I suppose we are much more aware of the lives of celebrities and of strangers, on account of the Internet. But doesn’t it seem like a lot of suicides are happening?
Granted, people take this tragic step for a myriad of reasons, and many are rooted in mental illness. But it certainly seems like an epidemic of young people in the prime of life deciding to end their lives. Is there some cultural thing pushing us to forget our eternal destiny? Or is it a long-term trend of disbelief in the supernatural?
It also seems that culture makers are being coy about the causes of some people’s deaths.
I know that if I cannot find information on how someone died, the odds are good that they committed suicide. At least there seems to be some shame or hesitancy surrounding it, and overall, I think that is a good thing. Nonetheless, we are quickly moving toward total social approval of euthanasia, so any roadblocks to that are positive, even if they are uncomfortable to experience.
Our role in the economic system is worth exploring, and perhaps many of these unfortunate people have felt that they are nothing more than cogs in the economic machine. There is legitimate criticism to be made, when moneymaking supersedes all social relationships, and threatens to break down families, communities, and nations. We need economic growth to survive, but any economic system exists to serve the people who live under it. We are not bound to a certain ideological purity, or to eternal battle against the failed systems of the past. We need to restore our relationships to one another, and our connections to the things that make life worth living. None of us is truly an island. None of us is truly alone, though it can feel that way at times.
Even seeking eternal life in the kingdom of heaven has a social dimension, since the people of God will be together worshiping God in the heavenly Jerusalem. The Church is meant to be a foretaste of life in the heavenly city. We will not be lonely there. In fact, life in the heavenly city is properly referred to as the life of the Church Triumphant.
Each of us is unique, and unrepeatable. Perhaps our crisis is rooted in not knowing our place, and how we can best serve our brothers and sisters. Someone who is needed and who is loved and knows this is not prone to ending his or her life in despair.
May we be delivered from this despair, because it threatens all that is good, and indeed, threatens even our ability to seek the good further.
Jason Kettinger is Associate Editor of Open for Business. He writes on politics, sports, faith and more.