Are you shaking your head in disbelief? Mass shootings seem to be a weekly news item. On September 24th, peaceful worshippers of Christ were assaulted as they were ending their service at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. One lady was killed and six others were injured. The carnage would have been worse, had it not of been for an heroic usher. One week later, we are shocked as a nation to hear of the Las Vegas shooting. The news is calling this massacre the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
All of the focus has been around the question, “Why?” What could cause someone to do such horrible deeds? What was their motive and rationale? Investigators identify patterns in mass shooters, traits such as mental illness, disenfranchised, religiously-motivated, or hatred. But the answers, still leave us confused.
I was speaking to a wise, older gentleman. I made the remark that I just can’t understand why someone would do such a terrible act. He said, “You will never understand, because it doesn’t make sense to the rational mind.” I think he is spot-on! But, after reflecting on these mass-shootings, I think I know the answer our culture needs to give for these acts. We need to call them what they are, “pure evil.”
I believe one of the primary root causes of these heinous acts is our culture’s lack of moral integrity. We have removed the moral absolutes from our country’s DNA. Albert Mohler writes, “College professors tell us that moral relativism has produced a generation of Americans who resist calling anything evil, and even deny the existence of moral facts.”¹ We have removed moral truths that condemn certain actions as evil and wrong. Everything has become relative. Even basic truths like the sanctity of human life. As Terry Pratchett wrote, “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” Most Americans are living independent lives unrestrained from the moral confines of a Biblical worldview. They don’t recognize their moral accountability to others and ultimately to God. We have dismissed the thought of eternal judgment and reaping the consequences of our moral choices in eternity. We have, in essence, thrown out the idea of evil!
The label “evil” has been reserved to the Star Wars movies or WW2 tyrants like Hitler and Stalin. What we need to realize is that evil is abounding today! The ultimate “why” of these acts is found in the concept of evil! Evil is absurd. It makes no sense! It is motivated by Satan who wishes to create evil, chaos, and deception upon the earth (John 8:44). Jesus said it best when he said, “the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil” (Mat. 12:35). When we as a culture feed our people a treasury of evil (just look at the filth on our TVs), yet don’t even call it evil, we will get evil harvests!
In a culture that trumpets tolerance and acceptance, we need to adhere to this quote by Thomas Mann, “Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.” As Americans and as Christians, we must say enough is enough. Let’s call it what it is–evil! Let’s return to a Biblical understanding of good versus evil; of right vs wrong. Let’s take the fight to evil, by understanding it as the ultimate cause and choose to triumph over it through the power of God.
¹ Albert Mohler Article – An Act of Pure Evil – Searching for Meaning in Las Vegas