New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show more people in the US now die from suicide than in motor vehicle accidents.
While suicide has typically been viewed as a problem of teenagers and the elderly, the surge in suicide rates has soared among men in their 50's and women age 60-64.
The suicide rate among men in their 50's has risen nearly 50%, while among women 60 to 64 nearly 60%.
Why the surge among this age group?
CDC offers some possibilities, but says it is a complex issue.
Rutgers University weighs in as well.
And I have some personal thoughts.
The New York Times reports that "suicide has now gone from the 8th leading cause of death among middle-aged Americans to 4th behind cancer, heart disease and accidents."
The article says, "The reasons for suicide are often complex, and officials and researchers acknowledge that no one can explain with certainty what is behind the rise."
Julie Phillips, an associate professor at Rutgers University, says these numbers are too low. She believes it is much worse than these numbers reflect.
Ileana Arias with the CDC says, "It is the baby boomer groups where we see the highest rates of suicide. "
She and others speculate that this age group faces financial difficulties unlike previous generations, and many are citing the availability of drugs like Oxycontin and Oxycodone that are both lethal when overdosed.
Arias says, "There may be something about that group and how they think about life issues and their life choices that make a difference."
This age group is certainly dealing with issues that are unlike and unique to previous generations. And they are viewing issues of life choices differently.
The cultural move away from absolute, traditional values and principles toward relativism has changed much in the culture. It has impacted personal conviction, and consequently personal character, and has diminished the value of life itself.
As God has been systematically dismissed from the culture---particularly in public education, life has become devalued. The sanctity of life has been diminished.
Without God in the picture, the miracle of life becomes merely a biological process. Purpose is lost. Human beings are no longer seen as created in the image of God for special purposes, but as merely something above the ordinary animal species, with each individual becoming a god of sorts and doing what is right in their own eyes.
Without God there is no present or future moral accountability above one's own self.
Denying that God created each person wonderfully in His image and likeness for special purposes, eliminates the miracle of life itself. It causes life to become less exceptional, less valuable and less purposeful.
In the 1960's, prayer was removed from the public school classroom, along with any sense of higher authority or accountability in life issues and choices.
Those now experiencing a soaring rate of suicide are the generation who were raised in the first so-called "morality-neutral" progressive or relativistic educational environment.
Within 10 years of prayer being banned in the classroom, Roe v. Wade became the law. Loosed from the moral moorings upon which this nation and culture was created, abortion became a "choice" and simply a birth control option. Now it is a multibillion dollar industry.
Values Clarification was introduced into the public classroom in the 1970's, teaching children to attach varying degrees of value to people's lives depending on the circumstances.
Many of you will remember the scenario of three people in a life boat that could only accommodate 2 people. The class discussion was which life would be eliminated?
These were more than mere ideas. They formed a philosophy that would transform each child's worldview. And that view was based on destructive concepts, that would become a philosophy and that philosophy is now held by many who were in that first great social experiment known as progressive modern public education.
The classes of the 60's are those that are now taking their own lives in record numbers.
While "Values Clarification" became a toxic teaching material because of parental push back, educators merely changed the name and continued. That philosophy in its evolved way permeates public education and the culture today.
We have taken a stand in open rebellion against the Creator.
Now we are advocating and advancing the idea that we further replace God by deciding not only which baby should be born, but when adults should die.
It is now considered "normal" to abort unwanted babies and call it "choice" or "women's rights".
It is now equally "normal" for a physician who has taken an oath to preserve life, to euthanize an adult and call it "death with dignity."
We are killing the most vulnerable among us---the unborn child and the elderly person. God help us.
When people have been indoctrinated in a "morally neutral" educational environment, how can they possibly be prepared emotionally and spiritually to face the complex issues and life choices of our times?
The class of the 60's and 70's have now reached middle age. Therein is the crises.
Rutgers University says the increased risk of suicide "is unlikely to abate for future generations."
They say "changes in marriage, social isolation and family roles mean many of the pressures found by baby boomers will continue in the next generation."
Indeed it will, because public education indoctrination is advancing, not declining----unless...people of faith take charge of the education of their children, using home school, private Christian schools and all other life affirming and faith affirming alternatives to public education.
Parents must, absolutely must, take an active role in shaping the worldview of their children. There is no higher calling.
This trend will also continue unless...the church of Jesus Christ communicates to the culture the whole gospel of Christ in a way that identifies sin, yet affirms God's love and desire to forgive, deliver and redeem one from the destructive forces of sin.
America's restoration will not happen as a result of political reform. It can only happen as a result of a clear voice of biblical morality that defines sin and promises salvation and personal restoration through the personal acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Political reform will follow. The culture will be transformed. But the church must lead not follow.
And as a believer, you are the church. Are you willing to lead?
God help us.