Thursday, January 8, 2009

Colorado gunman targets non-Christians

On December 30, 2008, Colorado resident Derik Bonestroo, an employee of the Eldora Mountain Resort, orchestrated a plan to target and kill his coworkers who were not Christian, according to the Denver Post.

After arriving heavily armed at the resort, Bonestroo fatally shot Brian Mahon, resort manager. Witnesses claimed that Bonestroo shouted, "If you're not Christian, you're gonna die!" Bonestroo was later shot and wounded by a sheriff's deputy, and the gunman finally killed himself.

Religious apologists argue that, whether belief in God is true or not, religious faith is useful in curbing violent behaviors. I wonder how this incident can be justified. If Bonestroo said that God speaks to him and wants him to, say, work in an orphanage, religious apologists would applaud his testimony, and point to him as an proof that God is alive and working in his heart. But if Bonestroo said that God speaks to him and wants him to kill his non-Christian coworkers, religious apologists would distance themselves from him, calling him insane, or doubting his testimony.

And yet numerous times in the Bible, God did exactly that: tell one of his believers to kill non-believers. Moses organized the slaughter of 3,000 people because the Israelites were worshipping a golden calf rather than Jehovah (Exodus 32).
If Moses tried to do that in twenty-first century America, he would be captured and convicted as a serial killer. But he was merely obeying the command of God.

However, if Bonestroo was criminally insane, then his faith failed to prevent him from committing pre-meditated murder. What's more, God failed to prevent Bonestroo from carrying out his plan. Is it because God can't prevent someone from comitting murder in his name, or is it that he could do so but chooses not to?

5 comments:

Rhology said...

Chooses not to.

"But, God's a big meanie then!"
Yeah, yeah, you know we've heard all that stuff before. I fully expect you to think God's a big meanie; the Bible says you hate Him. Why think that you're challenging belief in God when you display the precise behavior that God predicted from you?

Tommy Holland said...

I fully expect you to think God's a big meanie

Difficult to answer. I don't think that God is a big meanie anymore than I think Darth Vader is a big meanie. On the other hand, if I claim that Darth Vader was portrayed to be a big meanie, then it's fair to say that I think the same about God, for the same reason.

the Bible says you hate Him

I've never known a Bible to talk. Strictly speaking, I think what you mean is that some person, whose writing was included in the Christian Bible, wrote that I hate God. And I disagree with that person.

Why think that you're challenging belief in God when you display the precise behavior that God predicted from you?

What I challenged is the religious apologist's belief that God is the highest standard of morality by which we all are measured. If, as you stated, God chose not to prevent Bonestroo from killing in his name, then how can God be called moral?

Even if God did predict that I would call him immoral when he acted immorally, how does that help anything? If I killed a person, then predicted that the person's loved ones will be angry with me, that doesn't excuse my actions, even if my prediction comes true.

Rhology said...

And your standard for knowing what is moral and immoral is...

Tommy Holland said...

And your standard for knowing what is moral and immoral is...

My empathy, my reason, and my experience.

http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutethics/p/GodlessMorality.htm

Rhology said...

Which tells us not a whit about whether your empathy is right, whether your experience leads you to the right conclusions.
You're your own Pope.
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2008/07/empathy-and-morality.html