Following the news that celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide, much discussion has arisen regarding rising suicide rates across the United States. Suicide is increasing in almost every state across the US and is up by a staggering 30% in some areas. The question is: why? Of course, there is the aspect of mental health care – it needs to be better and more readily available. There is also the issue of stigma – people who are suffering from illnesses such as depression and anxiety often find themselves muzzled by a fear of what others will think or say about them.
These are crucial issues surrounding the suicide epidemic. But one writer has suggested that the root cause of such a startling increase in the number of people taking their own lives is something very different, and it starts with the pervasive rott that has entered our modern-day culture. “I think that problem is emptiness,” wrote Matt Walsh at The Daily Wire. “There is an emptiness at the core of our culture, and from this root the suicide epidemic grows. We have fled from God, from meaning, from purpose, and embraced a soft kind of nihilism; a nihilism that will not call itself nihilism.”
But when one’s sense of meaning suddenly fades away, what answer does our culture really have? “Well, our culture says, if you do not see it then it is not there,” Walsh noted. He continued:
“Those who seek happiness by following the well-worn paths will inevitably fall into this pit. If you do what everyone else is doing, and live how they live, and walk in their footsteps, you will end up in the same darkness. You will begin to feel that there is no hope and no point and no real beauty or joy to be found in life. And this is the state in which so many of us are living. A great, great many people in America are wallowing in this nihilistic despair and living hollow lives devoid of substance. They struggle and flail and reach out for help, but so often the hand that grabs hold of them will only drag them deeper into the pit.
Those who are suffering from a severe case of depression need more than psychological and medical treatment, Walsh argued. “They need meaning. They need hope. They need there to be a point to all of this, a reason,” he wrote. Then, he offered something of an answer to the void of meaning and the epidemic of hopelessness that continues to shroud the minds of millions across the United States.
“There is a reason, there is a point, there is a meaning. God is our foundation, our truth, our purpose, and the substance of our lives,” he declared. “We are not clumps of dust that grew randomly from the Earth and somehow developed consciousness and a moral code and the capacity for love.”
“Hope is found when we embrace who we are, as children of God, and we keep our eyes and hearts focused on eternity, on home. God wants us there with Him. But not yet. There is still more to be done, more life to be lived, and we can live it in joy, knowing that there is a meaning and a point to all of this.”
If you or someone you know struggles with depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide prevent hotline at 800-273-8255.