Can we make sense of the Aurora shootings?

23 Jul

Like so many others, I too have felt, in turn, horrified, saddened, outraged, grieved, and bewildered by the shootings in Aurora, Colorado.  While a part of me doesn’t want to dwell on such a dark and terrible scene, choosing to ignore it seems like an even poorer choice.  But here’s where I get frustrated: the endless speculating and philosophizing about the motives and make-up of the perpetrator.  As if we can somehow understand what makes a person act in this way. As if we could identify the “type of person” who would do such a thing- and then we could separate “that kind” of person from the rest of us before they did harm.  If only that were possible.

Mark Galli from Christianity Today says it well:

“He’s already being labeled a “loner,” for example, as if the gregarious and outgoing are incapable of such violence. We’ll come up with some theory that comforts us in the dark of night, that if only we as a nation did X, Y, or Z, we could prevent people from going over the deep end like this. Some of those things may indeed help in some ways. But we are kidding ourselves if we think we have within our national grasp an educational or psychological or political solution to evil.

There is no solution or explanation for evil. Evil is fundamentally irrational; it simply cannot be grasped by means of our intellectual categories. Evil is the very denial of rationality, because it is a rebellion against the Logos, the very principle of the good, the true, and the beautiful who created and sustains the universe.”

But we’re not left to simply wonder and wish for something better.  Galli continues:

“The Christian hope in the face of evil is not to explain it or cure it. Our hope is absurd in its own way, turning absurdity on its head. We proclaim that evil has already been dealt the decisive blow. And that blow was delivered, paradoxically enough, at a moment when evil seems to have won—on the cross on which Jesus Christ died.

Christians “make sense” of tragedies by acknowledging that they are in fact senseless, and that their absurdity is little different than the absurdity of the Cross. And that’s precisely why, when we talk about the gospel, we begin with the absurd..absurdity has been defeated by absurdity, death has been defeated by death.”

I don’t claim to have answers to why certain deaths were averted and others weren’t, or why God allows some evil to occur while preventing other evil acts. But I also don’t have an answer to the question that few ever seem to ask: Why would God choose to step in at all?  To become the recipient of the greatest act of evil ever?  Why should He take the pain I deserve?  I don’t know that answer either- other than His inconceivably great love and His incomparably absurd grace.  I don’t understand it, but I’m so very grateful for it.

And so for today, that’s about as much sense of things as I can make. And for today, that’s enough.

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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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