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Yes, it's easy to explain why mass shootings are happening so often, but most don't want to hear it
It's not guns. It's not "mental health." It's much more fundamental than that.
God is the source of all goodness. You can refuse to believe that if you want. That doesn't make it any less true.
God is also the source of all understanding of right and wrong, and contrary to some who inexplicably insist we can't really know the mind of God, He has revealed to us in His Word exactly what He needs us to understand.
Why do I start with this? I start with this because I'm going to talk about evil in the context of mass shootings, particularly the one in Sutherland Springs on Sunday. It troubles us less to talk about these things in the context of "mental health," or to blame guns. We sound less judgmental when we use terms like that, and in modern-day parlance there would appear to be no greater sin than the calling out of sin.
But let's upset these oh-so-delicate sensibilities and call something what it is: There are in this world terrible people who do terrible things, and they do them because they are terrible people. They are evil. They do not care if you live or die. They do not care if your loved ones are heartbroken. In fact, if anything, they hope for that to happen because they gain satisfaction in the anguish of others.
Devin Patrick Kelley was such a person. He was evil. He wanted to murder people and he did. Lots of them. From what we're hearing about him, he was evil in other ways too, but all of it pretty well pales once you're a murderer 26 times over. I have no idea if he was "sick." I don't care. He was a terrible person who sowed violence, sadness and horror. He wrecked lives. And that's what he meant to do.
I'm not going to say I'm glad he's dead because God is sovereign over that. But I'm not going to pretend he wasn't evil. That would be absurd.
But when you talk about evil, a lot of silly questions tend to get asked. Can you define evil objectively? Can you identify where it comes from? What causes it? Is it possible that evil doesn't really exist because every person has to decide for himself or herself what right and wrong are? Is morality such a moving and nebulous target that we're better off thinking in terms of cold self-interest and not even trying to make the case that certain things are wrong by definition?
These are all stupid questions. I don't care how many people ask them. They're stupid. But questions like this get asked in a society that has made a willful and active choice to disregard and push aside the source of all life, truth, light and understanding. God makes all of these matters clear to us. What current American culture has done is dismiss God's revelation and choose instead to invent its own ways of defining and understanding things.
Now I haven't even mentioned yet the fact that Kelley was an atheist, and quite an aggressive one at that. I haven't mentioned it because it scarcely matters. It matters that he rejected Jesus Christ, of course, but a mass killer who "identified as Christian" was rejecting Jesus Christ every bit as much. What you call yourself doesn't matter. What you argue on social media doesn't matter. What's in your heart is what matters, and when your heart offers no reverence to God, your soul is going to open itself up to all kinds of demonic influence and oppression.
For some people, all this means is that they doubt themselves, or that they idolize money, or that they cheat on their wives. For other people, it means they burn with anger and fantasize about doing terrible things to people - and this fills their souls with darkness that creates a distance between them and God. For others, they acquire an automatic rifle and commit mass murder.
Does every non-Christian share responsibility for the ones who become mass murderers? No. But in a way, yes. Kelley's actions were his own and he bears full responsibility for them. Yet he was acting in a way that's entirely consistent with modern American culture. He identified people he hates. He found an opportunity to do them harm. He did.
Most people don't take it to that extreme. They might just mock the person on Twitter. But the culture has no problem with inflicting hurt on those who don't think like you, don't support your agenda or don't think you should get everything you want. That's all Kelley did. It's just that he murdered them instead of flame-tweeting them. There may be degrees of evil but they all come from the same place.
Americans who think they can disregard God and manufacture their own moral codes are under a willful delusion. The knowledge of God is hardwired into everyone who has ever been born. Romans 1:18-20 explains that. You may say you don't consider the Bible authoritative. That doesn't interest me. It's authoritative. You're not.
So when you make the effort to reject God and substitute your own manufactured moral code, you step out from under His spiritual protection. There are other kinds of spirits and you're making accommodation with them whether you understand that or not. I know. You don't believe that. Doesn't matter.
And when this happens broadly on a cultural level, it gives rise to evil. Why? Because it's made a basic bargain with evil. We will reject God's rules because we'd rather make our own. We will not acknowledge evil for what it is, call it out by name or judge it - because there are going to be times when we want to indulge it. Oh, we'll control and limit how far we take it. We tell ourselves that. But we want to reserve our right to go there so we're not going to submit ourselves to God's authority.
Once the culture has gone in that direction, evil is in the driver's seat. And by the way, if you haven't figured this out yet, evil is not just an intellectual notion. Evil is a real, living, spiritual being with a will and with power if people are willing to accommodate it - which they are.
So why are there so many mass shootings these days? Because evil is flourishing and America has made a cultural decision to let that happen, and to reject the God who overcomes it.
You've noticed this time around that the secular left is even more aggressive than usual attacking those who offer "thoughts and prayers." They insist that prayers are just a lame substitute for real action, and of course by that they mean gun control. But gun control is a secondary point. The real point they're trying to make is that prayer is useless. Some have come right out and argued that God can't solve the problem. For the most part that's because they have no regard for God whatsoever, and aren't interested in exploring or discovering His true divine nature. But more importantly, they're angry with God because they think He will keep them from doing the things they want to do. That's insane, because they don't have the slightest idea what kinds of blessings they're missing. But the culture has made its choice.
So God gives them over to their folly, and evil flourishes. It's not because we don't control guns or treat mental health. It's because we've arrived at a consensus that we don't need God, and we can work out right and wrong for ourselves. So people do. Or they just disregard the whole idea and perpetrate evil, because hey, why not?
This is what you reap when that's what you sow. That's why there are so many mass shootings. Any other reason you've been given is wrong.
I told you that you wouldn't want to hear it.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!