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A View from the Altar / The Aurora massacre
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The Aurora massacre

A few nights ago in Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes put on body armor, gathered up his guns, and went to the movie theater to murder as many people as he could.  Knowing police would identify him and come to his house, he left it booby trapped, hoping to kill cops when they came.  Twelve victims have so far died, and various reports show anywhere from 50-odd to 70 wounded.  The cops managed to disarm the booby traps without setting them off.

People are asking, and there’s no good answer, what kind of a mind thinks of doing something like this?  There are people for whom everything in life is political, and they started talking gun control… as if gun control could ever prevent a killer from getting a weapon.  At least one ABC reporter tried to make a connection to the Tea Party because there was a “James Holmes” in Aurora who is a Tea Party member.  Oops… different guy by the same name.

I don’t know why a madman casts out firebrands, arrows, and death (Pr 26:18).  And certainly nobody can say why this guy or that guy sets out to slay people.  We know what the killers say of themselves, sometimes, but it’s always an assemblage of nutcase stuff from obviously demented people.  Anders Brevik, the mass murderer of Norway, claimed he was saving the country from invading Moslem hordes by killing 77 Norwegian teens, none of whom was a Moslem.  Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.  He was fond of government conspiracy theories, having visited Area 51 and other places, and believed he was eliminating “Socialist Wannabe Slaves” by murdering office workers.

What, then, can be said about all this?  The world is fallen and peopled with sinners, some of whom are just outright savages.  And our society makes this a bit worse by encouraging what has been called “a culture of death.”  Many people have noted with irony that mass murder in a movie theater was portrayed in a Batman comic book several years ago.  It’s a radical idea, but maybe Hollywood should consider changing how it tries to entertain people.  No, I’m not talking government control of the movie industry, but self control by responsible adults.

In the end, we have to face the fact that there are madmen in the world, and that no civil action by society is capable of eliminating the threat they pose.  I’d need to be convinced we can even reduce it.

That leaves us with a deeply dissatisfying conclusion.  The world is sick, full of violent evil, and is not fixable.  Confronting this sort of evil, man is literally at the end of himself.  We are up against ultimate limitations.  What we need is a Savior.

Hope, then, comes from outside this world.  Healing is not generated by bootstrapping better humans from the same race that now breeds the killers.  Man in his natural state cannot be educated, cajoled, or governed into the sort of creature that won’t ever commit an Aurora shooting.  Something has to change the world and the individuals who live in it.

And this is where the Gospel comes in.  There is a new world coming, the gates of which were opened by the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary.  To prep you for the new world, you must become a new man, born of the Spirit and ready for an eternal kingdom “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Pe 3:13) If there’s another hope, let alone a better one, the longing heart of the world has never yet heard it.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

One Comment

  1. What I find interesting is that, in ancient times, all madness was seen (by christians) as the work of satan whether the person was possessed or acted within a lesser degree of cooperating with the enemy. And to that end, they required a spiritual remedy. Not just hearing the Gospel, but being prayed over, laying on of hands and anointed, etc.

    Nowadays, even christians will compartmentalize insane behavior and seek a bevy of medical treatments for it — with the exception of a spiritual remedy. My feeling is, all madness/violence has the same root and without addressing THAT, we’re constantly putting band-aids over broken people.

    Posted on 26-Jul-12 at 9:13 am | Permalink

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