I feel sad for Millennials. They do not know what they do not know.
They will never know, for example, what life was like without a smart phone, GPS, email, Snapchat or Facebook. In short, they will never experience life without being distracted by the constant need to “check in” with social media.
Millennials are also the first generation to be raised in a culture where religion, fundamentals of a faith-based worldview was deemphasized. Taught from an early age through television, music, liberal parenting, and in part from a public education system that completely stripped religious history from the classroom textbook, this generation of young men and women will face the future without the wisdom of the past to guide them, without knowing the value of religion and the value of faith.
Instead, Millennials have been taught to believe in “nothing” except pursuing social justice, earthly objectives and political or gender/raced based conflicts. The new religion of the American culture among Millennials is not a religion based on God, or even spiritual values (what are those?), but instead, on social activist causes and strictly temporal realities instead of the enduring eternal ones that great minds have been debating since the beginning of time.
Secularism is winning because it is the easier path, and the one with far less restrictions. Freedom it seems, means to be free of deep philosophy or meanings and values-exploration. Millennials have adopted secularism (or a hyped up version of moral relativism), a belief that there is no proof of God, or faith, eternal life or even TRUTH itself. No reason to take the risk of believing in something that can never be verified – at least not in this life.
So the current generation of young men and women will never know how to implement faith in everyday living, faith that there is a reason we are here (beyond just our short life), faith that there is a purpose to our existence, faith that spirit values have meaning, and most importantly, faith believing in something that you can only know is true – without physical evidence.
Faith, or the use of it, instills good character, patience, forbearance, loyalty and humility; it is the acceptance that you don’t have all of the answers – but are willing to concede there are answers worth knowing.
Today, the general attitude of a Millennial is “no one can know for sure about anything, so why worry about it?”
Some would argue that the faith-test is the most valuable experience you can have as a human being. Without it, nihilism becomes the only other worldview, a belief that believing is pointless.
We are left only with a new generation of people do not know what faith means, nor do they care that they don’t know, and that is the most tragic thing of all.
One wonders if the suicide rate going up in America is a reflection of the impact of increased secularism in our culture.
Medical experts will tell us the ills of social injustice, income inequality, technology obsession, rampant drug and alcohol use are all causing the uptick in depression (and suicide), but the one subject no one seems to broach is how religion – or the lack thereof – might also be playing a role in the recent increase of suicide or depression.
American culture does not reflect a strong religious faith – at least in popular culture, which seems to be the mirror by how we gauge the way we perceive ourselves.
If America is becoming less religious, as the studies seem to indicate, should we expect to see depression continue to rise?
Ate suicide rates in secular countries higher?
Yes they are
Let is consider the rise of secularism and what it does to a people, race or culture, when godly principles are no longer valued in society, and this gaping hole allows narcissism to seep in to fill the void. Without religion depression rates are higher.
Multiple studies have confirmed that religious people live longer lives, are happier, and deal with crisis far more sufficiently, even when life-threatening ilnesses occur.
One thing you see will be hotlines, medications and lots of analysis of mental illness, but nowhere will you hear a discussion about the human spirit and how religion – a saving faith in something bigger than ourselves – might provide a solution to suicide. Faith in God is part of the human spirit, we are wired with it in our DNA.
Without faith, a belief in something greater and more enduring then ourselves, we are isolated, alone, deprived of communion with that inner spirit of perfection-attainment, and we try to treat depression, not with a spiritual approach, but with more drugs, more therapy and more self-analysis, with all emphasis on some kind of pseudo-belief that all mental anguish can be treated with an endless elixir of medication or self analysis. Many would argue that it is this obsession with self that is part of the problem.
I recently heard it said that we get angry for a reason, and it means we want to change something that bothers us. In the same way, when we are depressed, there is probably a good reason for our depression. But instead of trying to find the reason, we simply try to counter-effect the depression with artificial means; we cure the symptom, but not the underlying cause. And we can see time after time that this approach is only halfhearted, and usually just leads to a further dependence on whatever “cure” they give us in the form of a pill.
The Urantia Book says true reality can best be viewed when we incorporate the mental, physical and spiritual components. In this manner, and without this holistic viewpoint, most people only see a 2-dimensional view of life, the mental and the physical, but without spiritual insight as to eternal purposes.
In other words, if we don’t believe in a continuance of existence of ourselves, life does become temporal, finite and futile, and taken to its philosophic end, life does have no meaning, and this is the secular view that permeates our current culture.
But when we add the third component, the fact that we are spiritually endowed and there is a possibility of continuance ox existence (an afterlife), then who among us would dare risk suicide when we know (or at least believe) that we will have “thrown in the towel,” on this first and most important life lesson: to live as a spiritually endowed mortal of the realm, a mortal of the flesh.
It is tragic that suicide rates in American have gone up 30% in less than 5 years, some of it I believe is attributable to our little understanding of the mind and our archaic way of treating the mind as just a bundle of synaptic fibers and neuron tissue, easily manipulated by psychotropic drugs and sedatives. Mind is the gateway to spiritual insight, and faith is a great antidote to ward off depression. Faith in a belief in something bigger than ourselves is a key component to seeing oneself as part of a greater plan. And when a culture begins to recognize eternal realities like the power of faith, or even the power of prayer, yes, suicide rates will drop. Without faith, spiritual insight, service to others, emphasis on loving thy neighbor, we are all mere orphans of a mindless, pointless and disconnected existence. That is depressing.
But you won’t hear much talk of spiritual solutions in society, and while all of the talking heads are discussing ways to treat one who is compelled to take his or her own life, not one minster, pastor or rabbi will be called in to offer his insight as to how secularism (life without spiritual purpose) is part of the problem contributing to growing depression in our generation, and how religion can offer spiritual solutions to the moral dilemma of suicide.
James R. Watkins is an author and Editor of Urantia Radio, an internet-based radio broadcast that examines cultural trends, social issues and Urantia Book cosmology.