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Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
MULTI-YEAR LIFE EXPECTANCY DROP NOT SEEN SINCE ’60s
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, statistic out of World Magazine: “U.S. Life Expectancy in 2016 Drop for The Second Straight Year.” An Average Adult can now expect to live 78.6 years with a five-year gap between life spans of men and women. This multi-year drop is the first since 1962 and 1963. Bob Anderson of The National Health Center for Health Statistics told reporters he cannot say whether a trend is developing, but he is worried about the steady mortality rate among opioid addicts.
If 2017 had another increase in such deaths, it could signal a third straight drop in life expectancy data for the first time since the Spanish Flu epidemic 100 years ago.
BIBLICAL AND HISTORICAL LENS
DR. REEDER: And what’s very interesting now, from a Biblical world and life view on that item, Tom, how our Lord, after the flood, declared that man would live 70 – three score plus ten or four score by “reason of strength and very healthy.” The average has increasingly moved toward what the Lord said.
In other words, prior to the flood, man, who was made to live forever, because of sin now has the curse of death. And so, you see this genealogy in the Old Testament where each seceding generation – except for one or two exceptions – of those listed in the early genealogy of humanity live less years and there is a decreasing.
Then you get to the flood and it’s now decreased dramatically. And, after the flood, the Lord says that it is going to decrease even more dramatically – which it does within a generation – and it decreases down into, historically, the 30s, the 40s, the 50s. A 50-something year old man, 300 years ago, was an old man because of the destruction of diseases that the curse of sin has brought into this world.
But then, in his common grace, gives us medicine, gives us an understanding of His creation laws and we begin to bring the influence of compassion and care, the infant mortality rate goes down, we have inoculations. Western civilizations’ influence, which was influenced by Christianity in the Reformation, you have this rising of the life expectancy so that we have increasingly come close to what the Lord had ordained and had prophesied as it were, that is, three score and ten and four score by reason of strength.
THE PAST 100 YEARS IN AMERICA TRENDED UP
Now, there have been blips on the screen in the last couple of hundred years where it has reversed itself and gone the other way. You just mentioned one, the early ‘60s, that most people associate with what then was called “the Asian Flu” that ravaged the world. About 100 years ago was the previous time where you had multiple years of decreasing life expectancy and almost everyone agrees with the analysis that was because of the Spanish Flu.
Social Security was designed when the life expectancy was in the upper 60s and retirement at 65 so you would get your checks for three or four years. Well, now, people are living up closer to 80. You actually have the statistics for men and women, particularly.
TOM LAMPRECHT: Yeah, right now, men, 76.1 years, women, 81.1 years.
DR. REEDER: That gap is closing between men and women and a lot of people feel it’s because of the changes of lifestyle of men and women with the egalitarian movement – they now have the blessing of dying quicker.
WHAT’S CAUSING THE DECREASE?
We look at this movement of a multi-year decrease, why is it? Well, I would suggest three things that are contributing to it.
— First, a loss of focus upon valuing life and, thereby, protecting life, preserving life and caring for life which results in extending life through the medical profession. We now are hiring doctors to kill us. Now, I’m not saying that the number of assisted suicides – and mandated suicides, in some nations – but I do believe, when you get a Hippocratic Oath that tells you, “You will do nothing to harm life,” and now you have taken the medical profession, not simply to harm life, but to end life, that has an effect throughout all of the medical profession, making it much more of a formal profession then a professional calling.
Doctors, like ministers, were seen with a calling in the past that was life-oriented: ministers as the physicians of the soul and doctors as physicians of the body, but all valued life. I think that loss of valuing life is showing up in the medical care that’s given and the way it’s given and the advancements that are no longer being made because of the increasing socialization and governmental control of health care.
— The second thing that I would mention, right now, since Roe v. Wade, we have killed over 60 million children. Now, Tom, if you take the statistic of 60 million plus over these last years of the results of Roe v. Wade, my goodness, what would that statistic then look like? How many lives we have taken that were unborn, but yet were lives made in the image of God?
— And then, Tom, let me mention a third area in the news article that you pointed us to – in our society of escapism, in our society of Libertarianism, in our society of moral relativism and self-absorption, we now have gateway drugs such as marijuana leading people through the gate of drug use, prescription drug addictions, cocaine, heroin, and various other mechanisms of increased addiction.
And please know that in my generation that experimented with marijuana, the marijuana that came from the plants of my generation and the cultured marijuana of this generation is night and day in terms of its destructive powers.
And now we have this opioid addiction that is devastating. We have certain states, particularly in the northeast, that are being absolutely devastated by this. And opioid users are usually dying at young ages so I think the article was right to point us in that direction. While we don’t have a flu epidemic, we do have an opioid epidemic and that is, again, the result of our cultural devolution.
DOES ABORTION FACTOR IN?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, is it possible the statistics are actually worse than what we’re seeing? And I say that because, when you look at abortion, how many kids are diagnosed in the womb of having some flaw and the doctors recommend an abortion so the parents don’t have to worry about it.
DR. REEDER: People are going to push back and say, “Well, we don’t count abortions.” My point is the very act, itself, has an effect upon how we are dealing with life and how we value life and let me give you an example of that. Tom, do you remember, recently, that horrific church shooting in Sutherland, Texas?
Well, there was a big debate because you would look at articles – and I can’t remember the exact numbers, I should have done some research but let me just go ahead and use some numbers and I think I’m accurate – some reports said 28 had been killed and some said 27 had been killed and a paper said, “Who was right on those statistics?” Those who used the number 28 were acknowledging the fact that one of the people killed was a young woman who was pregnant and, when she died, the baby died.
Now, what’s interesting is, in our secular world and life view, we don’t count that as a life but, in the province of God, He counts it as a life, which is why there was a penalty upon those who would take the life of a woman with child in the Old Testament – they were guilty of a capital crime when they had done that against the child or if they had caused the death of a child because that is a person that is there.
Which, again, Tom, is why many of us continue to remember on the Sanctity of Life Sunday the horrific issue that abortion is and what it is doing to the soul of a nation, as well as to the lives of unborn children and women in crisis pregnancies.
TOMORROW’S FOCUS: CHRISTIANS IN PERSECUTION
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Wednesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, another set of statistics are in and they’re not good. The number of Christians murdered across the world in persecution, more than 3,000 in 2017.
DR. REEDER: Approximately 10 percent of professing Christians live in nations that are in the top ten of persecuting Christians – 1 out of every 10 of my brothers and sisters in Christ wake up every day in fear of governmental enforced and approved death because they are a Christian. What does the Bible say that we’re to do with that? May I ask our listeners to read a text and join us tomorrow? Read Hebrews 13:3 and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.