ARCHIVES:

Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

4/30/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Who is to blame?

By Dave, the WM

The Virginia Tech shootings are fading from the major media's short-lived stage, but Christian rhetoric is continuing to lay the blame for the tragedy at the feet of non-theists.

Atheism has become very popular in universities--where it's taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn't be surprised when there are school shootings. -- Kirk Cameron


An atheist ... has absolutely no grounds for condemning Cho's actions ... If human and animal history is reliable, massacre is as natural as sex. Therefore, in the absence of God, nothing is wrong. World Net Daily News


Others are blaming gun laws and still others blame inaction on the part of school authorities.

Who to blame seems fairly simple to me. The shooter apparently became more and more deranged over time until he became a danger to himself and others. Assigning blame to anyone or anything beyond that one thing is a bit unrealistic. Let's face it, some people are nuts and do nutty things. Mental illness has nothing to do with prayer in school, or violent Bugs Bunny cartoons, or Internet porn, or Three Stooges episodes, for that matter, Bible-God's Old Testament genocidal commands. A certain percentage of the population is mentally disabled in some way, and people are hurt by them. That's why we have law enforcement. That's why we have the military.

Insanity in a percentage of the population is to be expected, really. The brain is just an organ, and is subject to at least as much malfunction and error as any other of the flawed, non-intelligently designed organs in our bodies.

So, in my opinion, there is really no one to blame, and there is no way to keep things like this from happening in the future. Put together a few billion people on one planet and eventually someone is going to do something weird. That's just the way it is.

One thing that fascinates me about this whole episode is how some Christians are insisting that a lack of religious training in public schools and/or a lack of prayer in public schools and/or the teaching of modern science in public schools, are the root causes for random outbreaks of violence.

Can that be true? Just because public schools aren't teaching, preaching, or promoting religion – that is why there is random, illogical violence?

Perhaps these Christian rhetoricians are well-intentioned, but I wonder if they even realize what they are advocating: governmentally mandated religion.

History is replete with examples of countries that went down the road of mandating religion. Today we have some colorful contemporary examples of governments that mandate religion. Do Christians really want to open up that Pandora's Box in the United States, a box that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, and many others locked and closed?

I think there might be another reason Christians are playing the blame game. Perhaps the finger should be pointed at the religious community itself. Surely the churches of the living GOD, which are scattered everywhere throughout the entire United States, are not admitting to a stark powerlessness when it comes to influencing the hearts of men, are they? I mean, is Christianity so pathetically irrelevant to the average person's life that it requires the intervention of the public education system in order to promote its message?

Are Christians saying that without governmental intervention, the Holy Spirit's power to effect change is impotent? Is that why these random acts of violence occur? Because their almighty deity needs the Viagra of governmental authority to drive home HIS limp agenda?

Or, perhaps Christianity is to blame for these random acts of violence because its leaders have diluted, warped, misused, or otherwise weakened the once all-powerful and magical effects of the cross. As any good politician will tell you, pointing gnarled fingers at others often successfully diverts attention away from the real culprit.

Right and wrong

Atheism, claim Christians, provides no basis for judging right from wrong. Atheism, say Christians, gives murder and non-murder an equal moral value. Therefore, governmental schools, by being secular in nature, promote atheistic immorality, and are to blame for societal ills. That, add Christians, is certainly a problem.

Let's say, for philosophic and argument's sake, that what Christians say is true. Since atheism acknowledges no god, then perhaps there is no divinely mandated divisions between right and wrong. Regardless, no one has a moral sense because of words written in a book. I have a moral sense because of my parents, and because of societal influences, because of evolutionary programming, and because I'm not currently deranged. I learned right from wrong from my family, through trial and error, and because of my genetic predispositions. For instance, I don't particularly care for hunting or fishing, and I don't enjoy squashing insects. I don't believe killing and eating the bodies of animals is wrong, but I occasionally find the entire life from death process distasteful. Killing and eating other species, just because we can, seems a bit barbaric at times. Necessary, but barbaric. I'm not a vegan, but... there are large populations of people who believe killing and eating animals is morally wrong.

I once thought masturbation was a terrible sin. That's what I was taught by Christianity, and as a young person, every time I was aroused and hormonally tortured, I felt horrible, begging for forgiveness. If I submitted to the urge, and touched myself, I was mortified. I now consider the practice of masturbation amoral, not necessarily good nor bad. Think about it, is scratching an itch on your own body a sin? Is scratching the crack of your ass wrong? Is picking your nose and flicking your snot sinful? Maybe these aren't things that can be politely done in public, but are they really morally wrong? Yet, because of the way people are taught to think about their sex organs, by Christianity, some people suffer severe guilt whenever they feel the need to privately relieve themselves of a natural, and demanding, hormonal itch.

Is slavery wrong? Not according to the Bible. And not according to hundreds of preachers in the pre-Civil War American South. Slavery is now illegal, thank no-God. And few Christian leaders would support the reinstitution of that particular crime against humanity. But, Bible God instituted the practice and supported it. Torture isn't even condemned in the Bible. In fact, Bible God threatens all who lack belief in HIM with everlasting torture in Hell.

No, words in a book do not an angel make. And lack of words from a mystical holy book do not a demon make. Governmental mandates will not stop random acts of violence, and ranting and raving about atheists will not make Christianity true.

I don't think Christianity is to blame for the horror at Virgina Tech, but neither are atheists. The fault lies with the fragile nature of our bodies, our minds, and our lives.

What do you think?

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

14 comments:

david ellis said...

Regarding the issue of morality, christianity and atheism, it recently occurred to me that I have NEVER heard of an atheist pedophile. Not a single one. I did a search to see if I could find an example. And I still have yet to find one.

I wonder if there are any studies or statistics giving information on whether pedophilia is less common among atheists than religous believers....and if so, why.

Anonymous said...

we shouldnt be surprised when people who believe in fairy tales blame the people that do not believe in their f'd up illogical beliefs, for those actions which are predetermined, according to their f'd up belief system. hey Kirk, is armageddon here yet?

MITCH said...

I SEE CHRISTIANS ARE STILL TRYING 2 BLAME NON BELIEVERS 4 ALL THE WORLDS ILLS. AND WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THIS PSYCHO SHOOTER BEING AN ATHEIST? THEY ACT AS THOUGH PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN THE BIBLEGOD WOULD NEVER COMMIT A CRIME. DIDN'T BIBLEGOD COMMIT MASS MURDER NUMEROUS TIMES? SO WHY WOULDN'T ANY OF HIS FOLLOWERS?

Troy Waller said...

Kirk Cameron needs to GO TO university and get an education so he can stop spouting emotive, groundless sh*t like that. It's such a propagandist line that it really doesn't even have a ring of superficial truth. Why can't they see that? Why couldn't we when we were in there? Oh well.

As an aside, I actually feel sorry for Kirk you know, he's been hoodwinked by Ray Comfort and other Xian "fame whores" who attach themselves to people like Kirk use them for their own purposes. On the one hand, people in Church condemn Hollywood and superstardom as being 'of the world' but then do back flips to get close to, and use, anyone famous who comes into the fold: Bob Dylan, Mr T, that least talented Baldwin brother. Let's face it, if you REALLY wanna be a success in Xian ministry, ignore what your pastor tells you, go out and make it big in the entertainment industry then come back and get your own TV show on TBN.

Chris said...

I think that when you watch Dateline or 20-20 and hear of a pastor that snaps, killing his wife and kids, or perhaps even people that he doesn't even know, Christians should have an extremely difficult time explaining away his behavior and showing us how it's different from Cho's. The reason is that it's not different. People snap. Religion is not a factor.

Anonymous said...

I hear an echo from the past, and what I hear is, "The Jews are responsible for the Reichstag fire; the Jews are responsible for Germany's humiliating defeat in WWI; the Jews are responsible for the Depression, etc, etc. Just change the problems and put atheists (or gays) in place of Jews...

Tim said...

"I think there might be another reason Christians are playing the blame game. Perhaps the finger should be pointed at the religious community itself. Surely the churches of the living GOD, which are scattered everywhere throughout the entire United States, are not admitting to a stark powerlessness when it comes to influencing the hearts of men, are they? I mean, is Christianity so pathetically irrelevant to the average person's life that it requires the intervention of the public education system in order to promote its message?

Are Christians saying that without governmental intervention, the Holy Spirit's power to effect change is impotent? Is that why these random acts of violence occur? Because their almighty deity needs the Viagra of governmental authority to drive home HIS limp agenda?"

Excellent. I need to remeber that the next time someone brings up ID or really anything organized (uh, like church? heheh)

Tim

Telmi said...

WM

Really, there is nothing much to add to what you have already covered.

The only thing I want to add is to say to God-worshippers: Please evaluate the value of your prayer and the 3Os that you attribute to your God, and then ask: Does he really exist? Or exists only in biblical pages or in your imagination?

THE ACE said...

Way back in the 60's, I recall reading about a Christian group
named "Kill a Commie for Christ".
And a few years ago, Jimmie Swaggart, that bastion of morality,
said he ever ever saw "a queer"
looking at him in a certain way,
he would kill him.

And the Crusades and the Inquisition? When it comes to mass
killing, the Christian church
can hold its own with anyone.

Spirula said...

Dave,

As always, excellent, concise writing.

I always try to point out that the anthropological data shows that the ethical code of humans is pretty much consistent throughout the globe, regardless of civilized vs tribal or one religion vs another. Invariably, Xians say something along the lines of "innate knowledge of good and evil", which immediately undermines the need for "divine" revelation (aka Ten Commandments) about morality.

And as to the charge of having no absolute morality, it doesn't exist anywhere. That's right, Christians don't have one either. Read the Bible and tell me killing is wrong (numerous sanction killings/genocide). Adultery (Abraham, David, Solomon). Stealing (the nation of Isreal invasions). Coveting (who lived in the "land of milk and honey" first and who "coveted" it?) Rape (what's the penalty if she is a virgin?). Honoring parents? Remember what Jesus said about his impact on families? Worshipping one god? Explain how the Trinity fits into that? (Yeah, the illogical, schizophrenic "three persons, one being" thingy doesn't do it).

(BTW, my kids used to watch Growing Pains, and I saw some of the episodes. I especially disliked Kirk Cameron's character...a real dick. I see nothing has changed.)

.:webmaster:. said...

As an off-topic aside, KC's current fee for a single personal appearance is $10,000. He and his side-kick, RC, make numerous personal appearances throughout the year, peddling their anti-science, anti-intellectual religious entertainment.

If you are an actor and the secular stage finds you less than attractive, there is always the lucrative Christian entertainment circuit waiting in the wings.

D Laurier said...

Wait, Didnt Cho himself hold some form of christian belief system? Albeit screwed up untill Cho thought he was Jesus...
But still...


... Cho was clearly not an atheist, And clearly not under the influence or control of any atheist.
Indeed he was quite theisticly inclined.

D Laurier said...

I had to choose my identity over 25 times befor it would post

Philip said...

I'd personally rather have NO divine idea of right and wrong than a BAD divine idea of right and wrong.