Denver, Tragedy, and Evil


Since the tragic murder in Denver, CO a few days ago many people have attempted to offer their perspectives. True to late American form, no one is really reporting the news and what happened, but rather offering opinions as to why it happened. Perhaps we need tighter gun laws, or looser ones, depending on which news outlet we watch. Perhaps we need to focus on the motives and mind of the killer, or focus on the victims. Either way, the media is in a mad rush to exploit the tragedy in order to grab viewers, with news anchors becoming nothing more than commentators on events, opining and telling us how we should think and feel about the senseless murder of innocent people. And that is why I have not written an opinion on the incident; that and I’m currently in a country where incidents like this are a regular occurrence.

In the brief sermon I preached today, I mentioned the incident in Denver. I was going to bring it up and make the point that evil exists in this world and that as Christians our job is to bring love to a world desperate for it. However, as soon as I mentioned the incident I began to think how absurd it was to bring it up. While a tragedy is a tragedy, this country is used to beheadings, mass murders, innocent civilians being caught in the cross-fire between warring gangs or police. In other words, how can I mention a massacre in the United States to point out evil when the people down here face violence every single day?

The world is simply full of evil and tragedy. It’s full of hatred and violence. While we can ask why God would allow such things, we’re left with really two answers: God doesn’t exist, or there’s a reason He allows it. If God doesn’t exist then we face this world of evil and tragedy and are forced to say C’est la vie. If evil proves God doesn’t exist, ultimately who cares if thousands are beheaded in some foreign country so long as it doesn’t impact me? If God doesn’t exist then why should I care about a shooting in Colorado if I wasn’t there? It only matters to me because I make it matter to me. While the neo-atheists – who are extremists and radicals in their own right – would object to this sentiment, it is nonetheless the sentiment of multiple atheistic existentialists. Their only response is, “yes, that is the reality, the absurd, but we shall fight against it.” This is not an argument against atheism by the way, but simply a statement about atheism.

The other alternative is that God allows these events to happen for a reason. Perhaps it is for a greater good, perhaps it is for a good, or perhaps He enjoys watching us suffer (the last one is an impossibility). Whatever the reason, what we do know is that Christ called us to act against evil with love. So, rather than pointing the finger at the cause of violence and suffering, we are called to lift our finger to help. We are called to help fix the suffering by sacrificing ourselves. We are called to love one another.

Even when we love one another, gangs will not stop shooting, children will not stop dying, and crazy people will not stop planning mass murder in public places. But when we love one another we can provide a quick response to such acts and provide love where only hatred exists. In so doing, perhaps we can at least create a better future where even though evil doesn’t exist, it has a very hard time coming about. Either way, pointing the finger at the gun companies, at the lack of laws concerning guns or too many laws concerning guns won’t prevent another tragedy from occurring and it doesn’t fix the current one. Blaming the government or the cartels doesn’t fix the problem, but instead contributes to it. Blaming the cause of violence – other than pride and sin – doesn’t do a thing to prevent evil from coming about. But love does. Love isn’t a solution, it is the only real solution to this world of tragedy.

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One thought on “Denver, Tragedy, and Evil

  1. Great article. I just “discovered” Christian Watershed today. Joel’s article is so clear and correct; yet it is compelling to me because I see such a logical mind at work. I was in a philosophy graduate program in philosophy for six years and came away with the same bent of mind — love through and in Christ, yes, but the compelling demands of logic must be met. Thank you Joel. I’m Jeff, the Park Slope Puritan, writing from Brooklyn, NY — a Jewish believer.

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