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?
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