Creationist Wisdom #841: School Shootings

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in The News Virginian of Waynesboro, Virginia. The letter (it’s actually a column) is titled The problem, as always, is man’s heart, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s Mark Wingfield, a columnist for that newspaper and pastor at First Baptist Church in Grottoes. This is the second time we’ve written about the rev — see #676: Put Thinking Cap On. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Question: The Bible tells of a single man who killed off one-quarter of the world’s entire population. Who is that man, why did he do such a thing and how did he do it?

Got your attention, huh? Here’s the rev’s answer:

Genesis 4:8b says, “…And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.” At the time, Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were the only human beings. The reason Cain killed Abel was because Cain’s heart was wicked. His weapon of choice? Maybe his bare hands. Might have been a rock. Definitely wasn’t a gun.

Clever way to make his point. Then he brings up a contemporary event:

After yet another mass shooting comes another barrage of expert opinions. “The problem is automatic weapons.” “The problem is the lack of effective background check laws.” “The problem is the enforcement of background check laws.” “The problem is the NRA.” “The problem is Trump.” And so on. Some of these opinions have a touch of validity to them, some are foolishness and none of them address the real problem. The real problem is man’s heart, just as it always has been.

After that profound insight, the rev tells us:

The Bible teaches that “no one is righteous, no, not even one” (Romans 3:10b). This doesn’t mean that we can’t do things that we would call good; it means that by nature we are all bad at the core. Yes, that’s a concept that is hard for our world to accept but it is true, and it explains an awful lot!

Yes, dear reader, you’re bad to the core. Let’s read on:

If it were up to me, the way I’d address the increase of mass shootings in our country today would be five -fold.

We’ll skip most of the rev’s recommendations, and give you his number 3, which we consider the best:

Quit teaching the theory of macroevolution (or any other scientific theory that tries removing God as Creator) as fact. Not only are most kinds of evolution taught in schools questionable at best, these theories are dangerous to the well-being of our children. It is foolishness to believe we can teach kids to believe they have value, purpose and importance while also teaching them that their existence is the end result of a long-series of random occurrences.

Brilliant! The rev continues:

It is foolishness to expect them to take seriously a code of moral ethics while teaching them that morals are ultimately subjectively decided upon by each individual. If you want to teach the idea that nothing became nothing, non-life became life, chaos became order and non-intelligence became intelligence, at least acknowledge that it is a theory that can’t be proven and is a theory that devalues life from the womb to the grave.

Very persuasive! Oh, we’ll also give you the rev’s fifth recommendation, with which he ends his column:

Pray a lot. Pray, pray, pray!

So there you are, dear reader. Heed the rev’s advice. He’s got the answers!

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #841: School Shootings

  1. Another one of those idiots who can’t understand that ethical behavior isn’t dependent upon christianity. As someone once said: “If you are moral because you hope for reward and fear punishment you aren’t moral at all; you’re just a sociopath on a leash.”

  2. After having declared that we are all rotten to the core, (all meaning including law abiding citizens) he gives his first recommendation:
    I would examine our gun laws carefully, and look for ways that make it much more difficult for criminals to own firearms but that still allow law-abiding citizens to own them with limited hassle.

    Something does not add up.

  3. To make our somewhat ineffective ‘pray, pray, pray’ efforts a little more effective, perhaps we should each sacrifice a goat or two – that should do the trick?

  4. I have long been puzzled by both the liberal and conservative attitudes toward gun control.

    Conservatives say that human beings are basically bad; therefore we have to give them access to deadly weapons so they can defend themselves from each other.

    Liberals say human beings are basically good; however, we have to deny them access to deadly weapons to keep them from killing each other.

  5. Holding The Line In Florida

    I laugh at number three. The only thing dangerous to any ones well being would be to his income if people finally woke up to the scam.

  6. Retired Prof, then it’s a good thing I’m neither a conservative nor a liberal. I think both “basically good” and “basically bad” way too simple.

  7. Retired Prof says: “I have long been puzzled by both the liberal and conservative attitudes toward gun control.”

    One hears a lot of nonsense from both sides. The number of legal gun owners in the US is about 30% of the population. That’s at least 100 million people with guns in the US. There are maybe 12,000 gun killings each year. Some are multiple victims of the same killer, so there are no more than 10,000 actual killers. That’s about .001% of the gun owners. It’s small comfort to the victims and their families, but at least 99.99% of gun owners aren’t killers. The killers are crazy people who would use bombs or knives or something else if they didn’t have guns.

  8. Doctor Stochastic

    Killed off one fourth of those who had not Nodded off yet if Genesis is anything go by.

  9. Ceteris Paribus

    The Rev’s handbook of all Wisdom says:
    The Bible teaches that “no one is righteous, no, not even one” (Romans 3:10b).
    Well that pretty well sums up the problem. Just keep your kiddies safely away from all Fundamentalist Rev’s (and other psychopaths) until the children grow old enough to know the difference between reality and religion.

  10. The rev needs to clarify this. If there were only 4 human beings, Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and Cain killed Abel, where did Cain get another human being with whom to begat? To steal a suggestion, did god pull off a creation in another county? Now if we accept that there were only 3 after Cain did his deed, can we assume it wasn’t due to a fight over a woman? And what about the mass murder by drowning that left only Noah’s family as survivors? Who’s more wicked? Cain or god? There must be answers somewhere in Genesis.

  11. I prefer George Thorogood’s version: B B B Bad to the bone! At least it has good background music and a more plausible plot!

  12. Yes, Scientist, all of the answers are in Genesis! Just a bit of hand-waving here and there. I believe that Cain was banished, and was sent of to the land of Nod where there were apparently already a bunch of folks. Minor detail 🙂

  13. @Scientist
    It is inappropriate to assign to God things which only apply to humans or other finite creatures. Murder, theft, unfair, design, lies, … If God killls people, that is not murder. If God takes away property, that its not theft. If God punishes with eternal punishment a finite sin, that is not unfair. Design is part of the need only for a limited maker. If God makes a limit to knowledge, and makes the universe so that that knowledge cannot discover the truth, that is not a lie.

  14. Michael Fugate

    Doesn’t the 2nd amendment guarantee me a nuclear weapon – I’m sure the NRA would agree, no?

  15. When Texas said they were making swords legal, I heard so many scared voices, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! Please allow all swords and knives!! How many can they kill? Not many just run away!!! But how many here have thought about running away from a 9mm supersonic slug????
    One load of 9mm means 9dead people, man carrying sword, number dead ? Not that many.
    This is the problem with psychos with guns, it is WAY TOO easy to kill and it is emotionally remote, where a knife or sword means up close personal and bloody, and you see the victims eyes go dead.
    ANd why are guns so precious?? Well besides the obvious dick replacement, it takes very little practice or skill to use and kill. Where bows, swords, and even knives are not that easy.
    And what good are the guns when Obama’s Death camp solders come for me? They have machine gun, rockets, & tanks!!!!
    The most powerful weapon a person has to help a victim of a bad man with a gun, is his iPhone camera!!!!

  16. This is a real vomit opportunity.

  17. I am a citizen of a robust democracy that has very strict gun controls, which it instituted after a major gun massacre, and has not had one since. There have been a dozen incidents of multiple murders since, three by arson, but the overall murder and suicide rate has declined somewhat. Gun homicides were always far lower than in the US, even when access to guns was far easier.

    Under our laws there has never been a right to bear arms, as such. Carrying a weapon without lawful excuse – NOT including “self-defence” – is an offense. Using a weapon in the commission of a crime will double the sentence.

    Criminals rarely carry firearms here. If they do, the gun is usually licenced, which nearly always means a small caliber bolt action rifle or non-pump shotgun. Other firearms are very hard to licence and obtain by any means. Handguns are especially so. Man Harun Monis, at the siege in Martin Place in 2014, had managed to get his hands on a single barreled shotgun which had to be broken to reload. He got one shot off, and killed one person.

    Yes, smuggling is possible, and what is possible will happen. There is a firearms black market, a long way underground. You can buy an AR-15 or a serious handgun clandestinely. It will cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, IF you can find the contacts, and if you use it the cops will drop everything else to pull you in, and you will go to jail for a long time. We rarely see gun crime here. It can happen, sure it can – but it’s much rarer.

    I used to think – a long time ago – that massacres like Sandy Hook, or God help us Las Vegas would cause the United States to rethink its gun laws. That the Second Amendment would be reinterpreted by the Supreme Court (say, by holding that the words “a well regulated militia” were a qualification implying that the right to bear arms was restricted to such a militia, and that “well regulated” meant with proper regulation and supervision of a State, under officers holding its commission), or, if not, that the Second Amendment would be heavily amended or even rescinded.

    I thought that Americans took the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” seriously. Being liable to be randomly killed or crippled because the State made it easy for a lunatic to access a military weapon seems to me to be an abrogation of those rights. But apparently Americans think different.

    It appears that Americans, generally, are of the opinion that weekly gun massacres of anyone within range of a deranged person are part of ordinary life, and that nothing can be done about it that is not a trespass on fundamental rights. So be it. It would appear to me, then, that the expression of regrets or condolences to the victims or the aggrieved is merely meaningless. Almost derisory, in fact. “We’re sorry, but we’re not going to do anything about it.”

    But seriously, folks, this is one reason why the citizens of other democracies look at Americans a little funny. And warily.

  18. ” The killers are crazy people who would use bombs or knives or something else if they didn’t have guns.” Do you have evidence for this clear factual claim? Or are you among those who think that ideology (in your case, libertarian ideology) doesn’t need evidence?

  19. Paul Braterman asks: “Do you have evidence for this clear factual claim?”

    There are several arguments to be made — e.g.: the ubiquitous presence of military weapons in the homes of the citizen-militia in Switzerland and Israel, and the low crime rates there. But I’m not going to pursue this topic. Our heretofore cordial relationship should not be diverted by this issue.

  20. Our dear SC tries to do some calculation: “That’s about .001% of the gun owners”. It’s actually 0,01%, as you implicitly admit with “99,99 %”. The really interesting question of course is how this percentage compares with Norway and Switzerland, countries with comparable amounts of gun owners.

  21. @Dave Luckett: I agree with your analysis. When I saw the lack of action after Sandy Hook, I concluded that most of my fellow ‘mericans were comfortable with school children being killed once in a while as long as nothing interfered with their buying guns of any type and in any number. Because of that (and a number of other reasons), I’ve been seriously considering moving to a more rational country. Where do you live?

  22. Our Curmudgeon notes

    One hears a lot of nonsense from both sides.

    Indeed—which is why I steer clear of the topic, particularly as it is now many years since I grew up in the US (and yes, since you ask, Dad owned firearms, and taught us how to use them) and, residing in the UK, I don’t have a dog in that particular (gun)fight.

    In any event, most of the arguments on this in the US are emotional rather than rational, and the discussion generally as pointless as debating a creationist. IOW, people generally present ‘arguments’ rather than ‘facts’

    On the one hand, I don’t think the advocates of ‘gun control’ have any practicable solutions (tighter legislation does not reduce the huge number of firearms already in circulation, least of all out of the hands of criminals, but potentially criminalises law-abiding armed citizens), but even more depressingly, the NRA and its enthusiasts refuse to see that there is even a problem (the US is an outlier in the developed world for its rate of intentional homicides).

    The most honest answer I’ve heard from anyone on this: the problem cannot be solved, and the relatively high rate of gun deaths (homicide and suicide) simply have to be accepted in the same way that one ‘accepts’ a certain number of traffic fatalities each year. Restated: I have good reason to fear because I know ill-intended people have guns, so the last thing you will ever persuade me to do is give up my own. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable argument, but it is a depressing one and I would like a better. It’s also the same argument Iran and North Korea use to justify their development of nuclear weapons, which ought to give one pause. We need a better answer.

    But please, dear Curmudgeon, spare us the hoary old Argumentum Helvetiae; if an American Senator, even one with an impeccable A+ rating from the NRA, were to propose that the USA introduce Swiss militia and firearms legislation in their entirety, he would be denounced as the most dreadful gun-grabbing Bolshevik imaginable. The Swiss tolerate a degree of state regulation with respect to military organisation and the control of firearms that would appal 2nd Amendment enthusiasts, it really is an ill-informed sound-bite comparison often made, as often rebutted, and really shouldn’t rear its head on your excellent blog.

  23. abeastwood: Australia.

  24. But even Australia–which is civilised, beautiful, and has a great deal to recommend it–is not entirely free of fools: Australia MP George Christensen criticised over gun photo

  25. Question: The Bible tells of a single man who killed off one-quarter of the world’s entire population. Who is that man, why did he do such a thing and how did he do it?

    Is it at all likely that A&E and Cain and Abel were the total population? Obviously Cain and Abel were old enough to have set up as farmers and to have produce to offer to the Lord. Are we to suppose that Eve popped out two sons in quick succession, then left off until they were grown up?

  26. @Michael Fugate “Doesn’t the 2nd amendment guarantee me a nuclear weapon”
    In Vernor Vinge’s story “The Ungoverned”, a farmer does have a nuclear weapon, which he deploys when his massive array of conventional weapons proves insufficient to deter persistent trespassing. (The story is better than I have probably made it sound.)