Another senseless act of random violence in America has made the headlines. This time there was a random shooting in a movie theater, during the opening night of The Dark Knight. This was the midnight showing in Aurora, Colo., just outside of Denver.
As of this writing, 14 people are reported to be dead, and 50 injured. The alleged shooter was a 24-year-old white male, who was wearing a bulletproof vest and a gas mask. He reportedly acted alone, using tear gas and firing three guns.
How do we make sense out of this kind of thing? 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.
The shooting was like a scene out of a scary movie. One witness said, “It was very hard to breathe. I told my brother to take cover. It took a while. I started seeing flashes and screaming, I just saw blood and people yelling and a quick glimpse of the guy who had a gas mask on. I was pushed out. There was chaos, we started running” (ABC News, 7/20/12).
It is clear that 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. The founders gave us a system where voluntary God-fearing was the underpinning of civility in society. The more internal restraints people have, the less need they have for external restraints. (And the converse is true.) That’s why I can’t understand the ongoing crusade of those who want to remove any vestige of Judeo-Christian in the public arena. All they’re doing is making everything worse for everyone else.
Religion and morality were key to the founders’ vision for a civil society. In his Farewell Address, George Washington highlighted the source of morality: “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Will somebody please tell that to these civil libertarian lawyers always suing against public displays or the Ten Commandments and the like?
When Osama bin Laden was finally killed in May 2011, a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll released shortly after found that 61 percent of the public thought he went to hell, thus showing that a lot of Americans still believe in hell.
I know in my natural state I am worthy of hell before a holy God, who doesn’t grade on the curve. I am eternally grateful that on the cross Jesus went to hell for me, so I don’t have to. The next time someone wants to take out their frustrations on others by killing innocent victims, they ought to consider the eternal consequences of their evil actions.