Life Devalued

Written by BG Howard

August 30, 2023

Dictionary.com offers the definition of devalued: “to deprive of value; reduce the value of.” To fully understand the meaning, we must first know what defines “value.” This is identified as the relative worth, merit, or importance. The worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange. I’m compelled to spell out the meaning so as to demonstrate the significance of my reason for scripting this week’s column.

I engaged in conversation with two teens a couple weeks ago and was quite shocked to learn their feelings about life in general. Neither one seemed to place much value on the concept of living a fulfilling or generally productive life. It was as though they’d become numb to the ills of complacency. Neither really assigned any importance to having a desire for accomplishing anything. In fact, they both noted not having an opinion as to whether it would make a difference if either of them was to simply drop dead at that moment.

In discussions involving other youngsters within the same age group during the next week or so, it soon became evident a general feeling of lethargy has taken hold of a number of today’s youth. I’ve spoken with several who have extremist tendencies and are quick to speak of killing or a willingness to “valiantly” accept the consequences of their actions…even to the point of death. It’s not surprising given all the ill-influences of a “free society,” violence in movies, viciousness in video games and every other issue plaguing the modern world. The unfortunate effect is that today’s youth appear indifferent about whether they live or die.

It’s almost as though the younger generation feels there will always be an option for returning to life as demonstrated in the popular video games. They view life with the same perception as characters that are able to die multiple times or have numerous life cycles. The “insinuation” that death isn’t a permanent state or there is some type “grandeur” involved with the process of dying is absolutely absurd. Many have an unrealistic concept of what happens beyond death and embrace the misguided ideology of acclaim gained from the process.

People of today don’t appear to have a firm understanding of the notion of what death is, exactly. It is defined by dictioniary.com as the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism. In truth, however, there are a number of deaths as identified in scripture which entail various aspects of separation. Physical death is the separation of the body from the soul while spiritual and the second deaths concern being completely separated from God. Being dead to sin or dead to the law is the state of Christians’ separation from those subjects respectively much the same as divorce represents death of a marriage or the permanent separation of a man from a woman.

Factually speaking; according to Nicholas Kristoff from The New York Times & icasualties.org “More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.” America purports it is one of the most advanced countries in the world but it’s shameful that the death rate for gun violence and homicides far outnumber other civilized nations. Truth is, none of the other countries even come close.

There used to be a time two people would have a disagreement and the worse thing to be expected was a fist fight. An extreme case of individuals fighting years ago might have had the ruckus develop into a brawl involving a crowd of friends or other supporters. Today, however, the first thing adversaries consider is killing one another as the societal majority employs ideals of extremism.

Reports suggest that residents of the U.S. are over fourteen times more likely to die from violence than any other “civilized” nation in the world. It causes one to question the identifying factors used to qualify a country as “developed.” There are an estimated twenty-seven people who die from gun violence in America every day. That calculates at 810 to 837 deaths each month or 9,720 to 10,044 every year just from firearms.

Given, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I do understand the concept of not breathing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out no matter how sensationalized the action facilitating a flat line on the electrocardiogram (EKG); dead is dead and there is no return. To put it bluntly, there is only one individual on record who has come back from death and He still lives. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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