Real world implications of Nihilism

During a conversation I had this morning with a friend, the topic of depression and suicide and general sense of disorder and hopelessness was touched on.  A quote popped into my head that I wanted to share. The famed British atheist and Nobel Laureate, Bertrand Russell, seems to state the human condition clearly and without flinching when he says:

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” ― A Free Man’s Worship

The statistics are staggering related to depression/suicide (see below) and hopelessness in our world. As William Lane Craig says, “Modern man thought that when he had gotten rid of God, he had freed himself from all that repressed and stifled him. Instead, he discovered that in killing God, he had also killed himself. For if there is no God, then man’s life becomes absurd.”  Obviously suicide and depression are complex issues related to various factors in each individuals life, from substance abuse to chemical imbalances to external factors. However, the backdrop of nihilism as a reality (even when unstated) I think compounds the problems of depression and suicide as people realize that there literally is no objective hope, meaning, or value to live for.

Belief in God matters. But more than that, the existence of God and who God is matters.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25%of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS study)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

Data from https://save.org/about-suicide/suicide-facts/

My Shark Tank Idea- electricity producing gyms

I wanted to get this on the record to prove its my idea. This is my unedited thoughts on paper, not a business plan although I could produce one upon request 🙂

Concept:

  • gym which houses workout equipment specially designed to produce electricity through movement.
    • we know that this type of technology already exists. Movement produces electricity- e.g. wind farms, hydroelectric, crank chargers etc…
  • Gym is paid by electric companies or the state for the electricity produced and added to the grid. The gym can sell directly to private buyers (homes/communities/cities etc…).
  • Gym attracts people to use equipment by offering discounts for memberships based on how much electricity their exercises produce over the course of a given period (week or month).
    • if someone produces enough electricity through their exercise they can actually be paid by the gym.
    • This provides incentive for gym rats to stay and produce more and convince their friends to do the same
    • This will also likely attract people interested in green energy production and saving the environment
  • Once concept is proven successful, and there is money for expansion, the organization will venture into the power company space by creating a power plant with thousands of employees who are fitness and environment freaks willing to work and live on-site.
    • “employees” will be paid in food and exercise as well as being part of the greatest company on earth. They will also be given a stipend.

Intersectionality and Christianity

About a month ago I read a five-part article by apologist Neil Shenvi and found it to be the most relevant analysis regarding the cultural conflict in America that I have read this year. I highly recommend reading A Long Review of Race, Class, and Gender when you have time. Read all five parts as parts 3 through 5 cannot be missed.

Here is a sampling:

Part 3 – the Ugly

Critical theory summarized

Critical theory unifies the essays in this anthology. Since critical theory is an interdisciplinary project that spans decades and dozens of distinct fields, defining it can be challenging. Moreover, since it often functions as a worldview (that is, as a comprehensive, interpretive framework for understanding reality), its tenets are often implicitly adopted rather than being explicitly stated. However, I’ll try to list a few of its fundamental assumptions, providing quotes from the book to illustrate each point (see below; more available on request).RaceClassAndGender

– Premise 1: human relationships should be fundamentally understood in terms of power dynamics, which differentiates groups into ‘oppressors’ and ‘the oppressed’
 Premise 2: Our identity as individuals is inseparable from our group identity, especially our categorization as ‘oppressor’ or ‘oppressed’ with respect to a particular identity marker
– Premise 3: All oppressed groups find their fundamental unity in their common experience of oppression
– Premise 4: The fundamental human project is liberation from all forms of oppression; consequently, the fundamental virtue is standing in solidarity against the oppressor

The four principles outlined above are not a random assortment of disconnected beliefs. Instead, they form a unified, coherent framework for viewing everything about our lives, from our identity, to our fundamental problem (oppression), to our fundamental moral duty (fighting for liberation), to the basis for unity between individuals (common oppression/solidarity). If we adopt them, they will dramatically influence how we think about many important issues, from poverty to abortion to human sexuality.

Part 4 – Critical theory and Christianity

In the last section, I gave several general reasons to reject the tenets of critical theory. In the next few sections, I’ll focus on reasons for Christians in particular to reject critical theory.RaceClassAndGender

Both Christianity and critical theory are worldviews; that is, they are comprehensive, coherent ways of looking at reality. However, I believe that they are mutually incompatible. To the extent that a person adopts a Christian worldview, they will have to abandon the basic tenets of critical theory if they are to remain consistent.

The first conflict between critical theory and Christianity relates to the issue of identity. Identity (that is, how we view ourselves and others) plays a tremendously important role in critical theory and in postmodernism. Critical theory would insist that gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, etc… are fundamental components of our identities. However, from a Christian perspective, there are three far more fundamental categories of identity which critical theory ignores. What is more, this omission is not accidental; it is a consequence of critical theory itself. As a result, we cannot simply tack Christianity on to critical theory, or vice versa. One will have to be rejected.

The three categories I have in mind are: 1) human beings as the imago Dei, 2) human beings as sinners, and 3) human beings as united in Christ. (continued…)

 

Homogenous: The Political Affiliations of Elite Liberal Arts College Faculty

Article- https://www.nas.org/articles/homogenous_political_affiliations_of_elite_liberal

The data continues to confirm lack of thought diversity among academics. My question is regarding whether this disparity is due mostly to discrimination or not. There are likely various factors contributing to this including “Republicans” lack of interest to become a professor.  We know from Thomas Sowell that discrimination is only one possible explanation for unequal outcomes and that people will naturally order themselves when left alone. See his new book Discrimination and Disparities.