are not monolithic, and the very fact that we are looking at one thing can mean that we may be overlooking something else. Religious traditions are not static, they are changing even as we are looking at them, just like a top which seemed stable when spinning but is really in constant motion. Moreover, a religious tradition always possesses a quality over and above its contents, a fact one is likely to overlook if one looks only at the existing contents.
These remarks create the mental space for the recognition that religions can be a positive factor in matters of population and development, contrary to their popular image. Take the question of family size for example. Almost all the influential figures in the world’s religions had small families. Rāma, the popular God of Hinduism, had two sons; the Buddha had one son; Mahāvīra, the last prophet of Jainism, had one daughter (if that); Guru Nānak, the founder of Sikhism, was survived by two sons; Confucious had one son; Lao-Tzu, the founder of Taoism, none. Abraham had two sons and two daughters; Moses had two sons; Jesus none, and Prophet Muhammad was survived by a daughter.
Thus while we may have some reservations about the composition of the families in terms of gender equality, there can be no denying the fact that the example of all these major figures could work more powerfully to vindicate the norm of a small-sized family than all the posters in the world.