Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Follow Up On the Religious Shootings

Over the past day, a clearer picture has emerged concerning Matthew J. Murray, the shooter in Colorado who killed four and wounded five at a missionary center in Arvada and New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Murray had been kicked out of the missionary school in 2002 for mental problems that included hearing voices in his head, which made it immpossible for him to go on the group's mission trip to Bosnia. Eventually, he started sending hate mail to the school where he revealed a deep seated resentment towards Christians in general:

You Christians brought this on yourselves. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you ... as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.

It's hard to say what he based his hatred on beyond his mere expulsion. Besides his time at the mission school, Murray's immediate family are all deeply conservative Christians, which might have played a role. But I doubt this shooting has much to do with faith. Murray obviously had mental problems that caused him to hold a deep resentment which he eventually tried to resolve through violence. Faith or lack thereof doesn't really factor into the picture.

As expected, pastors have taken advantage of the incident to further their ends. Pastor Gino Geraci of Calvary Chapel South Denver said:

We're taking a journey away from moral responsibility. We live in a culture and society that want to share the blame rather than holding people accountable and responsible for their actions.

And Rev. Andreas Hock, professor of Sacred Scripture at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary said:

Losing sight of God can mean losing sight of the value of human life.

I don't want to stoop to their level and use this shooting to toot the horn of atheism. As I said earlier, faith obviously has nothing to do with it. But I will use these pastors' comments because Christianity does the exact opposite of what they suggest it does. The central tenet of Christian faith is that Jesus will absolve the believer of all his sins, which is just a way of saying that Jesus will free the believer of all moral responsibility, so long as he believes. It does not hold believers accountable for their actions, so long as they're "born again" and put their faith in Christ. Second, this notion that religion is the only thing that allows us to value human life is absurd. If anything, it creates a sense that we are worthless creatures whose only purpose in life is to appease a seemingly indifferent diety, and it clearly segregates people into believers and nonbelievers, where the believers obviously have more worth than the infidels.

No, I don't think religion is the answer to society's problems, especially in this case when you have a young man who hears voices in his head. What he needed was proper medical care, not fantasies.

Click here to read more from The Rocky Mountain News.


  1. You mean the Christians kicked out this poor soul because he HEARD voices that DIFFERED from their OWN DELUSIONS?!!?
    Well---aren't They SPECIAL!??!

  2. Kind of ironic, getting kicked out of a Christian missionary school for hearing voices in his head.