Religion illuminates causes of criminal acts

After reading the various commentaries in the Record about the violence in Colorado (and violence in general), I was struck by a couple of things and felt the need to respond. First, I was touched by the insight and honesty of Jamin Morrison’s piece. I too would have to say that there have been times when I’ve made fun of people who are “outsiders,” when I’ve hurt rather than helped.

But what struck me most is that while some people have given partial explanations for this violence, which I do think play a role (e.g. gun control, media, video games), others do not seem to be satisfied. Jen Dolloff commented that “some things, like Hitler and the Colorado shootings, are inexplicable,” and Morrison movingly wrote, “Only questions are raised, and there are no answers. There’s nothing you can say. Something is terribly, terribly wrong with the world.”

I have decided to respond not because I expect many people to agree with or be convinced by what I have to say, but merely as an offering to those who want an answer. Because, you see, I have one.

I am a Christian. Hard core, no joking, I really believe all that crazy stuff. I believe that Jesus Christ was both man and God. I believe that he literally, physically rose from the dead. And I am involved in an ongoing relationship with God. And I believe that therein lie the answers to the questions that are puzzling so many of us.

Let me give you a brief history of the world: God created man, in order that man and God could have a relationship (which was entirely for man’s benefit, since God did not need us). Man broke that relationship by not trusting God. This lack of trust and lack of love, on our part, is what we call sin. Sin is like AIDS: it’s deadly; it spreads; and it can sometimes affect those who haven’t done anything themselves (like unborn children). And this is why there is evil in the world. This is why the shootings in Littleton happened.

But that’s not the end of the story. To fix the broken relationship, God came down to our level, becoming a man. The way that He’s arranged it is that while this world lasts, anybody who wants to can come back to Him, and have a relationship with Him, through Jesus.

I said, “while this world lasts.” There are some funny ideas out there about the end of the world. One of them is that it’s an ending. I submit to you today that the whole history of our world is actually just a preface, and that when it ends, that will be the beginning of the good part. The preface is a war, a brief skirmish, and Earth is the battlefield. The story will be about life in peacetime. But it’s now, here, in the preface, that we are living, and it’s now that we can choose whether we want to be with God when the real story begins. And because we can still make this choice, there is still sin.

For those of us who do choose to have a relationship with God, though, there’s also meaning and purpose and fullness in life. I’m not talking about sacrificing fun here on Earth for paradise in the afterlife – that’s a caricature. I’m telling you that life here is better with God, and actually, that it’s the only way to find real life at all. It won’t change the fact that sin is still present in the world. But it will change you.

This isn’t a very popular answer, I know. It’s not the relativism that liberal arts colleges now cherish. It’s not quite acceptable to tell you that God is real and that He loves you. But hearing the desperation implicit in the statements of those who think there is no answer, I couldn’t help offering an answer to those who want one.

I welcome anyone who wants to contact me for further discussion – I brushed over a lot of theology. Also, if you think “Christians are homophobic,” “Christians are intolerant,” or whatever, don’t let that thought make you write off what I’m saying right away. I’m totally willing to respond to any such comments as well.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *