This past week the headline stories in the media were packed with the details about the recent mass slaughter of random strangers by blood-thirsty perpetrators, who were all young men in their teens or early 20s. The El Paso, Texas killer was 21. The Dayton, Ohio killer was 24. The Northern B.C. killers were 18 and 19. All were young men, yet they shared no common ideology. One was apparently a white supremacist, while another was a radical leftist who support ANTIFA. The political leanings of the Northern B.C. killer-teens are unknown. So what do they have in common? NONE of them were church-going Christians or synagogue-going Jews.
Evidently the parents of these killers made little to no effort to teach them the basics of the morality taught by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures with its admonitions: “Thou shalt not murder” and “Love your neighbour as yourself.” The Bible passionately focuses on such family friendly values. Yet, it is now several generations since it was commonplace among Americans and Canadians to consistently raise our children with this foundational morality. I am such a dinosaur that I remember my 4th grade public school teacher regularly reading the Psalms to us during class.
But today it is commonplace for the social and political discourse to be full of venom and words of disrespect and even violence.We commonly bite and devour each other on the Twitterosphere. This is the new norm, and no one seems to know what to do about it except to censor it one way or another. And so the precious freedom of speech is gradually being eroded. The idea that one should speak moderately, and practice kindness to one’s neighbours and strangers in word and deed seem alien to many today.
This rising tide of violence in word and deed is the natural consequence of our society turning away from the Bible’s God and his teachings. And yet so many are still surprised by the increase in random murders. But perhaps they have never known the Judeo Christian ethic. As the Apostle Paul clearly pointed out a long time ago there is a natural cause and effect relationship of what happens when a society turns its back on biblical values.
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarrelling, deception, malicious behaviour, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand [biblical truth], break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. Romans 1:28-32 New Living Translation.
Gun control legislation will at best be only a poor and relatively ineffective remedy for what is in essence a spiritual sickness. Instead, if we want real social peace in our communities and the reversal of this rising tide of violence in both word and deed, then we need to blow the dust off our Bibles and begin to read them. We must practice what the Scriptures teach about loving our neighbours, and the strangers in our land. And of course, we should begin to teach the Bible’s message to our children and grandchildren at home and in the schools. That would heal our nations’ spiritual sickness, that is manifest in this rising tide of verbal violence and the outright cold-blooded mass murder of strangers.