I know that there is gun violence and death every day, but events like last night’s shooting in Aurora, CO, seem more “real.” I guess it has something to do with my ability to resonate with the event and to empathize with the victims. In my mind I know it is terrible when dozens of Afghan civilians die at the hands of our military or the Taliban, but I have no categories for such violence. On the other hand, I know the enjoyment and presumed safety of a movie theater. It is unlikely that I could ever be killed by a Taliban extremist. It is far more likely that a freak act of violence like the one in Aurora could happen and that is scary.
I can’t explain this as a Christian, but I trust the God revealed in Christ. Yes, C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain gave me some intellectual answers for the problem of theodicy, but the Book of Job is far more helpful existentially speaking. I am sure people will attribute this event to a variety of “theological” reasons, but I chose to acknowledge my agnosticism. I don’t know why God allows this or that. I can merely hope in God’s love, goodness, and justice in the end.
I wish people would wait before using this event for a political platform. I’ve already seen some headlines. I don’t want to read the articles. I won’t.
There has already been some discussion over whether the violent nature of the film The Dark Knight Rises had anything to do with the event. I am sure that the content provided a platform that made sense to this terrible murder, but I can’t blame the film, the filmmakers, or the actor. Too many people watch these movies and the thought of killing people never crosses their minds. In fact, we tell these stories because they give us a sense of justice and protection in a violent world. Characters like Batman give us a sense that good triumphs over the worst evils. Sadly, reality is that there is no Batman, no Spiderman, no one that can “save the day.” These things happen and sometimes evil cannot be stopped.
I can pray. I don’t know what prayer does at a time like this, but I trust God, and I hope that he hears prayers and that he acts on those prayers. I know to pray and then let God be God.