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Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:32 AM

 

Why James Holmes' Rampage is the Result of the Teachings of Christianity

A is for Atheist at 7/21/2012

In times like this, when something horrendous happens, people tend to hypothesize as to the reasons why. As most everyone knows by now, the "nice Christian boy," James Holmes massacred 12 innocent people and wounded many more in his rampage in a Colorado movie theatre. One hypothesis was put forth by the Christian apologist, Rick Warren, in one of his latest tweets, when he said, "When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it." The implied hypothesis being, that it's the result of teaching science, and in particular, Darwinianism and materialism. I propose that there is a better explanation. My hypothesis, which is not new by the way, as I have pointed out numerous times, the great Christian philosopher Pelagius pointed out long ago, that if you promulgate the notion that people are born bad, and cannot help but to sin, but will still gain entrance into paradise as long as they "repent"-- they are more likely to sin, repent, sin, repent--and repeat when necessary. Pelagius was wise, and realized that this belief would lead to "moral laxity"--which is quite evident in our predominantly Christian society, and amongst Christians in particular. My hypothesis is that when Christians are taught they are "born sinners" and cannot help but to sin, as they are taught it is not possible for them to be perfect, and that they are nevertheless given the "free gift" of salvation, they will have more of a tendency to act immorally, or, when Christians are taught they live in a world that is dominated by Satan, that it leads to immorality. Either way, it leads to immorality and chaos, and Christianity provides believers with a basis for the belief that they are absolved from taking responsibility for their own bad behavior. Jesus does that for them.

As Benge Nsenduluka pointed out in the article he wrote for the Christian Post, James Holmes was a "normal Christian boy" heavily involved in his local Presbyterian church. As Rev. G. Aiken Taylor pointed out in his article, What Presbyterians Believe:

Everything is Determined by God

Presbyterians believe that everything which happens takes place according to the will of God and can be fully understood only in the will of God. Nothing can come to any man that He does not allow for his own purposes and glory. He overrules the actions of evil men and brings their evil to naught. He works all things after the counsel of His own will and turns all things--even apparent evil--to ultimate good in the lives of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.


Original Sin

Human nature is rather sinful and "inclined to evil as the sparks fly upward." We see undesirable behavior and sinful tendencies in the smallest infant, and we observe that without discipline and restraint human beings inevitably live selfishly. This view of human nature Presbyterians describe by the term "Original Sin" because human imperfection seems to be both innate and instinctive. This imperfection (sin) taints every facet of our personalities. Consequently the description of Original Sin to which Presbyterians subscribe is summarized in the doctrine of Total Depravity. Mankind, we say, is inevitably (originally) and altogether (totally) marked by sin on account of the Fall.


http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/07/why-james-holmes-rampage-is-result-of.html



PZ Myers, to his credit, has quickly debunked this crap:



I wish we didnít have atheists saying this
July 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm
PZ Myers

Itís enraging that we have blinkered, stupid Christians declaring that a shooting spree is caused by evolution, or liberals, or atheism. Why? Because thereís the obvious fact that the perpetrators of such crimes are usually not biologists, liberals, or atheists, but also because it is logically fallacious and offensive: the majority of atheists are not committing crimes, and thereís nothing in the principles of atheism that even implies we should be freely slaughtering other members of our communities. It is also the fallacy of mistaking a specific particular for the general properties of the whole; itís like arguing that one cold day means the climate isnít warming.

Atheists wouldnít make such a stupid mistake, though, would they? The killer in Colorado was a church-going Presbyterian ó weíre not going to see atheists crowing in triumph and saying that that shows the Christianity turns you into a mass-murderer, are we? That would be just as false as blaming it on evolutionists ó the overwhelming majority of Christians feel no compulsion to murder, so it seems to be a rather ineffective ideology for encouraging killing sprees. One could argue that it does short-circuit critical thinking, and that at least the American version seems to endorse destructive policies, but pinning the actions of one unusual individual on the teachings of a religion? We wouldnít be dumb enough to make that mistake.

Iím disappointed to see that we do have stupid atheists. Witness Why James Holmesí Rampage is the Result of the Teachings of Christianity. I hang my head in shame. Thatís no different than what Rick Warren or the American Patriarchy Association or any of a thousand other ideologues playing the blame game have done.

Christianity is piss-poor at doing more than providing lip-service against violence, but itís at best a passive enabler. Blame it on the real causes: a culture that glorifies violence, easy availability of deadly weapons, and mostly James Fucking Holmes. Anything else is a distraction from correcting the real causes.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/21/i-wish-we-didnt-have-atheists-saying-this/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+freethoughtblogs%2Fpharyngula+%28FTB%3A+Pharyngula%29



The de rigeur swipe at Christianity aside, these words of his are worth repeating:

Itís enraging that we have blinkered, stupid Christians declaring that a shooting spree is caused by evolution, or liberals, or atheism. Why? Because thereís the obvious fact that the perpetrators of such crimes are usually not biologists, liberals, or atheists, but also because it is logically fallacious and offensive: the majority of atheists are not committing crimes, and thereís nothing in the principles of atheism that even implies we should be freely slaughtering other members of our communities. It is also the fallacy of mistaking a specific particular for the general properties of the whole; itís like arguing that one cold day means the climate isnít warming.


The stupid sniping will stop as soon as we realize this argument applies as well to "blinkered, stupid" declarations against religions. Everything is subject to criticism. Nothing is subject to stupdity.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:37 AM

1. No philosophy or religion promotes Misanthropes

 

and that's all he is ,and he had way too much Death power.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:45 AM

2. As ridiculous and pointless as blaming his actions on evolution or "taking prayer out of schools".

 

Better, surely, to address the question of whether it's wise to raise people to believe they have a "right" to own weapons of destuction and to make them easier to obtain than, say, contraception.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 12:17 PM

14. +1

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 09:52 AM

3. Good for PZ Myers. The other guy is no better than Rick Warren, imo.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 10:31 AM

4. Just once I'd like to see

some special interest group say, "Yep, we're responsible for this lunatic. Our narcissism and greed blinded us to our responsibilities as humans, so we're going to disband and try to be people instead of cogs in a machine".

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Response to rrneck (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 10:40 AM

5. What special interest group would that be? The NRA?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:22 PM

7. Any of 'em.

They're all the same if the first thing they do is blame some other SIG for some tragedy.

You know, that Brevik guy killed all those kids in Norway on 7/22 last year. I wonder if there is a connection?

I'd be willing to bet that tapping people's emotions is worth more money than oil. Tribal instinct is the source of the biggest revenue stream in history. More blood has been spent and money made off the affection we feel for each other than any other natural resource. I wouldn't be a bit surprised that we find out that poor idiot that shot up that theatre had some ideology manufacturer bleeding him until he sacrificed his own identity to some screwy cause. And now he's a monster and little more than red meat for a whole new pack of dogs.

And we all join in on the side of one acronym or another, tromping and shouting because we bought a concept designed to be loved but not embraced.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #7)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:25 PM

8. While I agree with much of what you say, I think serious psychiatric disorders

do two things. They make people more easy to manipulate and they cause some people to grossly distort the causes they may affiliate with.

What is despicable is using these tragedies to point fingers at one's opponents and say it's their fault. There is more than enough blame to go around here.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:34 PM

10. I agree.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 11:06 AM

6. Exactly this kind of murders was a huge problem in medieval Denmark.

The church-doctrine was: You get into heaven if you truly repent after a sin.

The result?

There was a famous case of a maiden who killed the child of her employer, just so she could repent afterwards and get a guaranteed admission to heaven.
The people loved her and she even lead several mass-prayers right before her execution.

The rulers of Denmark changed the laws and procedures: The executions got ever more brutal and later even torture was added, as an additional punishment before the execution. To no avail. Being chopped into pieces paled against an eternity of happiness in heaven.



I don't remember how the problem was finally solved. My best guess is, the rulers forced their bishops to declare something along the lines of "You can't cheat your way into heaven."

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:29 PM

9. You think these murders in Aurora, Colorado, are similar to murders in medieval Denmark?

 

Scratch that, you said "exactly".

Here's a link for you.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=forum&id=1135

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Response to rug (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 05:12 AM

11. I was referring to the extremist christian doctrine you complained about, not Aurora.

quote from your quote:
"My hypothesis, which is not new by the way, as I have pointed out numerous times, the great Christian philosopher Pelagius pointed out long ago, that if you promulgate the notion that people are born bad, and cannot help but to sin, but will still gain entrance into paradise as long as they "repent"-- they are more likely to sin, repent, sin, repent--and repeat when necessary."

If you have a system of rules, there will always be some people who try to exploit it. And if there's a reward that makes every risk worth taking and every deed worth committing, that's where it gets dangerous for everybody else.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 11:35 AM

12. PZ is right, but is overextended by proxy

Yes, as far as I know, it's silly to say this particular nut, religious as hewas, was motivated to be a nut by religion. He didn't shoot up a target that is offensive to religion particularly.. He didn't give any religious reasons for killing people, or use a religious defense. He's just, at this point anyway in my very limited knowledge, a nut who happens to be religious.

Yes the majority of atheists (and believers) are not committing crimes.

Yes mistaking a specific for the general is silly for atheist (or religious) specifics.

Yes there is nothing in the principles of atheism that even implies we should be committing crimes....

.....and here the parentheses stop. Both in the analysis of Myers' comments and in reality. because there IS plenty in the principles of religion that implies all manner of criminal and even lethal permissible actions, from military jihad to the Pearls' Bible-sanctioned baby-battering to the Christian Scientists' abjuration of basic life-saving medical care in favor of prayer.

Myers did not say otherwise. He did not extend the blamelss nature of atheistic principles to rekligious ones and nor did he condemn as a fallacy linking the specific misdoings of religious people to religious motivation where such motivation exists. It's disingenuous, or downright dishonest, to imply that he did. THIS particular crime as far as we know yet had no religious motivation. It doesn't mean that religion gets a free pass for all those crimes where religious motivation was a factor. Shooting gynecologists for performing abortions, or planting bombs in gay nightclubs are not random atrocities done by nuts who happen to be religious. They are atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion by religious nuts. They cite religious motivation and religious defenses; these are religious atrocities, and nothing Myers says, or is likely to say, implies we should pretend this is not so.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 12:17 PM

13. That is a bit like the too-frequent equating of Islam with terrorism

Most Muslims are not suicide bombers, and most Presbyterians don't go on shooting rampages, and most atheists don't support Stalin.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 07:46 PM

15. Cathy Cooper is clearly talking out of her ass in the first article.

She's overanalyzing while demonstrating a clear lack of data to justify her assertions.

I don't think there's a coherent thought process in killers like Holmes - I'd guess (yes, out of my gut of truthiness) that Holmes wasn't doing much rational thinking at all, and certainly not concerning himself with theological double-binds. These kinds of murders tend to be driven by emotion IMHO, probably by a huge amount of rage because Holmes felt screwed by society after he washed out of his PhD program, couldn't find work, was about to lose his apartment, etc.

He cracked.



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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 09:09 PM

16. There have been other curious Presbyterians: Marshall Herff Applewhite........

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Response to dimbear (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 09:35 PM

17. He wasn't a Presbyterian while in Heaven's Gate

He may have been raised Presbyterian, but it's not hard to see that the beliefs of Heaven's Gate were not compatible with that of any Presbyterian church. So he clearly converted away from the church when he started that cult.

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