Recently a young man took his firearms into a local high school and killed 17 students and teachers. This horrible act of atrocity has raised many questions and debates. Some of the debate has centered on whether this should be a culture that should be allowed to have firearms at all. Perhaps restricting ownership of firearms only to the government would prevent such terrible tragedies. Another view is that having teachers/police officers in the school carry firearms to be a deterrent against mass shootings would keep the cowardly criminals at bay. There are good and bad arguments on both sides.
Let me take this in a different direction that requires a little back story first.
Last night my teenage son and I sat down to watch a movie called Assassin’s Creed. I knew the movie was based on a video game, but I had no idea of the etymology of the story. What was revealed in the first 5 minutes of the movie horrified me. I’m so glad I was able to watch this movie with my son rather than him watching it with his friends. What horrified me was not just the killing (although that in itself is terrible enough), but the doctrine by which this coven of assassins lived. The speaking was in Spanish, but the sub-titles revealed the complete irrationality of their mantra. There are three main mantras that the coven of assassins repeated that I will cover.
As Frank Turek likes to point out when someone makes a claim; turn it back on itself, to see if it is self-refuting. “Nothing is true.” Is it true that nothing is true? Self-Refuting. But in this wildly popular video game and Hollywood movie, young people blindly accept this claim. The “conclusion” (if such a terrible premise can lead to a conclusion) that a young person can get from this mantra is that there is not a moral truth by which one must abide. Moral relativity. Absurdity.
If everything is permitted, why shouldn’t people gun down their peers for fun or a political view or a religious view? This preaching by the movie, video game, and book series give full license for young people to behave however they want to please themselves. Why should our culture expect anything else than for young people to act selfishly? It is again this idea that there is no Creator, who gave moral standards, so do whatever you want.
For those who recognize this phrase from the Bible, did Paul say that everything is permissible too? I’ll not get into the purpose of Paul’s commands to the Corinthian church here, but I do implore you to apply the proper hermeneutic of contextual analysis. Paul clearly lists behaviors that are not permissible just prior and subsequent to this phrase.
Another example of cognitive dissonance that is preached to the young people of our culture. These fictional assassins repeat these mantras in order to justify their behavior of killing Catholics and others who would attempt to live by God’s revealed standards.
After seeing these three mantras play out on the screen for 30 minutes or so, my son and I talked about the irrationality of those dogmas and turned off the movie. It had lost all appeal because of its absurdity. But that is what is being preached to the young people of today in movies, video games, and other media.
So, how do we combat people using guns against their neighbors?
- Men must be involved in the lives of their children. No longer can men selfishly impregnate women and move on to the next conquest. Single-parent households are fertile grounds for lawlessness, poverty, and spiritual illness. When men take the selfish path by fulfilling their own needs without first taking the responsibility of a lifelong commitment to one woman and then raising their children with discipline and love, the culture degrades into barbarism. Men must disciple their children and love their wife.
- Stop glorifying absurdity in video games and movies. Every movie and video game has some sort of agenda. Learn to recognize the agenda by comparing it to the revealed truth of God’s Word.
- Teach people how to think. Use presuppositional apologetics to analyze claims. Don’t accept someone’s worldview just because they strongly believe it.
- Teach your children the value of human lives comes from being made in God’s image.
Ultimately, the source of mass shootings is a sin problem. Jesus fulfilled the scriptures and came to free mankind from the curse of sin. If the problem is sin, the solution is God’s grace through faith.