Thou shalt not kill!

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Tashfeen Malik is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the FBI, December 4, 2015. U.S.-born husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his spouse, Tashfeen Malik, 29, a native of Pakistan who lived in Saudi Arabia for more than 20 years, died in a shootout with police hours after Wednesday's attack on a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles. REUTERS/FBI/Handout via Reuters  ATTENTION EDITORS -  FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Tashfeen Malik is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the FBI, December 4, 2015. U.S.-born husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his spouse, Tashfeen Malik, 29, a native of Pakistan who lived in Saudi Arabia for more than 20 years, died in a shootout with police hours after Wednesday's attack on a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles. REUTERS/FBI/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

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The most basic human moral responsibility is to train people not to murder each other. It appears that we are increasingly failing at this task.

  • Larry

    Pretty much from the time Roman soldiers and Barbarian tribes started to adopt Christianity to present , Christians have sought and found theological loopholes to allow for killing in the name of their faith. Christianity has never really taken such directives seriously. Those who claim “the text doesn’t support mass murder” are ignorant of the history of their own faith and how the Bible was interpreted.

    The number of purely pacifistic sects, those who take the words of “shall not commit murder” and “turning the other cheek” in the presence of one’s enemies seriously are few and far between. All of them were persecuted by the more mainstream sects of Christianity.

  • Eric

    David, I’m wondering what you made of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s comments about carrying concealed weapons? Maybe you’ve already written about it and I missed it, but I’d be curious to know if you see his words and attitude as part of the collapse you describe here. I know I do.

  • David Gushee

    I thought they were disastrous in every way.

  • Scott Shaver

    How did the subject of the post turn so quickly from the case study of a renegade jihadist (pictured) to the sub-category (“garden variety”) of “aggrieved white American guys” ?

    Do volumes, numbers or frequencies of mass-murders factor into the author’s perspective?

  • Andrew Bruno

    David- really enjoyed your piece and really enjoyed reading your different takes on the threatened v. collapsed issue regarding reasoning behind the mass killings. Personally, I feel that the majority of the bigger attacks revolve around feeling threatened. The desire to be seen as a “martyr” to your community or cult is what drives these attacks and will continue to do so until we are able to rid these religious radicals. The last line of your essay is the absolute truth.

  • Caroline M.

    Are you asking why he’s talking about white men, since radical islamic terrorists seem to be more of a threat? I think it was very important that he brought up the issue of the “aggrieved white American” man, since I think it’s so often dismissed. When a muslim shoots up a place, some of us immediately call it terrorism before knowing the motives. However, when a white man shoots up a place, we say he must be mentally ill or deranged, and some of us are weary of calling it terrrorism. But what is the difference? What if religion motivated the man who stormed into planned parenthood? How do we know the constant attacks on PP from extremist Christian groups lying about their selling of baby parts and saying they’re evil did not encourage this shooter? I think it would have been irresponsible to not point out the major issues we have with white domestic terrorism as well. All sorts of radical religion, not just islam, can be harmful.

  • alison

    It’s not so much teaching people not to murder, it’s teaching people to respect life. Unfortunately that has failed in the 40+ years since the legalization of abortion. We live in a country filled with rage. Teaching people not to murder will not solve that problem. And yes, Jerry Falwell Jr.’s comments were disastrous in every way.

  • Larry

    Well you certainly aren’t going to teach people to respect life by:
    -Demonizing doctors and patients undergoing legal medical procedures
    -Attacking the legal right to make choices concerning one’s family planning
    -Spreading defamatory attacks on others in service of your beliefs
    -Engaging in rhetoric that people exercising legal choices should be executed or murdered.
    -Engaging in s1utshaming of women who make choices concerning family planning.

    The Anti-abortion crowd already had blood on its hands this month, in case you forgot. So whatever lessons you thought you could be teaching others on the subject of murder, forget it. People should look elsewhere.