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School Shootings And Evil

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  • School Shootings And Evil

    What hope is there in tragedy?

    ------------------

    Is this proof there is no God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Last night, I saw on Unbelievable? in Facebook a thread with a news story about the school shooting yesterday and showing it as proof that God does not exist. The problem with something like this is that proof is a strong word to use. I could understand skepticism, but most philosophers, even atheistic ones, agree that there would be no proof here. The logical problem of evil is not really used that much anymore.

    Now I have some political thoughts on this event that I shared yesterday on Facebook and I plan on sharing here as an addendum to this post, but the theological ones are the ones worth talking about. I have said on another post that I do not understand the usage of the problem of evil in this way.

    This is not about whether theism is true or not as this point cannot establish theism or atheism. This is on a more matter of living everyday and of practicality. We could consider it a sort of Pascal’s Wager point on how you would want the universe to be.

    Let’s suppose we have two universes. In one, there is no God. Now right away, since I think God is necessary for the universe to exist in any way, I am granting a huge point, but this is just for the sake of argument. In this universe, matters are exactly the same for the most part and the school shooting has taken place.

    Will the victims ever live again? Not a chance.

    Will the parents ever see their children again? No way.

    Will the teacher who was killed ever see their family again and vice-versa? Forget about it.

    Will anyone who does such a crime and somehow gets away with it ever get justice? Not necessarily.

    Is there any hope for healing? Perhaps, but it sure isn’t built in hope of resurrection.

    In a Christian universe, all the answers are different. Now this does not show God exists, but it does show we should hope that God does exist. That an atheist wants to use this is practically a way to me of saying, “Let’s push some hopelessness!”

    The pushback I received was mind-boggling. Unfortunately, that thread seems to have been eliminated so I will have to go by memory.

    First I had said that good can come out of this, and so the reply was “So you’re saying what happened was good?”

    Good grief. Do these people not read?

    Let’s be clear. Evil is evil. That’s a tautology, but no one can make evil good. God doesn’t even make evil good. God makes evil people into good people and brings good things out of evil things. There is a difference.

    But don’t I believe in Heaven in that this gunman could have repented right before death and received forgiveness and gone to Heaven?

    He could have, though I think if someone is that bent on evil it is highly unlikely. However, would you honestly want it to be otherwise? If you would rather someone suffer for evil rather than realize the error of their ways and turn, then that reveals very little about the evildoer and much more about yourself. We should always hope someone will change their ways and repent. We should always hope someone would embrace the good.

    Right now, I have an ex-wife. It would be easy to delight if something goes wrong with her and her desires and she has to suffer, but why should I want that at all? Note that this is even a woman who has accused me of being abusive to her and shattered my heart to pieces and I suffer everyday because of it. Why should I delight in her suffering? That will not help me at all in my life.

    Instead, I pray for her constantly and that God will show her mercy and where I am in error, let justice and mercy come to me appropriately. If I were to pray that she suffer instead, then that reveals nothing about her and more about me. Anyone can treat their friends well. It’s how you treat those who wrong you and your loved ones that shows who you are.

    However, just because someone is in Heaven or in Hell doesn’t mean that it’s all equal. There are degrees of blessing and degrees of suffering. My ministry partner and I have talked about people who will be scrubbing toilets in the New Jerusalem.

    There is also the claim that someone who is murdered if their murderer repents could be forced to spend eternity with the person who murdered them.

    Yes? And?

    That article is sufficient to deal with those claims.

    I was also told that I said the murderer is good. Not at all. Scripture tells us none are good but God alone. The beauty of the Gospel is that it takes evil people and makes them good people, people like you and I.

    To those who lost loved ones yesterday, Christianity offers hope of resurrection. It says that good can come out of the darkest places. It offers our Lord who Himself was in the darkest place and out of that came the greatest good. It also says that those who turn to Him can have hope.

    From just a practical basis, I would hope Christianity was true and I would think any honest atheist would want to know that there could be a way that good could come out of evil and there will be hope. In an atheistic universe, I gain no practical benefit from this.

    May we all pray for those involved yesterday and that includes the shooter’s family who has their own suffering as well.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)

    Political addendum:

    So after this shooting, I did watch and saw Biden make a speech where he pretty much immediately went after the gun lobby and called for the passing of stronger laws concerning guns.
    I am old enough to remember where the politicizing of a tragedy was normally condemned right after it happened, but I guess that the rules change when the left has power.
    But since it has already been done, here are some points to consider.
    If someone is really willing to break a law against murder and even kill kids doing it, do you really think they are going to pay attention to a gun law? Does anyone think the only place to get guns is through a licensed dealer or a place that does background checks?
    Here are some better ideas.
    From now on, police investigate every claim about someone making any sort of threat whatsoever against a school. If it comes out sometime in this that the villain (And here’s a side point. Don’t mention their names. They don’t deserve credibility. Just call them the X shooter for whatever school it was) was reported many times and had a history of threats and the police never did anything, that’s on them then.
    When we say a place is a gun-free zone, what we are really saying is “Come in here and start shooting because we can’t stop you!” Everyone should agree that most people who have guns in this country are good and law-abiding citizens. The overwhelming majority would never do what some idiot did today.
    If gun laws won’t stop these people, and they won’t, what will stop them?
    For one thing, enforce the laws we have. If someone commits a crime that results in the intentional taking of a human life, don’t dilly-dally on it. Get them in and get them in jail and keep them locked up. If we have to use the death penalty, we do. Let people see that crime has a price to it.
    Second, there are countless veterans all over this country who would love to have a side job of some kind where they get to patrol our area schools and keep students safe. Let them take security positions in schools. Many of them would be glad to do it on even a volunteer position.
    Third, any teacher who wants to should be allowed to have a gun with them. Don’t think you can trust them with it? Then why trust them with your kids? Teachers are adults who should have the right to arm themselves, especially to protect students that can often be like family to them.
    A law will not stop a shooter, but what could stop them is the thought that there are several people in that school who could kill them just as quickly before they get to go on a mass shooting spree. The best defense is indeed a good offense. Let the criminals wonder who it is that has guns in a school or any other place for that matter and let them ask if they are willing to take that risk.
    Gun laws do not work and gun-free zones do not work. If you want to murder someone, you will not be stopped by a law. Fear is what will work.
    Is this proof there is no God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. Last night, I saw on Unbelievable? in Facebook a thread with a news story about the school shooting yesterday and showing it as proof that God does not exist. The problem with something like this is that proof is … Continue reading School Shootings And Evil

  • #2
    Two comments.

    The problem of evil always addressed the nature of God (if one exists). The existence of evil is perfectly logical if you posit an evil or indifferent God.

    Though you are right that atheism doesn't offer the hopes that religion does, facts are facts. I agree that sometimes false hope can be more pleasant than the truth (I would never try to disprove the beliefs of a Christian on her death bed, in fact I would reinforce them) but there is always the danger of the truth emerging and making the person unhappier in the dashing of hopes than he would have been facing the truth and coming to terms with it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Alien View Post
      Though you are right that atheism doesn't offer the hopes that religion does, facts are facts. I agree that sometimes false hope can be more pleasant than the truth (I would never try to disprove the beliefs of a Christian on her death bed, in fact I would reinforce them) but there is always the danger of the truth emerging and making the person unhappier in the dashing of hopes than he would have been facing the truth and coming to terms with it.
      Interactions on this site, particularly those of the last week, lead me to conclude that atheists have a mythology underpinning their beliefs that is as extensive as any they attribute to Christians.

      1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
      Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
      .
      "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

      "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Alien View Post
        Two comments.

        The problem of evil always addressed the nature of God (if one exists). The existence of evil is perfectly logical if you posit an evil or indifferent God.

        Though you are right that atheism doesn't offer the hopes that religion does, facts are facts. I agree that sometimes false hope can be more pleasant than the truth (I would never try to disprove the beliefs of a Christian on her death bed, in fact I would reinforce them) but there is always the danger of the truth emerging and making the person unhappier in the dashing of hopes than he would have been facing the truth and coming to terms with it.
        I agree facts are facts, but I do wonder what is wanted to be accomplished by this. I would think if I was an atheist, I would WANT there to be some good that could come out of this. I can understand someone who is reluctantly or even sadly an atheist because they think the evidence points that way, but does wish some theistic ideas were true, but I cannot understand someone wanting atheism to be true.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tabibito View Post

          Interactions on this site, particularly those of the last week, lead me to conclude that atheists have a mythology underpinning their beliefs that is as extensive as any they attribute to Christians.
          That hints at a fascinating line of thought, but I'm not sure what you mean. Please expand so I can respond.

          I'm no longer 100% atheist btw, but I think I can fairly describe atheist thinking,

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post

            I agree facts are facts, but I do wonder what is wanted to be accomplished by this. I would think if I was an atheist, I would WANT there to be some good that could come out of this. I can understand someone who is reluctantly or even sadly an atheist because they think the evidence points that way, but does wish some theistic ideas were true, but I cannot understand someone wanting atheism to be true.
            That's a good question. Obviously atheists don't all think the same, but I'll do my best.

            Some, with a scientific turn of mind, value truth above all else. If the truth (as they perceive it of course) leads somewhere that is less than ideal, then so be it. So it's more wanting to to know the truth than wanting atheism to be true.

            There's a down side to some religions. Taking Christianity as an example, an atheist might prefer no afterlife to being in the presence of a god that tortures people for eternity, even if he himself was not being tortured (again as perceived).

            Speaking for myself, yes I would prefer it if there were some kind of pleasant afterlife (but not eternity!) and I can dream up lots of variations on that. My choice could well be Buddhism, where all the experience I have gained in this life can be put to use in my next reincarnation, rather than just be snuffed out, or as with Christianity, getting one try and being judged at the end of it. There's really no point to wishing for the impossible though. "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride". Hey beggar, start walking, you'll at least get somewhere, even if it takes longer.

            Believers, understandably, tend to think the atheist life is one of unremitting gloom. Not so. The trick is to come to terms with the world as it is, and mortality, and make the best of it. And here's a thought. The very transience of life makes it more precious. Do you like to watch a beautiful sunset? How about if it went on forever?
            Last edited by Alien; 05-25-2022, 05:10 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Alien View Post

              That's a good question. Obviously atheists don't all think the same, but I'll do my best.

              Some, with a scientific turn of mind, value truth above all else. If the truth (as they perceive it of course) leads somewhere that is less than ideal, then so be it. So it's more wanting to to know the truth than wanting atheism to be true.
              Right. This kind I can understand.

              There's a down side to some religions. Taking Christianity as an example, an atheist might prefer no afterlife to being in the presence of a god that tortures people for eternity, even if he himself was not being tortured (again as perceived).
              Good you put as perceived. I think few scholars in any branch of Christianity would say that is going on. I would hope though that the possibility of good coming from evil is something an atheist might consider taking seriously and I would think if an atheist thought there was a chance God would do something like this, they would want to be absolutely sure He doesn't exist.

              Speaking for myself, yes I would prefer it if there were some kind of pleasant afterlife (but not eternity!) and I can dream up lots of variations on that. My choice could well be Buddhism, where all the experience I have gained in this life can be put to use in my next reincarnation, rather than just be snuffed out, or as with Christianity, getting one try and being judged at the end of it. There's really no point to wishing for the impossible though. "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride". Hey beggar, start walking, you'll at least get somewhere, even if it takes longer.
              But that seems hardly an afterlife and how can you really learn if you don't know past mistakes?

              Believers, understandably, tend to think the atheist life is one of unremitting gloom. Not so. The trick is to come to terms with the world as it is, and mortality, and make the best of it. And here's a thought. The very transience of life makes it more precious. Do you like to watch a beautiful sunset? How about if it went on forever?
              I haven't said it is unremitting gloom either and I honestly don't understand atheists who seem to spend more time talking about God than many Christians I know. I do understand a sunset getting monotonous, but I also think in Heaven, we lose the ability to tire of things and we have an infinite God we will never cease to explore.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
                Good you put as perceived. I think few scholars in any branch of Christianity would say that is going on. I would hope though that the possibility of good coming from evil is something an atheist might consider taking seriously and I would think if an atheist thought there was a chance God would do something like this, they would want to be absolutely sure He doesn't exist.
                Scholars sure, but in the pulpit? The other day I watched a 30 minute talk by a pastor "proving" that hell was eternal torment in fire. He had lots of verses to prove it, and claimed "gnashing of teeth" was the expression of great pain. Then there was the "lake of fire" and so on. It's not hard to find this stuff.

                But that seems hardly an afterlife and how can you really learn if you don't know past mistakes?
                Well you have to descend into the "deeper waters" of Buddhism. There is a progression, even if we don't remember details of our past lives. I'm no expert, but I think the idea is that some equivalent of the soul improves and that carries forward into the next life. The afterlife is the eventual nirvana that we can achieve after many reincarnations.

                I haven't said it is unremitting gloom either and I honestly don't understand atheists who seem to spend more time talking about God than many Christians I know. I do understand a sunset getting monotonous, but I also think in Heaven, we lose the ability to tire of things and we have an infinite God we will never cease to explore.
                Christians, like atheists, believe and say different things. I hope Seer won't mind my quoting from his sig. "Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...".

                There are many types of atheists. Probably the most common is what I will call "default atheists". They get on with their lives and don't think about religion from one month to the next. Then we have people who have thought about it and decided that there probably is no god, but don't talk about it much if somebody else doesn't raise the subject. Then there is the group I think you are referring to. They come on forums like this and debate theists, often vehemently. What can we say about them? You're right, they seem just as obsessed with god as the theists they debate. Some I think may have suffered from religious institutions in their lives. Some may just like to argue, and religion is a perfect subject, it never gets settled and the argument can go on endlessly.

                The only one in that last category I can talk about with any authority is myself. Though I couldn't see any valid evidence for god/s I think I was hoping that if I talked to enough theists someone would come up with some. I found something, explored it for awhile and lost touch with it. I then found myself in a place of peace where I didn't need to prove anything to myself or others.


                Yes I suppose an all -powerful God could find some way to avoid our getting bored in heaven! Just so long as it's not singing hymns all the time.


                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alien View Post

                  That hints at a fascinating line of thought, but I'm not sure what you mean. Please expand so I can respond.

                  I'm no longer 100% atheist btw, but I think I can fairly describe atheist thinking,
                  Sorry about the delay with answering. It's a new thought that I'm still assessing. It might prove to be nothing or maybe worth pursuing, but I don't know what the fall out will be yet.
                  1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                  Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                  .
                  "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                  "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alien View Post

                    Scholars sure, but in the pulpit? The other day I watched a 30 minute talk by a pastor "proving" that hell was eternal torment in fire. He had lots of verses to prove it, and claimed "gnashing of teeth" was the expression of great pain. Then there was the "lake of fire" and so on. It's not hard to find this stuff.
                    Sure, but this is also like taking internet atheism as representative of atheistic scholarship. I have more than enough problems about the people who take the pulpit. All pastors should have a seminary education or at least be in the process of getting one.



                    Well you have to descend into the "deeper waters" of Buddhism. There is a progression, even if we don't remember details of our past lives. I'm no expert, but I think the idea is that some equivalent of the soul improves and that carries forward into the next life. The afterlife is the eventual nirvana that we can achieve after many reincarnations.
                    Right, but that doesn't really address the problem with it. I do have strong issues with reincarnation, but unfortunately it's hard to find pro and con resources on it.



                    Christians, like atheists, believe and say different things. I hope Seer won't mind my quoting from his sig. "Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...".

                    There are many types of atheists. Probably the most common is what I will call "default atheists". They get on with their lives and don't think about religion from one month to the next. Then we have people who have thought about it and decided that there probably is no god, but don't talk about it much if somebody else doesn't raise the subject. Then there is the group I think you are referring to. They come on forums like this and debate theists, often vehemently. What can we say about them? You're right, they seem just as obsessed with god as the theists they debate. Some I think may have suffered from religious institutions in their lives. Some may just like to argue, and religion is a perfect subject, it never gets settled and the argument can go on endlessly.


                    The last part is who I have in mind. They talk about God more than Christians that I know of.

                    The only one in that last category I can talk about with any authority is myself. Though I couldn't see any valid evidence for god/s I think I was hoping that if I talked to enough theists someone would come up with some. I found something, explored it for awhile and lost touch with it. I then found myself in a place of peace where I didn't need to prove anything to myself or others.
                    I personally go with the Thomistic arguments.

                    Yes I suppose an all -powerful God could find some way to avoid our getting bored in heaven! Just so long as it's not singing hymns all the time.
                    Oh yes. I really don't think it will a church service for all eternity. There will be learning, exploring, and working that we will enjoy.

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