Stream: Can We Legislate Our Way To Perfection?
After atheist Devin Kelley attempted through mass murder to bring about his own personal Utopia at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, many people advocated and sought solace in prayer. The call for this ancient and natural act curiously triggered a good many celebrities.
For instance, atheist Stephen King, a man who makes a living thinking of clever literary ways to kill and dismember, tweeted, “Enough with praying. Time to start legislating.”
King is an entertainer and so we cannot expect him to remember that murder was already judged illegal by at least a majority of the States some while ago. But it’s his thought that legislation can be the cure for man’s fallen nature that is of real interest.
Vote Yes or No
Can the government by enacting laws bring about human perfection, or at least heave us as close to that goal as possible?
That question was answered by the writers at The Babylon Bee, Christianity’s Onion. In response to the Texas murders, they published the article “In Move To Prevent Future Tragedies, Congress Bans Humanity’s Depraved Nature.”
In a move to prevent any future tragedies of any kind, Congress passed sweeping legislation Monday that bans mankind’s totally depraved nature from the country…
“This has gone on long enough,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a press conference. “We keep saying there’s nothing we can do to prevent this, but now we see there is: just ban human nature and all these problems go away.”
“It’s the obvious solution,” he added.
Congressional projections indicate the new measure will result in a huge boost in peace, love, and harmony in every demographic across the U.S., and should cut violent death statistics down to “approximately zero” almost immediately.
All those who say Aye
Some imagine a future in which this legislative solution has been implemented. Take Lieutenant Sulu (George Takei), who tweeted on behalf of Star Fleet:
Under the auspices of the United Federation of Planets, we not only have universal health care, we have free, universal education, housing, and food, as well as strict control of dangerous phasers. Political parties voluntarily disbanded long ago after all humans became educated.
Sulu forgot to mention the United Federation of Planets’ endless wars and bloody conflicts with aliens, all of which are fought with phasers set to Kill! Ah well.
It’s strange that these wars should have slipped his mind, though. Consider he wrote that tweet before he revealed the Russians were behind a plot to discredit him with accusations of sexual harassment, so at this point he was still thinking clearly.
Set transporters on Stream and beam on over!
Has a Stream article ever begun,
After Christian [insert name] attempted through mass murder….
I’m guessing no, even though there are dozens of names to choose from, just in 2017. Am I wrong?
I rather agree with the point about the folly of legislating away human nature, though. Even though we all know that’s actually not what the pro-legislation people are talking about, it’s good to keep in mind.
Atheist Lee Philips asked, “Has a Stream article ever begun…?”
It has to said:
In the Star Trek universe, the Borg seek perfection through legislation of a sort. Sulu never meet up with them, though. Contact didn’t occur until subsequent series. I don’t think he would have made a very good drone.
But one time Stephen King told Stanley Kubrick he believed in God.
I’m struggling to find an example. For instance the category on Wikipedia “2017 mass shootings in the United States” does not have an example of a Christian shooter.
It seems as if Dr. Briggs is one of those Christians who just uses “atheist” as a sneer. If I cared, I would ask why he applied the epithet to me.
You say you’re “struggling to find an example”, but on the very Wikipedia page that you went to, if you click on one of the very first links (Burnette Chapel shooting), you’ll be taken to a page describing the Christian member of the Burnette Chapel shooting up his fellow parishioners. Really, what religion do you think most of the murderers in the U.S. belong to?
Yeah, that one did seem to be the most relevant, but it says he was a “former member” of that church and also said he was “sympathetic” to the Nation of Islam, among other things.
It doesn’t seem clear to me to say that “most murderers in the U.S.” are Christian. It depends how you define Christianity, I suppose. Once you start abandoning its basic tenants (“Thou Shalt Not Kill”), I would say your own self identification is irrelevant.
But Briggs also includes the epithet because he believes the shooter’s atheism was a factor in his desire to shoot up a church. Perhaps that is up for debate. But certainly it is more of a stretch to say that the Burnette Chapel shooter’s tenuous-at-best connection with Christianity was the direct cause of his decision.
“it is more of a stretch to say that the Burnette Chapel shooter’s tenuous-at-best connection with Christianity was the direct cause of his decision.”
I never said that. I just said that he was a Christian, which he was. Suggesting that a Christian murderer is automatically not a Christian because of the commandment makes it pointless to ask whether or how many Christian mass killers there are, because they would automatically be not Christian. That’s not useful – it’s just the same as saying that there can be no Muslim terrorists because terrorism is against Islam – which is an actual claim that some Imams make.
Wait, what? There’s a disconnect here. I never said that you said anything, I was simply trying to explain why Briggs referred to the Texas shooter as an atheist and why he wouldn’t do the same for the Burnette shooter.
As a partial aside, you seem pretty confident that he was a Christian, despite the information on the Wikipedia page, which you are quick to (or instantly) disregard.
In regards to how Christianity should be defined, I think it is equally unhelpful to simply take someone’s word for it. But the crux of this issue is whether or not a belief system is informing these decisions. If a man kills his wife in a fit of passion why do we care what his religion is? Was his Christianity his motivation? In the case of Islam, these people are actually interpreting a religious text so that their killing is justified in their eyes. That is a serious distinction to be made from other murders. You might say an “atheist mass shooter” the same way you might say a “Muslim terrrorist” if you think the adjective is a factor in one’s motivation. And I will say again, perhaps that’s up for debate.
“Was his Christianity his motivation?”
Sometimes it is. In this case it was the daughter murdered by the Christian, because of her relationship with a Muslim:
But you will say that this doesn’t count, because the murderer was not a Christian, because he murdered somebody.
Let me try to walk this back… this has become discursive.
I thought you were implying a double standard on Briggs’ part with his use of “atheist” in front of shooter because he hasn’t mentioned any shooters who self-identify as Christian. I was defending it on the basis of his opinion, right or wrong, that this shooter’s motivation was impacted by his atheism. So he would only put the word “Christian” in front of “mass shooter” if he believed it was relevant to his motivation. If you’re saying he would never comment on a shooting where Christianity was the motivating factor, that’s fine, I’ll let him argue with that I don’t know the guy.
But he can’t be a hypocrite if there aren’t any of those. You said there were dozens of Christian mass shooters in 2017, I tried to look into that, simply out of curiosity, looking for a Christian mass shooter whose motivation was Christianity and couldn’t find any on Wikipedia’s 2017 entry. You mentioned the Burnette shooting, I mentioned his tenuous connection to Christianity and that that connection was probably not the motivation for the shooting. So if one was to write about it, it probably wouldn’t be relevant to say “the Christian mass shooter”. You mention a man who did use Christianity as his motivation for killing. That’s fine, I never claimed that wasn’t a thing, I was simply saying it was irrelevant to say “what religion do you think most of the murderers in the U.S. belong to”, suggesting that self-identification is more important than motivation. Because that’s Briggs’ initial reason for writing the word. If he wrote an article about the piece you mentioned, it would certainly include the word “Christian”.
This all started because I was looking for confirmation of a Christian motivated mass shooting this year. I hadn’t heard of that, so I thought I should educate myself.
Lee is trying to point out something else, I think. We live in a world where Christianity has not bee ‘ethnicized’, so we don’t hear about a ‘Christian terrorist’. Of course we all know that Las Vegas and Texas church shooters came from white Christian families, raised in mostly Christian culture, etc. Yet, nobody is going around asking: “What is it in the good book (all along with citing various passages) that leads these men to such violent crimes?”. We don’t hear reports of the last words the shooters utter, because that reveals everything (I guess they are too busy re-loading).
However, if they happen to be from a certain part of the world and different religion, that religion is automatically ‘ethnicized’ and has to become a primary motive. Just look at the last three terrorist acts. The one in New York happened between Las Vegas and Texas, and even though it was way smaller in comparison, the reporting and media drivel is quite different. It brings us to a comical situation that if you are a Muslim for example, you simply cannot be just a crazy lunatic who does something awful (out of a 1.5B people someone must be). It ‘has to be’ religiously motivated. The evidence is quite different though. The Paris concert attack and the one in Belgium (I think) was done by pimps and drug dealers who may have seen and Imam or a Mosque only on the way to a local brothel. Reality is that most of that is politically motivated, where extremists are used as a weapon, not a reason for an attack. I remember reading the reports from the survivors of Paris attack that the attackers were shouting ‘This is for Syria’ or something similar. None of the religious chants, much to the chagrin of those who would like to portrait the religions nature of the motivation for such attacks.