David Fiorazo has a message that applies to Christians and non-Christians:
Two more mass shootings over the weekend sparked another frenzy as liberals in the media renew their calls for gun control, others demand solutions to the mental health crisis, still others say it’s because of the alienation of young men today, and progressive politicians – including former president, Barack Obama and many 2020 Democrat hopefuls blame President Trump.
Few seem to suggest let alone address man’s greatest problem: sin.
In a culture where discipline and respect for authority is lacking, where people have bowed to the god of self-fulfillment, where narcissists abound, and where young people are coddled and not given healthy boundaries, it’s no wonder darkness and violence are increasing.
But there is a natural and spiritual law that affects every human being, like it or not: you will reap what you sow.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, the Prophet Jeremiah said,
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
One glaring problem in our society is the rejection of any fixed moral anchors with which to guide and govern people. Chaos and godlessness are the result. Another clear consequence of removing the one true God from public places is that the culture of death spreads like a disease. …
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock movement, a rebellion aimed at eradicating God and moral authority using music as an escape from reality. Those same ideas and philosophies are popular today: spirituality without religion, sex without consequences, relativism without moral absolutes, and salvation without repentance.
The ongoing, residual affect is hopelessness. The Apostle Paul warned:
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, …disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, …without self-control, …haters of good; conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;” (2 Timothy 3:1-4)
Sounds like American culture and the world today, doesn’t it? The truth is human beings were born with a sin nature and we all fall short of God’s standard.
Monday, Tucker Carlson of Fox News quoted author and cultural observer, James Howard Kuntsler on the recent mass shootings and violence he believes results in part from isolation and the modern void of lacking social interaction:
“[T]his is exactly what you get in a culture where anything goes and nothing matters. Extract all the meaning and purpose from being here on earth, and erase as many boundaries as you can from custom and behavior, and watch what happens, especially among young men trained on video slaughter games.”
Last year in the first weekend of August, 66 people were shot, 12 fatally, in Chicago. Shootings across the city this past weekend have left seven people dead and another 52 people wounded. This is the unreported new normal for Chicago and many inner cities in America.
When we forget the value of life and what’s important, apathy and hopelessness result.
Depression and suicide rates among teenagers continue to climb, and it seems answers are difficult to come by. According to the Pentagon, military suicides reached an all-time high in 2018.
And now, a majority of Americans support physician-assisted suicide. You can lawfully murder an elderly person in five states so far. It’s time to expand our discussions about mass shootings and guns to include abortion, suicide, euthanasia, and we need to go deeper than mental health.
But we’re simply unwilling. Evil is something God neither intended nor created. But we’re not robots. If we are truly free, then we have the free will to choose moral evil rather than good. This is why we need laws and morality.
The things we see increasing in America should be a warning for Christians who have found lasting peace and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t deny or ignore what’s happening. The Bible says, “because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
We must not be overwhelmed by death and decay or become indifferent to the suffering of others. Control what is within your control. We can’t allow our hearts to grow cold because without love, it is impossible to show compassion to those who are suffering and to obey God’s command to love our neighbor.
As for those who commit lawless deeds such as murder, there will be a day of reckoning.
Solutions aren’t easy, but in the book of Ecclesiastes, one of the wisest men to have lived on earth put it this way:
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
God bless you and keep speaking the truth about things that matter!
Terrell Clemmons adds:
In the 1980s, Madonna captured the image of one girl’s shallow, self-absorbed life with her pop song, “Material Girl”:
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl.
The era’s personal materialism of “I like stuff” or “Stuff is all that matters” was also captured in TV teen Alex Keaton of the sitcom Family Ties. Individuals may not be so enamored today of material things, but there’s another kind of collective materialism that holds undue sway in our culture. I’m talking about “materialism” as a philosophy.
Materialism as a philosophy is simply the idea that the material world is all there is. Put differently, materialism is the belief that matter and energy, interacting according to the laws of chemistry and physics, constitute the sum total of reality. Philosophical materialism, then, is a belief about the nature of reality.
Sometimes, we hear it stated overtly, such as when celebrity scientist Carl Sagan intoned, “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.” Most often, though, it’s subtle. It is assumed but not stated. This is especially true in the realms of the natural sciences. Consider, for example, the children’s book You Are Stardust, which encourages young children to feel good about themselves because the atoms that make up their bodies were forged in the stars. Author Elin Kelsey doesn’t come right out and say, “There is no God” or “The universe is all that exists.” She has simply assumed that materialism is the truth about reality, and then written a whimsical children’s book from that philosophical perspective.
Today, philosophical materialism is almost universally conflated with science. You Are Stardust is categorized as a (what else?) science-based picture book for children. We can also discern this conflation behind statements like, “I don’t believe in God; I believe in science,” as if theistic belief and science are inherently incompatible. But they’re not incompatible, and despite what celebrity scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye the Science Guy might say, there’s nothing that says materialism and science necessarily go together.
So, the question thinking people should be asking is, Why should materialism enjoy such a privileged, unquestioned position in our culture? And the answer is, it shouldn’t.
Enter Science Uprising, a project of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Science Uprising burst onto the scene this past summer with a series of short, edgy videos challenging this materialistic metanarrative on the ground it’s been squatting on for far too long: the natural sciences. The first episode sets things up by explaining what materialism is, demonstrating how its pretensions have become deeply embedded in our culture, and showing how it actually runs counter to many aspects of life we all believe to be true and value. Subsequent episodes look at neuroscience and the reality of the mind, DNA and the reality of coded information in the cell, evolutionary biology and the failure of the neo-Darwinian hypothesis, and more. The upshot of it all is that philosophical materialism fails to adequately explain reality as we know it and live it. Moreover, it fails when put to empirical tests.
How do such concepts as love, compassion, justice and the human soul fit into a narrative that says only matter and energy are real? They don’t. And this should be our first tipoff that maybe materialism isn’t the whole truth about reality. No one–not even materialists themselves–actually lives as if materialism is true.
You don’t have to be a working scientist to think for yourself about science. Research shows that a big reason young people are abandoning Christianity in droves is because they’ve been told it’s incompatible with science, when the truth is, it’s materialism that is incompatible with both Christianity and science. We are instructed in Scripture to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5), and if ever there were a lofty pretension lifting itself up against theistic belief, then materialism should be crowned as king of the whoppers.
Thankfully, the consumeristic materialism of the 1980s has less appeal to youth today. The task for today is to pull back the curtain on this whopper of a lie about reality, an idol of the mind that is even more destructive to the soul. So, check out Science Uprising here, and let the demolishing begin.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput:
Exactly 20 years ago, in U.S. Senate testimony just weeks after the Columbine High School massacre, I offered these thoughts:
The real problem [of Columbine-like violence in our culture] is in here, in us … In the last four decades we’ve created a culture that markets violence in dozens of different ways, seven days a week. It’s part of our social fabric. When we build our advertising campaigns on consumer selfishness and greed, and when money becomes the universal measure of value, how can we be surprised when our sense of community erodes? When we glorify and multiply guns, why are we shocked when kids use them? …
The Columbine murders will mark my [Denver] community for years to come. They’re a wound felt by the entire country — but I don’t think they’ll be the last. We live in the most violent century in history. Nothing makes us immune from that violence except a relentless commitment to respect the sanctity of each human life, from womb to natural death. The civility and community we’ve built in this country are fragile. We’re losing them. In examining how and why our culture markets violence, I ask you not to stop with the symptoms. Look deeper. The families in Littleton and throughout the country deserve at least that much.
In separate incidents over the past two weeks, gunmen have killed three persons and wounded 13 others in Gilroy, CA; killed at least 20 and wounded 26 others in El Paso TX; and killed at least nine and wounded 27 others in Dayton, OH. These are just the latest in a long pattern of mass shootings; shootings that have blood-stained the past two decades with no end in sight.
Now begins the usual aftermath: expressions of shock; hand-wringing about senseless (or racist, or religious, or political) violence; bitter arguments about gun control; heated editorials, earnest (but brief) self-searching of the national soul, and eventually — we’re on to the next crisis.
I buried some of the young Columbine victims 20 years ago. I sat with their families, watched them weep, listened to their anger, and saw the human wreckage that gun violence leaves behind. The experience taught me that assault rifles are not a birthright, and the Second Amendment is not a Golden Calf. I support thorough background checks and more restrictive access to guns for anyone seeking to purchase them.
But it also taught me that only a fool can believe that “gun control” will solve the problem of mass violence. The people using the guns in these loathsome incidents are moral agents with twisted hearts. And the twisting is done by the culture of sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms that we’ve systematically created over the past half-century.
So I’ll say it again, 20 years later. Treating the symptoms in a culture of violence doesn’t work. We need to look deeper. Until we’re willing to do that, nothing fundamental will change.