In an editorial (10.3.2017), the Columbus Dispatch admonished readers “not to leap to conclusions about how best to combat this kind of violence” before the facts are all in. The kind of violence the editorial had in mind was that perpetrated by a morally deranged man in Las Vegas, having killed nearly sixty people and injured eight times as many!
One man, however, produced a commentary meme (on Facebook) about how much easier it is to own a particular firearm than it is at being a barber. He would resist my characterization of his commentary-jumping to a conclusion, but in this context, he certainly did. He has often spoken in favor of gun-control (as a very thoughtful man, though one may disagree with him, his words need to be considered).
The man guilty of a deranged act was himself morally deranged. He fires and hope to escape judgment. Escape, he did not. Though he killed himself to escape police arrest. He now is before the Lord Almighty! In a context where the writer speaks of why Jesus came to this earth, and that He is coming again, the Holy Spirit said this: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, KJV). The morally deranged man did not escape judgment. Yet, in our society, one would not know this at all; apart from some religious folk, nothing is said about such things.
Though the Dispatch heeded us to be more discriminating in conclusion jumping, they also noted the frequency of gun violence escalating in society. What kind of solution is there to these violent atrocities? They admit there are no easy solutions, but a number of options are available to be pursued. Such options are 1) better mental health care, 2) “regulations making it harder for people with mental illness and those with violent pasts top own guns”, 3) “aggressive enforcement against illegal sales.”
Perhaps these suggestions are worthy of serious consideration, but the one solution that should have been proffered, but was not is what is most troubling. The solution I have in mind is much longer in implementation, at the very least a generation’s amount of time. But, given the “solutions” in place already, “the deep cultural rift that makes the problem so difficult to even talk about” will be, and currently are, a waste of time.
What solution do I have in mind?
In the latest issue of Apologetics Press (October 2017, p. 10), Kyle Butt wrote a brief article on how “people all over the world associate atheism with immorality.” It is true, and recognized within the article, that some atheists are moral people. Their morality, however, is not based on atheistic ideology, but an ideology that has its source in theism. It is theism, especially Christian theism, that speaks of transcendent love, kindness, courtesy, respect and behavioral qualities of this sort. Of course, atheists will affirm the same, but as mentioned, they have no foundational reason to do such. Moreover, what separates atheistic approach from the Christian approach is its lack of accountability.
Christian philosophy/ideology teaches that actions and thoughts lived on this earth are accountable to Almighty God, who will bring all into judgment. “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31, KJV). Atheism can’t give any good reason for a moral foundation that obligates man to act in a certain way; all atheistic ideology can hope to accomplish is that others agree with them, with society compelling behavior norms; of course, this is not a morality based on moral virtue of a righteous Judge, but a “morality” based on self-preservation. Yet, as we look at society as it has implemented this approach, not much is accomplished.
On the other hand, in accordance with the Lord’s way, Jesus said “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). In this exhortation from the Lord we have: 1) a community standard (peace), 2) there is a moral standard (holiness), 3) and accountability.
Yes, it is true the morally deranged will not heed the Lord’s counsel. It’s also true, the Lord’s way is the best solution known to man; man won’t implement, however, because he wants an atheistic society.