By Dr. Ted Baehr and Dr. Tom Snyder
Our thoughts and prayers continue to go to the murder victims in Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut and their families. We pray heartily that God and His people will comfort and aid them during their mourning and recovery, and afterwards.
In that light, we were greatly heartened by President Barack Obama’s references to God, prayer, and Scripture in the wake of this tragedy early Friday afternoon.
Sufficient time has passed now, however, that it’s important to express some thoughts about how and why such reprehensible evil occurred and how to prevent it in the future.
Many people have immediately jumped onto the issue of gun control, but two of the first questions we asked ourselves was, “Does this event show that America has a spirit of uncontrollable anger these days? And, does our current social, political and moral division create that anger?”
After all, the recent national elections and the current debate over the “fiscal cliff” both seem to show that nearly all sides of our social, political, and moral debates have become infected by extreme, uncontrolled passion if not anger.
As for the issue of gun control, in nearly all the recent cases of mass murder shootings in the United States, all the schools, theaters, and shopping malls in those cases had a “no guns” policy!
Also, it’s not that hard for criminals and wannabe criminals to get unregistered guns if they so wish.
Finally, the same day of the Connecticut school murders, a knife-wielding assailant in Central China injured 22 children at a school (China put a kibosh on any news about how serious the “injuries” were or are). There was another knife incident at a Chinese school in 2010. It involved 28 injured children. (See http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/14/uk-china-stabbings-idUKBRE8BD06120121214.)
Clearly, then, gun control is NOT the answer. And, judging by the failure of our schools and our government, neither are they.
So, what IS the answer?
We doubt if we will ever get a definitive answer, especially one that satisfies all people, or even most people. As God Himself says in Genesis 8:21, “The intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (all of the mass shooters seem to be men).
However, we urge everyone to consider this answer:
By removing God, the Bible, God’s Law, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit from society, including the mass media and the schools, we are raising generations of people with no faith in God or Jesus and, hence, no moral conscience, and no self-control. If so many people have no faith, no moral conscience and no self-control, then it’s no wonder our society is suffering from all these mass murders by evil lone gunmen.
For some reason, the word “evil” has become a pariah in modern discourse. If you remove God, the Bible, God’s Law, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, then doesn’t the notion of good and evil become meaningless?
As Paul points out in Romans 2:29, people become good and do the right thing only when their hearts, or their conscience or inner souls, are at least partly sanctified, cleansed, redeemed, and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, how can people choose good over evil without a divine sense of faith and values from God, through either Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit?
Because we’ve been removing, in one way or another, God and the Bible from our society, mass media and schools, we’ve been creating mean killers with no conscience. Without God or the Bible, Satan is allowed to roam freely and the sinful nature of man begins to infect humanity and all its works. Thus, the souls of these killers have become infected with envy, narcissism, a growing anger, hatred, a sense of entitlement and victimhood, and many other evil, sinful lusts. As a result, these killers become people who have no moral conscience and no moral compass – or at least a severely damaged one.
In his Farewell Address, President George Washington said that religion and morality are essential ingredients to running a free, popular, politically prosperous, and just government and society.
Washington uses the terms free, popular, and “political prosperity.” And, he links everything to the Courts of Justice and the right to life and property. Thus, security for property and for life rests on religion and morality:
“Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.”
Are Washington’s words any less true when it comes to the mass media, our popular culture, or our schools (whether private or public)?
We think not.
That’s why, every year, we take part in the Annual Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards Gala that rewards the best movies and television with faith and values, to redeem the entertainment industry through the transformational power of God and, thereby, promote the Good, the True, the Just, and the Beautiful throughout our culture.
Without God, without faith and values, we are just soulless meat machines who can kill without mercy. Apparently, that’s how too many of our fellow citizens have reacted lately.
Sadly, such evil is running rampant (and virtually unchecked) in our mass media of entertainment, whether it be the disgusting, totally gratuitous, ultraviolent bloodbath at the end of Quentin Tarantino’s Golden Globe nominated, new movie, DJANGO UNCHAINED, or the evil torture porn of recent movies like THE COLLECTION and the upcoming TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3D.
People need to stop rewarding these movies with their patronage and their acclaim.
And, as an alternative, support the efforts of Movieguide® and its Annual Faith & Values Awards to redeem the mass media and transform the culture with the Good, the True, the Just, and the Beautiful.
Note: The 21st Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, sponsored in part by Movieguide®, will be held Feb. 15, 2013 at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Dr. Ted Baehr is founder and publisher of Movieguide®, which began in 1985. Dr. Tom Snyder has been editor of Movieguide® since 2000.