Ethicist Russell Moore reflected on the loneliness epidemic in the U.S., saying it should alarm believers that “the most ‘Christianized’ places in this country are also among the loneliest."
Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, explored on his website the various discussions regarding the loneliness epidemic that was reported on by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.
“Where there are not real communities, where people are genuinely connected via neighborhoods or churches or unions or civic organizations, people craving connection will seek to find substitutes, often through the hive-mind of social media or through the debased artificiality of pornography or, sometimes, even through violent, radical movements,” he warned.
“Many communities are, in fact, smothering, seeking to absorb the individual in the collective. That’s why, in the last century, Robert Nisbet asserted that genuine connectedness allows the flourishing of both the individual and the community, and that the alternative to this sort of community is, ultimately, statism. He was, and is, right,” Moore added.
Moore warned that this leads to people on the political Right being drawn to “blood-and-soil ethno-nationalist populism,” while those on the Left to “populist socialism.”
The ethicist argued that a Christian vision of humanity is necessary, which provides a balance.
“Too much aloneness, 'I am and there is no other' (Isa. 47:10), is the way of the devil. But too much community, 'Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?' (Rev. 13:4), is too,” Moore wrote.
The passage in question in Revelation, the final book of the Bible, is in the context of the people of the world "worshiping the beast” in the form of a dragon, part of the End Times narrative.
The Christian author and speaker reflected that the Bible “reaches us personally and individually, one sheep at a time (Matt. 18:12), but then places us in a flock (Jn. 10:16). Like a body, the Church functions together, serving one another and worshiping the same Lord (1 Cor. 12:12-31).”
He continued: “And yet, for the sake of future community, lonely prophetic voices must often stand alone, calling the people away from the herd and toward the narrow way (Gal. 1:10, 2:5).”
He warned that “the fact that the most ‘Christianized’ places in this country are also among the loneliest should be alarming to us of just how far we have drifted from seeing the biblical picture of the Gospel, which balances for us the personal and the communal, the one and the many, the individual and the community.”
The much-talked about loneliness "pandemic" or epidemic was also tackled by Eric Metaxas and Stan Guthrie of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in an op-ed in The Christian Post earlier this year.
Metaxas and Guthrie pointed out that starting with the Garden of Eden in the Bible, humans "were created for community under God's loving care, and when we don't get it, bad things happen."
"We'll attempt to fill our restless, lonely hearts with whatever is nearest at hand," they wrote.
"One lesson for the church is obvious: We must remember we are one Body in Jesus Christ. No member goes it alone. In a culture in which everyone seems 'connected' doesn't even know their next-door neighbors, Christians are members one of another."