Subject: How to reverse America’s increasing Suicide Rate: Return to Faith in Jesus Christ
Proverbs 23:18 “Surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.’”
Nearly 75 percent of all deaths in the United States are attributed to these ten causes: 1) heart disease, 2) cancer, 3) lower respiratory disease, 4) accidents, 5) stroke, 6) Alzheimer’s disease, 7) diabetes, 8) influenza/pneumonia, 9) kidney disease, and 10) suicide. In fact, the suicide rate in America is nearly equal to the rate of death from diabetes. And a new study published last week by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents that suicide has increased by over 25% since 1999. On average, there are 123 suicides everyday in America, with over 50% of these suicides not tied to any mental health condition.
What is happening since 1999? Several reasons have been suggested, such as “deaths of despair”, a broad category which includes the loss of a loved one, broken relationships, even financial failure. Military veterans suffering from the effects of war was another category. But as Dr. Anne Schuchat, the deputy director of the CDC, explains: “The key message is that there is not just one group; many are at risk.”
But one reason for this onset of “despair” that is not getting much discussion is the heightened message of secular humanism since the 2001 attacks in New York. This event ushered in the “new atheists”, a handful of prominent evolutionary scientists and philosophers who, as author Dinesh D’Souza explained in his 2007 book ‘What’s So Great About Christianity’, “want to monopolize the public square and expel Christians from it. They want political questions like abortion to be divorced from religious and moral claims. They want to control school curricula to promote a secular ideology and undermine Christianity… they want to make religion – and especially the Christian religion – disappear from the face of the earth.”
In his 1986 book “The Blind Watchmaker – Why Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design”, Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins (the most well-known of the new atheists), logically connects a universe with no God behind it to a life with no meaning: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” After decades of this indoctrination in our public schools, we wonder why people find life is meaningless!
In his essay ‘Death and the Meaning of Life’, Leo Tolstoy, one of history’s greatest writers, explains his discovery of life’s meaninglessness after abandoning Christianity in favor of secular humanism: “In my writings I advocated, what to me was the only truth, that it was necessary to live in such a way as to derive the greatest comfort for oneself and one’s family. But something very strange began to happen to me: I lost myself and was dejected… The truth was that life was meaningless… And the truth is death.
What happened to me was that I, a healthy, happy man, felt that I could not go on living; the thought of suicide came as naturally to me as had come before the ideas of improving life. All that happened with me when I was on every side surrounded by what is considered to be complete happiness. I had a good, loving and beloved wife, good children and a large estate. I was respected by my neighbors and friends, was praised by strangers, and, without any self-deception, could consider my name famous.
I was not deranged or mentally unsound – on the contrary, I was in full command of my mental and physical powers… And while in such condition I arrived at the conclusion that I could not live, and I had to use cunning against myself, in order that I might not take my life.”
As our bible verse for this week says, there is an eternity waiting for each of us after our physical life ends. Death is not the opposite of life. Death is simply the transition from this temporary world to eternity, where “your hope is not cut off.” In his famous book ‘Mere Christianity’, CS Lewis, the great Christian writer who turned from atheism to embrace Jesus Christ, wrote of his conviction that eternity must be true based on this physical world not satisfying his deep desires for meaning: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
And Jesus Christ confirms this truth in John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled; if you believe God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions… I go and prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” This is life’s true meaning – to love the Lord Jesus Christ, whom you can if you are willing spend eternity in His presence. This is what gives those of us who follow Him the hope beyond this world.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.