July 25, 2012

Grasping Aurora: A Commentary of the Times

"So as a man thinks, so is he..." ~Proverbs 23:7

A person constantly exposed to violence will think and breath violence whether it be real or not. Images leave impressions and impressions change the moral and emotional fabric of the person observing. Even Christ alluded to this in his teachings on sin in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

In terms of thinking, does the mind (especially sub-conscious) really distinguish between violence that is in life or on a screen or does it process it all at the same capacity? When the mind is additionally addled with drugs or altered does this make it that much harder for the mind to process images in a coherent manner or do the images become garbled? Or does the process of thinking the images and violence over and over have a lasting effect on the psyche of a sin weakened mind?

This of course in no way excuses people of sinful behavior. All are accountable for their actions (Proverbs 29:26, Hebrews 9:27, 2 Corinthians 5:10). Even the so-called arguments over the age of accountability are dubious at best as there is no direct Scriptural reference for this belief. There are on the other hand implications that for the really young (David's child with Bathsheba) there may be mercy and grace that allows for it.

Our society continues to feed people violence and sexual immorality by the truckload and we wonder why people turn rabidly violent and animalistic in their behavior. Rabid and senseless. The end result of not thinking, crazed thinking or not feeling. Why then does it come as a shock when a person raised and fed a daily diet of vomit inducing violence in turn goes out in a systematic and methodical rampage gunning people down in cold-blood? A diet of craven violence in video and grotesque macabre movie making. Fruits of demonic spirit and purely of the flesh both σάρξ (flesh) and κόσμος (the world).

Galatians 5: 19-21"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

When we combine this constant accretion of violence and immorality with the fact that society itself usually fails to hold people accountable for their actions, we have a festering cultural/societal wound of malevolence and malice towards others. There is no..."Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18) here, only "love yourself" to damnation with everyone else. It is here that we see part of the key to unraveling the conundrum that we now find ourselves, in a violent, immoral and debased society: Selfishness. More properly - ignoring God or godlessness compounded with an enabling society mentality.

The crazed perpetrator never considered others during this...only himself. It was all about him, others be damned. In a rabid orgiastic explosion of violence he spiraled into the parasitic void of evil, deep into a place where he could no longer be retrieved or reasoned with. He was beyond reason. A place where only lie enables lie and deceit fuels reality. It was about what he wanted and what he needed. It was about his control over the victims. Eyewitnesses state that this dementedly evil man demanded people to stand up before shooting them and when they wouldn't he grabbed them by their shirts, picked them up and shot them. Control. Selfish control and manipulation. Controlling others while he himself had spun out of it. All about the self...and there was no God anywhere to be found. Therefore Godless. God, the very basis of morality. God the very thing that secular society is trying so vehemently to remove from society to make it better.

Secular society now has exactly what it wanted. A godless self-piloted lethal drone cast to the impulsive and unpredictable whims of a deadened conscience, devoid of God. A mind (or lack thereof) that has been infiltrated and thoroughly contaminated by constant installments of senseless violence and/or immorality. The day the Colorado theater shooting happened I remember FOX's Bill O'Reilly saying something to the nature of. "He's just another disturbed guy going off shooting people for no reason, he just snapped."

I beg to differ.

This guy was reportedly known to have watched violence in movies. A guy known to have frequented sites known for sexual deviancy and immorality. Enabled by a system that, more often than not, holds no one accountable through a revolving door justice system. A mentality of victims and no accountability, routine exposure to violence and a selfish pursuit of sexual gratification through adult "friend" sites. All of this screams of a anthropocentric and immoral life. Again, God (or even other people) are nowhere in sight. We are told by some in the media with agendas that this person was Christian because he went to church. Really? Going to church no more makes this eccentric a Christian, than going to a train station makes him a train.

According to the most current information, he was reclusive. Even going to the extent to avoid social media. Other than adult websites and a consumer profile created by ordering things online, he had no virtual footprint. Not surprising for someone as intelligent as they say he was. Frankly, I don't think he never had a presence, I posit that he was smart enough to clean up after himself and could have erased many of his steps or trails including the bios within a computer. Don't be surprised if the computers the FBI finds have been thoroughly wiped or disposed of. Limited or lack of social contact is usually a bad sign for a person created to be communal and in relation with not only God but others of his own kind. The Bible specifically tells us that one of the best gauges for determining one's relation with God is to observe how one interacts with their fellow man and vice-versa.

Matthew 25:45 ~ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

Leviticus 19:2 ~ "Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy"
Leviticus 19:13 ~ "Do not defraud or rob your neighbor"
Leviticus 19:16 ~ "Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life."
Leviticus 19:18 ~ "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

So this "rogue agent" speaks to no one and when he does, he is socially inept uttering guttural noises (possession?) into a gun range owners answering machine thereby getting him barred from the gun range. He is dysfunctional in society. Yet no one sees this as anomalous in society? Why? Dare I say that a large portion of society has become the same way or conditioned to this behavior? We have become immersed in our private selfish technologies such as cell phones that are now handheld computers while simultaneously ignoring people right in front of us and omitting them from our lives when we are called to unite with them (especially as morally upright Christians). To purposely detach a piece of the a body (a person) like a hand, foot, eye, ear from the body is to effectively perform an amputation. We see this spiritual amputation everyday and it is usually voluntary. The amputated entity then becomes numbed, senseless, unassociated...cold and deadened. The body it is amputated from knows this member is detached but does nothing to reattach so the two become farther and farther apart with no hope or reattachment. This can apply to human-to-human relationships or human-to-God. A disconnected, senseless element spinning dangerously or flagrantly though society and no one stops and recognizes the signs of a rogue agent. He is like a bullet ricocheting in room full of innocent people.

So in reality, looking back, he looked...sort of "normal" based on new cultural norms. Selfish, sexually immoral, perhaps visually obsessed with certain media driven or media manufactured iconic images and attracted to violent media or violent past-times (i.e.: violent images or diversions that mimic violent behavior: TV shows like CSI, heroes and villains, movies, contact sports, paintball, war games, etc). Perhaps even video games that promoted violence but that has yet to be determined unless someone can make a case for Guitar Hero being violent. Self-glorifying yes, violent, no. An perhaps that's the key to understanding his obsession with playing Guitar Hero? Self-glorification. Perhaps issues of maniacal control and manipulation making oneself into a form of self-idol. Psychological and physiological stimulations or simulations that reinforce the same things over and over and over like the pounding and trance inducing effects of techno music:

Violence-Depravity-Sexual Immorality-Self Idolatry
Violence-Depravity-Sexual Immorality-Self Idolatry
Violence-Depravity-Sexual Immorality-Self Idolatry
Violence-Depravity-Sexual Immorality-Self Idolatry
Violence-Depravity-Sexual Immorality-Self Idolatry
Violence-Depravity-Sexual Immorality-Self Idolatry
Violence-Depravity-Sexual Immorality-Self Idolatry

No God of the Bible only a god of violence, vice and perversion. Perversion not only sexually based but also perversion at the very core morally. No God, no basis for true morality from the true Moral Law Giver, therefore unmoored from what humans were originally created to be to begin with: moral creatures in the image of God and communal with God (and other people). Perhaps this itself is more proof that without an existence based in God Himself man is no better off than an animal. An educated one but an animal none the less. Without the relation with God the Imago Dei (image of God) dissolves. Perhaps in this we see the moral and relational aspect of what it is to be humans that are created in God's image morally and relationally? As we move away from God and cut him out of our lives we drift deeper into the cesspool of fallen humanity and demonic iniquity?

Am I reaching too far making assumptions about James Holmes himself and his motives? Perhaps I am but the general patterns and MO's of those that commit these atrocities are  often similar. Am I broad stroking this rogue agent's behavior? Maybe. His behavior does seem to fall outside all of the "normal" patterns of a psychopath but as more information becomes available I imagine we will find out it aligns more than we once believed. Most sinners that perpetrate these types of evil are driven by the same types of impetus and evil. They all inevitably come from the same source, it follows that we will see some commonalities. I suspect this maniac is not as rogue as we think.

For any that think I've slightly over-reached with these comments, they need only look at the nation of Israel and those surrounding Israel it in the Old Testament and see how the decline of God's people and their society was driven not only by foreign gods but also driven by a drift away from the One True God. It is manifested in corruption of leadership, rampant sexual immorality, lack of accountability (everyone doing what is right in their own eyes)...and of course violence...and a lot of it.

This madman is just the extreme form of a reprobate mind run amok. It is quite possible that he was born with faulty wiring and pre-wired to self-destruct but is clear that this is also the resultant product of a man conditioned by constant exposure to sin and depravity and/or a lack of true knowledge of God since no man that truly knew God would do this to God's most prized creation that He created in His own image (Imago Dei).

In James Holmes see Romans chapter 1 through 3 personified in a frightening, murderous and deadly manner. Unfortunately, violence and anger always spills over because when it comes out it does so in an explosion. Is this man a victim of his environ? Of course not! His environment became his victim! Conversely, he created nearly a hundred of them directly and maybe thousands indirectly. Is he partially a product of his environment, culture and times? Yes, yes he is. The culture is the cradle of society's mind therefore to some extent it influences the individual minds. Frighteningly, I fear the slow methodical march of unfeeling and morally unanchored secular society and it's ilk will cause many more victims than James Holmes ever could. In the end Holmes was the cause of this massacre but the immoral undercurrent of society is what will cause the victimization of millions as it's undertow pulls people into the abyss of sin and depravity.

Why? An absence of God from people's lives. A spiritually unmoving immutable anchor is exactly what we need in this storm that is currently engulfing this country (and world at large). But people turn away.

When God is abandoned the result is always the same. Society no longer has an absolute bearing on truth. Society then decays and becomes debased. A debased society unanchored from moral bearings rots or decays from within spiritually until the spiritual core evaporates. The spiritual abhors a vacuum. When a righteousness or morality vacate a space, its ontological opposite usually rushes in to fill its place. In the case of righteousness and morality, the opposite is unrighteousness, immorality, wickedness and evil. In other words, the violence we have just bore witness to.
A Colorado community is now left to pick up the pieces of many shattered lives. To my absolute and utter dismay, many of the sinful mitigating factors that played into this horrendous godless atrocity will be ignored because we really are a society that has turned away from God in droves. This incident will be politicized (and already has been) for selfish gain by other immoral godless people. The names of victims will be forgotten only to resurface again later when another more deadly and horrendous act replaces it in the immoral, godless and senseless media that glorifies violence by giving it "front page" or "top of the hour/minute" status.

So as a man thinks, so is he.

I have never been accused of being a genius but I know one thing for absolute certain. If I am to dwell on God as much as I can I will certainly become more godly and by default, more holy. "Be holy for I am Holy". If I am constantly thinking on violence, sexual immorality and dwelling on myself all the time I am certainly not coming closer to God. So what am I coming closer to?

Violence and immorality are clearly not the paths to God.

If man thinks only of himself, he thinks only of a morally debased and sinful being. If man thinks selfishly of this constantly, his basis for his thoughts are forever lost in a tightening downward spiral of godlessness and evil. There is no escape as people are given over to this dead mind to pursue evil with reckless abandon...and that is exactly what we saw this past week. If society removes all or the last remaining impediments from someone by taking God out of sight and out of mind, the spiral of selfish madness speeds up and spins violently out of control like a projectile zeroing on another victim.

Sadly, my question is not why this most recent incident happened. My question is: When will it happen again?

I can only pray for the grace of God, continue to pray for the current victims and pray that this never happens again. We can hope. I feel that with a recalcitrant and stiff-necked people that refuse to return to God...things will only get worse. I will continue to pray even for those that mock me.

Habakkuk 1:2-3 ~ “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.

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