Another Perspective

Failure of the Secular Mind

Bloody massacre at Virginia Tech speaks of deep-down darkness.

By 4.19.07

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The secular world tries to make sense of the senseless, to understand the bloody massacre at Virginia Tech.

Some point to guns. Others finger society. Still others attempt to transform the murderer into some kind of victim. Anything to understand, to convince themselves that this ... what do we call it? ... could have been prevented and that, therefore, the problem can be fixed.

Yes, something went wrong with the 23-year-old English major for him to slaughter 32 people. But the problem goes deeper than the purely secular mind can admit.

The heart, mind, and soul of man -- while capable of good and beauty and truth -- are vile, disgusting, and deeply flawed, for "the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen. 8:21). This innate propensity to sin and sin again, this deep-down darkness, must be pruned, must be rooted out, or else it will grow like noxious weeds until the garden that is a human being will be overrun and fit for nothing more than to be burnt for all eternity.

Believers tempted to think people are naturally good, should remember that people who are good would have no need for a savior. They could save themselves. They would have no need for God himself to die upon a cross to free them from the grip of sin, death, and hell.

In the wake of the bloody shooting, I've heard the calls for prayer and I wholeheartedly concur. Nothing else will heal those who howl in pain and grief. I suggest the Psalms, those sacred prayers of Israel and of Jesus himself.

"But you, O God, will cast them down / into the pit of destruction; / men of blood and treachery / shall not live out half their days. / But I will trust in you" (Psalm 55:23).

But I will trust in you. That is the only thing the hurting can do. That is the only thing any of us can do. Thankfully, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God of mercy and a God of justice. But you, O God, will cast them down / into the pit of destruction ...

Do we dare think that the Holy One of Israel no longer cares what his creations do to one another, and to his name?

"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur ...." (Rev. 21:8).

I must be honest. When something like this happens, I always want to know if the man of blood and treachery put the gun to his own temple. I hate that. I really do. I want he who holds the sword to swing the fatal, righteous blow. I want the cop with the rifle to draw the bead on the killer's chest, for "he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer" (Rom. 13:14).

Maybe it speaks badly of me, but I don't want the mass murderer to punch his own ticket to the pit. He shouldn't have the luxury.

May the Lord in his mercy comfort the grieving.

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About the Author

R. Andrew Newman is a freelance journalist in western Nebraska.