Speaking of ‘evil’ in Connecticut

I’ve hardly been able to turn away from the reporting on the tragedy in Connecticut. I want to understand what happened there as much as anybody. There’s a feeling that somehow by watching I might be able to share the grief at least a little bit.

I am grateful for the extensive coverage and reporting. Yet the 24-hour coverage does come up short in one crucial respect. They can tell us what happened, but they can’t tell us why.

Within hours of the tragedy, some of the talking heads were already pontificating about gun control and mandatory mental healthcare coverage. Certainly these topics are relevant, but they go nowhere to helping us really understand what happened in Newtown. The analysis on the larger question goes no deeper than a thimble. Their grasping at the therapeutic straws rings really hollow in light of the enormity of this evil.

That is why I feel deeply what Doug Wilson is writing about here (see below). He explains why the pundit class comes up short on occasions like this even though some of them decide to use the word “evil” to describe it. Wilson writes:

It is not possible to build a culture around a denial of God-given standards, and then arbitrarily reintroduce those standards at your convenience, whenever you need a word like evil to describe what has just happened. Those words cannot just be whistled up. If we have banished them, and their definitions, and every possible support for them, we need to reckon with the fact that they are now gone. Cultural unbelief, which leads inexorably to cultural nihilism and despair, is utterly incapable of responding appropriately to things like this, while remaining fully capable of creating them. In the prophetic words of C.S. Lewis, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

This shooting was horrendous, but far worse is the fact that our blind seers have no idea what to say about it. The horror happened, and it was immediately followed by the horror of countless individuals saying wildly inappropriate things about it. We have monsters in our midst, and vapidity in our highest council chambers, not to mention the monsters there too, and all of them want to slouch toward Bethlehem. God have mercy.

There is much more to this essay, and it is worth you time to read. Do so here.

4 Responses to Speaking of ‘evil’ in Connecticut

  1. Andrew Walker December 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Wilson is hands down, the best writing Christian alive today.

    • Denny Burk December 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

      When he’s good, he’s good. And he certainly is here. Really helpful stuff.

  2. Brian Beal December 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    This is really good.

    I am actually all for some stricter gun laws but I fail to see how that is really the solution…though that is what the entire national conversation will center on.

    Not one of the Sunday morning talk shows or politicians will have the courage or character to really ask what needs to be asked:

    What about our culture continues to make so many lonely violent men?
    How has disintegration of the nuclear family contributed to the creation of young men who are able to kill so coldly?
    What is the effect of our cultural narrative of what humans are and what they are for (evolved monkeys, self-actualization) contributed in making so many of these young men, disillusioned, bitter, recluse, and no regard for human life?

    I could go on and on, but we won’t ask any questions about the culture, families, education, and zeitgeist that creates these types of school shooters. The answers to these questions require deep change and require not just a new law that makes us feel like we have actually solved the problem.

  3. Roger December 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Wow. I’ve seen far too many comments from Christians speaking of the events in Connecticut in terms of culture, but very few in terms of SIN. Man’s rejection of God. Not church. Not religion. Not ethics. Rejection of the God of Scripture. The sin displayed this week, and by Herod, illuminates the wonder of the manger. God coming to do what man cannot. Restore peace between us and Himself. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

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