It a petty and a common thing for kids to act out, to retaliate, or it used to be back in the dark ages when I was in school. Danny would sneak up behind you in the hall and administer a super-wedgie, which led to a basketball thrown to the back of his head. The next response was a serious elbow to the chops during a basketball game, and so it went. One thing leading to another, each act requiring retribution and each act escalating over the previous one.
Or bullying: picking on someone because they are different or weak or because the bully just could. Maybe the victim crossed the bully at some point. Maybe the bully was the victim of a really funny gag perpetrated by the weaker kid, which could not be left alone.
In response to the shootings in Colorado, we find the following “explanations” from the religious evangelical right:
Matt Barber, founder of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit public interest law firm that defends “Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family,” blames Planned Parenthood, “turning our back on God” and America’s abortion “culture of death” for the theater killings:
Let me be clear: Am I comparing this incredibly wicked, illegal mass murder at Aurora’s Century Theatre to the incredibly wicked, legal mass murder committed at Planned Parenthoods across the country each day? Absolutely – and you can quote me on it.
Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries, blames it on secularism, which he says taught Americans not to fear God or Hell:
Why do things like this happen?
I can’t help but feel that to some extent, we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing as a society. We said to God, “Get out of the public arena.” Lawsuit after lawsuit, often by misguided “civil libertarians,” have chased away any fear of God in the land — at least in the hearts of millions…
Tens of millions of young people in this culture seem to have no fear of God. It’s becoming too commonplace that some frustrated person will go on a killing spree of random people. If they kill themselves, they think it’s all over. But that’s like going from the frying pan into the fire. Where’s the fear of God in our society? I don’t think people would do those sorts of things if they truly understood the reality of Hell.
Fred Jackson, the American Family Association’s news director, blamed Hollywood movies, the liberal media and liberal churches:
Jackson: In the community there were community standards that reflected biblical principles, whether people knew it or not, the standard in the community was based on Scripture. In that short period of time, roughly forty years, we have seen such a transformation in values in our communities, whether it’s rural or whether it’s big city. I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.
Newcombe: I think that’s so true. It’s as if we said to God, publicly or in the public arena, ‘get out, You’re not welcome here anymore’ and it’s as if God removed His protection from our land.
This is what happens when you have to believe that everything that happens in this world is either permitted or allowed or performed by an Omnipotent God, when everything is according to this God’s will—when you cannot live with the knowledge that sometimes bad things just happen because bad things just happen—God must have a reason for it.
The “X happened because we are a sinful nation,” we shake our fists at God, we exclude God from the basketball game or we pick him last, after the skinny asthmatic kid who cannot dribble a ball or shoot the ball. When we do this, when we slight God, He, according to many of the evangelical right, causes either a hurricane to come, or an earthquake or a mass shooting. Or, according to Newcombe, He removes his protective hand from us to allow evil to happen. It’s Old Testament wrath of God stuff.
Because one group defies Him by allowing an LGBT person to have civil rights, He causes or allows the mass murder of innocents. Why? Because we have sinned or we have offended Him or we have slighted Him by removing a set of rules that are mostly ignored—even by those claiming Him to be the one and only God—from the courthouse lawn.
Acts not nearly as egregious would be harshly punished if a child did them; when God does them, it is somehow supposed to inspire respect and awe and worship.
Listen, evangelicals: not all Christians believe this. You do not speak for the rest of Christianity. It is because you shout this from the rooftops every time something happens that Christianity is derided.
Listen, the rest of Christianity—and by this, I mean the vast majority of Christians—you have to start being very vocal about the lunacy of a God who throws temper tantrums in the mall food court because he had to have a taco instead of ice cream.
The God I believe in does not need our love or respect or worship, but He loves us whether or not we love or worship or fear Him.
So, how do I explain bad things happening? I do not blame God. God was not present in any form—whether that be allowing or causing—in that theater in Colorado. That is us, people.
We have seen the enemy, Pogo said, and he is us.
Oh, who am I kidding? Laying all this on a jealous and infantile God, whose actions would result in serious punishment were they done by our child, for some reason provides comfort to a small and very vocal minority of Christianity, and it is this small minority of Christians, not the rest of us, who will cause the religion to die.
picture is from this site