Clint Roberts provides superb analysis here of the theology of active shooters. It's must reading in entirety to understand the crazy world we now inhabit.
This new and surreal phenomenon – an average citizen on an average day, either known to the site or a stranger to it, showing up armed for war and spraying bullets into as many bodies as he can – is now a regular enough occurrence to require standardized protocols for every school and business across the U.S. It’s the kind of “new normal” that, if our forefathers could have looked into the future and seen it, would have convinced them that we are in an end times dystopia.
And maybe we are.
... I am not suggesting that the typical jihad-inspired shooter has a sophisticated or well-thought-out theology. Most of them are brainwashed simpletons, either raised in the bubble of radical Islam and nursed with the milk of psycho death cult ideology, or maybe recruited over the internet where weak and confused minds can be overtaken after hours of cyber-submersion in a dark, propagandistic corner of the internet.
... Another unfortunate trend in the recent history of active shooter incidents involves the disgruntled American who believes that everything is going straight down the crapper and that he needs to take action – deadly action.
... Despite the fact that people of this kind sometimes refer to God or even use the name “Christian,” as certain Aryan groups have done in the past, the view of God they loosely maintain is anything but a Christian view. I have never heard or read any sort of coherent theology from them. Their god is a cultural idol that their small cult perpetuates and of which the members have only a hazy understanding.
The so-called “Christian Identity” movement, for example, has a thin concept of God as favoring the superior Aryan race, which is his true Israel. He forbids interaction with the corrupt lesser races and certainly allows for violence. As one scholar for the Christian Research Institute points out here, this racist group blends all sorts of spiritual heritages into their self-serving concoction of dogmas, including elements from classic Neo-Nazi writings, zodiac astrology, teachings from mystics and New Age writers, earth-wisdom from ancient Germanic and Druid traditions, and the occult.
... The third type of senseless public shooter is more difficult to comprehend than the other two, and in my opinion represents a more disturbing trend. While the other two types are engaged in what they perceive as a larger battle, these shooters live in a very small and self-absorbed world. They have no great ‘cause’ for which they are fighting, despite occasional reference in their delusional rants about systemic injustice and fighting for all of those who have been downtrodden or done wrong ... He has a myopic obsession with having not been liked enough by everyone or having been rejected by girls. He is the quintessence of a culture of victimhood. Everyone has done him wrong. His homicidal suicide plan is justified due to his having been bullied in so many ways by the world. He has, in some sense, elevated himself to the position of the most important being in the universe. He cannot see beyond his own tiny selfish world. There is no room for much of an understanding of God in such a frame of reference. He needs no suffering Messiah, for he is the suffering Messiah.
... Some of the truest statements are rarely uttered these days due to the unfortunate constraints of political correctness. You are not likely to hear any reference to the theological or otherwise religious views of people who commit atrocities. The voice of common sense, however, cannot be muted within our own minds. We all know that a person who believes wholeheartedly that God has commanded him or her to kill someone is a thousand times more likely to do so than a person who holds no such belief.
When a media story describes yet another murder by a radicalized Muslim, and mentions only tangential factors like poverty, without reference to the killer’s religious beliefs, every rational reader or viewer knows better. As I said before, there remains one supreme and overarching reason why the world has been subject to a long series of civilian murders at the hands of people professing belief in Islam: their theology.
... Christians believe that there is indeed a correct understanding of God, even though we think God is inexhaustible so as to remain out of reach to some extent. Enough has been revealed, we think, for human beings know the basic character of God, despite the mystery in which God will always be shrouded. If the mission of the Christian Church were carried out as we believe she has been instructed, then the world would slowly transform to a place with far fewer murders, much less hostility overall, resolutions of old grudges, dissolution of petty racism, and a whole lot of other things that are unquestionably beneficial for everybody. And it would all be theologically driven.
People would remain frail and prone to the same temptations to all of the same sins since the beginning of time, of course, but a right view of God’s purposes and commands would mean that people who decide to murder other people would at least know full well that they are inviting the condemnation of their Maker.
... The active shooter trend is a flashing neon sign that ought to remind us that human beings are broken in a profound way. Our minds have not evolved from barbarism to enlightenment, as is still often presumed. We’re still filled with false and confused beliefs and perspectives. Whereas once upon a time certain people believed that some of the women among them were bringing evil and disease into the community and thus hung them as witches, so today there are people who believe either that God has commanded them to commit atrocities or that there is no God or truth or meaning anyway, and thus murders are not wrong in any sense that transcends human opinion or civil law. One type believes that after slaughtering people and killing himself, he receives the reward of paradise; the other believes, presumably, that he escapes his perceived difficulties into the permanent silence of utter non-existence.
The right view of God would correct the psychotic theology of murder that guides the trigger-fingers of Islamic death-cultists. The right view of God would teach those with anger against the government or justice system how to address it and protest it in the ways God approves and advises. The right view of God would certainly obliterate the self-serving racist ideologies that convince fools that people of the ‘enemy’ race are justifiable targets. And the right view of God would be a stabilizing intellectual and emotional force for people feeling desperate and depressed; it would give them perspective that offers them hope and a way forward.
... Yes God is Great, but not just any god.
Amen. Well said, Clint. Thanks for a much-needed message for both the church and a disintegrating culture.