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The Pandemic of Loneliness

It is time for a discussion of the real pandemic going on in America: loneliness. Alongside the growth of social media and degeneration of society, the feeling of isolation amongst  Americans, including Christians, has escalated to disturbing levels.

A recent Barna study revealed the extent of this loneliness pandemic: 53% of Americans feel some form of recurrent loneliness with 14% feeling isolated all the time, both increasing slightly between spring of 2020 and winter of  2020. As a disclaimer, Barna is a Big Eva pollster, which while they can provide useful data, their left-leaning wokeness prevent proper analysis of the data they procure. 

Predictably, 20 months of Covidstan have exacerbated the problem. Since youths were not studied, this problem is likely worse than this data indicates. The absence of schooling, youth sports, and other socialization would hardly be expected weigh favorably upon the data. Even now, eating lunches outside, being denied the smiles of their peers behind the veil of a mask, and the general dehumanization emanating from the Branch Covidians, who teach children to view their peers as germ infected, unclean (unjabbed) biohazards adds to the loneliness in our youths. According to Mental Health America, 13.84% of youth suffer from depression, up from 13.01% year over year.

Barna’s data would go on to say that 20% of Practicing Christians feel lonely at least once a day, with 9% feeling lonely all the time. On a positive note, this is about 10% lower than the “Unchurched” and “Churched” categories. However, the severity of the loneliness is more extreme for “Practicing Christians.”

Between Covid and CRT, how many Christians felt a failure within the church to properly address these two issues? We have seen this at McLean Bible Church with David Platt. Many have undoubtedly undergone church shopping in the past year, which means leaving one community of believers and having to befriend another. Others fall away entirely as we saw with Zoom Church.

As one might expect, the data skews younger with more Millennials feeling lonely than their Boomer and Gen X Peers. Various milestones, like marriage are in decline and often being delayed. Per the US Census, the average age of marriage is roughly 29, with men being in their low thirties and women being in their upper 20’s.

Barna uses this article to promote Susan Mettes, who writes the book The Loneliness Epidemic to address this issue. Susan Mettes is a behavioral scientist who works with Barna and is an editor at Christianity Today. To her credit, she critiques pop-psychology in the church and has amassed interesting data, but her analysis and solutions seem trite. Anyone can link singleness to loneliness, but this does not necessarily explain the trends with Gen Z. After all, this data skews younger.

Writing for Barna on another blog post, Mettes, pulling from her book, writes the following:

People’s perceptions of their levels of boredom, privacy and security are ultimately not under the control of others. However, those of us who are concerned about loneliness should understand that lonely people often feel they are under too much scrutiny or that their lives and relationships aren’t on solid ground.

How to counter these problems? To all of them, one answer is real friendship. We can get there in many ways. For example, we can display hospitality on an ordinary basis, investing time getting to know people regardless of whether they are old, young, single or married. We can explicitly promote deep friendships outside of marriage and family. We should avoid making projects of people in lonelier groups or subjecting them to uninvited scrutiny, but we should also listen when people are ready to reveal something.

Ultimately, this logic misses the mark and honestly, peddling friendship as a solution sounds childishly naïve. One might expect that a generation less likely to have kids should have more free time to socialize with friends. Societal expectations are not the cause of the widespread loneliness plaguing our society nor are they going away as they are ingrained since Genesis 3. Feelings of isolation are the symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself. Being nice and getting to know people will not solve this pandemic because they do not address the root causes, which are legion.

Just like with Covid, the loneliness pandemic has been engineered more systematically by the society at large. Feminism despises masculinity and denies femininity. Social media perpetuates degenerate and narcissistic behavior. The sexual revolution has deteriorated the state of the American family. Hookup culture has done wonders for helping people find long-term matches—not. #MeToo has made relationships more difficult to form. Pornography, which cannot be harped on enough, engenders frustration and shame. Children are targeted by the Rainbow Jihad, questioning their identity with not enough churches doing anything to combat this, or are otherwise pushing Side B Theology.

Critical Race Theory perpetuated by our media and education apparatus has enflamed racial tensions in America. Think about it: in one generation, we have gone from people generally accepting the belief in American Exceptionalism to tearing down statues of Thomas Jefferson. This rapid rejection of our national culture is designed to foster resentment and depression. Hollywood has destroyed many legacy franchises through woke messaging that demonstrates outright disdain for their audience. Athletes promote woke messaging, tarnishing that which used to be an escape from life’s drama.

There are far more causes to the loneliness pandemic, and each of those listed could use its own article, yet what all these things have in common is sin. Ye be like God will inevitably result in measurable failure. When Adam and Eve sinned, they felt shame, not elation, yet in their shame, they tried to cope by clothing themselves. Sin does not exist in a vacuum but begets more sin. Nothing is stagnant.

Jesus instructs us to judge a tree by its fruit in Matthew 7:16 in the context of false teaching and teachers. This has practical applications to everyday life. As our culture and society implodes all around us, we should expect these corrosive ideologies to yield the fruits of depression, isolation, strife, and anxiety. The church needs to recognize that the same ideologies destroying our culture are not just incorrect biblically or academically, but also at the individual level. The damage is real.

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