“I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.” Exodus 20:5
A recent study by a major health insurance provider has found that the number of Americans diagnosed with severe depression has jumped by a staggering 33 percent in the past five years alone. And that teens and millennials are showing the largest jump of all.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), which insures over 106 million people, reports that cases of major depression skyrocketed from 2013 to 2016. And that the jump is even more serious among children and young adults, with depression diagnoses rising by 47 percent in millennials and 63 percent in adolescents.
In Canada, the statistics are equally grim. According to CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem. Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group; 34% of Ontario high-school students indicate a moderate-to-serious level of anxiety and depression;14% indicate a serious level of psychological distress. All of which means that by the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have—or have had—a mental illness which may be compounded at some point by an addiction to drugs they may be using simply to feel better.
But this is the superficial picture which, in turn, has led to superficial explanations for the cause of these exploding levels of depression. Such as the theory that the increasing use of electronics and social media may be playing a major role in the growing number of depression cases, especially in younger patients due to higher rates of social isolation.
But isn’t this a symptom rather than a cause of a much deeper malaise? A malaise seen more widely than ever before, as the number of homeless youth grows exponentially and the phenomenon of young men shooting their high school classmates dead before turning their guns on themselves has now become almost commonplace?
Yet, in face of all this psychological pain and carnage, those tasked ‘to help’ can offer only shallow and simplistic reasons to paper over what, in truth, is the profound spiritual hunger fuelling these desperate acts. “It is possible that the increased rates of depression in adolescents are related to a combination of increased electronics use and sleep disruptions in already vulnerable individuals,” proposed Dr. Karyn Horowitz, a psychiatrist affiliated with Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island.
The fruits of secularism
Call me simplistic, but isn’t this what living without God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit at the centre of daily life now looks like? And aren’t these just some of the fruits of godlessness – politely called ‘secularism’? Fruits resulting from the fact that so many of our naturally vulnerable young have been denied God and authentic religious education? By parents, friends, teachers, professors and a malignant media which preaches death and its social habits all day long, on radio, TV, films, the internet and countless publications? And castigates anyone who publicly disagrees with their death-dealing ideology and agenda?
No wonder there is so much depression! Not only are the young suffering the sins of their fathers into the fourth generation – beginning with the 1960s baby-boomer generation and its permanent rebellion against tradition and the natural law of God. They are also being denied the most powerful remedy for their sadness, disappointment, even despair. Which is their Lord Jesus Christ Who died for their sins and the sins of their parents, their grandparents and their great-grandparents.
And who is keeping this fundamental truth – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life – from them? The entire porn-polluted, sexually obsessed and sexually confused culture which has long been hell-bent, literally, on normalizing every sin known to man by rebelling against every facet of the natural moral law, all the while insuring every youngster never hears about Him. And if they do, they must be persuaded that only a fool believes in the ‘fairytale’ of Jesus Christ, the foundation stone of two thousand years of history.
Admittedly, acedia – which can be loosely defined as the slothful spirit of the modern age – may be playing a role as it’s all about the exaltation of the self, the primacy of personal choice, sexual fulfillment and other hedonistic pleasures. Even so, the term ‘acedia’ also suggests a knowledge of the God Who is being rejected and a state of “knowing better”, but sinning anyway.
There is also the danger in assuming acedia can be overcome by simply working harder or being more active in their lives. But this may also assume that our depressed youth have been properly instructed in traditional morality—which most have not been – having been indoctrinated instead from an early age in all the feel-good tenets of paganistic progressivism.
But regardless of the moral state of the youth suffering depression, their despair may also be confirming that, yes, they get it! They understand the underlying message of the toxic culture sin which they’re trying to swim. Which is this: Despite all the kneejerk ‘I love you’s’ bombarding them, they are not wanted. They are not welcome on this now ‘holy’ planet on which they may be leaving an unwanted footprint. Unless, of course, they agree to contribute to the cultural rot making them so sick. Until they cease to be useful.
The mounting death toll
Texas Republican lieutenant governor said as much when he recently cited abortion as one of several factors that have degraded America’s respect for human life, which he believes was one of the causes of the recent school shooting in his state where a 17-year-old shot and killed eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News This Week that the problem is rooted in America’s devaluation of life itself. “We have devalued life. Whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families, through violent movies, and particularly violent video games. We have 50 million abortions … and we stand here and we wonder why this happens to certain students.”
So with Christian prayer also banned from schools, it’s no coincidence either that a society which enshrines a “right” to kill preborn children has seen a sharp rise in killings of born children.
“If we have created a culture, in the words of one Catholic Deacon Greg Kandra, where human life is treated like trash, what do we expect here?” asked The American Spectator’s Jeffrey Lord. “Wikipedia lists eight mass shootings in the United States between 1929 and 1972. That is a span of 43 years. Roe v. Wade was issued in 1973. Between 1973 and 2017 — a span of 44 years — the site lists 39 years of mass killings in the United States.”
Nor is it coincidental that the dramatic reduction and degradation of the Christian spiritual life began its latest phase with the baby-boomers who, by 1968, had morphed from Mouseketeers into the Chicago Seven and beyond, rebelling against the natural law and every tradition and norm that underpinned the Christian culture into which they were born. And that trend has persisted for half a century, resulting in many of their children’s religious ignorance. And the further impoverishment of their grandchildren by their ongoing refusal to educate them in the teachings of Christ and all the traditions of Christendom that their great-grandparents fought so hard to preserve. Only to be replaced by the sloganistic fatuities of Progressivism, political correctness and … yoga.
God help us all.
Missing the love
Nevertheless, the God-seeking, God-yearning young – who the culture is intent on corrupting and destroying one way or another – still understand in their hearts that, despite all the protestations of love to the contrary, that they are not wanted and are even regarded as a pestilence whose carbon footprint must be eradicated. Except perhaps as purveyors of the cultural rot in which their depression is rooted.
No, those depressives are not feeling the love of God, the love they need like plants need water and animals need food. And so they try to comfort themselves with other pursuits, many of which will ultimately harm them, like the depressed teen who dies of the fentanyl overdose he took just to feel better. Just to get through his empty, miserable day.
But in response, does our degenerate culture re-examine and reassess its rampant progressive ‘values’? Or question the false assumptions on which it has based itself? It doubles down.
Does it still insist on its soul-destroying secularism and the deadly cost of godlessness? Absolutely. Does it still fail to see the folly of progressive parents who, as babyboomers, glibly told their friends they weren’t giving their children any religious teaching or training? That instead they would allow them to find their own god when they got older? Of course.
Rearing one’s child as a pagan is a serious business because of its destructive rebellion and intentional ignorance. Sometimes such deceptive terms as ‘humanitarian’ are used as a cloak of so-called ‘enlightenment’. But what this most often conceals is the choice of a god who is not the God of history and the Bible.
This is what’s been done to millennials, once so innocent and now so frightened of life that they can barely manage to live it, let alone have the confidence inspired by God Himself to go forth and multiply and fill the earth. Instead, having been given every material thing without earning it and encouraged in the daily pursuit of pleasure and self, who should be surprised that today’s generation finds emptiness and lack of purpose?
But there is an upside in all this too. All the above confirms in this generation – as it has with every other generation that preceded it – that everything that Jesus Christ taught about human life on this earth is true and absolute. At all times, in all seasons and in every generation that He creates, He is the answer. To obey Him brings felicity and purpose; to disobey Him brings misery and purposelessness.