I recently saw a headline on the digital edition of the long-established and respected Progressive journal, The New Republic, entitled, “We Need to Talk about Climate Change and Suicide,” suggesting that data indicates there is a connection between the two. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read the article as I only get three free articles a month, and I’m too broke to pay for a subscription having to buy gasoline and groceries these days. But if indeed a link exists between “climate change” and suicide, I certainly do not find that surprising. Americans (Millennials and Gen Zers in particular) have endured (pseudo-)prophetic pronouncements and graphic apocalyptic predictions of the earth going to you-know-where-in-a-hand basket by liberal politicians, mainstream and social media, public education, ignorant celebrities, and just about every other means of cultural communication our society provides. Why wouldn’t a young person take his or her life if the earth will experience irreversible damage, the consequences of which we are promised will be truly hellish?
But then I remember that my generation and the one before me lived everyday under the threat of nuclear annihilation. Those older than me remember “duck and cover,” as if that would have made a difference. I remember, The Day After, the scenes of which you may still catch on YouTube. But I do not remember reports of people taking their lives over the matter. Perhaps I just never heard about it. But my sense looking back is that people went about their lives, nuclear bombs notwithstanding.
And here is the question I wish to ask: Why are generations today willing to throw away their lives for fear of dubious doomsday projections while we lived our lives under the very real threat of nuclear holocaust? The answer goes far beyond arguments over climate change and to the very core of contemporary human existence in America and Europe especially as that concerns young people. And that answer is HOPELESSNESS—the gnawing inner despair that so many young people feel throughout the West.
And why are they hopeless? Because they are a generation that has been taught by the culture that self-indulgence and sexual pleasure constitute the staff of life; there is nothing more important than self-fulfillment. They are trained that they are blank slates who can create and re-create themselves in any number of ways. Reality is not “out there” but something one constructs to serve one’s passions. And if someone declines to participate in their fantasy world (pronouns and whatnot), well then, that one is persecuting them by denying them their chosen reality. It’s all about self, and it started with the Boomers. But at least we were raised in a nation where most considered themselves Christians and many even had a smattering of biblical knowledge. These kids were not so fortunate.
But personal fulfillment apart from Jesus Christ is a lie of Satan. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). It is the teaching of the entire New Testament. And I am thrilled to see that there are many young people who have rediscovered the faith—the faith their parents failed to live. They are marrying young and bearing children (some having large families refusing birth control), mothers are staying home or working jobs that allow them to care for their children, and fathers are active in the lives of their children and busy providing and protecting. Best of all, they are families of faith that not only attend but are active in church. You will rarely hear of a suicide among these young people—AND THEY ARE NOT WORRIED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE!
But among those who have bought the lie that happiness is hookups, that marriage is patriarchal, that divorce is an option, that abortion is convenience and children an inconvenience, that reality is one’s creation, that self-fulfillment is personal identity and as such the goal of living—in short, that God exists to serve oneself and to ensure that one’s desires are never impeded—well, what else is that one to do when all the world is going to hell and his only plans for self-fulfillment and pleasure (already a hopeless pursuit apart from Christ) are soon to be thwarted in some universal apocalyptic catastrophe?
Yeah. It’s that bad. People are killing themselves—and the problem runs much deeper than climate change.