12 Jun 3 Reasons For Mass Killings (hint: not one is guns)
We live in a sad day. I remember when Columbine happened. It was my spring break. We were on our way to visit my cousins who actually attended Columbine at the time. Back then the idea of mass shootings was unthinkable. It was strange, rare, unexpected. Today, not even twenty years later, it seems almost a weekly occurrence. Half the time, we don’t even hear about it any more. What has changed in the last twenty years and what can we do to fix it?
For starters, I believe in the power of prayer, but #Prayfor____ is not enough, especially if you’re not really praying. The idea of prayer has been relegated to a cultural platitude for a Godless people in times of turmoil. Contrary to popular opinion God is not a magic genie that is subject to our whims. We think we can deny his existence and then hashtag the word prayer and act like we’re doing something. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that isn’t how it works. Second, we need to recognize the real sources of the problems and address each one of them. Third, we must act -prayerfully yes, but action is necessary.
Contrary to the media narrative, its not the weaponry that is to blame. It’s not that guns are more prevalent, it’s that our nation/world is growing rapidly sicker (Read The Gay Science: Terribly Accurate Prophecy from a 19th Century Atheist for more on this). Before you go jumping down my throat for not blaming guns, let me share a few things. Though I am what would be considered conservative by our extremely left-leaning pop culture, I don’t like guns. I don’t really like being around them. In an ideal world, I wish they didn’t exist and I am actually for reasonable gun control. I am not a pacifist, but I am not far from one, at least theologically (you’ll see why in point two).
Nevertheless, 1) I am not foolish enough to blame the tool for its users abuse. 2) I am not idealistic enough to believe that we can keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. 3) I am experienced enough in life to know that where there is a will there is a way and if someone is so far gone that they are willing and desiring to kill large groups of people, they probably don’t need a gun to make it happen. Get rid of the guns, and we’ll just have more bombings – and getting rid of them is even less possible. Therefore, while I am all for discussing (and acting on) reasonable gun control, we really need to turn our attention to the real sources of the issues, while making reasonable adjustments to our gun policies where needed (but keep the effectiveness of those things within rational limits). I have listed three below.
Let’s be honest. You have to be pretty messed up in the head to want to go around killing random people. Psychological instability is reaching epidemic proportions. It is frightening that despite having the largest knowledge base in history, along with the most advanced medical treatments, we are seeing more and more psychological issues. This is worthy of a whole other discussion. Nevertheless, insanity is a big issue that we need to deal with – and our current methods are not producing good results.
2. Religious Extremism
Islam certainly seems the main culprit here, but it is also not alone. Murder in the name of Christ, while perhaps rare today, is not uncommon throughout history. Passion often breeds extremism and those strong beliefs can do a great deal of harm if they are not love-centered beliefs. That is why we need to be careful what beliefs we are promoting, what we are exposing our children to, and what cultural values we espouse as a nation. *To Christians, recognize that Christianity tends to get mixed in with national beliefs wherever it goes. That means that not all “brands” of Christianity are the same. Many who come in the name of Christ are really coming in the name of other beliefs. We must have discernment to see the heart behind the moniker.
A friend of mine recently told me about two Christian missionaries (husband and wife) who went abroad. The two were attacked. The man was strapped down and forced to watch as his wife was violated by eight men. Years later the couple returned to the region on another missionary journey where they encountered their attackers, forgave them, ministered to them, and trained the attackers to become ministers. The story both sickens me and places me in a state of awe. My theology recognizes the power and beauty of this story. My Christianity tells me that forgiveness and mercy part of God’s divine nature – one that all should aspire to. But my natural desire would be to torture and kill anyone who harmed my family. Today, each of those men is in ministry, forgiven by God and that couple. Not only were their earthly lives valued, but their eternal souls saved.
The point is this. What value for life, what value for a man’s soul must one have to choose to return to such a place of hurt? This couple exemplifies the teaching and actions of Christ. After having his flesh ripped from his bones, Jesus forgave those who tortured Him to death. Why? Because Jesus’ understanding informed his value of their life and their eternal soul. Belief systems, be they deistic or not, can produce great passion – depending on those beliefs that passion can lead someone to divine forgiveness or hateful violence against humanity. We must acknowledge the reality of various beliefs, face the lies head on and promote those loving beliefs which speak to the worth and precious nature of each and every human – be they gay or straight, Christian or Islamic, Theistic or Atheistic, etc. Christ died for the whole world and we owe it to the whole world to show them His love.
I was an atheist/agnostic for most of my life. Unlike the secular humanists who attempt to add a relative morality and personal meaning onto the idea of an impersonal and amoral existence, I was of the more honest, nihilistic variety. As an atheist, I knew well that if there was no God and no eternity, then there are no ethics, no meaning to life, and no hope beyond our present suffering. This ugly reality leaves many feeling confused, directionless, and angry. I myself experienced these emotions in my youth. I was depressed, violent, suicidal, and vengeful. It all spun from my atheistic worldview. These are common traits among many of the shooters.
Our children are being taught that people are nothing but highly evolved animals, uncreated and directionless. We’ve exalted the self above all else and told people they should just be happy. When that doesn’t come they feel lied to (because they were/are), alone (because without God we are), and hopeless (because without eternity, we only have this short life which is filled with the suffering we see around us). What kind of life is that? What way is that to view people? It’s no wonder we are going around killing one another.
We live in confused and violent times. You can’t blame guns for the shooters. Even if you do, you can’t get rid of them. Even if you did, mankind’s evil will always find a way to kill. Nevertheless, reasonable actions should be taken to reduce gun-related killings (be they against individuals or large groups). In addition to healthy gun policies, we really need to focus on the ever-expanding depravity of our culture. We need legitimate healing in our collective mind, bodies, and souls. Our nation needs reformation and our world needs revival. We need to pick up the mantle of Great Commission and truly make disciples of all nations, teaching them to glorify God in all that we do.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What can we do to end these senseless killings? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation.