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Plain Truth Magazine
September 1963
Volume: Vol XXVIII, No.9
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Leslie L McCullough   
Church of God

Ambassador College: 1961
Office: ACE - Evangelist

Millions are vainly searching for success, happiness and the answer to life's problems. When it doesn't come, thousands are seeking escape by taking their own lives. The FIFTH ranking cause of death in the United States, between the ages of 15 and 50, is suicide. But is suicide the answer?

Verdict SUICIDE!
   Once every TWO AND ONE-HALF MINUTES, every single day, someone in the United States attempts to take his own life. Once every TWENTY-SIX MINUTES, day in and day out, SOMEONE SUCCEEDS!
   Why is it with so much to live for, so MANY are not willing to live their lives out?
   Newspapers are continually proclaiming how some daring individual, at the risk of his life, has managed to escape from one of the Iron Curtain countries to freedom. If given his choice of countries in which to make a new start in life, he would almost invariably choose the U.S.A. "land of opportunity."
   Yet in "the land of opportunity," this fantastic land of ours where a person seemingly has everything to live for, TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND people each year manage by jumping, shooting, hanging, drugging or some other means to succeed in destroying themselves!

Many Attempt Suicide

   For hundreds of those who do succeed, there are many THOUSANDS more who don't. Dr. Louis I. Dublin, the renowned medical statistician, recently told an audience of physicians: "It would not be rash to estimate that as many as TWO MILLION INDIVIDUALS are now living in our country who have a history of at least one unsuccessful attempt at self-destruction." (Parade, Mar. 3, 1963, emphasis mine throughout the article)
   Why is it that in this land of plenty two million people have attempted AT LEAST ONCE to take their own lives?
   Not to mention those who have tried more than once and facts show that at least 10 per cent of those who have tried once will try again and perhaps SUCCEED.
   Why do people hate themselves and life so much that they will continue to try until finally they succeed? Why is it that during a time of prosperity the suicide rate INCREASES? Why is it that famous men, wealthy men, men of good health and standing in their community suddenly take their own lives?
   People the world over are risking their lives in hope of obtaining freedom and the opportunity to live as we do. Yet THOUSANDS of those who do live this way are trying to escape it by dying.

They Are Sick

   What is it that is missing in the lives of movie stars, businessmen and others in these United States that they decide life just isn't worth living? They seem to reflect the attitude of Job 10:1: "I am sick of life, sick of it... " (Moffat translation).
   The WHOLE WORLD seems to be sick of life. On every hand, we hear threats of war and atomic or ICBM attacks or both. Little men in big positions threaten the desolation of whole continents. No one is ready to be the first to give in to stop it. They don't want to stop it. THEY ARE SICK!
   The leaders of this world are becoming exactly as God said Israel would become: "... the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment" (Isa. 1:5-6).
   This is describing our people of this day. We are mentally and spiritually sick and unable to face the tremendous strains of life.
   In World War II, Hitler attempted to carry out what he called "the answer to the Jewish problem" Genocide the killing of a race. Now the whole world is on the very brink of ending all of man's problems by Cosmocide the killing of ALL SOCIETY!
   The time spoken of by Jesus Christ is near. He said, when speaking of this end time, "And except those days should be shortened, THERE SHOULD NO FLESH BE SAVED: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:22).
   This is speaking of the time in which we now live. There has never before in the history of man been a time such as this. It has never before been possible to wipe ALL human life from off the earth. That is NOW POSSIBLE!

A New Outlook

   Suicide, once frowned upon and looked down on by all, is now accepted by most and even advocated by our government in the case of certain servicemen captured by the enemy.
   But does man have the right to take his own life? No! ABSOLUTELY NOT!
   The sixth commandment is: "Thou shalt not kill" (Ex. 20:13). That includes killing one's own self.
   However, people by the THOUSANDS choose to ignore this command of the Creator God.

WHO Is Dying?

   Self-inflicted death is common in almost every facet of life. It takes its toll among the young as well as the old. It strikes out at the healthy as well as the infirm. Although more women attempt it, more men succeed probably because of the methods used. Women generally prefer drugs, that is, sleeping pills and poisons, while men usually choose the more violent and sure forms of death such as shooting or jumping.
   But the most pitiful of all is the awesome toll exacted among our most intelligent and capable people. The intelligent, the brilliant do not escape suicide.
   One of the most commonly accepted fallacies concerning suicide has been the thought that it is an act performed basically by the poor, unfortunate, unsuccessful individual who can no longer bear to face his miserable lot in life. Such an idea is far from the truth.
   Suicide is the FIFTH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH among persons between the ages of fifteen and fifty. Unbelievable, but that is what the U.S. National Office of Vital Statistics records.
   THE FIFTH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH! That is nearly as great as the dreaded killer CANCER. It ranks suicide with the increasing problem of HEART DISEASE.
   Self-destruction is one of the MAJOR DESTROYERS of our most valuable asset MANPOWER. The 15 to 50 age group is the one group of people with the least to fear from organic diseases or disturbances as well as being at the very highest peak of productivity. In other words THOSE WITH APPARENTLY THE MOST TO LIVE FOR!
   Strange, isn't it, that those with the most to live for, with the greatest opportunities ahead of them, are the ones who are the largest single group to quit trying. WHY?
   What is it that they are looking for and are unable to find?

Success the Answer?

   Success is not the answer, according to Dr. Thomas P. Malone of the Atlanta, Georgia, Psychiatric Clinic. According to Dr. Malone, "At least 30 to 40 per cent of the so-called economic suicides occur when a man is SUCCESSFUL, not when he is failing. When a man has reached the peak of success, often he has nothing left to scramble for" (Newsweek Nov. 10, 1959).
   It seems once the pinnacle of success has been obtained life holds little challenge for these men and they choose to die. Apparently success is not the panacea to end all our woes and solve the problems of everyday life. Contrary to the popular belief, money DOESN'T solve everything.
   God told the people of ancient Israel: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deut. 30:19).
   These men and the people around us are daily choosing the way that seems right to them and are reaping the rewards of an empty life DEATH.
   "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 16:25). The way that seemed right to them ends only in empty, frustrated lives.

Medicine the Answer?

   Suicide is not a pathological problem, but a mental one.
   More than half of all physical ills are mentally or spiritually caused. Dr. Edward H. Rynearson of the MAYO CLINIC recently estimated that 70 to 90 per cent of his patients fell within the category of those having NOTHING WRONG with them physically and whose physical ills are due only to the vicissitudes, the problems of life.
   Dr. Rynearson said, "The longer I practice medicine the more impressed I am with the large number of patients who are in the waiting room because of the fearful sufferings this life has inflicted upon them. I do not say they are weak. Sometimes they are very strong, but the degree of environmental stress exerted upon them has exceeded even the reserves of their strength" (U.P.I., June 16, 1963).
   All too often, then, the supposed answer to the patient's problem lies in self-destruction. Doctors can't seem to stem the tide of suicide. Recent studies in San Francisco, Philadelphia and other cities, indicate that more than 70 per cent of the persons who commit or attempt suicide are or recently have been under a physician's care.
   Many times the drugs prescribed to help relieve the problem are the instrument used to END the problem. So apparently medical assistance isn't the final solution either.

No Sudden Impulse

   Another common fallacy which has been widely accepted is that suicides occur more frequently in the dark, gloomy, oppressive days. The theory being that the gloominess of these days triggers the depression which in turn ends in death.
   Once again, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Studies have shown that the spring months, which are usually thought of as the brightest and most promising months, are the very months showing the largest incidence of SELF-INFLICTED DEATH!
   May and June are generally the two months carrying the highest suicide rate. Bright, sunny days with a rising barometer are most frequently the ones clouded by the specter of suicide. Very FEW destroy themselves in a sudden fit of depression. In one study conducted, it was found that 68 PER CENT of the victims involved had previously expressed suicidal ideas. Thirty-eight per cent had specifically stated that they fully intended and PLANNED to kill themselves. Self-murder isn't necessarily a spur-of-the-moment impulse at all! It is a carefully thought out and planned act to escape the problems of life.

What Problems?

   What problems could possibly be so insurmountable as to even suggest this grisly "solution"?
   The "reasons" for committing suicide are as manifold as the ways chosen to perform it. For some it is ill health, domestic troubles, financial difficulties, unwanted pregnancy, and for others it is loneliness or dejected feelings of uselessness.
   The underlying theme present in the majority of cases is an overwhelming sense of futility in the face of difficult circumstances. No HOPE! NOTHING LEFT TO LIVE FOR.
   People are trapped by circumstances held captive by their own environment, job, habits and personal problems. They spend millions each year in search of that elusive, intangible feeling called HAPPINESS. Our highways are jammed with people rushing madly from one place to another in hopes of attaining the sought-after goal. We slaughter each other by the hundreds on our highways over long holiday week-ends. We struggle, crowd and push one another at packed beaches and lakes.
   But then the long week-end is over. The same dreary old grind once more faces us, and the realization of the utter futility of it all is driven home.
   THERE IS NO PEACE OF MIND! Desires well up within us, but once they are fulfilled there is no satisfaction and we want more.

We Aren't the Only Ones

   The United States isn't the only nation to be plagued with the curse of overindulgence and its accompanying futility.
   With the highest standard of living in Europe, Sweden also has one of the highest suicide rates. West Berlin, the showplace of democracy, the goal for which many have died, the example to the East of what wealth can do, carries the highest suicide rate in the world. Not a very good example to hold high to Communism!
   Japan, one of the leading nations in the economic field, is also a leader in self-inflicted death, with Austria, Denmark and Great Britain following close behind.
   It seems that wealth and affluence are the companions of grisly suicide. WHY? What is it that wealth and security cannot buy? What is it that people the world over are so vainly searching for and when it can't be found, despair so greatly that they will take their own lives?
   Wealth isn't the answer. Medicine and medical treatment isn't the answer. What then is the answer? We are able to make nuclear bombs, rockets, space ships and send men in orbit around the earth. We plot courses across millions of miles of space to bring our technological instruments close to the planet Venus. In every way, we are advancing in technological skills and abilities.
   Yet we are unable to chart the course of human life in the paths of happiness.

Religion the Answer?

   Not many years ago, suicide was so frowned upon by the organized religions of the world that one who had taken his own life was refused the right to be buried in "hallowed, consecrated ground."
   One council, which represents 15 denominations and some 1,500,000 members expressed the over-all viewpoint of the group in this manner: "Death by suicide ends all opportunity of repentance. Anyone then who has taken his own life would be denied the rewards of the saved" whatever those rewards might be.
   Today however, the attitude of the major churches of Christianity borders on tolerance, apparently considering suicide a MERE sickness!
   One typical theologian of this group reported that he always buried suicide victims in consecrated ground. The reason being according to this minister that no man in his right mind would commit suicide. Therefore, he would have to be insane and not accountable for his actions, thus removing the distasteful stigma attached to the death.
   Does our present-day religion then hold the key to this problem? NOT REALLY! There is far too large a gap between the twentieth century religion as it is preached in most of our churches, and the first century religion taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
   The man who has to face the everyday realization of the threat of nuclear war, the increasing danger of racial strife and the ever-present problems of this hectic modern-day life finds it extremely difficult to recognize the presence of a REAL GOD.

Can God Help?

   Is God actually interested in our modern-day problems, or was He only concerned with the people of the ancient world? It is GOD not modern-day religion who has the answer to this increasing problem in the United States, the British Commonwealth and the Democracies of northwestern Europe.
   How would God answer the depressed individual who has nothing but hopelessness and a seemingly futile life ahead of him?
   Would He tell our nation to get rid of its wealth and national blessings and join the "have-not" nations of the world who aren't having to face this problem?
   Jesus Christ talked to His disciples about these very things. "... Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Matt. 6:25)
   Christ wasn't telling them it was wrong to have these things. He was telling them it was wrong to LUST after these things and overly concern themselves with thoughts of physical welfare. He went on to say in verse 32:
   "... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." If He will provide for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, how much more will He provide for His very greatest creation MAN?
   Christ said in another place, John 10:10, that the very reason He came to this earth was that we might have LIFE, not death, and that we might have it more abundantly. Again He said, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest PROSPER AND BE IN HEALTH, even as thy soul prospereth" (III John 2).
   JESUS CHRIST MEANT WHAT HE SAID! He wants us to have an abundant life. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the wealth and prosperity with which our nation has been so bountifully blessed.

An Individual Problem

   The problem lies with the individual himself.
   Nearly all the doctors, psychiatrists and social workers who have made a study into the circumstances surrounding this problem agree that it is absolutely useless to exhort a depressed man to "snap out of it." To be depressed is exactly what he wants. He WANTS to feel sorry for himself and to be filled with melancholy and self-pity. He doesn't want to see the bright side of things.
   His pessimism is easy to understand. Our newspapers are continually filled with stories of unhappiness, murder, violence and the complete futility of man's life the way he is living it.

There Is Hope

   Can you imagine it? LIFE, the most precious, wonderful, exhilarating, thrilling possession of each human creature LIFE, with its marvelous opportunities, its challenges and adventures, its sorrows and joys, its successes and its failures and, above all, its AWESOME POTENTIAL for the future LIFE cast worthlessly to the ground by suicide!
   How FAR we have departed from God! Many is the suicide victim who TRIED RELIGION! He HEARD all the wonderful things about "salvation," "sanctification," and "deliverance." He HEARD all about Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and about the HAPPINESS he was supposed to experience! But STILL HE COMMITTED SUICIDE!
   Because He didn't HEAR THE PLAIN TRUTH OF ALMIGHTY GOD! He heard an insidious COUNTERFEIT, masquerading as God's "truth," but without the real POWER to CHANGE HIS LIFE!
   Just as medical science ADMITS FREELY there is not one cure on the market today, of any size, shape, color, smell, or description that DOES ONE WHIT OF GOOD TOWARD CURING THE COMMON COLD so it is true that the source of TRUE happiness, release from your fears and worries, and the key to the REAL abundant life IS NOT FOUND IN THE MANY CONFLICTING "BRANDS" OF THIS WORLD'S RELIGIONS!
   You either have the TRUTH, or you do not. You are either in real contact with the REAL GOD or you are not!
   It's time YOU KNEW where the only source of peace and happiness is to be found knew where TRUE security and safety is to be found for you and yours knew where GOD IS DOING HIS WORK!
   Jesus came preaching the message of the Kingdom of God! He foretold our days telling exactly how this pulsating time of history would end! He is, at this moment, beginning to intervene in human affairs! He will soon RETURN to this earth, to SET UP HIS OWN KINGDOM upon it and BRING the world, FORCIBLY, release from its brain-chilling problems that lead to the heinous crime of self-murder!
   God offers each person LIFE! Life that is meaningful, interesting, JOYOUS, happy, abundant right here and now, and LIFE FOR ALL ETERNITY, in the Kingdom of God!
   Peter mentioned this life in I Peter 1:3, "... By His great mercy we have been born anew to a LIFE OF HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (Moffat translation).
   What is this life of hope Peter holds out to us? It is the life in the KINGDOM OF GOD! In that Kingdom there shall be NO MORE SICKNESS, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped... the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert" (Isa. 35:5-6).
   Imagine that! The muscular dystrophy clinics will be closed. There will be no need for the Community Chest, Red Cross or any other such organizations. The blind, deaf, crippled shall all become normal and enjoy life to the full.
   THERE WILL BE NO MORE WAR! (Isa. 2:4). No more killing one another and taking one man's freedom away from him. No fear of atom bombs, H-bombs, or any other kind of bomb, for they won't be allowed.
   There will be no more emptiness and uselessness.
   AND THERE WILL BE NO MORE SUICIDE! Everyone will WANT TO LIVE in the glorious world tomorrow! Everyone will know the REAL PURPOSE in life and the REASON for his existence.
   If you don't as yet understand your real PURPOSE for being here on this earth, read our amazing, breath-taking booklet which will show you the reason for your existence and the only real answer to the problem of suicide THE REALIZATION OF WHAT LIFE IS ACTUALLY ALL ABOUT!
   Read our free booklet, Why Were You Born? It's absolutely free. No charge whatsoever and no follow-up.

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Plain Truth MagazineSeptember 1963Vol XXVIII, No.9
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