Our Nation’s Terrible Tragedies Are a Symptom of a Disconnected America

Dr. Richard Land | March 15, 2018 | 12:47pm EDT
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The young gunman in the tragic Parkland, Florida, massacre on Valentine’s Day was officially charged last week with 17 counts of murder. Questions still loom: “What went wrong?” “Why didn’t someone listen to or heed the warning signs?” “What could have been done to prevent it?”

The increasingly scary headlines point to a deep-seated problem in the culture.

The Parkland, Florida, shooting and the seemingly endless cycle of violence that we have witnessed over the past few years is truly frightening. These terrible tragedies are symptoms—a sign that something has gone terribly wrong in our society. We have disconnected from one another. Long before the economic crash of 2008, we experienced a “social crash.” Millions of Americans are alone and lonely, more than they have ever been before.”

According to Johann Hari, author of “Lost Connections,” our sense of community has evaporated.

Social scientists and researchers have been asking the question for many years: “How many confidants do you have?” They wanted to know how many people you could turn to in a crisis or when something really good happened to you. When they started doing the studies several decades ago, the average number of close friends an American had was three. By 2004, the most common answer was none. It is worth noting that there are now more Americans who say they have no close friends rather than any other option.


We have disconnected from our communities; we have disbanded our tribes. We are trying to see if Americans or any human beings can truly live healthy and vibrant when alone, and the answer is no. They can’t because God created us for fellowship with Him as well as with each other. Human beings malfunction when they are alone, and more and more Americans are alone even when they are gathered in the same place.

This disconnection, contrary to what the Creator intended, may be a result of technology, an increasingly secular society or a host of other reasons.

One thing is clear, God created the world full of people for a reason and a purpose. Man was not intended to be alone. And our culture is increasingly displaying the detrimental effects of people living outside of meaningful community.

Dr. Richard Land is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and former president (1988-2013) of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families.


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