From Jim O'Brien
August 24, 2018

Hi Friend,

Epidemic of Nihilism

Nihilism Defined: "the rejection of all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless."

Maybe the hardest thing for a man to do is believe that there is meaning to our existence. Conviction may start with a confession of faith, but it goes deeper. I'm talking about the tough times in life when there is a threat to core values. Christians in the 1st Century frequently faced death just for "believing" that Jesus was the Messiah. Imagine what it would be like to come to church on the Sabbath only to learn that a friend had been executed that week for nothing more than believing. And what if it happened repeatedly? Before he was converted the Apostle Paul had been involved in ripping families apart and taking a parent before a crowd to have him stoned to death. All because of their belief that God had given meaning to life.

Presumably, all a person would need to do in those circumstances is NOT believe. Recant. But belief was important then, as it is now. In fact, men and women gave their lives because they believed the Gospel so strongly that they were willing to die. Because they believed, the words of Christ were put into writing and passed on down through the centuries to us. Thank God for men and women who believed those words had meaning.

Once two blind men approached Jesus to ask to be healed. So He asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith let it be done to you." (Matt. 9:28-29)

The importance of believing cannot be overstated. Because of this, nihilism may be the most pernicious evil in our culture. Nihilism, (from the Latin nihil, meaning 'nothing') argues that life is without meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. The difference between nihilism and atheism is that the latter is simply a belief that there is no God. The former is hopelessness. Life has no meaning. It is an absence of religious values and skepticism about values that make life worthwhile.

It all came to mind when an internet video surfaced today of a mother bemoaning the loss of a child to death through opioids. As the mother pleaded for something to be done to save our culture from this curse, the screen flashed pictures of a handsome young man from a small West Virginia community.

It has become all too common. The bereft mother described the horror of not having her son's body from the coroner. It would take ten days! Why? There are too many bodies for them to handle. The graveyard is rapidly filling with bodies of people who have died of an overdose.

The mortuaries don't have enough rooms, enough caskets, enough employees to handle the dead bodies. In Montgomery County Ohio there were over 160 deaths in the first month of 2018. Most of those deaths were young people. The morgue is renting space from funeral homes. When those overflow they use refrigerated trailers.

What happens to a country that murders over 60 million children before they can be born and turns the ones that live into zombies who can't work or even worse-die prematurely.

What is the cause? At its root the cause is a failure to teach our children that there is meaning to life. It's the loss of religion-the rejection of Christianity, the diminution of parental rights.

The kids that are killing themselves grew up in an educational system that replaced God with science, creation with Darwin and values with narcissism. We placed our most precious possessions in the hands of a system that is skeptical of the deepest values of life and let them send back empty containers that find meaning in getting addicted to narcotics.

Dean Ornish said that "Meaning is malleable: take it out, you get nihilism and despair. Put it in, you get sacredness and something most special." What a great statement. Life becomes sacred when it has meaning. Without it there is despair.

Dennis Prager said, "Those who believe in nothing are very, very jealous and angry at those who believe in something."

What I see in the addicted generation today is a belief that nothing in life is sacred-therefore life is nothing-nihilistic.

What can a parent do to change the trend? Love your spouse, teach your children about God, pray with them, teach them that the Bible is true. And, oh, yes, take them to church. You just may find a group of people that will reinforce your belief that life has meaning.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien