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‘Government and educational programswill not solve this epidemic of meaninglessness’

February 14, 2022

CHARLOTTE, N.C.— Fox News recently highlighted a study by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics on accidental drug-induced fatalities among children and young adults in the United States. According to the report, approximately 22,000 young people between ages 10-24 died of unintentional overdose between January 2015 and December 2019. The researchers estimated that these deaths resulted in 1.2 million years of lost life.

Adam Tucker, director of recruiting and admissions of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), responded to this troubling trend.

The recent study showing the loss of 22,000 young American lives to unintentional drug overdose is incredibly tragic. That’s a combined total of over one million years’ worth of love and meaningful lives gone forever, and this doesn’t even account for intentional overdoses and other suicides. Doubtless, most of these young people were either seeking meaning or attempting to escape their perceived sense of meaninglessness through this use of drugs. 

Tucker noted the broader cultural context framing this epidemic.

The idea of meaning really is the key here, isn’t it? Our culture teaches us that life has no real value, and thus no real meaning. We see this most clearly demonstrated in our cultural obsession with abortion. While the 22,000 young lives lost is indeed tragic, over 3 million unborn babies were aborted during this same time period. What could scream any more loudly that life is meaningless? 

Since then, according to our culture, there is no real meaning, it is entirely up to individuals to define meaning for themselves. This idea has turned our world upside down. Throughout our cultural institutions, the true, the good, and the beautiful are being replaced by the false, the depraved, and the ugly. We even see this in the church to a certain extent.  

Tucker observed, “By and large, modern Christianity has only provided a semblance of meaning without providing any real foundation. Rarely is a robust Christian worldview taught that is built upon solid thinking, good evidence, and well-reasoned conclusions. Instead, to paraphrase one academic, our churches too often offer an incomplete Christianity based on blind and misunderstood faith that has little to say about the important real issues of life. Thus, we see some 75% of church-going young people walk away from the faith when they go to college. And we see two out of five millennials who don’t know, care, or believe that God exists. 

Tucker summarized where humanity’s true meaning, value, and hope is found.

Government and educational programs, while perhaps important, will not solve this epidemic of meaninglessness. As the author of our human natures, God is ultimately the one who directs our steps and gives our lives purpose. This crisis is the church’s responsibility, and frankly, the church must do better. This is why Southern Evangelical Seminary is committed to equipping Christians to think well, to live well, and to defend the true, the good, and the beautiful that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Believers must be equipped and must be able to equip their families to remain steadfast in this upside-down world. 

SES will soon be holding their 28th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) titled “Remaining Steadfast in an Upside Down World.” The event will take place on April 8-9, 2022, at FBC Rock Hill in Rock Hill, SC just outside of Charlotte. Speaker and ticket details available here.

The mission of SES is to train men and women, based on the inerrant and infallible written Word of God, for the evangelization of the world and the defense of the historic Christian faith. SES offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees (along with several for-credit certificates) that uniquely integrate theology, philosophy, and apologetics to build a complete and systematic Christian worldview.

For more information on SES, visit its website at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (704) 847-5600.