The shooting in Oregon is now old news. What isn’t old news however, is the continuing social media firestorm on Gun Control. This always seems to happen after one of these shooting events, but this time it seems to be persisting for an unusually long time. People on both sides of the debate are still talking about the issue of Gun Control. It’s a hot button issue. One side is insistent that we are insane to still let guns onto the street, while the other side is insistent that we would be insane not to let good people defend themselves.
While I would tend to lean toward the more conservative, pro-second amendment, anti-Gun-Control side of the argument, I can’t help but think that both sides are missing the larger issue. One side thinks that there are too many guns in the hands of sociopaths. The other side thinks that we need to have guns to protect ourselves from sociopaths. Neither side seems to be interested in why we have so many sociopaths to begin with.
Why is it that our culture seems to be particularly efficient at producing people who feel the need to walk into schools, shopping malls, movie theaters, or even military bases, and start blasting away anyone that breathes?
In truth, this problem is not a problem that has manifested itself only in our time, or our country. Indeed, this is a problem that has been inherent in mankind ever since our fall from grace, ever since Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden. When sin first entered the world mankind was cursed with a sinful nature that has been passed from generation to generation. This sinful nature is in all men, women and children, and thus we are, in and of ourselves, completely depraved, as the scriptures say:
“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God.” (Romans 3:9-19)
Apart from the grace of God, we are all, myself included, bound for a life consumed by evil. For evidence of this fact, just read the history books. The history of mankind is full of atrocity after atrocity. The story of mankind is one of manifest evil. Sure there may be the occasional story of inspiration of good triumphing over evil, but most of the prominent figures in history have been truly horrible.
Ultimately, this is a sin problem. But even if we ignored what the Bible has to say about the nature of man, modern day America seems to be producing an awful lot of sociopaths for a society that prides itself on how “enlightened” it is. Then again, maybe it is the “enlightenment” itself that is causing the problem.
In our enlightenment we claim to be a society that values tolerance, but anyone who preaches the existence of absolute truth and absolute morality, cannot be tolerated.
In our enlightenment we claim to hold marriage in high esteem. We say that “No union is more profound” and that “it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family” (quotations from the majority opinion of the US Supreme Court in Obergefell vs. Hodges written by Justice Kennedy). We apparently value it so much that we legitimize same sex marriage, feeling it unjust to deny its joys to anyone. Meanwhile we’ve made such a sacred and profound union something that can be entered into at the drop of hat. We have drive-through wedding chapels, for when standing at an alter just seems like too much work. We issue online certificates, because getting a real spiritual leader to officiate is just too much of a hassle. And if getting married were too easy we’ve made divorce a multi-billion dollar industry.
In our enlightenment we claim that we value life as sacred and precious. We flood the world-wide-web with life affirming hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, and we are constantly reminded that #AllLivesMatter. We value life so much that we even get enraged over the death of Cecil the lion. We pat ourselves on the back because we have finally evolved to where we recognize that life, in all forms, is to be valued and preserved at all costs. Meanwhile we slaughter millions of our own children in the womb every year.
In our enlightenment we preach that stereotypical gender roles are meaningless and outdated. We say there is no reason why boys can’t be “girlish” and that girls can’t be “boyish”. We say that gender is nothing but a social construct, independent from biology, and yet the instant that someone says they don’t identify with their gender we agree that their biology is wrong, and they should resort to major hormone treatments and surgical procedures to fix it. We’ll applaud while parents give their 14 year old sons hormones typically given to menopausal, middle aged women. We support people that feel they have to mutilate their God given bodies and go to extraordinary lengths so that they can “be themselves”.
In our enlightenment we claim to revere the natural world. We talk as if the ways of nature are how the world is meant to be. We want our food to be “organic” and free of genetic modifications. We run away from “artificial chemicals” and promote clean eating because “natural is best”. Meanwhile we reject nature’s clear intentions for sex and biology. The natural union of the male and female bodies is no more a valid union than two men or two women. A person’s natural biological sex is by no means meant to dictate what they are meant to be.
In our enlightenment we are deeply concerned about a rape epidemic. We launch “Yes Means Yes” campaigns and teach the importance of consent. Meanwhile we promote a hook-up culture that encourages girls (and boys) to go to wild parties, get drunk and “explore themselves” with total strangers. We’ve created websites like “Tinder”, and “Hot or Not” which encourage us to view potential dates based purely on their sex appeal. There is even an entire page on Craig’s List dedicated to “Casual Encounters” because dedicated relationships are just too much work. We thrust sexual images and innuendo’s in front of our children’s faces from the earliest ages, from all directions, and then we are surprised when we realize we are surrounded by sexual predators.
Bruce Jenner holds interviews where he readily admits that what he is doing is likely going to bring great pain and confusion to many that he supposedly loves, and yet he must do what he must do for himself. For that, we praise him, and shower him with adoration. We hail him as “Courageous” and give him awards. Words like “Courage” used to mean putting yourself in enormous risk for the sake of another, but now that we are enlightened we believe that “Courage” means following your own personal desires regardless of the pain or sadness it may cause those who love you.
We used to teach our children that sex was something beautiful and sacred, and to be saved for the sanctity of marriage. But now that we are enlightened we teach them that it is purely for pleasure, and that the most important thing is that they are “safe”. It’s a bonus if they “think” they“love” the person, or at least “like” them, but really all the matters is “safety”. We certainly wouldn’t want them to feel repressed by expecting them to have self-discipline. After all, we all know that “they’re going to do it anyway”, so we might as well give them condoms and birth control, and even if they fail to be fully “safe”, abortion is always a valid “choice”.
We used to teach our children the importance of hard work and personal responsibility. We taught them how to strive to win, while graciously accept defeat. We taught them that they weren’t perfect, but we equipped them with the tools to better themselves. But now that we are enlightened we can’t bear the thought of them having low self-esteem. We can’t bear them to feel the pain of defeat, so we hand out trophies for “participating”. We assure them that everyone is a “winner” and that nobody keeps score. We teach them that they are little angels and that they deserve to be happy while we serve them hot cocoa and juice boxes while they creep into their 30’s, still living in our basement.
In our “enlightenment” we have taught several generations of children a code of morality that has no real solid foundation, full of inconsistencies, and contradictions. We have taught them that the most important thing is that they feel good about themselves. The most important thing is their own personal happiness, and that no-one has the right to get in the way of that happiness. Along the way we have taught them to reject any notions of true virtue. We’ve taught them to reject God, reject self-discipline, and avoid responsibility.
Why should we be surprised then, that some of these children grow up to be self-centered sociopaths with no regard for other people? That’s exactly what we’ve taught them to be. Why should we be surprised, that after being fed the lie that they should always be happy, when confronted with the harsh reality that the world does not always deliver sunshine and roses, that these people would be disillusioned and lash out in violence?
Modern Liberalism has brought us this “enlightenment” and now looks at the carnage that has naturally ensued. It concludes that the answer is stricter Gun Control. There are too many sociopaths out there that can get guns, and they must be stopped. And to some extent they might be right. If stricter Gun Control were put in place there might very well be a reduction in gun violence.
But it wouldn’t address the heart of the issue.
It would be like if you realized that children on the baseball field are beating each other with the bats, so you conclude that you must take away their bats. Sure, nobody will get clobbered in the head with a bat. But at the same time, nobody will be able to play baseball, and the kids will probably just start hitting each other with their bare hands. Stop focusing on the bats and worry about why they feel they need to hit each other in the first place.
Gun Control might keep the guns out of the hands of some sociopaths (though certainly not all of them), but it won’t change their hearts. They will still be sociopaths. They will still have no regard for the lives of others. Ignoring the real problem will only allow them to search for other avenues of violence. Gun control might give some minor, temporary reprieve from symptoms of the problem, but it will be no cure.
Because the problem, is not a gun problem. It is a people problem. It is a spiritual problem. It is a culture problem. And until we address it at a spiritual and cultural level, it’s not really going to be fixed.
We need to teach our children about God. We need to teach our children about sin. We need to teach our children about love. Not just to love themselves, or to only loves those who love them. But self-sacrificial love that’s willing to deny one’s self for others. We need to teach them that they are not perfect as they are, but that they can strive to be better. We need to teach them to take personal responsibility, even when the world isn’t fair to them. We need to teach them that some things are right, and some things are wrong, even if it’s not what’s popular.
If we can teach these things to our children, maybe we can turn our culture around into one where we wouldn’t even need to be debating issues like Gun Control. We won’t be able to eradicate evil. The sinful nature of man will be present until the end of time. But if we can become a nation that values truth, and virtue, and righteousness; if we can become a people who recognize God; if we can become a society that teaches love, honesty, and self-sacrifice; then maybe we can make violence and carnage and brutality so rare that it will become but a faint memory. We won’t solve the problem overnight, but then again we didn’t get to where we are overnight, we shouldn’t expect the solution to either.
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