As most of us know, today a savage massacre of innocents happened in Connecticut. It didn’t take long for the ever-predatory and scoop-worshipping mass media to falsely accuse the killer’s brother (and blame law-enforcement error for it) without bothering to wait–yes, wait!–for the facts. It didn’t take long for shameless politicians to exploit the tragedy to fit their preconceived agendas.
The impulsive, immediate reaction is to do something, anything, about it, damn what anyone else thinks, damn the Constitution. Never mind the kids, their friends and loved ones, and the need to support and pray for their well-being, these spinsters offer emotional, reactionary, populist outcry toward an aim to deprive law-abiding citizens of Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.
Once again, in a recurring pattern, the gun-control debate will rage on, as if guns commit crimes, cigarette lighters commit arson, pens write nasty words, and keyboards make typos. The logic is the same…the debates redundant, the reactions predictable and repeatable. Admittedly, I’ve participated freely in such debates, with a stance that similarly is rather predictable to those who know me (as a Constitutional constructionist who reads the supreme law of the land as-is, not between the lines).
Meanwhile, across the Pacific, in China, less publicized here but still the terrible truth, a knife attacker went after numerous children at a school. Different culture, different government, different history, same sort of derangement…
What does it mean? Is there something bigger at work here? You bet there is. This goes way beyond gun debates. This is well past the weapons of choice used for commission of crimes.
With a fleeting window of clarity that only comes with maturity, I’ve come to the sobering realization the same old arguments over guns completely miss the point. Deadly attacks, whether with guns, knives, arrows, cars, rope, stones, hijacked airplanes…it’s all the same. It’s all the same. Ban guns, ban knives, ban cars, ban bows and arrows, ban rope, ban rocks, ban airplanes…whatever impulsive, reactionary posturing you read (and that’s all it is…hollow posturing), the problem does not go away.
What is the real problem? It’s bigger than the tools used to commit acts of evil. Indeed, the problem is bigger than even the acts or expressions of evil–it’s the existence of it within everyone.
The problem is within all of humanity. Yes, people. Humanity, also known as “society” and “the world”, is inherently flawed, self-centered, superficial, prone to impulsive and spontaneous rage, uniquely capable of acts of evil, a species fully and innately conditioned to selfishness and vile acts. You, me, and everyone we know is guilty.
How can this be?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve never murdered anyone. I’m glad. But have you ever lied or misled anyone, anytime? Have you ever taken something without asking? Have you ever deceived anyone, in any way? Have you ever put on a false front, pretended one way when it really was another? Have you ever gotten angry enough with someone to insult them on purpose? Have you ever hit anyone? Have you ever allowed someone else to inflict harm and failed to intervene?
Have you ever done anything you knew was wrong? Then you’re part of the problem. We all are the problem. We all constitute humanity.
Only one person who ever walked this earth was perfect. Of those alive since, and today, none of us are. At some point, every single one of us has committed some kind of misdeed–be it even a “little white lie” or any other act of dishonesty. They may be less impactful in terms of human life than the mass murderers’ rampages, but are they any less wrong? Are there really degrees of badness, or evil?
While you ponder those questions, consider humanism. Humanism holds the ideal that people are the answer to people’s problems. Really? Really? No, I hold that people, society, humanity, as it stands, is the problem. We can commit acts of of good, or charity, of benevolence, of love…then turn around and tell that “little white lie”, or steal, or cheat, or any other wrong, all the while rationalizing away the evil within us.
Secular humanism simultaneously denies and causes such dissonance. It proposes that we can solve our own problems, without the needs for a higher authority. It often proposes that a higher authority doesn’t exist, in order to justify its own illogical and failed worldview. How? Here’s what secular humanism says:
“We humans, who have…
- stolen toys from one another in our toddler sandboxes, establishing our “innocence” at early ages;
- annihilated each other by the hundreds of millions in wars;
- clamped fellow humans by the millions into real or virtual shackles of slavery even to this day;
- kept over twenty thousand nuclear warheads aimed at each other for 40 years;
- committed all manner of atrocities in the name of God;
- committed mass genocides in the name of overtly atheist ideologies (e.g., Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot)
- squabbled bloodily for centuries over a dessicated swath of rocks and sand off the eastern Mediterranean;
- murdered and raped and robbed one another by the thousands per day in cities worldwide;
- rioted deadly and destructively in first-world cities because our sports teams won or lost;
- conducted inhumane “experiments” on fellow humans without their knowledge or consent, in places like Germany and St. Louis;
- freely elected genocidal dictators like Hitler and looked the other way as millions died;
- consistently valued pandering posers over dignified statesmen in high office;
- slaughtered dolphins off the coasts and killed millions of bison just for kicks;
- committed mass murders in schools, churches, theaters and skyscrapers;
- bankrupted our corporations and governments through shortsightedness and greed;
- filled the sediments of our waterways and the air we breathe with toxic metals;
- avoided the ghetto at night for fear of other humans;
- transmitted chlamydia and herpes and HIV to each other at record rates;
- as selfish, deadbeat men, impregnated women then abandoned the resulting offspring, countless hundreds of thousands of times;
- as two-faced women, fought for the right to ‘choose’ but don’t choose to keep one’s own legs shut;
- spent millions of dollars on men’s pornographic objectification of women, while many women choose to participate in the racket, thereby enabling it;
- chosen to pay more attention to “reality TV” than real-world issues…
…are fundamentally good, know what’s best for ourselves, and can solve our own problems. Can’t you tell? Of course you can trust us.”
The results reveal the lie. Humanism, and humanity, are dead ends, doomed to fail. This is a broken world, held together only by the love that does exist, love which has only one ultimate Source, a Source from which we as a civilization have turned, a Source we have rejected, declared unnecessary, and in many cases, declared nonexistent (as if denying something makes it go away).
Is it any surprise, then, that these things do happen? It shouldn’t be. By turning away from God, we’ve reaped what we’ve sowed by how we have behaved–both individually and as a horribly uncivilized civilization. Innocents suffer because of what we as a civilization have chosen to do, not because of what God failed to do. Call me whatever names you will, it doesn’t matter…I can take it. As imperfect and flawed and seemingly unworthy as I am, I speak the truth as I see it, and make no apologies. I’ve found a life-saver that keeps my head above the turbulent and polluted waters of humanity, even as I have to swim really hard sometimes, and resist my own innately vile temptations to unload withering attacks of hate and mockery.
What’s my biggest flaw, the demon that tempts most? Perhaps it is the ability to slash someone to pieces…with words–wielding a God-given expressive talent as a weapon for ugly purposes. I freely confess the commission of this sin in the past. Yet one thing, and one thing only, keeps those temptations at bay, the great majority of the time. To do this, I must surrender daily to something higher, something bigger, something perfect, an Authority to whom I can be eternally accountable. Whatever virtues I may exhibit, the credit goes above, not within. Whatever vices I have, that’s my humanity. The choice, therefore, is idolatry of self, or worship of and obedience to that higher authority. It’s a lifelong process, never fully mastered but better than the alternative!
If you can’t be convinced at this time, if your heart is too hard and your self-opinion too large to accept higher and perfect authority, then there’s little that I can do for you, for now. But if you ever can be convinced that there’s a better way, or find yourself open to in the future, let’s talk. I’m willing. I’ll listen. I’ll offer some light. I’ll try my best to use those expressive skills for your benefit and your hope.
Yes, hope. I don’t speak doom or despair here. The news offered by media all sounds so gloomy sometimes; but the greater Good News is this: it doesn’t have to be. We can do better. It’s not that hard! Hope is real and does exist, and can be made palpable every day.
There is one ultimate and unwavering door of hope. When faced with a vile, evil, wretched world of humanity, there still is one place to turn, manifest as the one perfect man who ever was. I’m not preaching here, nor trying to force “religion” on anyone–after all, you’re reading this of your own free will. No, instead the free offer is of an opportunity…a chance…an out…a haven. The choice is clear: be of the world…or be of something (and Someone) far better. It’s totally your call, not mine. Just know that the door is open; it is always open until the moment you die.
Once you make that call, do your problems cease? Do you stop suffering? Do you get perfect? Does humanity stop being evil? No. If anything, many who follow this path find that the attacks intensify…but guess what, they’re better equipped to withstand them and prevail in the end! This way, you at least have a path to something beyond this world, eternal, a grace previously unimaginable. But only–only!–if it’s real, authentic…if you truly mean it, will it work.