I have hesitated to write about the shocking events in El Paso and Dayton because, like so many, I’m just thrown by it. What’s the cause of the gun violence? What’s the cure?
Both questions are so vast and complex that yet another blog post can hardly do it justice. As usual people are wheeling out all the superficial reasons and solutions: there are too many guns. We need more gun control. It’s because the kids are playing violent video games. We should censor the video games. It’s because they don’t have a Dad. They’re involved in the occult. They are doing that heavy metal demonic rock music. They don’t have a Mom. They’re lonely. They’re mentally ill. They’re Democrats. They’re White Supremacists. They’re MAGA hat wearers. They’re Hillary Supporters. They love Trump. They’re Satanists.
Whatever. The fact of the matter is, all of these are symptoms of a much deeper disease.
I call it Soul Sickness. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying, “Well if these boys had gone to Sunday School and belonged to a good Christian youth group they wouldn’t do such bad things.”
Yes, well maybe, but simply trotting everyone off to church isn’t the instant fix.
Why? Because our churches are sick too.
What is the Soul Sickness? I believe it is a deep wound in the human heart and therefore in Western Society that goes back 500 years.
Five hundred years ago the soul of Europe was torn in two by the Protestant Revolution. That revolution opened the door to five hundred years of revolution, bloodshed, war and violence of all kinds. Theologically and philosophically, the violence, revolution and bloodshed was paralleled first by Protestantism, then Rationalism and the French Revolution, then the American revolution, the regicide, usurpation and Puritan revolution in England, the Russian revolution, Nazism, Fascism, Communism, and beneath them all is a deep, dark revolt of the human heart against order, against authority, against establishment, against the Church against faith and ultimately against God himself.
We are therefore now living with the fruit of this five hundred year cycle of rebellion. Philosophically the trajectory ended in Nihilism and with Nihilism we have the insanity of Nihilism’s prophet Nietzsche.
The philosophy of Nihilism is simple: there is nothing beyond this world therefore this world is meaningless. Since I have stared into the dark and there is nothing to live for… kill them all.
Does that sound extreme? That is what it comes to. “If there is nothing to live for, kill, kill, kill.”
Do the disturbed shooters hold this philosophy consciously? No. It’s the culture now. It’s the culture of death. It’s the air we breathe. It’s a cancer that has eaten its way into our schools, our entertainment, our games, our arts, our advertising and it has even infected our churches where people still cling to something to live for, but not believing any longer in the supernatural claims and promises of religion they have substituted a bland, therapeutic, moralistic deism.
Having forsaken Jesus the Victim and Victor, the Savior from sin and substituted Brother Sun Sister Moon Jesus all they have left is the sentimentality of a religion that used to exist. It’s a cotton candy religion and cotton candy melts in the heat.
It is only a short hop from that dumb pseudo-religion to questioning that dumb pseudo religion. Smart people realize it is not a religion at all and run in the other direction, and if they run far enough they end up in nihilism.
Does that mean everyone is going to go out tomorrow and kill people? No. These are the extreme victims of the terrible soul sickness. But there are indeed plenty of others. The skyrocketing suicide rate is another symptom of “If there is nothing to live for kill, kill, kill.” Abortion, war, terrorism and euthanasia are other symptoms of the same soul sickness.
What’s the answer?
The only answer if for Christians to be Christians. For those who profess to follow Jesus Christ to live such lives of supernatural goodness, truth and beauty that by our lives people will see that there is something to live for. This is what converted the Roman Empire two thousand years ago. Locked in the same soul sickness that we are experiencing, the people saw these radical Christians who loved one another. They nurtured the sick, fed the hungry, worshipped a beautiful, loving God and shared that message with joy
This is the old, old answer and it is the only answer.
It is a simple answer, but not an easy answer.
It’s tough–as tough as an unfair execution on a barren hill.