Monday, August 12, 2013

Is The American Dream Dead? Dems-"Yes"; Republicans-"No"

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There is a substantial difference in the way people view the future in America.

Interestingly, it tends to fall along political lines rather than those one might expect.

A new poll just published finds a significant difference between Democrats and Republicans in regard to an individual's view of the future.

Friday, I wrote about whether the sun is "rising" or "setting" on America as a significant world power.

Today I'm looking at the specifics of two very different worldviews and how it affects our personal outlook: both for the future and the way we live in the present.

Why do those who believe the American dream is dead, believe as they do? Is it merely a matter of looking at certain trends or is there more to it?

And why do those who believe the American dream is not dead, believe as they do? Are they in denial, or do they see something the others don't see?

If an individual has a sense of hopelessness and believes that the future is not going to be better, how does that affect their life and the lives of those close to them?

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in America in 2012. Is that related to a lack of hope?

What is the solution?

A new poll out Friday has found that "More Democrats Than Republicans, 53%-27%, say the American Dream Is Dead."

Ironically, about the same number of Democrats who believe the American dream is dead, is equivalent to the number of Republicans who believe it is not dead.

Why such a vast difference? Why is one group very hopeful, while the other seemingly hopeless?

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United states in 2012. It takes more lives than any other form of personal injury.

In 2009, suicides surpassed car crashes in number of deaths.

This is a link to the CDC profile of who is committing suicide.

The New York Post has reported that 1 in 12 teens have attempted suicide, and statistics show that while 1 in 100 deaths occur from suicide, the majority of those are men.

Of those men, the highest rates are among young men in their 20's and older men between 65 and 75.

The reasons why the number of men taking their own lives has risen in recent years are far from clear. However, there is a thread that weaves through the statistics. These are suggestions from the link above as to why more men are taking their own life. All of the proposed explanations share a common feature – the changing role of men in society.

  • Adolescence has been prolonged, with adulthood and independence reached at a much later age than previously. Two generations ago, work began at the age of 14; one generation ago at 16 years for most; now many men only achieve financial independence in their mid 20s.
  • Men have a more stressful time in achieving educational goals than in the past and are now less successful in this regard than women.
  • Work is much less secure now and periods of unemployment are the norm for many (psychologically the threat of unemployment is at least as harmful as unemployment itself).
  • Alcohol use, and abuse, has increase markedly since the Second World War. Such use is often an attempt to cope with stress and to self-medicate symptoms.
  • Illegal drug abuse has become much more common (a correlation between the youth suicide rate and the rate of convictions for drug offenses has been demonstrated in some countries).
  • Changes that are assumed to be symptoms of the 'breakdown of society' are associated with a rising suicide rate (examples include the rising divorce rate and falling church attendances).

The significant take away from this is: "The changing role of men in society" and the "breakdown of society," which includes rising divorce rates and falling church attendance.

But why is there such a difference between political affiliation?

There are exceptions to this.

But generally, Democrats embrace the secular progressive worldview, while generally those affiliated with the Republican Party embrace a conservative, or even biblical worldview, which includes absolute Truth rather than evolving "truths".

A biblical world view creates stability. A secular progressive worldview creates uncertainty and personal and cultural instability.

A biblical worldview nurtures hope. A secular worldview undermines and erodes hope.

A biblical worldview provides both a long term view of life and eternity. A secular progressive worldview provides only a momentary view.

If this is true, why then do some Christians take their own lives or live in discouragement and hopelessness?

Because we are all human. However, those who have accepted Christ into their lives have a real solution for discouragement and hopelessness, based in the love, restoration and power of God.

Here's an example of how believers can become discouraged and how they can respond:

While David and his fellow warriors were away, the Amalekites raided their town, burned everything and captured their wives and children. The men were so devastated when they learned the news they wanted to stone David, their leader, to death.

So in the middle of grieving for his own family, David had to deal with the pain of his own men turning on him in betrayal and possible violence.

We have all been there in some form. Life can be tough.

How did David respond?

He "strengthened his hand in the Lord" ( I Sam. 30:6).

On the radio, live this morning at 9 AM, PDT and rebroadcast this evening at 7:30 PM PDT, I'm talking about various causes of discouragement in our lives, the consequences, and the cure---how to strengthen your hand in the Lord.

Be Informed. Be Encouraged. Be Prayerful. Be Vigilant. Be Blessed.