By Dr. Jim Ferguson
Sometimes the best explanation for the otherwise inexplicable is evil. But then you’d have to believe that there is such a thing as evil.
Is there a force in the world that opposes good? For most of man’s history the notion that there were opposing forces at work in the world was real. Increasingly, it is not so today.
In antiquity most people believed they were subject to not only the will of kings or strongmen, but also the will of gods. Even the ancient and “logical” Greeks believed they lived and acted beneath a panoply of Olympian gods. By Jesus’ time the monotheistic Israelites had been introduced to the eastern concept of a cosmic and personal war between good and evil. This perspective would dominate Western Civilization for millennia.
People in the Middle Ages lived in the Age of Faith. They believed that faith was the pathway to understanding. It’s hard for moderns to understand, but they viewed themselves as dwelling in an almost enchanted forest where God was involved in and animated everything. This view of reality began to change as observable truth became increasingly important. Ultimately, observational reality led to the scientific method in the 15th century and finally to the Age of Reason in the 18th. Now, reason and observation are the vehicles to understanding.
Many other factors contributed to God’s death in Europe as proclaimed by Nietzsche. The Black Death in the 14th century, the Wars of Religion in the 16th, the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and the ravages of the 20th century’s world wars took their toll on the sovereignty of God.
Even now, the assault on Judeo-Christian religion as the standard bearer of human moral behavior continues in America. The self is now sacrosanct and promoted through “self-actualization.” Consumerism and the Sexual Revolution have also contributed to the assault on traditional perspectives to the point that Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats attack prayer as being an insufficient and unacceptable response to the Las Vegas murders.
I once heard an interview with Hallerin Hilton Hill after the Christian-Newsom torture/murders. Mr. Hill spoke with detectives who investigated the crime scene. Those detectives felt that they had stood in the presence of pure evil.
I believe the murders in Las Vegas are best explained by evil rather than objective, definable psychiatric illness. An example is a sociopath/psychopath as depicted in the movie No Country for Old Men. And I don’t believe the standard criminal rap sheet and behavior, such as perpetrated by the gang MS-13, was operative in the Las Vegas slaughter.
Perhaps the Las Vegas murderer ascribed to some ideology which radicalized him to commit murder as claimed by ISIS. The majority of Americans see the philosophy and actions of ISIS and other Islamists as depraved. But then you’d have to ponder Mr. Webster’s definition of the word depraved.
We are told that 10% of Muhammad’s followers are the extremists and perhaps have been co-opted by that perverse ideology. Well, how do you categorize the even larger percentage of Muslims who are sympathetic with a philosophy which says it’s OK to saw off the head of a kafir?
Every week there’s a new outrage and this week gun control and the Second Amendment are in the crosshairs. I no longer hunt, except at the Kroger meat department. However, I’ve field dressed game and have some knowledge of the procurement process, so I’m sympathetic to hunters. Furthermore, I don’t need or own an assault rifle. With all the brouhaha, I challenge you to read the definition of this type of firearm.
Automatic weapons, such as the machine guns used by Bonnie and Clyde, have been banned since 1934, but rarely do criminals obey the laws passed by Congress. Neither Speaker of House, Paul Ryan, nor I, had heard of a bump-stock before this week. Now the NRA has called for a review of the rules for “gun modifiers” which convert semi-automatic firearms to automatic weapons. Interestingly, it was the ATF in 2010, during the Obama administration, who made the modifier (alleged to have been used in Las Vegas savagery) legal.
Personally, I see no need for an AR 15, except for the military or police. I have ample personal protection without this semi-automatic weapon. However, if a law abiding citizen wants to go to a shooting range and blow away a target, so be it. And that’s the crux of the matter or the “conversation.” I’ve come to despise this term because it’s never a reasoned debate, but actually an emotionally charged political shouting match.
The Constitution was written to protect citizens from an all powerful government. And it was ratified by the various states on the stipulation that a series of amendments would follow to guarantee the individual liberty of citizens. We recognize these first ten amendments to the Constitution as The Bill of Rights, and the right to bear arms for personal protection and to resist governmental tyranny is integral to Americanism.
Laws cannot protect us from evil in the hearts of men. We have laws against murder, but they don’t stop the nightly slaughter on the streets of Chicago despite the most stringent gun laws in America.
In the high Middle Ages Thomas Aquinas and other scholastics formulated a hierarchy of laws to govern civilized man. The all encompassing Universal Law of God was supreme. Next came Divine laws such as the Ten Commandments. Then, like Venn diagrams, came nature’s natural laws. And lowest on the rung were the so-called positive laws made by man, from Constitutions to speed limits.
Jesus boiled all laws down to two foundational precepts: we are to love God, and our neighbors as ourselves. The Founders believed that democracy without reverence of God was doomed. And now we move in the direction of making the same mistake as did the Israelites and then the Europeans.
The absence of light is darkness. The absence of God allows evil to fill the void in the heart and soul of man.