The senseless killings by Elliot Rodger this past week cause us to ask many questions. Why would someone do this? What circumstances in his life would make him resort to such violence? How could this happen in a world that is supposed to be more civilized today than it was yesterday? Where did the hate in this 22-year old originate?
The Boston Marathon bombing, Columbine, the Ft. Hood massacre; acts of violence perpetrated on unsuspecting victims. As soon as these tragedies occur, opinions and theories as to the reason for them start flying. Some blame the government for not making strict enough laws concerning gun control. Some blame the NRA (National Rifle Association) for encouraging a gun-frenzy mentality in the country.
However, no matter what laws we pass, they will never be enough to change the condition of the human heart. Gun control will only keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. Therefore, even if guns were outlawed completely, criminals would still be able to get them. The only people unarmed would be the very people who should be able to defend themselves from those criminals, but would then be unable to do so. Not to mention that, if guns were outlawed, those wishing to commit terrible crimes against others would simple use another method (recall that the recent California killings involved the murder of 3 young men by stabbing).
However; the cause of the terrible, senseless, and violent tragedies does not lie outside the human heart, but within it. The Bible tells us what the heart without God is like:
“There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit. The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known” (Romans 3:10-17 KJV). This is the natural condition of the human heart, mind, attitude, disposition, etc.
Why is the human heart inclined to be this way? Why is it so natural for humans to have this sort of attitude? The answer lies in the very next verse: “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). Humans, by default, are in rebellion against God, His will, and His Word. This means that we are separated from the knowledge and the power to live rightly, morally, and lovingly.
The anguish in the voices of those who have lost loved ones to these senseless tragedies is loud and clear. They cry out for justice, answers, and ways to prevent a repeat of the horrors and loss that comes from events like these. However, we cannot continue, as a society, a nation, a world, to rebel against our Creator and expect things to not get worse. God has designed us to live in a particular manner and, when we refuse to live in that manner, our world will continue to experience the consequences of our rebellion.
So, we can pass all the laws we want, but it will not solve the problem of people’s violent tendencies and actions. Only by allowing God to change our hearts can we cure the problem at its source: the human heart.