對於12月14日發生在美國康州 "新鎮"(Newtown)一所小學槍殺20名小學一年級學裡和6位教職員，導致包括兇嫌及其母親在內的28條人命失喪的驚人血案，世界各國及社各界都迅速作出了不同的反應，要求立法禁止售賣攻擊性武器的呼聲亦在美國各州再度高漲，而支持公民 "擁槍權" 的一方則堅稱，殺人的是本性邪惡之人，而非武器，不能因為暴力犯罪分子的存在就剝奪公民擁槍自衛的權利。除去此類政治層面上的爭議，《真理報》的讀者可能更加關切從基督信仰的立場如何看類似的慘案。
查看網絡，許多基督教領袖和基督徒作家都有很發人深省的反思，這裡特別推薦 Benton Ross 發表於 "Christianity Applied" 上的一篇文章 "Lessons from the Newtown, Connecticut Massacre"。
Lessons from the Newtown, Connecticut Massacre
By Benton Ross (December 15, 2012) "Christianity Applied"
There are times in human history that shake the very foundations of our concept of what it means to be human. Today was one of those days. To the friends and families of the adults and children whose lives were taken today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, my prayers are offered. Although I know they will never be enough, my heart cries out in despair in the midst of such a terrible act. I want to take a look at a few things that I have observed in the midst of the massacre. Rhetorical posturing for gun rights or gun control right after something of this magnitude is simply disrespectful to all parties involved, but I want to take a look at a few things that I have observed in the midst of the massacre.
Upon reflection, I thought about secularism and the claim that human progress will eventually eliminate suffering, educate folks that religious hocus pocus isn't needed any longer, and free the masses from their chains with reason. Guns are byproducts of human progress, innovation, and creation. The earliest guns that have been found have been dated to the 13th century and were found in China. They were simply the logical progression within the chain that began with the crude spear, moved to the bow and arrow, and finished with the firearm.
Now, let's ask a question: were these instruments created for killing animals or humans? This gets us nowhere. It's as if we've tried to answer whether the egg or the chicken came first. If designed for feeding the masses, these guns were instruments of innovation. If designed for murder, then these instruments of death are mere extensions of humanity's terrible depravity.
Personally, I will not posture myself one way or another in support of gun control or gun rights, but clearly, today's events demonstrated that something must be done about America's gun related homicide problem. Of the biggest 20 massacres that have occurred anywhere in the world within the 20th century, 11 of them have happened in the United States. What is happening with guns right now cannot be tolerated. One of two things must happen: either there must be complete and total lock down on all guns across the board, shutting down gun markets, or increasing gun presence or defense mechanism in the public sphere to such a level that it would be unthinkable to pull the trigger on a child. Without getting into details, Japan is a model that one might shoot for, because their gun related homicides number in the single digits for the whole country most years. Pretty incredible, right?
On the other hand, some say this simply might not be feasible given the U.S. constitutional amendment 2 which lays out the right to bear arms, and so the second option would be to increase gun presence. In other words, equip teachers, or other positions with extreme responsibility, with a defense mechanism against potential threats. Choosing either method will require a lot of discussion and deliberation, but it is quite clear that something must be done to increase protection for the most innocent members of our society: the children, the future of this nation.
Adam Ferguson wrote in his essay on the history of civil society that our affections are most apparent in the midst of wrongdoing. It's quite interesting to look at an atheist's response to this tragedy. Interestingly enough, Richard Dawkins' twitter feed was exploding with invective against gun rights advocates, Christians, and the wrongs committed today.
"Guns aren't the problem, sin is. Repent of yours & trust Christ." Oh BRILLIANT. These people have the vote. And we know who they vote for.'
Dawkins seems to be quite concerned with the death of these children, and very argumentative over the morality of guns. Looking at his twitter feed, the premise behind all of the re-tweets is that killing is wrong. All of this moralizing language is, at its core, a validation of the inherent nature of spirituality within humanity. Of course, Dawkins would say that all of this morality nonsense was foisted upon us by evolution, and that we have no good reason to believe in religious claims of moral absolutes. Yet, Dawkins was bemoaning the immoral tragedy of the murder of the innocent children today. So were many 'unreligious' Americans. What does this mean?
Well, oddly enough, terrible events like this blow a terrible hole in the atheistic worldview: it shows us how untenable this view truly is by exposing its hypocrisy. Dawkins betrays his self-proclaimed worldview that holds that there are no foundations for moral absolutes by making claims that depend precisely on moral absolutes. Now, to clarify: I am not attempting to vilify Dawkins or any atheist! This was simply an interesting, and indeed hopeful, observation I had in the midst of this calamity: as much as we attempt to escape belief in God, we cannot; as much as we attempt to run from Him, we cannot; as much as we attempt to talk ourselves out of belief in God, our heart's deepest desires for justice give us away. We have no derivation of justice apart from God, and it is justice that we all seek in the wake of this disaster.
On justice, I wish to only write a few lines. What enthralled me most, I believe, was that the shooter took his own life after taking those of the children. What those children ever did to that man, we will never know. The feelings within my heart after learning of the shooting revealed my depravity. I found myself wishing that he'd been found alive, and that he'd be subject to the worst torture anyone could possibly bear; a slow, excruciating death to quench the pain of the victims' families. And yet, I thought through my emotions, and realized that Christ bore the worst torture that could possibly be given to a man. He was innocent, taking upon Himself that which was due to each of us. Thinking more on the situation, the thought occurred to me that this disgusting, sick individual was offered the grace of Christ during his life. Never have the immortalized words of C.S. Lewis ever rang more true in my life than now:
"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization-these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit-immortal horrors or everlasting splendours."
We must ardently remind ourselves that each interaction with another person must be viewed through the lens of the Gospel. Acts of unexpected kindness, smiles, and sincerity build on each other like snowballs rolled down a slope. So do negative emotions and hatred. The shooter that took the life of those children did not perform his terrible act in a vacuum; it was the culmination of a process. Remind yourself daily that you might, in continuous sincerity shown towards others, help keep someone from making such a dreadful decision. We must all bear the burden of what happened today in Newtown, Connecticut. We must all bear the pain. We must push for a better world for tomorrow, and it starts today. It starts with our generation. Christ, His love, His mercy, His tenderness must be central to our every action; with Him as our light, we cannot be lost in darkness.