So the debate has started. Just what or whom is responsible for monstrous actions like this? Could the relaxed gun laws be to blame? Or is it the violence on TV and in the cinema? Are these really the best scapegoats we can find? Then there are those that will toot the same tired rhetoric and point the finger at God with the whole 'problem of evil' (in which I have never seen to be a problem at all). Let's take a skim over these so-called explanations that are apparently the best ones our society can come up with.
Reaching for non-explanations
First, accessibility to guns has been a non-issue for centuries at least while the consensus was that guns were only to be used for hunting and war. Guns can't be the problem, ban them and people will just get more inventive (or find non-legal ways to get their hands on the guns). I agree that seeing less fictional violence on a daily basis will certainly help matters but not solve everything because the imagination can be a powerful tool of destruction. Scriptures tell us evil is in the heart of man, and it's precisely that heart of man that has been responsible for inventing the gruesome deaths that we see commonly on TV or in the movies.
Then there's God, an argument which has always bothered me because just a peek at the fall of man in Eden and the behind the curtain scene in the book of Job shows where evil really originates. Free will has made it possible and an understanding of free will is what is needed to stop it. But it seems if it's not God, it's not gun control (or the lack thereof) and it isn't exposure to violent images (I'm a comic book geek so if Batman is wrong I don't wanna be right) then it seems that people are all out of ideas.
It's so obvious
Honestly I'm not shocked things like this happen and if you believe God's word neither should you. The problem is that people are shocked when our secular societies create monsters and those monsters do what they were created to do: steal, kill and destroy. But (as they reason) how could 'good' man on his way to spiritual enlightenment be responsible for such malevolence? All the self help books tell us how fantastic we really are, so it couldn't possibly be any of us to blame for this.
So we come back to the issue of free will. The cult of Scientism when applied to psychology, neuroscience and other strands of science studying the human being has robbed many of an understanding of free will. The culprit (James Holmes) in this instance was studying neuroscience which means that it was likely he was taught dogmatically that the soul doesn't exist. Yes, it's been said that he was only a mediocre student and not brilliant but he didn't have to be… he was parroting the same unbudging dogma as do the rest of the biological sciences – the presumption of naturalism and evolutionary origins of man.
Humans are just another animal and your actions are nothing but mechanical. Your decisions are illusory and determinism is king. After all, that's what the man widely considered as the most intelligent person alive teaches. And while Stephen Hawking creates killers and is given respect and book deals, victims of his teaching (and that of others like Francis Crick) are being locked away for actually going along with such a damaging view.
We're all victims here
Granted not everyone takes it this far but the way I look at it everyone is a victim in this situation. Maybe I'm sympathizing too much with the 'bad guy' in this, maybe I suffer from similar delusions of seeing the merit beyond the evil but the thing is that most people are not intelligent enough to grasp what some of these murderers do. I believe in the death penalty and if anyone deserved it certainly James Holmes does but I still have to commend someone taking their beliefs to its logical conclusion.
If there is no free will, then a murderer is no more responsible for his actions than an old man's lack of bladder control. If there is no soul then nothing you do in this life really matters so if killing gives you a thrill, then why not go for it? The point is that we have denied the existence of free will in the majority of our universities so why shouldn't we expect these establishments to pump out killers?
We are teaching people to be ignorant of their very nature and then in further ignorance want to place the blame anywhere but the establishment that teaches this or on the true nature of man. Woe to our society, woe to all of us.
Bridget Brenton has spent seven years in China and currently lives on the Gold Coast with her husband Steven. Over the last decade she has been studying all things philosophy, apologetics and the supernatural and now is endeavoring to put that knowledge into ministry. She writes a blog on the paranormal and it's relation to practical Christianity.
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html