Reflections on Aurora
Today my three grandchildren are here visiting from Louisville, Kentucky. I am reflecting on the world in which these three beautiful children are growing up. For all its advancements in terms of comfort, health, and pleasure, it is yet also a world in which random, senseless killing of innocent people seems to come with alarming regularity.
In the aftermath of Thursday midnight in Aurora, Colorado, questions rise in our minds. Our first concern, of course, should be for those who are suffering, but questions of a wider scope should be addressed. Why are these things happening? What is going on in our culture? What can and should be done?
In asking these questions, we should not descend into undue assignment of blame or guilt. This is certainly complex territory. There are a multitude of influences and forces at work in our society. Forces that are particularly targeting our youth - young men and women such as James Holmes, Dylan Klebold, and Luke Woodham. These three and others like them may not be "the average youth" of our day (who knows?), but the forces at loose today are affecting us all and we've simply got to wise up and take action.
It is as if there is an endeavor being made to rip the hearts out of our children. A multi-pronged attack is under way to destroy our kids. I do not personally know James Eagan Holmes. Therefore, I cannot exactly know what motivated him to kill 12 people and injure a score of others. But, I can make a few observations about currents at work around us.
1. There is THEOLOGICAL and PHILOSOPHICAL void in our land. There is a section of youth culture that has bought into the anarchist, nihilistic worldview. This atheistic, pseudo-intellectual persuasion is growing. In some sectors, it is referred to as the New Atheism. I am aware that not all atheists are mass murderers or terrorists, but the atheistic worldview has communicated a message to our youth. The loss of absolutes has opened the door to an incredible loss of value and meaning.
Decades of teaching an EVOLUTIONARY WORLDVIEW has taught our kids that they are nothing more than the product of chance and necessity. The moral punch of evolutionary thought is "survival of the fittest" and that robs us of individual, intrinsic worth. If progress is the result of random mutation, then MISTAKES are guiding us. Nietzsche and Darwin are walking hand-in-hand.
This nihilistic, amoral wordview is embodied in the Batman character called "the Joker". He represents chaos and thrives on violence. It was this persona that James Holmes assumed Thursday night.
2. A Pandora's Box of evils have assailed our youth in the form of sexual experimentation beginning at an early age. Where has this come from? Again, many factors contribute but it is my belief that the ubiquitous MASS MEDIA of our day has set an example of promiscuity, adultery, and sexual confusion.
3. Along with these is a growing DRUG and ALCOHOL ABUSE problem among our youth that may be epidemic. This has life-long repercussions. With the loss of innocence and the deluge of substance abuse, there is also the loss of purity and of wonder, as well as the obvious performance alteration and loss of native ability.
4. Perhaps most telling of all is the loss of FAMILY IDENTITY and INFLUENCE. With the deterioration of family, there is the loss of perhaps the greatest stabilizing force in life. The absence of strong, stable fatherly influence has cut the legs out from under many.
When I look at my grandchildren, I want to protect them. I want to build an insolating shield around them so that the devil and the world cannot hurt them. This afternoon I took them to the movies. We saw the new Ice Age movie. It was a delightful time. I also thought about those kids who just a few nights ago went to the movies not knowing what was about to happen.
Aurora means "dawn." That's the meaning of the name. It speaks of the breaking of new light into the world. Today, Aurora, Colorado is a dark place. But, hope will rise again. In the midst of such darkness, may the light of truth shine. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the only light that can disperse this darkness. That is becoming clearer every day.