Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) – There are a lot of things I am sick of hearing after massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Here are six of them:
1. “It was God’s will.”
There may or may not be a God, but if there is, I sure hope he (or she or it) does not go around raising up killers, plying them with semiautomatic weapons, goading them to target practice, encouraging them to plot mass killings and cheering them on as they shoot multiple bullets into screaming 6- and 7-year-old children. Much better to say there is no God or, as Abraham Lincoln did, “The Almighty has his own purposes,” than to flatter ourselves with knowing what those purposes are.
2. “Jesus called the children home.”
I don’t want to hear that Jesus needed 20 more kids in heaven on Friday – that Madeleine Hsu (age 6) or Daniel Barden (age 7) were slain because Jesus couldn't wait to see them join his heavenly choir. Even the most fervent Christians I know want to live out their lives on Earth before going “home” to “glory.” The Hebrew Bible patriarchs rightly wanted long lives. Moses lived to be 120. Abraham was 175 when he died. Madeleine and Daniel deserved more than 6 or 7 years.
3. “After death, there is the resurrection.”
In the Jewish tradition, it is offensive to bring up the afterlife while in the presence of death. Death is tragic, and deaths such as these are unspeakably so. So now is the time for grief, not for pat answers to piercing questions. “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” says the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and now is not a time for laughing or dancing or talk of children raised from the dead.
4. “This was God’s judgment.”
After every hurricane or earthquake, someone steps up to a mic to say that “this was God’s judgment” on New Orleans for being too gay or the United States for being too secular. I’m not sure what judgment of God would provoke the killing of 27 innocent women and children, but I certainly don’t want to entertain any theorizing on the question right now. Let’s leave God’s judgment out of this one, OK? Especially if we want to continue to believe God's judgments are "true and righteous altogether" (Psalms 19:9).
5. “This happened because America is too secular.”
Unlike those of us who are shaking their heads trying to figure out what transpired in Newtown, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical icon, apparently has it all figured out. We don’t need fewer guns in the hands of killers, he said Friday on Fox News, we need more God in our public schools.
“Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability,” Huckabee said in an astonishing flight of theological and sociological fancy.
Just keep plying people like the killer with Glocks and Sig Sauers. As long as we force Jewish and Buddhist Americans to say Christian prayers, then the violence will magically go away. The logic here is convoluted to the point of absent, leaving me wondering whether what passes for "leadership" in America can sink any lower.
6. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it. The logical fallacy here is imagining that people are killed either by people or by guns. Come again? Obviously, guns do not kill people on their own. But people do not shoot bullets into people without guns. At Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine, people with guns killed people. This is a fact. To pretend it away with slogans is illogical and revolting.
The question now is: Are those of us who have not yet been killed by guns going to allow these massacres to continue unimpeded? Are Americans that callous? Is life here so cheap? I have read the Second Amendment, and I find no mention there of any right to possess any gun more advanced than an 18th-century musket? Do I really have the right to bear a nuclear weapon? Or a rocket-propelled grenade? Then why in God’s name would any U.S. civilian have the right (or the need) to bear a .223-caliber assault rifle made by Bushmaster?
If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
The killer didnt attend school very much and the killer didnt appear to be very religious so putting religion back in the public schools wouldnt have made a difference in this situation. And I dont know about Mike Huckabee's god but MY god would kill little children to push a political agenda.
Doh! should read WOULDNT kill kids to push a political agenda.
Tunatofu " but MY god would't kill little children to push a political agenda"
Slaugher of every child on earth (Noah and flood)
Slaugher of every first born child in Egypt
Slaugher of all the children in Sodom and Gamora
Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'"
1 Sam 15:3
Where are you getting your facts? The kid went to the elementary school he shot up, then a Catholic middle school (so much for the god in school angle), then a public high school, then home schooled. That sounds like school, and god in school.
However, he was born with issues. Born with them. The guy barely felt pain if injured. That's a malfunctioning neurological system.
When you say things like "my god" and "his god", you are admitting that you invented your own version, that your imagination defines god, and that there is not one Christian god but as many veryions as there are Christians.
Big red flag. It tells you that your god is just imagination, man-made.
My goodness you christians are stupid,
I wonder if those OT drama queens had been when Pompeii & environs were destroyed by Vesuvius - what lulus they would have come up with about that one (and tons of other natural disasters throughout history too).
Pompeii was buried in 79 AD, when Christianity was well on the way to becoming The Dark Side Of The Force. You can be absolutely sure they blamed the eruption on worshipping the wrong god.
Actually . . .,
Oh yes, I'm sure they did - it's just that it didn't make it into the "scriptures" with all of the old-time ruffles and flourishes and soap-opera screenplays...
Stephen Prothero just earned a couple points of respect in my book, and I'm an atheist.
good to know I am not alone, just kidding, there is a lot of logic and with plenty of common sense people out there, is just that we are brave enough to advertise ourselves as atheists....
"There may or may not be a God, "
He just said he is agnostic.
Saying you believe and claiming to have knowledge is not the same thing. Many people are agnostic believers.
Which god is people talking about????? the christian?, the islamic? the buddist?, the hopi?, the maya?..the sikh... and so forth......the good and the bad is in each human alone, we choose to be good or we choose to be bad...(unless you are luni, which is a different story...) I am an ATHEIST and I was called names and said I cannot love anybody, I am a bad person, I am crazy, and dadadada..... as a successful grandmother of 12, grounded and embracing the truth, I have raised a wonderful family, I love and I am loved...so all that chitchat about god is pure nonsense. Great article by Prothero and Huck is nuts....
The buddhists don't really have a god
What truth are you embracing? If it is atheism, then you have not embraced all of the truth.
Atheism is just a starting point. It is a negative statement that describes only what one does NOT believe.
Once supernatural explanations are eliminated, one may begin to understand reality.
Not all atheists have looked into buddhism but once they do they find that Buddha was himself an atheist, or at least what many Christians would consider atheist. It has all the wisdom of Christianity, all the "treat others as you would want to be treated" and "love your neighbor as yourself" messages with no inherrited sin guilt trip.
"It has all the wisdom of Christianity,..."
Yes, and it dates back to at least 400 years BEFORE Christianity - plenty of time for it to have spread and to have had an influence on what Jesus allegedly preached.
Gautum Buddha had explicitly stated that the whole quest for a creator is meaningless. The focus of Buddhism was the attainment of a state where one could get rid of suffering (Nirvana) through the righteous path. And he did not even SUGGEST that humans have any dominion over the rest of living beings.
There are some who believe there may have been Buddhist influence on Jesus while he was a child traveling with a caravan to and from Egypt and may be why he got left at the temple as he was debating the priests with either inborn knowledge or learned doctrine he picked up in his early years in Egypt.
What you say is quite possible.
Trade between East and west is well docu.mented as early as 2400BC – the great Indian silk route! Even a papyrus fragment in South Indian language was found in Egypt.
Buddhist monks have traveled from central Asia to Alexandria, along with traders.
in 20 BC Athens, a Buddhist philosopher, Za.rm.arus, part of an embassy from India, made a doc.trin.al point by setting himself alight. His tomb became a tourist attraction and is mentioned by several historians.
It may also explain the dramatic shift from the Hebrew scriptures view of a violent and jealous God to the one Christ promotes which is a God of love and peace and one who would turn the other cheek when assaulted.
Most variants of Buddhism do have deities and supernatural beings. What you are saying is that most variants of Buddhism do not have an absolute creator god. The being Buddha transcended into is a form of god.
@Actually... it's all in your definition of what a god or God is...
What a bunch of baloney! This was like reading " Grilling the perfect steak" by a vegan or "Understanding atheism" by Pope Benedict. Too much bias for a man claiming to be a scholar.
Truth is what it IS, it is not what you WANT. We Atheists do not need the scare of hell to be honest and good people.... on the other hand, religious people.......
The man is a professor of religious studies. He has a masters and doctorate in religious studies. His extensive C.V. is online.
How about you post your C.V. and we compare?
I think the problem might be with a morons understanding of the word "scholar".
Scholar: 1.A specialist in a particular branch of study, esp. the humanities; a distinguished academic: "a Hebrew scholar".
2.A person who is highly educated or has an aptltude for study.
I do not see anywhere in the definition that requires partisan participation to be a religious "scholar". A moron or an idiot might make the claim since they either don't understand the word or can't understand how someone could know 1000 times more then they do about the bible and not believe the same way they do, but that comes from the scholar actually knowing the bible, as i'm sure steelerguin has barely made it through the gospels let alone reading it in it's entirety as I have several times and i'm sure Mr. Prothero has as well.
SPIRITS ARE REAL, GOD IS REAL, LIFE AFTER DEATH IS REAL! I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I EXPERIENCE IT.
Until you can demonstrat it, it is meaningless.
If there is "life" after "death" then there is no death, just a transfer from one plane of existence to another. That means no one has ever been murdered, not even these 20 children, they have just had their current form changed intio their next form. That is also why the whole idea of Christs ransom sacrafice is beyond idiotic, you cannot pay for something without giving up something of value, and if Christ didn't really "die" but his "living spirit" was merely transfered from this location to another then nothing was really paid and the apparent extortion by God demanding a ransom goes unpaid. But then again, the religious do not need their faith to make any sense at all, they just have to believe... well, believe and drop some money in the plate each Sunday...
wow, you resuscitated? then you are immortal and therefore a god!!, I bet you go to the bathroom as any one of us....
The afterlife has internet access? Good to know.
How do your ghost fingers use a keyboard?
Spirits, ghosts are real, millions of people saw ghost of Michael Jackson on CNN, see it yourself goons (lol!)
Wow, 1word....how convincing
1word died, went to heaven and came back.
There is only one word for that: ZOMBIE!!!
It's double-tap time!!!
if God can cause/send hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons, aren't they weapons of massacres?
Don't forget all the babies God aborts via miscarriage...
@Truth, God does appear to be a pretty big abortionist. I assume that means he knows how to hadle tiny little ebryo souls.
Starting with some summaries:
1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482
“New Torah For Modern Minds
Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.
2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.
The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".
Current RCC problems:
Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!
2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).
Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,
3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.
This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.
And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.
4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."
The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."
The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.
5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."
"However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"
Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.
Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.
Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!
If there is a God, after he created the world he kicked back in the rear of the theater with a beer in one hand and a joint in the other watching a damn fine show. And laughing all the way.
Is god more a fan of Sativa or Indica?
CNN- Stephen Prothero should never write another article. His complete lack of respect for God is shameful.Please do not allow these articles to continue.
If you don't like them, don't read them. Is that too difficult?
So only people that agree with your religious views should be allowed to write opinion pieces? Shame on you.
I completely agree. That is why I said in his case that "religion scholar" was an oxymoron.
Pretty narrow view, there, Blake. You need to remember that we're all equal in the eyes of....
I fail to see where you would need to adhere to a specific religion if you consider yourself a "relgion scholar". In fact it would seem to make sense that if one was a "relgion scholar" you would not want any strict adherence to one sect or another which might change you from a scholar to a partisan.
@Blake – Complete lack of respect for YOUR God, which is the same amount of respect Christians often show of anyone elses God, so go fvck yourself in the earhole.
@John – whine much? Try getting an education yourself before casting stones at those who have. And you also might try a little earhole love...
" go fuck yourself in the earhole."
I wonder if having aural sèx gives you eargasims?
Yes Prime, i'm sure it feels "eerily" similar...
"I wonder if having aural sèx gives you eargasims?"
If it is unsafe, it might give someone Hearing AIDS
You should have seen this girl the other day, damn she had some BIG cochlear implants...
That was a good one!
Yes, hearing aids wins :) lol
Well, God gave man overseer of the earth and all that's on it. Why people blame God is because they don't want to acknowledge another man did such an unspeakable deed. As far as a reason why this shooter did what he did. Sociopaths don't need a reason why they do anything in life. Or, did you not know this truth either.
"Sociopaths don't need a reason why they do anything"
Ironically, this is the same the pious say about god
So, you're basically admitting the christians believe in god so they don't have to take personal responsibility for their actions...got it!
The author is a "religion scholar" – that seems like an oxymoron to me. We should "shake our fist at God"? Really?? Why, because God did this? Or allowed it to happen? Instead of shaking our fist at God, we should be praying to Him. God does not control us or our actions. He does not possess us. There are evil and twisted minds. As a religious "scholar" one would think that you would know that.
Quoting a post of a friend of mine:
The problem in society doesn't reside with guns. It resides with the evil minds who use them. The question is not "What can we outlaw?". The question should be "How did we ever get this far?".
In April of 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used a Ryder van, fertilizer and duct tape as their tools of death in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Why was there no ban called for these things?
In September of 2001, four planes were used as missiles resulting in thousands of lives lost and a world that was paralyzed for days. Utility knives were used to hijack them.
Why was there no ban called for these things?
The largest cause of accidental deaths in the United States is due to motor vehicles. Cars.
Why is there no ban called for them?
The focus on guns is a slippery convenient smokescreen away from the real issue. The problem resides in evil hearts and evil minds.
"How did we ever get this far?"
More laws won't save our world, now or ever. Politicians, the media, rhetoric and debate won't make us safe. We'd all do well to stop standing on our soapboxes in blame and start kneeling in prayer.
Morally, our country has a death wish. I pray that the Prince of Peace, the Christ Child in whom Christmas was named will save us before we make that dark death wish come true."
Mike Huckabee is not emphasizing Christianity but the morality that God and his teachings bring. Removing even the mention of God and His teachings not only from schools but everywhere except in church helps to distance us from right and wrong and emphasizes the mindset that we are like God ourselves and can do what we want. Sin and evil exist, what better way to combat those than with God and His word?
God doesn't control us? Really? I would argue he attempts to control us like an abuser controls his partner.
Signs you are in an abusive relationship
– Monitors what you're doing all the time
– Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
– Threatens to hurt you, or your children if you don’t love him
– Blames you for his or her violent outbursts or shortcomings
-Being s.e.xually controlling
– You have an impending sense of consequence that will come if you don't "obey."
-Tells you that you are “nothing” without him and you don’t deserve his love
You go ahead and combat sin and evil with prayer. I'll protect myself with guns, thank you very much.
Blessed are the Cheesemakers,
I love that post! Would you mind if I copy it and use it when you are not around? I'd give you credit.
Go right ahead,
the phrasing is originial to me but the concept is not.
I would stop quoting your friend. He is clearly an idiot...ban duct tape?!
A motivated person with evil intent can find ways to kill that do not involve guns but the reality is that we make it easy for people like this to kill. Guns are cheap and easy to obtain. We set the plate for mass killings in the USA with our current gun laws. We need to make it more difficult for killers to kill. Think I am wrong...take a look at homicide rates (guns or otherwise) in countries with strict gun laws. Not only do they have significantly lower gun death rates but overall homicide rates are also greatly reduced.
Like it or not, there is a direct relationship between the percentage of people that get killed and the level of gun control that exists. Until that is addressed you can ban all the duct tape, cars, and fertilizer you like. Innocent Americans, God fearing or not will continue to be slaughtered.
Sin does not exist. It is a made up concept
"As a religious "scholar" one would think that you would know that."
There is a difference between a religious scholar and a religious person!
Mentioning god has been removed from your home? Sorry to hear that
John- "religion" covers a much broader base than just your own narrow version of Christianity,. Have you considered how many folks of different faiths live in your town or city? Within a half-mile of my home, on additioin to the various Christians (Protestant & Catholic) I have neighburs who are Muslim, Shinto, Bhuddist, Mormon, & Sikh, plus the odd atheist.
Mr P has studied most of them. I live with all of them in an upper middleclass suburb, and we get along famously. How many other faiths do you associate with in your life?
" In April of 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used a Ryder van, fertilizer and duct tape as their tools of death in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Why was there no ban called for these things?
The largest cause of accidental deaths in the United States is due to motor vehicles. Cars.
Why is there no ban called for them?"
Ammonium nitrate fertilizer is now regulated.
Box cutters are banned on flights in the US.
The intended design and purpose of a car is not to kill people.
Are you dumb fuckers really this stupid?
Oklahoma City? You do know that regulation on ammonium nitrate got MUCH stricter after McVeigh. The form that can make ANFO is now almost impossible to get. The government not only put tight laws on it; they pressured chemical companies to develop non-explosive versions and get the dangerous version off the market.
Great example. The opposite of wht you thought, but great example.
Nice ears elf boy
WRT this article, I can definitely get behind those six things. I thought Hucabee's rant, especially, was idiotic. I'm a practicing Catholic, but I'm firmly against having religion (except, perhaps, studying the Bible as literature or other academic studies of religion) in public schools, i.e. mandatory prayer and the like. That's not the answer. There is no easy answer to prevent these tragedies. They're caused by a lot of factors including easy access to guns, general moral decay of our culture (I think we're becoming, well, meaner, more angry, and more intolerant of others), increasing de-sensitivity to violence thanks to the media (and, no, I'm not advocating getting rid of all violence on TV and films, I just think we need to be better about exposing kids to those images), and, perhaps most importantly, a lethal combination of mental illness and easy access to guns. The solution, if there is one, isn't going to rest on one element.
If the second amendment is limited to 18th century muskets, I shouldn't be able to read your opinion on the internet, hear it on the radio or see it on television. None of those media were invented when the first amendment was drafted. I have an idea, learn why the second amendment was drafted in the first place and scrap your idiotic double standard.
Many Southern folks wanted the 2nd so that they could take up arms against their slaves.
But if you are going for that proto typical nutter claim about being able to take down your government – if the Jàpanese-Americans we were herding into concentration camps in 1942 had taken up arms, killing soldiers and government officials you nutters would have been screaming the loudest for them to be killed.
If we're going to be as literal as that, maybe, since the Second Ammendment only mentions a 'well regulated militia', the only citizens that are allowed to 'bear arms' are those that belong to their State Militia or the National Guard.
"A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" -2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Read it before you speak or type. The militia is mentioned as the reason for the amendment. Your right to get on my post and call me names for wanting to be able to defend my self against any who would do me harm is protected by the first amendment. Tell me why there should be any difference between the 1st and 2nd amendments.
Culture is more to blame IMO. Just as Romans cheered gladiators gutting each other, our society seems to love violence in movies, video games, sports, etc.... We've always put more emphasis on braun than intellect. It starts in schools with cliques and outcasts. We aren't going to stop every depressed or mentally ill person from commiting horrific acts, but we could at least try, rather than say "oh that's just boys being boys" or whatever the cliche. Unfortunately doing something would require a paradigm shift in culture from braun to brains.
Good, but if you say it again sometime - it's "brawn", not "braun".
Lol. Apply razor directly to the head. But I agree, otherwise. Too much violence coming to a child's mind from many directions at once these days.
Great. Let's blame video games, movies and sports again. What about books? What about abusive relatives, friends or neighbors? The real problem is nobody wants to get involved. You take away those things you mentioned and we are left with a passive society. Who would then effectively serve in our military forces? Who would police our streets? You take away the violence in the games we play, the books we read, the shows and movies we watch, and you take away our ability to deal with them. You DO NOT prevent people from becoming violent that way. What we need are people who are willing to do the right thing, and I include myself in that.
For example, I was walking through the mall once with my wife when two boys attacked another boy, knocking him to the floor and kicking him before running off. Did anyone (including myself) do anything? No. We watched and complained afterward about how nobody did anything. I guess everyone was waiting for security or someone else to do something. THAT is what is wrong with the world. We don't want to get involved because that may mean that someone will get involved in our own stuff too, and we surely don't want that.
I challenge everyone to go to a public place, sit down for a couple of hours and just watch people. The things you will see will boggle your mind. There is rude, offensive, and stupid behavior everywhere. People are selfish. "It's not my problem" we say. It couldn't happen here. You would think by now that people would realize that it could happen anywhere and at any time. The question is what are you going to do about?
@daneel – Rage much? I never suggested taking any of those things. I suggested a shift in culture. For thousands of years physical prowess equated to survival. That same primal function in today's world manifests as anxiety, depression, anger, etc.... Ultimately the blame lies with the individual; but IMO there is some truth to the saying "product of society".
Why are people so angry that that have to talk about how someone spells are on puctuation, don't we all see what we are doing to each other. Look into things if you really what to get the big picture of what's going on it's out there do your research It's so sad how we treat each other
I think that helping others to learn correct spelling and grammar is a contribution to their growth & effectiveness in communication. It matters how it's done, though. Slams hurt.
Mr Huckabee's comment is as nonsensical on a purely statistical basis. The UK, to name just one European country, is far more secular than the US. Mass shootings are extremly rare and the murder rate is a fraction of that in America. By Huckabee's logic it must be religion that causes mass shootings. Well done, Mike.
...only his statement was nonsensical? most of what he says is...
Where do you get the idea that the UK is more secular than the US? I'd like to see proof, please. The Church of England, Irish Catholics, Irish Protestants, and a wealth of other religions would like to know as well. And if you think it's just a peace-loving country, you need look no further than the IRA to burst that bubble.
I've read that numbers are declining in European churches in general. In any case, I don't think religion had anything to do with any of these mass shootings. They're all lethal combinations of mental illness and access to guns.
Regardless, CueBallSTL, there are still more secular developed countries besides the U.K. that have much lower gun crime rates than the U.S.
Not that I agree the position, but based on a Gallup survey in 2009 (http://www.gallup.com/poll/142727/religiosity-highest-world-poorest-nations.aspx#2)
"is religion an important part of your daily life?"
US: 65% – Yes, 34% – No
UK: 27% – Yes, 73% – No
Wasn't the shooter about the age where paranoid Schizophrenia usually starts to show? Am I the only one that made that connection? I'm wondering if the precursors to that were misdiagnosed.
Maybe we could start by not allowing general physicians to diagnose mental disorders and leave that up to the psephologists. It's like according to a lot of GP's everyone has clinical depression.
The mental health angle on this story will be vastly overshadowed by the politicization of the gun debate. We likely will end up with a protracted national argument on gun laws while the next insane person succuumbs to their illness and launches another atrocity.
Bill is absolutely correct. It seems that, sadly, we will never address the poor state of access to mental health in this country.
My wife is a licensed psychologist, and, from what's she's told me, I believe you're correct. I don't think schizophrenia was the case in Sandy Hook, though (unlike Loughner in Tucson). I think this kid just had a lot of rage at the world.
If we have tea bagger nutters bitching about Obama are requiring coverage for contraceptives, can you imagine the stink they wwill raise over paying for mental illness?
By the way, the problem is that we have 315,000,000 guns and way to few gun nutters securing them in gun safes. If this nutter had secured her guns, this idiot would not have had access to them.
He was, but the evidence seems to be poining to autism with some long term behavioral issues. It doesn't mean schizophrenia couldn't also hit, but he already had problems.
As most of these crimes are committed by the mentally ill, it is the continuing job of atheists to try and help the mentally ill. As the delusions of religion are a classic example of a mental illness, i will keep up my good work on blogs like this.
There is no God.
Can't we just pray for all these evils to go away?
That's the solution right? Pray and pray some more?
Um, religious beliefs are generally not classified as delusional, according to the DSM. You do know that, right? Why do some of the more bigoted and supposedly "rational" atheists continue to claim otherwise when the psychologists themselves have categorically stated otherwise? That's irrational and/or a dishonest attempt to marginalize and demean the majority of civilization. If the majority of society was truly delusional, there would be no civilization to begin with.
Hey Dyslexic doG You are a fake atheist, a real atheist does not care, there is no reason to care remember. The mentally ill are not to be helped they are the weakest and not to survive remember. And even then why care it's all a random fluke happening anyway, it's all a big goof right, no rhyme or reason. Fake atheist are against trying to convince them selves more than any on else, ha ha now that is a joke isn't it? and this guy who wrote this little article is clueless as well, "force Jewish and Buddhist Americans to say Christian prayers" ya right that's just what is being said isn't it, get a life. But he shouldn't worry there are a lot of people out there think you guys are making a lot of sense so keep it up it will need to get a lot worse before it gets better, if ever.
But Dr H. It's such a popular sport.
@rocket – not so much delusional as suffering from Cognitive Dissonance. There are many otherwise intelligent people who compartmentalize reason to sustain belief. It's quite common.
Also, is it really fair for people who often do identify with some sort of religion to determine what is or isn't a delusion? If you actually follow the typical questions asked to determine mental health and apply them to religion, you can actually arrive at delusion. For example, do you believe in, talk to, and listen to an imaginary friend?
"rocket – not so much delusional as suffering from Cognitive Dissonance. There are many otherwise intelligent people who compartmentalize reason to sustain belief. It's quite common."
I'll have to look up Cognitive Dissonance, or ask my wife about it and get back to you on that. I think I get the gist of what you're saying, though. I suppose you could look at a lot of people that way, wrt to them having faith, but is that actually a major mental disorder that precludes them from functioning in society and/or does that make them a harm to others or themselves? If not, why should anyone care about another's beliefs?
"Also, is it really fair for people who often do identify with some sort of religion to determine what is or isn't a delusion?"
If they're educated and practicing experts who have been licensed, especially, why not? I'd imagine that most, or, at least a great many psychologists and psychiatrists have some religious belief. If they were truly delusional, they wouldn't be licensed and allowed to practice. They're the ones responsible for the DSM, along with the atheist psychologists and psychiatrists who are also in agreement with the classification of delusions, schizophrenia, etc. The DSM states that religious belief, in itself, is not a disorder.
" If you actually follow the typical questions asked to determine mental health and apply them to religion, you can actually arrive at delusion."
"For example, do you believe in, talk to, and listen to an imaginary friend?"
Again, see the DSM or ask a licensed psychologist (preferably with a PhD) or psychiatrist.
You've never actually listened to an atheist have you?
Bill, apparently so. Everytime I read this claim, though, it just seems to completely undercut they're entire argument that they're the more rational individuals who adhere to science because it's an inherently false claim according to the scientists themselves.
And, no, I'm not saying that ALL atheists say stupid and bigoted stuff like this. Some of my best friends and relatives don't believe in God and I'm fine with that. They have a right to their (lack of) belief and I respect that and understand that (especially as someone with a lot of scientific education). I realize that it's only a small segment of them. Most people, in general, don't care what others believe as long as they're not hurting anyone else. They're not ranting away about how evil, crazy, or wrong others are on the internet, which doesn't seem like a mentally healthy pursuit to me. It's a real shame, at this time of year, and in light of what happened recently that some people still insist on cutting others down simply for being different from them. I find that incredibly sad. I'd hope, and I don't think I'm alone in this, that we'd be pulling together and working to be kind to one another instead of the opposite.
Yes and it also contaminates what could otherwise be a well reasoned and intelligent discussion of psychology, ethics, moral, law and faith. Both sides have their trolls but I too find it especially ironic coming from the "rational" side of the debate
rocketscientist "religious beliefs are generally not classified as delusional, according to the DSM"
has been in the past.. and there are a number of people working to make it so again.
The DSM-IV defines delusion as;
“a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what const itutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary”
does delusional thinking (as it pertains to religious belief) having been excluded from dsm somehow validate it?
so basically – what ppl are saying is – delusional thinking – if it's religious – isn't a mental illness – but under other circ umstances and for other reasons – it is.
Aren't those the very same people who used to say homosexuality was a mental illness and a crime?
That's the problem with a tyrrany of the majority – if the majority holds a common belief in something imaginary, then it is okay. But if one holds the exact same beliefs but attributes them to a tiny man who lives in their mouth, be he is judged insane.
Religion is Constitutionally protected psychosis. Enjoy.
From the National Library of Medicine:
Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions)
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard to: Tell the difference between what is real and not real . Think clearly
@Dr.H. You do mean Preparation H, don't you? You are speaking out of your azz.
Doc, Are you sure you don't want to revise your statement about all atheist not saying stupid stuff?
Your assertion is correct, "Dyslexic doG". The "God" of Abraham is, in fact, an element of mythology.
"has been in the past.. and there are a number of people working to make it so again."
Really? Religious beliefs in general? I'll ask my wife the psychologist about that.
"The DSM-IV defines delusion as;
“a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what const itutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary” "
Yup, I've read that in the DSM.
"does delusional thinking (as it pertains to religious belief) having been excluded from dsm somehow validate it?"
Well, yeah. General religious belief is not, in itself, considered delusional by licensed, practicing psychologists and psychiatrists.
"so basically – what ppl are saying is – delusional thinking – if it's religious – isn't a mental illness – but under other circ umstances and for other reasons – it is."
I think the distinction here is that delusions can be cloaked in terms of religion but religious beliefs, in themselves, are not considered delusional. That's what I gather from talking to the two psychologist (one an analyst and the other a behaviourist) I know.
Laugh all you want (though I fail to see the humor and can only surmise that that was a clumsy attempt to dismiss my claims and demean me), but all I've done is state, as best I could, what I've learned from my wife and my own inquiries about this.
Would you agree that a psychiatrist or psychologist would react very differently to person A and B whose admissions are described below?
Person A: I get through my day only because of my relationship with my best friend, Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit brings me comfort when I most need it and speaks peace and joy into my being when I feel as if I should just give up and end my life.
Person B: I get through my day only because of my relationship with my best friend, a dazzling-white unicorn who created the universe and knows all things. His Brilliant Presence brings me comfort when I most need it and speaks peace and joy into my being when I feel as if I should just give up and end my life.
And would you further agree that if belief in the "dazzling-white unicorn" and "His Brilliant Presence" were as popular a belief as Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and the Jesus/HS belief as uncommon as d-wu and HBP, the psychiatric response would be reversed as well?
Do you see why I ask these questions?
I thought I was pretty clear on all this. I'm sorry if I wasn't, but, really, can't you see the difference here?
If you honestly can't see the difference, again, you can just ask a practicing, licenesed psychologist or psychiastrist. I imagine there are ways to inquire online. Or do some research on the subject. I have it easy, I live with one, so I can pick her brain on this and other subjects or pull out her DSM and read it myself.
I have to get some work done today. I don't have the time to make another long post on this right now. Maybe I will later, though don't hold your breath. I have a lot of stuff to get done for Christmas.
Hope you have a great Holiday and Best Wishes!
I think you've done a fair job of explaining yourself but also that you've avoided some issues that would be uncomfortable for you to address honestly. I was asking for direct, pointed answers to my questions, and I'm disappointed that rather than complete that somewhat-easy task, you've chosen to attempt to force me to azzume what you might reply based on what information you've politely provided so far--and I have no interest in doing that.
You and I both know that the degree to which a certain collection of ideas is considered "delusional" is based on the amount of a given population taking that perspective seriously. The corollary, then, is that the definition of "delusion" is based in popularity and not validity of concept. I'm uncomfortable with a supposedly scientific term having its definition grounded in democratic opinion, and I would hope that you and your wife would find it equally uncomfortable. But, of course, you both are perfectly free to ignore this reality and deal with the cognitive dissonance however you both normally deal with issues of faith that lack any hard evidence.
While agree with those six things that we shouldn't have to hear over and over following this most recent tragedy, the one statement under #6 is that the author has apparently read the Second Amendment and can't find anything that says we can own/use any arm more advanced than an 18th Century musket. I have read that same text and I can't find anything written in there that says we're restricted to muskets. The Supreme Court says that protected arms are those that are in common use. Semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, semi-automatic rifles (including those AR series rifles), bolt-action rifles, and shotguns are all in common use. Guess what, they're all probably protected arms...
Guess what? The Second Amendment says "arms", not firearms, which means shoulder launched anti-airliner missiles are legal for all without infringement. Anthrax and suitcase a-bombs. And that was the framers intent: if you wanted to own a ship full of cannons, you could. They never imagined the advent of superweapons, of high explosives or WMDs.
The question is always going to be "where is the line in the sand?" The Second Amendment as written coes not work in the modern world, but is too hot an issue to suggest rewriting. So the Supreme Court never addresses it directly; they keep their ruling very narrow.
If submachine guns were legal, they body counts on these things would be ten times higher. Same with hand grenades.
That is the fatal flaw of the Second Amendment. And since people are incapable of dealing with the Second Amendment directly, then the question is, again, where is the line in the sand? Is the ability of people to own an assault rifle, which is really just a toy to them – nobody hunts with them, and they are not good self-defense weapons – worth the lifes of kindergarteners?
To the NRA, the answer is yes, there is no number of corpses that are more important that their toy Bushmaster. I personally think we are fairly close to a good balance, but some tweaking is due. To legitimate gun owners, assault rifles are just toys. They have no social value, but they kill too much in kindergarten. In fairness to the gun owners, a number of restrictions are absurb and should be removed, like the excessive ownership laws in Illinois.
None of this will happen, though. I am just framing the problem. No gun law will get through the Republican congress. It's just a big horse-and-pony show, just like Huckabee's never-going-to-happen "God in shcools" gibberish.
Please define "assault weapon"
Careful with the sophistry, Bill. It will backfire on you if the momentum for gun control action gets high enough. Since the gun nuts have been playing all sorts if games with loopholes, then the answer is going to be more sweeping. All semi-automatic firearms. The cutesy pie slippery definitions tactic can be easily gotten around, especially since the gun control lobby knows what your tactic is.
Overreacting is the worst thing pro-gun people can do now, because it makes them look callous and only caring about a weird weapon fetish. No gun law is going to get through the Republican congress, and I bet even Obama knows it. No law will get through . . . unless gun owners act like such jerks that they sway the populace against them, and make it impossible for some republicans to vote NRA and stay employed. Remember: the NRA's candidates lost really badly this last election.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.