Two proposals this year from a government advisory group advocate “anxiety screening” for everyone from 8 to 64 years old. They seem to see a new pandemic of fear that the government needs to deal with. And the proposed solutions mimic the medical/scientific approach practiced for the COVID epidemic.
A recent Wall Street Journal article traces the history of this approach. It cites a book length poem, “Age of Anxiety,” by W. H. Auden, published in 1947. That generated a “medical” solution with the label Prozac. Since then, anti-depressants have become a huge part of “medical” treatment.
Later, the normal ebullience of young males was tamped down by doses of Ritalin, and an explosion of pharmaceuticals began addressing our roller coaster of emotional ills. Then came COVID-19 and we handed our very lives over to the mercies of the government healthcare complex.
Now, the move is on to use the same approach against the other burgeoning distresses in our social fabric. But some are beginning to ask if science and government were really responsible for the most prosperous and generous country in history.
Historian Alexis de Tocqueville is said to have declared that America was great because America was good. When he came from France and surveyed the country, he did not reach that conclusion until he had visited the churches.
There are multiple examples, both historical and present, that illustrate that science and government were not primarily responsible for the general well-being of Americans. The original policy makers crafted our Republic in consultation with godly men. They openly expressed that the governing structure that they created was only suitable for a virtuous people.
Today, we need to stop and look at the continued results of that virtue that fueled America’s thriving. There are still huge benefits provided in many areas of our culture. The Religious Freedom and Business Foundation published a study in 2016 showing that religion contributes over $1 trillion annually to the socioeconomic value of the American economy.
They cite as one example the 130,000 substance abuse recovery support programs in the US that are run by congregations. They estimate that value to be up to $316 billion in lives that are restored to productivity.
The IRS policy of tax exemption for organizations and churches is based on the concept that that organization will raise the level of virtue in a community so that less tax dollars will need to go toward crime (sin) control.
What is true in the economy is also true in what we now call the medical field. The heightened concern about stress and anxiety rising in the society can be traced directly back to the loss of peace, hope and purpose.
We have traded our trust in a loving God who is the source of peace, for a godless humanism based on the heartless belief (religion) of evolution. This leaves the human spirit as just a hopeless accident in a dying cosmos. The anxiety thus created is being treated as a medical condition instead of a spiritual vacuum that only a relationship with the Creator can satisfy.
There is evidence that the new generation is becoming aware of their plight and reaching out for a spiritual anchor. A number of churches in the US and overseas are carefully applying the Bible to the skepticism of this modern generation with significant success.
Chick Publications is producing some newer tracts to reach the concerns of a generation caught in this trap of anxiety. People need to know that there is no big-government medical solution. Only the peace that Christ can give will truly cure it.