It’s Just Words…

New update on the Colorado shooting – Here are some of the things that stand out:

“is believed to have posted the message on a Web site for people who have left evangelical religious groups…”You Christians brought this on yourselves,” Murray wrote, according to the station, which did not identify the site. “All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you … as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.”

“The language in the post is almost identical to the text of a manifesto written by Eric Harris, one of the teens who carried out the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School”

“”It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God,” she said, her hands trembling as she recounted the shooting during a news conference”

“attended a home-based computer school and worked at his computer for three to five hours a day for the past two years…A neighbor, Cody Askeland, 19, said the brothers were home-schooled, describing the whole family as “very, very religious.”

What is worth considering is that this disgruntled youth spent time on-line for the last 2 years and was being involved in conversations with people who left Evangelicalism – likely were atheists or simply de-converts. He also was raised in a Fundamentalist home which helped to develop the polarization of his beliefs – so when he left the faith – he likely swung far to the other side of the debate.

I am not sure what he was hearing/discussing in those rooms he attended but it led him down a path of more hatred – and not reason or balance. Oddly enough, they compare him with one of the kids from Columbine in regard to his views (which to me are only clearly explained in one curent debate I see on-line).

For me this serves as a polemic against both sides in that debate and an ‘achtung’ sign to warn us about our language we use. I have castigated both sides in the debate at various times for their language being used – one side fuelling the hatred from within and the other fueling it from without – which leaves some people truly torn and unsure of what is meant to happen next…since all the messaging seems so volatile – the next step could very well be violence.

This incident should have Christians discussing their faith and what seems to happen when someone leaves (or is booted) and how that person is treated (is it with acceptance or criticism?). I think for the atheist side of this convo what needs to be considered is the rhetoric being used against people of the faith and ideas used (ex: faith is a disease).

I feel deeply saddened by the whole thing because I have been on-line 2 years also – and have debated with a lot of people from all aspects of faith and non-faith – and I don’t really need to imagine what that kid was hearing – and that’s the part I hate about this – somehow we were flaming a fire this kid could not control. Let’s start to put this kind of stuff out.

PS: On a side note I was also discussing gun control/war and this faith for the last few months

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17 thoughts on “It’s Just Words…

  1. I wrote a reply that I inadverently put into the a different post intitled “Shootings in 2 Churches-Why?

    Sorry about that.
    fishon

  2. HI society
    I think Christians tend to overlook the danger of joyless Christians. If this kid came from a fundamentalist home and there apparently was little love in the home then it’s not surprising that something went wrong. All too often Christians fall into a rut that it is all about discipline and rule-following and descend into heartless religion.

    Many fundamentalists jump ship and go in the opposite direction because their lot is simply awful as one fleeing a tyrant for a fresh new start in life. But they don’t leave because Christianity is bad, just their parents’ heavy-handed version of it.

    The first murder was committed because a brother was angry and couldn’t master his anger. This kid developed his ire over a long period of time before the grandiose explosion. I don’t know if he would have been dissuaded by loving words from other Christians. But if Christians see this kind of hate speech on the net they shouldn’t stoke it unless they forget how devastating sin is. If we only ridicule then God cannot work through us.

  3. I find it amazing that as i cruz the blogs and news media about the shooter, the reoccuring theme is: Fundies–home schooled–radical Christian family–abused by Christians, and this equals a bomb ready to go off. HOGWASH!

    Why don’t we just figure because his father is a nerosurgeon, that must be a reason for his behavior.

    Folks, this is much more about the overall makeup of our culture today. These mass killings are taking place in many different venues with many different perpetrators. And the common denominator is NOT religion. So a couple of many happen to be in that venue and we say, “See, I told you so.” It is that awful religion.”

    No, it is something more, and it is right before our eyes. It is not to much God, but the lack of the fear of God.

    fishon

  4. “But if Christians see this kind of hate speech on the net they shouldn’t stoke it unless they forget how devastating sin is. If we only ridicule then God cannot work through us.” (Jim)

    I agree 100%. I hear a lot of weird stuff on the net said about my faith – but I am logical enough to talk about those things and state another piece of that puzzle. I think as someone that is Christian it is not a good thing to debase another even for the sake of our point being made – that demeans another person whom God also loves – and shouldn’t we be open to convo – even learning – anyways?

    “These mass killings are taking place in many different venues with many different perpetrators.” (fishon)

    I find it funny you will say this then in recent convo’s support ideas that run counter to it – ie: no gun control in America. You may boil the whole thing down to something as simple as ‘no fear of God’ but this isn’t always the truth for each scenario – this is your assumption about the actual problem. Fact is, Canada likely has just as much people that are not in a Christian faith (per capita) as America – and we don’t see as much of these mass killings.

    I think if you really want to find a culprit it does begin with the polarization of views in your society – from democrat to republican, liberal to conservative, fundie to liberal, etc. It seems to me that this vicious divisionary line that exists is helping to fuel the fire of outcasts from certain groups. So if someone comes from a fundamentalist, conservative, republican background – if they leave they are going to find the opinions about that group are very vicious (due to the lack of commonality in perspectives) and vice versa from the liberal camps. To me, that is a better indicator of what the true problem is – narrow minded, self-agrrandizing, divisionary viewpoints in America that place people in ‘mind camps’ of ‘us vs. them’.

  5. **You may boil the whole thing down to something as simple as ‘no fear of God’ but this isn’t always the truth for each scenario **

    Not only that, but a massive fear of God is pretty much what fundamentalism seems to teach. “Follow the rules or burn in hell.”

  6. society wrote: To me, that is a better indicator of what the true problem is – narrow minded, self-agrrandizing, divisionary viewpoints in America that place people in ‘mind camps’ of ‘us vs. them’.

    —–Um, kinda like you and I wouldn’t you say? Two different mind camps. So here is my question. Who is to change their mind, you or I? Take the gun issue; you are firmly in one camp, I in the other. So how do we solve the problem? Are you willing to change your views? Or am I the “narrow minded” one?

    Hey, I am not kidding, society. You throw accusations saying::: “what the true problem is – narrow minded, self-agrrandizing, divisionary viewpoints in America that place people in ‘mind camps’ of ‘us vs. them’,” so you, and educated man, tell me how you and I solve a big difference? Who gives, who changes?
    fishon
    As I reread my post, is sounds kinda hostle, but please, don’t take it that way. But I am truely interested when someone says what you have said, to hear the answer to your suggested reasons for the problems.

    I look forward to your answer.
    fishon

  7. OneSmallStep,
    You have done what so many do, take what is said and build a ‘strawman.’

    You write: Not only that, but a massive fear of God is pretty much what fundamentalism seems to teach. “Follow the rules or burn in hell.”

    —-You have taken my statement: “…the lack of the fear of God,” and built it up to “massive fear of God is pretty much what fundamentalism seems to teach.” So, what do you base that statement on. Back it up with some proof. Don’t give me a wacko like Fred Phelps–but mainline fundies. Remember, you are the one that said, “…is pretty much what fundamentalism seems to teach.” Pretty much indicates many. PROVE IT. You won’t, and you can’t. You are just vomiting out babble.

    I have no idea if you are Christian or not, but I base my statement: “It is not to much God, but the lack of the fear of God,” on the word of God. You might read, no, I will quote it for you from the NIV, Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” I will accept the Word of God over your wisdom.
    fishon

  8. Fishon,

    I could point to any website where one has de-converted from fundamentalist Christianity. Those who have de-converted who still have spouses who are fundamentalists can find themselves in marital problems, expecially if there are children involved. The fear is often that the de-converted parent will sway the child away from God, and thus the child will end up in hell. I have had an evangelical friend — evangelical, not fundamentalist — tell me she’s terrified for me, because I am not “saved” and thus she will not see me in heaven. And if I’m not in heaven, I’m suffering in hell. And she belongs to a megachurch, an evangelical megachurch, and this is standard for most who go there. When I look at standard church websites, such as Baptist ones, it is often that those who don’t properly follow God go to hell. As in, “the righteous will go to eternal life, and the unrighteous to eternal torment/darkness/so forth.” I would provide links to the church, but do not wish to advertise the area in which I live.

    The Left Behind series, and I consider that to be kinder than Fred Phelps, teaches exactly that, and those books have sold millions. Perhaps those authors would also qualify as wackos, but they have a huge following, unlike Fred Phelps. And those books are showing that thsoe who don’t properly follow God end up in eternal torment.

    Look, the only way I see to take your statement in that they had a lack of fear of God is in terms of terror. Not “awe.” The person shooting up the churches didn’t fear the consequences, and so behaved immorally. It’s a punishment based system.

  9. OneSmallStep,
    When you say: ‘…de-converted from fundamentalist Christianity…,” are you meaning have rejected God, fallen away, denied their salvation? Or are you say, de-converted meaning, not embracing some of the teachings [I don’t mean the basics] that that particular denom embraces?

    You tell about a friend who is concerned about you going to hell. So, are you a “Christ-follower” or not?

    So you don’t or do believe that the righteous [biblical definition, not mans] will go to heaven? Same question about the unrighteous and hell?

    Do you not believe in a punishment based system, biblically speaking?

    The reason I ask these question is to see where you are coming from.

    One more question: Do you believe the Bible is God’s Word to mankind?
    fishon

  10. “Um, kinda like you and I wouldn’t you say? Two different mind camps” (fishon)

    True – but look how we handle things fishon – neither of us is berating the other for his views – we can strongly disagree on things but this doesn’t mean I have to start bashing your character in any sort of way – but watch some of your media (tv) and see how variant the sides in America really are. Watch Bill o’Reilly, Michael Moore, Hannity and Combs, Jon Stewart, Falwell (when he was alive), etc. It was always an us vs them idea and no matter what the arena being discussed – one side is the right side. Problem is – this can cause kids to become extreme (not being able to filter it).

    “Who is to change their mind, you or I?” (fishon)

    Neither of us – they are to change their own mind. If I am asked about something I am willing to discuss it and I am guessing you are – but in the end – the person asking has it at their feet to make the decision they feel good about.

    “Are you willing to change your views? Or am I the “narrow minded” one?” (fishon)

    I am all about being open on views concerning various ideas – ask OSS or Yael – I have adopted some of their ideas since they are excellent. I can change my views because I view that as the process of continual learning – I take the current stands I have because they make sense to me (and I haven’t seen really good arguements countering what I view as my stances). I can’t answer for you – but I don’t think you’re narrow minded – obviously there is a gun problem in America and owning guns is viewed as normal there – and for safety reasons. I don’t think that is unreasonable – what I find unreasonable is for what reason do you own those guns – God or you?

    “tell me how you and I solve a big difference?” (fishon)

    First off, the sentence you keep quoting is about both sides in the debates (both liberal and conservative thinkers) – no one was actually picked out there and cornered – I see both sides doing the same thing.

    As for our differences, if we want to be totally honest – it depends what arena we are coming from based on the questions being asked. If we are gonna talk gun control – well that’s not a biblical issue and if we turn into one – I am not sure there is any justification for arms (swords) in the Christian life. If we talk about gun control based on our country politics – well you have a case that is air-tight – you do have the right to those arms and I can’t say nothing about that – and vice versa – I do not have a right to those same arms.

    This is where the lines are all muddied as of this era – church and state are together in the church – and it does effect the way we both will view scripture. I am trying to get past this in my interpretation – but I am very aware this whole church and state thing goes back 100’s of years also and effected previous interpretations of scripture (of the which we base most of our current doctrines on). I think that is a tough task to be handed in this era – to find out what Jesus truly meant in his gospels (or even Paul). Remember Jesus was not a Canadian, not an American, not a British lad, not French, not Roman, and not Spanish…yet all these cultures (and many more) have filtered a Jesus they want to see – but Jesus comes from a Jewish background – and that is way different than all those cultures – yet this is the same culture not used in best interpretation of various passages. Is worth looking into.

  11. Society,
    I believe you hit the nail [at least one of them] on the head with your statement: “This is where the lines are all muddied as of this era – church and state are together in the church – and it does effect the way we both will view scripture.”
    —–In the founding of America, if you read what our founding fathers wrote about Christianity’s influence in establishing our country, you will see how it is so hard for many of us to separate what is taking place in our nation from our Christian beliefs. I will not bore you with our history, but for someone who studied US history, long before becoming a Christian, and seeing the influence of it on our founding, then becoming a Christian, well very difficult to separate. However, I try, for I am a Christian first and an American second.

    As for the gun issue; I acknowledge it to be a huge issue. Part of my passion for the right to have ANY gun, though I see no need for some of them, is not only based on our right to have them, but on my experience growing up in a culture of them. Also, that influences so many of us in our assesment of the mass killings that our now taking place.
    EXAMPLE: When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, [grad. highschool “65”] guns were visible EVERYWHERE. In high school, many of us would have a rifle in the gun rake in our pickups, at the school, so we could just leave there and go hunting.

    Now I am not trying to open debate again on the gun issue and, say the Church shooting this past week, but here is the bottom line for so many of us. We carried guns to school, to town, to everywhere. Guns were much more visible and available then and now, as there we absolutely NO restrictions. History will show, we did not, because we were raised in a home school, strict church enviorment, radical Christian parents, or kicked out of a Mission school go on a killing rampage. WHAT HAS CHANGED?

    Guns haven’t changed. The good, bad, and the ugliness that some people inflict on others in the name of Christ hasn’t changed. The anger those rightly or wrongly feel now manifests itself in killing rage, though the gun is no more prevalent or more accessible than when I was growing up. It is a fact, it is harder to get a gun today than when I was a kid.

    So people on my ilk say and ask, nothing has changed about anger and gun availablity, so what is really going on?

    Again, I didn’t write this to dredge up the old debate, but to show you where my thought process has its origin.
    MAKE IT a great day.
    fishon

  12. “So people on my ilk say and ask, nothing has changed about anger and gun availablity, so what is really going on?” (fishon)

    Quite simply the times have changed – from 1965 to 2007. You have to imagine that after 1965 your country went through some serious growing pains from generation to generation – which caused mass conflict and hate – one need only examine the late 60’s for this change in it’s infancy. We have student protests, a war in Vietnam, civil rights activism at it’s peak, riots in the inner cites in 68, the hippy counter-culture, sex, drugs and rock n roll (1st generation), etc. But that generation right there paved the way for change in society but also this un-easiness about the American way of life (security and safety became huge questions).

    From the 60’s on we see a society in continual change and I think for a lot of youth this has caused them to question what they think is ‘really going on’. Basically, you now have people that are not sure what to think on any issues – and are being pulled in both directions by the fight for the ideology of the country – which might cause horrendous confusion for a young person. Top that off the religious aspect is so tainted from the 80’s onwards that a lot fo young people are not sure to even trust the church now. Where does that leave an impressionable youth?

  13. Society writes: Where does that leave an impressionable youth?

    With nothing set in stone any more. With all things relative. With a society fearful of declaring this is right and this is wrong. With a people having standards, morals and ethics every changing—Well, it leaves them in confusion and a mess.

    The itching ears of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 are winning for the moment. However a day is coming when they will meet the Rider face to face. That will not be a pretty sight.

    This has been enlightening for me, and truthfully, fun. I wait to challenge another day.
    fishon

  14. Fishon,

    **When you say: ‘…de-converted from fundamentalist Christianity…,” are you meaning have rejected God, fallen away, denied their salvation? ** Many that I know have become atheists or agnostics. I do know a few who are still Christian, but not bloggers — this would be someone like Marcus Borg, or two other authors (their names escapes me) who wrote a book called “If Grace Be True” and “If God is Love.”

    **You tell about a friend who is concerned about you going to hell. So, are you a “Christ-follower” or not? **

    Based on how I’m reading the rest of your comments, I doubt you’d consider me as such. If I go on the literal definition of “Christian,” which is essentially “Anointed-one-like” and believe that Jesus had a unique relationship with God and I try to live my life based on what he taught, then I qualify myself as a Christian. She is considered because we don’t share the same doctrine — which does ultimately come down to I don’t have the same rules. To her, I could be as “Anointed-one-like” as possible. It doesn’t matter — I lack the right beliefs, and thus I do not have God in my life.

    **So you don’t or do believe that the righteous [biblical definition, not mans] will go to heaven? Same question about the unrighteous and hell? **

    I would run into a problem even with this, because there is no objective biblical definition of “righteous.” There is simply our interpretation of the Bible. Whenever someone says “The Bible says,” what they are really saying is “[My interpretation of] The Bible says.” I read the Bible as that heaven comes to Earth, especially at the second coming, and then the dead are resurrected. The concept of a heaven/hell after death I find very vague, especially as it did not dominate Judaic thought in the Tanakh. I also don’t believe in a hell as traditional Christianity teaches, based on the two words used “Sheol/Hades” and “Gehenna.” The first was a place where everyone went after death in the Tanakh. The second was a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem, and garbage does not permantly burn. The purpose of dumping it was to destroy it. The fires in Gehenna itself were continous, and the garbage pits were home to a particular form of worm — hence Jesus’ words.

    In the end, I have high hopes that everyone is eventually healed and whole and in a peaceful place. If there is a God, then S/He would have to be much better than us. And throwing someone into eternal torment is something I find barbaric.

    **Do you not believe in a punishment based system, biblically speaking? **

    I think an eternally based punishment system is self-defeating, and futile, in the end. Punishment should serve as a means of correction, not revenge. Do I believe some people will suffer consequences for behavior? Yes, because that is the only way for the behavior to lose its appeal (for some). But I do not believe in a punishment based system that says if one is not a Christian by their death, that person goes to hell as punishment for their sins. I don’t believe in the penal substituion atonement theory.

    **Do you believe the Bible is God’s Word to mankind?**

    Do I believe the Bible is inerrant? No. Do I believe it was inspired? I believe it was inspired in the same way a sunrise would inspire me to write a poem. The sunrise itself did not guide my pen, or give me divine thoughts. But my encounter with the sunrise did produce something.

    **if you read what our founding fathers wrote about Christianity’s influence in establishing our country, you will see how it is so hard for many of us to separate what is taking place in our nation from our Christian beliefs.**

    Do you mean doctrinal beliefs of Christianity, or moral beliefs that are in Christianity?

  15. OneSmallStep,
    Wow, you explained yourself very clearly, even for this poorly educated brain to understand.

    We are about as opposite in held beliefs as we can get, so I will not bore you with my arguements. They would not be as elegant as your explanations and answers to my questions. Besides, I am sure you have heard them all.

    I will state this: If you are right in your assessments of spiritual matters, then both you and I are in good shape for the eternal. However, if I am right…?

    You asked me—Do you mean doctrinal beliefs of Christianity, or moral beliefs that are in Christianity?
    ——–Oooooo, very good question. A little bit of both. I believe their [most of them] embrace, though maybe not living it to perfection, but then who does, of the biblical Old and New Testament as a standard, led them to inact laws and encourage moral beliefs based on the common Christian moral practices as they view them taught by the Bible.

    To say it simply, Their doctinal beliefs of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit influenced greatly the establishment of this nation.

    I will not bore you with many examples. By you declaration of what you believe in you post to me, I will not waste your time or mine.

    Thank you for your responce. We may run across each other again–and most likely disagree. Hey, no big deal. My dog thinks me omnicient, and she still disagrees with me from time to time. I still love her.
    fishon

  16. Fishon,

    **Besides, I am sure you have heard them all.**

    I’m sure I have. 🙂

    **If you are right in your assessments of spiritual matters, then both you and I are in good shape for the eternal. However, if I am right…? **

    But this is does, for me, ultimately come down to “Follow the rules or else.” In this case, the rules involve holding the right belief about God/Jesus/a deity of choice. And a fear of eternal torment should not be a factor in choosing to follow anything. The choice then becomes no choice at all. It’s like saying to a parent, “Give me your money or I’ll kill your child.” The method used to convince me isn’t about how God loves me, or that there will be justice (of a social nature in the end) or that evil has been dealt with, or even a message of hope. The response is “Think very carefully because if you’re wrong, you suffer.”

    That, and it really reduces a person. It says that nothing you do in your life matters, so long as you hold the right belief.

    **By you declaration of what you believe in you post to me, I will not waste your time or mine. **

    This is probably wise, as I disagree, based on my readings. 🙂 I’m not saying that none of the Founding Fathers weren’t Christians, or that Christianity wouldn’t have held influence. It would have, just based on how Christianity functioned in society at that time.

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