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How do we respond in the wake of disaster? One of the undeniable aspects of the true human response is that we cannot merely hear the news and move on, shrugging our shoulders. The frustration and anger that boils within us inevitably leads up to the process of asking the big question, “WHY?!”. Why does this happen? Why would someone commit such an evil act? How does this keep happening? How do we fix it?

Many people today are talking about gun control. Others respond angerly, “Why do you have to turn everything into a political opportunity?” But I think that’s not whats happening. The frenzy over gun control is, to many, the one and only constructive way that they honestly seek to deal with the evil. And yet even as we troubleshoot and discuss how it is that we can keep guns out of the hands of crazy people, we realize that this is really not a true answer to the issue. It doesn’t actually address the core of the evil that we face.

So this is our modern dilemma. Something terrible like Las Vegas happens and we spend a week yelling past each other. Each thinking that the other is just being opportunistic and advancing their views and agendas. We need to learn to listen to and understand the questions that we ask. We need to learn to have meaningful conversations, with the awareness that we are a society of people who function on very different foundations.

So let’s ask the question.

Why do people commit such senseless acts of evil? And according to some research, why does this trend seem to be growing in our time? These questions inevitably push us up against a whole new set of issues. Namely, the reality of evil, and the troubled human heart, which seems to be an endless fountain of it. Now, at this point, perhaps my secular friends would think that I am merely trying to steer that conversation in a direction that merely further’s my religious views. Is that what I am doing? Well, maybe.  But only to the same extent that they are trying to steer things to their political perspectives by advancing gun laws. The simple fact is that we are all always steering everything down to our perspectives because our perspectives are the only things that we have.

We are all trying to make sense of this broken world and we are all trying to do our best at making it better. And as I look at the things that are taking place, I see no meaningful conversation about the things that took place in Las Vegas without addressing the two core questions of evil and the human heart. Every other alternative is merely a band-aid. This certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t care about making better laws that keep our society safer. I do. And that is actually why I want to approach the issue by asking the questions that I believe hit the core cause of the problem.

The trouble here is that for many people in our culture today, raising the question of moral evil and the corruption of the human heart means treading outside the bounds of meaningful conversation. I’ve hit this wall with many of my friends who hold to a more secular outlook on life. Evil? Heart? These are religious terms! They don’t make sense to us. And it is here that we hit out most important point. If your worldview does not allow for more comprehensive assessment of the depths of the problems that you face in everyday culture, maybe you need to reassess your worldview. Las Vegas was evil. And if evil is not even within our categories of understanding, we aren’t tackling the real problem, no matter how much gun laws we pass.


PC: Drew Angerer / Getty