The morning of the massacre, a friend – whom I admire very much – posted on Facebook a comment in response to the mass murder-shootings from the midnight screening of The Dark Knight in Aurora, CO.
Why would God allow this to happen?
I really took to heart this question of how God could let it happen. I mean to say – I couldn’t shake this question. I couldn’t shake it, couldn’t get rid of it.
I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic schools, fell away from Catholicism and have recently embraced it again – to a certain degree. That is to say – I try to go to church once a week, because it helps me carve out time in an already insanely busy week. This time – just an hour a week – is used to reflect on my week, prepare for the next, and say a few prayers for my loved ones.
I wanted to share a few thoughts with you regarding my opinions on God, organized religion, good v. evil and
spirituality. Feel free to ignore this too – I will be slightly disappointed, but not in the least offended.
The initial question really bothered me, because I related it not only to the shootings at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight – particularly after returning from a midnight screening of the same film myself, but because upon digesting the question, thoughts of 9/11, family members dealing with Cancer, and a host of other examples immediately sprang to mind. It really weighed heavily on me for the next 48 hours.
You see, it bothered me, because I felt compelled to come up with an answer for myself – and I couldn’t. Then it was Saturday evening, and my wife and kids and I went to mass. As usual, we were late and missed the readings. There was a visiting priest from Ireland presenting the mass, and as we were seated he was just starting his sermon. He was acknowledging the fortuitous coincidence that the readings were so timely given recent events in the church and in the world at large, from over the weekend.
He then went on to scold, no – boldly cast out those priests who betrayed the families and boys whom they had harmed, linking them to Sandusky, casting them together and – with as much venom as a priest could possibly muster – proclaimed them as scoundrels, absolute scoundrels.
The priest then said something that hit home for me; he said that there is evil in this world. These priests were evil. And the shooter in Aurora CO was evil.
And he said that Evil is a life that was absent of Love and God.
Then he paused. He didn’t tie it back to the reading, he merely said that it was our job to live out our lives with God and Love in our hearts – that is how we could make a difference in this world.
He went on to make more points, but I was lost after that – I had found an answer that worked for me.
For me, this is the most important thing – I have found peace in taking the things out of Catholicism that work for me.
As I read the comments in this post, a good portion of what I saw was an anger in the hypocrisy of organized religion.
And I couldn’t agree more. There is so, so much wrong with organized religion. In man’s hands, it is the reason for so much war, anger, hurt, pain, fear …. and evil – there is a lot to be desired quite frankly. I had these thoughts and so many more when I married my wife. But two things happened when we had countless conversations – one, I stopped judging the priests, the cardinals … the men who run organized religion. It;s not my job – that’s God’s.
The second thing – I made peace with the fact that my relationship with God is mine, not the Church’s, not Catholicism, not Pat Robertson or Jimmy Swaggert or Tammy Faye, not Tina Fey or Jimmy Fallon.
And none of them can pass judgement on me, not any judgement that will matter, I am going to do my best to be a good Dad, a good Husband, a good Son and Brother – a good person. And only God will be able to judge if I was good enough.
Everything else – meh. I’m not going to sweat it. I have Faith, that if I do my best to be a good person, all will be OK.
When it comes to James Holmes, and the shootings however, he is truly evil – someone absent of Love and God.
The Facebook post asked: Where was God during all his madness?
So, the one last thing I will leave you with is this: in the days that have followed the Aurora, CO shootings, I have heard countless stories of the people throwing themselves in front of their wives, girlfriends, children, and friends when James Holmes opened fire.
From what I have read, 8 of the 12 victims died protecting the ones they loved. There were countless other victims wounded doing the same thing.
It stands to reason that if evil is the absence of Love and God, then these people were Good – full of love for their family and friends they were protecting. Where was God that night you asked? I would argue he was most definitely there that night – helping these folks make the unfathomable, split-second choices they made diving in front of sure death for their loved ones.
I would argue that God was most definitely there.