Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Suicide Soars Among Middle-Aged People. Why?

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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."

I agree.

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.

10 comments:

  1. Yes, Gary, I am willing to lead. I whole heartedly agree with what you have written here. I do not yet know what it looks lie, but yes, I will lead. Where this nation stands morally grieves me tremendously. The good news is, as long as we do not turn our backs on God, He will not turn His back on us. Let the revival and restoration begin now, with me, with us.

    Andy
    Broken Arrow, OK

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  2. Everything you said is absolutely correc and biblical. I am one of those students that passed through that time, but God's call on my life put me on a different path by the time I was 20. If truely Christian parents don't take their children back from the precipice of cultural tidal wave, they will loose them.

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  3. I am willing and have been so now for many years. The problems are not just American. The same situations are happening in every country where urbanization has taken place. One can now see why God scattered the people at Babel! I am optimistic about God's ultimate purposes, but completely pessimistic about future of American identity or freedom, as well as our ability to continue in any sort of comfort.

    And the problems can no longer be solved with taking childrens' education into our own hands. As soon as they go out into the world, they will encounter a massive completely contrary and opposing culture. While we can nurture them in truth and righteousness, we still will live in a society where 97% or so of the citizens have been propagandized in the public school system. Too many Christians who send children to Christian schools or homeschool them think that this will guarantee that they continue in the faith, because they have been protected. What they need is intellectual armor, and that is something churches have been crushingly poor at for decades.

    We accept mediocrity, in fact we encourage it in our church lives. We foster mediocre worship experience, place musically uneducated people in charge of the worship music, and concern ourselves with secular-style church growth, and continually minister to Christians at a 3rd grade level. We cater to the culture itself with our hipster pastors who throw out contemporary TV show analogies, which assume all of us are watching American Idol, etc. We cater to the culture by herding off the teens into their own pseudo church services, where teenager-led praise bands are the main purpose, and where serious Bible study does not happen. We scoff at apologetics, and continue big evangelistic events which may have been successful in the 1970s, but which now are aiming in the wrong direction, and which cost a great deal of money as well as being cumbersome to organize. Without Christian people being equipped with intellectual ability to explain their faith, they will appear stupid and naive to those who are intellectual and likely to be influential in our culture.

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  4. Yes, I'm leading, but in battle, because Christendom, our Constitutional Republic, and Western civilization are in great peril. The causes are many, the foes are many, our options are few. There are seasons for peace, war, love, and hate. Denying those seasons doesn't negate them.

    “Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the Church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.” Charles G. Finney, Power From On High, Chapter 11 (c. 1871-1874)

    Pray, fight, and win. The church and congregation you save may be your own.

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  5. You are right on Gary. As for the leading, I believe it begins right in ones own home. My own childhood experience has caused me to fight for my marriage and home school my children. This past week I took my children to the National Day of Prayer, modeling to them a stand for Christ, a concern for our fellow citizens and love for our nation. It was a beautiful time gathering together with brothers and sisters in the Lord, but I cannot deny that I was disappointed to see only 30-40 people show up in a city of 160,000+. The gathering we went to was during the day, so most were working. I understand that. I also know there are many different ways to lead besides an event such as the National Day of Prayer, but I couldn't help thinking, where is everyone? What would happen if people took the afternoon/day off to support this event? I think it would be amazing and such an encouragement and inspiration to our children! I will continue to support these events because I want to be an example to my children of the importance of standing for what is right and good. Everyday I have to choose how I am going to lead these precious children of mine that God has given me and trusted me with. They are the next generation and in some ways I feel I am preparing them for the battle that is ahead. It's bad now in our nation, what will the future be like for them? Our children need to know what we believe, why we believe it and then back it up with scripture. It is a huge responsibility, but I refuse to hope they will find their way in our secular/progressive schools. I know there are families who would home school if they could and I feel for them. But, I am so encouraged and thrilled to see the rise in parents choosing to teach their children from home! I do not think it is by accident that home schooling is growing. I believe many are being called and recognizing the need to raise up a Godly generation who will be leaders of the faith for the critical days ahead. I encourage all of you brothers and sisters in Christ who read this to please pray for home schoolers, that God would give us wisdom, discernment and a whole lot of patience! :) It can be tough in that many, including my own family, have sacrificed a lot to make it work and also take on the chance of looking "different" or "odd". But I can humbly say, it is worth it! The fruit of it is sweet and so rewarding! God is Good and His Goodness will never end! Blessings to you all!

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  6. Not a thread here shows a concern for people created in the Image of God and deeply loved by him/her who are desperate enough to take their own lives. Gary just presented an opportunity for the church to minister Jesus to the aging Baby Boomer generation and the opportunity was missed with the continued "our nation is going to hell in a hand basket" rhetoric. Seems like Jesus would focus on the hurting individual and that in return might have a cause and effect that would impact our nation.

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    1. The rhetoric of "our nation is going to hell in a hand basket" is not unfounded here. Suicide stems from disobedience to the Creator, not knowing the Word of God, not obeying His commandments, going ones own way and doing what is right in ones own eyes which all lead to disaster. Suicide is just one of many problems we are dealing with in our nation because of lack of love, fear and obedience to Almighty God. It is a huge tragedy and more so for our Heavenly Father who does not even want one to be lost. What's the best thing I think we should do? Pray for our nation and leaders who put laws into motion that either promote life or death, like abortion or euthanasia. Pray that our schools will get evolution out of our children's text books and once again bring God back into the schools by upholding the Ten Commandments and allowing prayer. And let your light shine in Jesus by walking in His Ways, which was in complete obedience to the Father, so the desperate will see some hope beyond their circumstances and have something to live for!


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  7. I read this with great interest as I am from a family where suicide seems to be a generational sin (both sides of the family) and I have suicidal thoughts on my mental landscape. Yes, I have been a Christian for many years and teach and live the 'sanctity of life'. But some days are very hard to get through. It is only by God's grace that I am still alive. He has actually given me a symbol to remind me; a scar on my wrist where one would generally cut it to bleed to death, in the shape of a cross. It came about as I was splitting firewood for some friends and my hand slipped as I was trying to pull apart the pieces of the log.

    Sin is sin and the enemy attacks at our weakest points. I fight back by much prayer and surrender of my emotions; doing something for others; writing a gratitude list; and telling myself that I have to take every thought captive.

    When I come out of the black hole, I am surprised at the darkness that engulfed me.

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  8. @ Anonymous 12:34 PM... my heart and prayers go out to you. Thanks you for the authenticity in sharing. Peace.

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