Deaths by drug overdose, particularly from the class of heroin-containing drugs known as opioids are generally high. But there is one demographic that constitutes only 32% of America’s population but accounts for over 70% of opioid deaths—single men. They do stand out, but there is another group that stands out even more conspicuously for deaths by crime, overdose, suicide and disease. Their statistics are even worse than for single men in general. This group is men who are not fathers. They are the most dangerous and the most vulnerable group in the United States.
Not only are they vulnerable but by far and away, men who are not fathers and who never had fathers themselves, perpetrate most violent crime. Mass shooters are overwhelmingly single men but there are exceptions. For instance, Stephen Paddock, the 2017 Las Vegas shooter, had been married twice and had a girlfriend. However, he had never been a father. If instead of identifying them as single men, we identify men who are not fathers, that pretty much covers all the mass shooters in recent American history.
For purposes of these statistics, father doesn’t mean any man who has impregnated a woman. It refers only to men who play an active role in the lives of their children. And men who fail to do so are harming both society and themselves. Nothing comes even close to restraining risky and self-destructive behavior in men than feeling responsibility for a child. Unsurprisingly, the insurance industry knows that while some men buy life insurance when they marry, most do after the birth of their first child.
In the late 1950s Japan implemented its birth-control program called the New Life Movement. By the 1960s it was in full swing and together with their enactment of the Eugenic Protection Act (legalization of abortion) in ten short years they had halved Japan’s fertility rate. For a number of reasons aggravating the trend men stopped marrying, a pattern that continues in Japan to the present day. One unintended consequence is Japan’s contemporary plague of “kodokushi” meaning “lonely death.” This refers to people dying alone and being discovered in some cases, only weeks later. According to Tokyo’s Meiji University, almost all kodokushi cases involve men who never had children.
Men who become fathers, real fathers, are doing both themselves and society a favor. Obviously no man becomes a father without the cooperation of a woman. Not only is her compliance required for the biological process, but usually unless she promotes the role of the man in her child’s life, he will have none.
Sadly, however, a woman becoming a mother is not necessarily doing herself and her neighborhood a favor. It all depends upon the presence of a father. Without the active involvement of the father, her chances of living in poverty and becoming dependent upon her fellow citizens through the welfare system are very high. Without the child’s father being involved in the day to day nurturing of a boy, her son stands a very high chance of criminal involvement. Without the child’s father being involved in the day to day nurturing of a girl, she too faces challenges. These are, to quote someone-or-other, very inconvenient truths. In summary, a shortage of fathers brings tragic outcomes.
So, I am not surprised that although there are 1,534 verses in the Book of Genesis, it takes only 55 verses to reach the first mention of ‘father’ and ‘mother.’
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife…
In other words, only about 3% of the way into Genesis, we encounter the concept of establishing families. We see emphasis on mothers and fathers again in the Fifth Commandment:
Honor your father and your mother…
And in other places like this:
Every man must revere his mother and his father…
That seems about right for something as fundamental as family is to the human experience. Now if secularists are right and Scripture is nothing but a compendium of ancient ramblings by a bunch of bored Bedouins, there is nothing more to say. Life is too short to waste time analyzing something so trite. However, if this is God’s message to mankind, subtle patterns are important. Which is to say that I am curious about why Genesis contains more than 90 mentions of the word father but only 19 mentions of the word mother. After all, surely they go together? To have one you need the other.
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that God’s message to mankind wastes no ink telling us things we already know. A close relationship between a child and its mother is completely natural. Just visit YouTube to see baby giraffes or baby zebras being born and bonding with their mothers. Fathers? Nowhere to be seen. When we acquired our beautiful llama, Llucky, he was reluctant to leave his mother. He clearly knew or cared nothing about his father. Sadly, as God’s message to mankind becomes less and less relevant in public policy and in social life, our human communities increasingly resemble nature. Children are born, bond with their mothers and know nothing of their fathers. (As society disintegrates further, we do even worse than nature, producing women who harm their own children.)
To teach us of this disastrous state of affairs, ideally before we fall off the cliff as Japan seems to have done, Genesis emphasizes the role of fathers five times more often than it speaks of mothers. Yes, we get the role of mothers. Even nature in the wild gets the role of mothers. But for a civilized human society you need fathers. That needs to be emphasized.
Far more than a father gives life to a child, a child grants life to its father.