Blame Sin, Not God

Like most Americans, I was overwhelmed by the images of Monday’s shootings on the Virginia Tech campus. My heart ached … Continued

Like most Americans, I was overwhelmed by the images of Monday’s shootings on the Virginia Tech campus. My heart ached for parents around the nation who sought only to know if their children were safe. I will be sending a daughter to college this fall, and I cannot comprehend the thought that she may someday face a situation such as the one that occurred Monday.

It’s natural for anyone at a time like this to cry out to God, “How could something like this happen?” Over the years, countless members of my congregation – including our leadership – have dealt with serious illnesses in their families and heart-wrenching episodes involving their loved ones. There are no easy answers to any of those situations. Monday’s slaughter at Virginia Tech has made international news, but the emotions that it evoked occur to a lesser degree every day in homes like yours and mine.

After more than 30 years of ministry, I’ve learned that understanding situations like these is unfathomable without the knowledge that God created each of us with the freedom to choose His leading as well as the freedom to opt for our own path. Choosing a world view that excludes God and disregards the value of human life makes the unforgettable scenes from Virginia Tech possible.

What we saw Monday morning is nothing less and nothing other than the result of one young man’s sin – his determination to do what he wanted to do, rather than what His Creator would have him do. It’s a choice each of us faces daily. The only difference is that Cho Seung Hui’s choice led to historically tragic consequences and the attention of a horrified world.

Rod Parsley is senior pastor of World Harvest Church of Canal Winchester, Ohio. He is founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity, the host of the “Breakthrough” television broadcast, and the author of more than 75 books and study guides. His latest book, “Culturally Incorrect: How Clashing Worldviews Affect Your Future,” will be published by Thomas Nelson in June.

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  • Mr Mark

    More “god is blameless…we’re all rotten sinners” crapola.Ho hum…

  • Former Catholic

    This boy was obviously mentally ill — you call that “sin”?That’s exactly the sort of stigma that keeps people from getting treatment for their mental illness. One does not choose to have diabetes, or hypothyroidism, and usually there is no stigma attached to seeking treatment for these illnesses. Neither do most people choose to have a mental illness — depression, bipolor disorder, epilepsy — and yet admitting to having these problems and seeking treatment for them is seen as shameful. Too often it’s portrayed as a lack of self-control, or as though the person suffering is simply lazy.It sounds like a handful of people tried to reach out to this young man, but didn’t know how. I cannot condone his actions, obviously, but if he was truly mentally disturbed, that hardly constitutes a choice to ignore God, a choice to sin. Show some Christian charity and forgive him for something that may not have been entirely his to control.

  • wiccan

    “What we saw Monday morning is nothing less and nothing other than the result of one young man’s sin –”No, what we saw was one young man’s illness and the terribly irresponsibile attitude of Americans towards mental illness. Unless Cho had shown he was an imminent danger to himself or others he could not have been held for observation and/or treatment. Even then, mental health services are so grossly underfunded that he would have to wait for weeks or months for help.Events like this have happened before, and they will happen again. And the fault for that lies with us.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Rev. Mr. Parsley,You have got to be nuttier than the VT shooter, and more out of touch with reality rhan he was, if you believe that what happened had anything at all to do with sin, God, or your theology.What happened was the outcome of a whole series of natural causes and conditions, and had nothing to do with metaphysical concerns.

  • Henry James

    Moral Clarity? Are you Kidding.Pastor Parsley is the FOUNDER (!!!) of the Center for Moral Clarity,and he clearly has not the slightest clue about morality.As noted above, this child was CLEARLY mentally ill.To apply the supernatural term “sin” to his actions is barbaric – moral barbarism of the first order.It is clearly Tragic. We all realize that.But if you want to bring “God” into it, you first have to ask why God created a world where such persons who are obviously not in “control” of their behavior bring such tragedy into the lives of very good people whose children were killed.The Morality of the Pastor makes me physically nauseated.

  • Danny B.

    I agree strongly with the above posters. That is the most uncharitable thing that I can imagine a pastor saying. I am very disappointed, and offended as a Christian.The 32 victims of the shooter were tragically killed, it was wrong, it was sickening. I’ll let God be the judge. I’ll let trained professionals determine what his mental defect was, and I will rely on what I actually know…this was not a person in full control of themselves.So senseless and tragic!

  • Henry James

    Dear Pastor ParsleyYou have been so justly condemned in this discussion that I think you owe it to the readers here to come on and either(danny – well said comment)

  • Danny B.

    I can’t even let it go!”Choosing a world view that excludes God and disregards the value of human life makes the unforgettable scenes from Virginia Tech possible.”How absolutely arrogant!I am smart enough to know that sane people don’t do this, and furthermore, that no one chooses to be insane!

  • Rob

    Dear Pastor,You are a a fraud. there is no god. It’s an old myth.That you choose to propogate, which makes you a fraud.God’s children. What a joke. Arrest yourself, for fraud, for lying to people, and for taking money in the name of a threat. Stand down loser, there is no God. Your a liar, and a fraud. Don’t blame god? what a stupid thing to say. How dumb can humans be? Stop ruinign young minds with your garbage.

  • Martian

    Rod Rod, read Thomas J. Reese’s blog. He’s more thoughtful than you dude. So it’s Cho’s sin that caused all these deaths, but how about all those who died in earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, etc., whose sin is that?

  • Henry James

    The Pastor’s Dogmatic IgnoranceIt is impressive that the Pastor could pack so much ignorant nonsense into such a short column.He writesAtheists value human life as much as those who believe in God.Once again, this column is despicable morality and shows colossally arrogant ignorance.

  • David Gillette

    “Choosing a world view that excludes God and disregards the value of human life makes the unforgettable scenes from Virginia Tech possible”Is that not the most ignorant statement you’ve ever read? So all free-thinking non-believers are potential mass-murderers? I feel sorry for people like Mr. Parsley and their warped views. This is a time for healing, not intolerance.

  • Sara B:

    A good pastor comforts us where we are afflicted and afflicts us where we are comfortable. Yes, Jesus wept. Individual sin, the concept that this was a bad person, is a fine and easy thing to to contemplate. More challenging is the concept of corporate sin. This young man certainly failed us. Was there any way that WE failed him and the other people who died that day? There is the can of worms.

  • Mr Mark

    It will be interesting to read Mr Parsley’s backpeddling if and when it turns out that the VT shooter was a church-going religious type, which (AFAIK) may well be the case.

  • steve

    Everyday single day people claiming to follow God’s path do horrific things to their fellow man. Exploiting a tragedy to reinforce your own dogma makes you one of them. Nice work Mr. Marks.

  • steve

    Let’s try this again (with apologies to Mr. Marks)

  • Mike of Bowie

    Having been here before I really did not want to participate again because folks can get vicious, and it seems like this is really just an opportunity for folk to lash out. However, and against my better judgement, here goes: Actually, the Pastor is correct from a Christian believer’s point of view, but not as he explained it because you folks are right…the killer was truly very sick. Christians who know the Bible are aware that because of sin, a man can curse his family through four generations. Just consider the possibility that someone in his family tree did something bad enough that several generations of that family might be cursed. I know, there are plenty of you who will have fun with this. So be it. However, if you simply dissagree because you are not a believer, I already know what your response will be, so you might want to hold off.

  • Roy Fuchs

    What a simplistic statement.

  • Roy

    If, as Christians proclaim, God created everything then he created sin, too. If he didn’t create it, who did? If the Devil created sin, who created the Devil? If God created the Devil, why? Christians just don’t make sense to me at all.

  • Gustav Hallin

    Why don’t you just say this is part of God’s plan and we can never understand it? After all, an omniscient and all-powerful God is so much more intelligent than we could ever be, that he can see the good that the thirty-two families will gain from this latest blessing.

  • Henry James

    Mike of BowieThanks for your post.You acknowledge that the murderer here was insane:if he is insane, it makes little sense to say tht he is morally culpable, or a Sinner if you believe in Sin.Though I don’t believe in God and Sin,Whether one calls it Sinyou and I agree that awful acts can affect families for generations.The Hindus have the concept of Karma for the same phenomenon,Our criticism of the Pastor is thatThere: that wasn’t so bad, was it.

  • BC

    Cho Seung-Hui appears to have contemplated this act for some time and premeditated such things as chaining the doors. He therefore was able to make conscious choices. He was certainly deeply disturbed, but it is not clear to me that this “caused” his choice to slay 32 innocent people and that it was simply a “disease” that then lifts from Mr. Cho the burden of personal responsibility. The pastor is saying that people make choices and that those choices emerge from a failure to internalize and live by a code that restrains one from degrading acts. He is referring to abiding as best one can by the broad moral principles that one believes to have come from God or, for the atheists, basic human values.

  • Phantom

    Hello all,As a Pastor myself I don’t know whether I can or would want to respond to Pastor Parsley’s commentary. I read on CNN today that there is the belief that Cho was insane. Either way it SUCH a tragic loss of life and some, if not most of those involved as well as their families and to an extent their friends may be scarred for years to come. These scars are physical, emotional and spiritual.I’m so sorry for those who went through this and suffered loss. I’m sorry for your country that has experienced this senseless violence. We pray for the USA daily and now, more so than ever, we continue to do so. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and wishes that as time goes on there will be recovery from this. One will never forget. Never ever!

  • Anonymous

    Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib, Ibn Abbas said: A lunatic woman passed by Ali ibn Abu Talib. He then mentioned the rest of the tradition to the same effect as Uthman mentioned. This version has: Do you not remember that the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) has said: There are three whose actions are not recorded: a lunatic whose mind is deranged till he is restored to consciousness, a sleeper till he awakes, and a boy till he reaches puberty? (Sunan Abu Dawood 2069.)

  • Robin

    So now we should include *mental illness* in the list of sins?

  • Lee

    First off, Sin is the reason behind everything like this. You have to understand the bible first off. Once Adam did his act of partaking in the eating of the fruit all SIN entered into the world. And not only sin but Sickness and disease which can be associated with mental illness. Meaning that if there is mental illness in the world, (Which there sure is) then that is because of the SIN that Adam commited. I don’t care how many so called “SCHOLARS” you ask they probably would disagree but usually they are the ones that don’t believe Jesus died for our SINS, SICKNESSES, AND DISEASES AND ILLNESSES. That would include all Mental disorders. So whatever Jesus died for we have been delivered From. Therefore the Mentall illness that this individual had could have been reversed just by calling on the name of Jesus for healing and deliverance. Yes medication would have sufficed temporarily but then what if he forgot it one day or what if he decided to stop taking it or didn’t get his prescription filled. Or what if he were placed in a “home” for mental patients. WHAT IF WHAT IF. If he was mental he didn’t necessarily SIN but because of SIN he had a mental illness. Some may not agree but guess what, that’s the freedom we all have in this world. So everytime someone kills someone does that make them a mental person? We shouldn’t necessarily point the finger at mental illness everytime someone does something that we can’t fathom just happened.

  • Prodigal

    Reverend Parsley,”Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

  • rational cynic

    A Hokie (’04) myself, I am saddened by this mans comments. I am, however, happy to see so many comments condeming his closed minded view of the world. Various forms of religion have, over human history, claimed to have ‘absolute knowledge,’ condemning, murdering, and outing those who disagree – for rational and illegitimate reasons alike. Shame on you Rodderick Parsley and your selfish belief in your absolute knowledge, and your paltry watered down religion. The blindly religious scare me, and I am guessing they do many of the commentors, as well. They yeild far too much influence in our society, which was ironically founded in a rare instance of applied rationalism. An alternative to traditional organized religion – one that supports a humanist or realistic moral perspective that transcends our experiences and worldly knowledge – can only take hold if it exists. Until it does, the blind will continue to be misled.

  • Franco

    Pastro Parsley provided a beautiful yet simple explanation of what happen at VT. He took it from the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Why on earth would many of you attack him personally? You may know that Jesus was also attacked by many, crucified, resurrected so that you and I can live forever, if we put our trust in Him. Be civil when commenting; why retort to personal destruction?.

  • Brian-Charlotte, NC

    In a very humble and calm manner, I am posting here. As a Christian believer who tries to live as devoutly as possible according to the teachings within the Bible, especially The New Testament, the foundation of true Christianity, I just want to share with everybody that any correct Christian response to this tragedy should be rooted in Holy Scripture, especially The New Testament. My response stems from Paul’s in 2 Timothy:2 Tim. 3:1-5: You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly (NLT).Sadly, in my solemn belief, this passage reflects and speaks of our modern society and a social environment that all too frequently helps create situations like those that have occurred recently at VT. Overall, society as a whole has made a choice (and I stress the word “choice”) to disregard the teachings of Jesus Christ and have idolized the human individual instead of living humbling before God.With that said, I have to emphasize that Scripture, Old and New Testaments, focuses on human choice, especially in terms of how human choice is used to obey or disobey God. Jesus never forced his beliefs and teachings on anybody; however, he did state that there are severe consequences for not adopting and practicing them. Again, human choice is emphasized. If a person truly chooses to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, that person has made the correct choice, the greatest and most important choice of their life.After this choice is made, the believer must then again choose to commit their life to actively learning and practicing the teachings of Jesus Christ. If a person does this, they themselves will not act in such a tragic manner as Cho Seung-Hui has acted.With this said, I firmly believe that Cho Seung-Hui made a series of wrong choices that have lead to this horrible event. Is that to say that his environment or biological makeup did not play a role? Not at all. However, I firmly believe that based on the information that we have on Cho Seung-Hui, he made not just one choice, but a series of choices to act in a manner that resulted in tragedy. If Cho Seung-Hui had been a devout, true follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, this horrible event would have never occurred.

  • Anonymous

    Dearest WaPo editors:You are a newspaper. Delete this entire section of your website. It destroys your journalistic credibility.Yours

  • Lee

    IN Response to Anonymous:

  • Gio

    Pastor,

  • Mr Mark

    I’ll say one thing for Rev Parsley: he has answered the question, “How does your faith tradition explain (and respond to) senseless tragedies such as the Virginia Tech shootings?”Now that he’s shared that with us, it’s our choice to either embrace the beliefs of his faith tradition…or to run screaming for the doors marked “reason & sanity.”

  • Jon

    Roy:Sin came into play from disobedience by man. Adam and Eve. GOD gave specific instructions to Adam and Eve. Yes, GOD created Satan who was to be the Chief Worshipper in Eternity. Satan decided to try and exalt himself above GOD. Well, HE lost due to his disobendience. GOD had to redeem mankind by giving HIS life (JESUS) in the flesh. GOD stated in his 2000 year old bible that it will rain on the just or unjust on this earth. So, GOD did not create sin. Yes, bad things happen to good people. I think we all have had some types of experiences. I know my wife and I lost a child and heard my Pastor prophisied that GOD will multiply our lost. GOD provided us with TWINS 12 months later. My wife is medically documented as not being able to have kids by man (doctors). We have three wonderful children. As far as the young man who killed these people. Killing was the sin but what lead him to kill, we will never know except for the letters as mentioned by the media as having issues with the affluent and rich and guessing that he was mentally disturbed or was he very angry about a life experience with people. Everyone of us is capable of going over the top, depending on life’s stress, pressure and circumstances. Also, a mother who works in my office lost her daughter during this VT attack and called me for prayer and comfort because GOD has proven himself through me in various stages in her life. I know alot of people don’t believe in GOD and that is unfortunate but we all have a right to choose our path in this life. I don’t know religion but I have a relationship with a Great GOD who saved my life, keeps my family and answers my prayers. I thank GOD for HIS PEACE AND COMFORT during this time of tragedy. No one can take away the pain or void of losing love ones other than GOD.

  • Dan

    I thought Christians believe that everything happens as part of a grand plan, that everything happens for a reason and that God is the holy puppeteer in the sky, pulling on our strings. I always hear about “free will” to explain evil, but I’ve never heard anyone reconcile our apparent free will with God’s apparent omnipotence. Is he all powerful or isn’t he? Why do we assign him all the good but disavow him all the tragedy? Parsley sermon is just more religo-babble that we’ve heard a million times. The sooner we all realize that it’s all random (good luck and bad), and that no God is involved, the sooner we’ll be able to see life for what it is.

  • Jon

    Dan:Be grateful for each and everyday. Only GOD knows when we will leave this earth. You should thank HIM for HIS MERCY AND GRACE in your life everyday. I hope you have personal encounter with GOD one day as I have witnessed many others. People have this misconception that Christians are perfect. We are not. That’s why GOD said, we all have sinned and fell short of the GLORY. The only difference is we accepted JESUS CHRIST as LORD and Savior and try to live HOLY. Do we fall down? yes, that why we ask for forgiveness and repent. GOD knows our flesh will die one day so HE gives all of us an opportunity to have eternal life. But GOD leaves it up to us to accept HIM or not. GOD knows we are not perfect because of the Sinful nature that we are born with. Like the gentleman in a previous posting stated: study the bible. GOD is the WORD, WORD was with GOD AND THE WORD was made Flesh. HE intended for us to live eternally. SATAN’s assignment is to steal, kill and destroy on this earth since he is the prince of this world.

  • Anonymous

    “Choosing a world view that excludes God and disregards the value of human life makes the unforgettable scenes from Virginia Tech possible.”Disgusting. Simply disgusting.How do such Christians look at themselves in the mirror every morning?Let the witch hunt for South Korean atheists begin, while the NRA prepares its next pep rally in Blacksburg.

  • Philip P.

    Like “Fairplay,” I’m confused why some assume the killer was “obviously” mentally ill. Can you be sane and kill one person? Can you be sane rob a bank? Can you be sane and steal thousands of dollars from a widow under the pretense of a “no risk” investment? So, how few murders does a murderer have to commit to be considered sane?The prophet Jeremiah wrote “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)Sane people can do evil and they do every day.Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Matthew 5:3) For me, the day I realized I was spiritually bankrupt and unable to forgive myself was a day of freedom. Then, I accpeted the forgiveness available as a result of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • Emily

    I would ask the Pastor how he defends the murder of women and children daily all over the world by militaries supported by his tax dollar. Less we forget the board in our own eye to point out the mote in our brother’s eye.

  • Philip P.

    Thank you Mr. Mark. I had not seen that report.

  • Henry James

    The Absurdity of Fairplay and the PastorFair Man:This is what the Pastor did:he took the most extreme mass murder in US history, pretty clearly committed for no reason other than “generalized anger” (he wasn’t killing his wife)and turned it into a moral lesson for us regular people: don’t sin, you’re bad, God is Good.First of all, it is tortured reasoning of the highest order.Secondly, it is exploiting the tragedy for religious agendas.I may sin by cheating my business partner out of $2,000 next weekIf the Kid wasn’t mentally ill, which it looks like he was, then I am perfectly willing to take his story as a cautionary tale: I was planning to go out and kill 33 people myself tomorrow, but since it’s a sin, I guess I won’t.The pastor trivializes and exploits a tragedy in a morally infantile and inttectually vacuous way.It has nothing to do with accepting other world views. Plenty of believers in God look at this tragedy in a sane and compassionate way.

  • Fred

    Sometimes I have a feeling I am in a company of fairy tellers like the brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson. Maybe the great-great-grandfather of Cho committed a “sin” (4 generations)? To reduce a tragedy like this to “Adams apple-eating” to me is worse than the worst conceivable nasty joke. All under the shield of “religion”, of “moral”. Unbelievable. And these people talk of “accountability”. We humans are accountable, not god’s will! And we don’t need to reflect on an afterlife to be really accountable – here!

  • Toni

    First, my deepest sympathy to the families and folks who are so deeply impacted by this horrific tragedy. Words will never be enough to soothe your loss and pain. I hope and pray you find some comfort in knowing that God can still somehow make something good come out of tragedies like this one. I am, to say the least, very shocked at some of the most malicious responses directed at Rod Parsley in many of the responses in this blog. I would argue that it is our unwillingness seriously contemplate and accept the root cause of human failings that will continue to undermine our noblest aspirations. Sin is an unlikable term for the cancerous mental/psychological disposition that has been with man since his debut on planet earth. It is the reason behind all wars, family feuds, marital splits, angry rants and outbursts, and every form of evil and inhumane actions against others. Jesus said….”because you say you are not blind… you will remain in your sins …” I understand the viewpoints that say Mr. Cho was insane…and that might well be true… and to be sure sinfulness is, simply put, a state of delusional insanity (since we always make the wrong choices whenever we sin). But to pretend that we are OK…is the height of self delusion. As I read Mr. Parsley’s comments I do not see any bigotry as some of you claim, but a stating of facts…which some may rightfully choose to disagree with, but it does not make his views wrong, any more than your dissents make your views right. In the end, we will one day stand before a righteous God (whether you believe he exists or not), to answer for our conducts. It is tragically sad when our actions lead to taking of lives whether we are sane or insane.Mr. Cho obviously made a series of choices that makes it very hard to argue the insanity line very successfully (at least for long). He made a conscious decision to purchase two rifles- by exploiting holes in the gun laws, made extensive practice with both (I suppose as a loner he is said to be, he had time to practice), identify his targets, deceive and distract law enforcement, secure his targets, and with clinical precision execute his well laid out plan. He had months of planning, scheming and venting. He left as few clues as possible as to his plans and intentions, and he blamed others for his actions in his notes (“You made me do this”…so he knew what he was doing was not OK)…Talk about insanity…..in that case everyone who makes any bad choices is INSANE and should go into rehab !!!! And that is how and why we keep deceiving ourselves, all the time !!

  • Erik Ronneberg

    Why do we have a desire to understand? Why are we seeking this? We should be seeking healing, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. Jesus said to love one another. I see His love in the professor who gave his life protecting his students. This man was 76 and survived the holocaust to come to Virginia to save lives. I see Jesus was there. I seek Jesus more than I seek understanding. Then understanding and PEACE comes, “the peace that passes understanding”.

  • Bobster

    Pastor Parsley, I will give you credit Pastor for speaking how you think and feel. Not this Political Correctness Propaganda. I am not saying I agree with you completely, but you have some valid points to debate.The PC Police and some of the so called professionals tell us that even Hitler and Stalin were just misunderstood men who both had very bad childhoods, and subsequently grew up to take their repressed anger and low self-esteem out on millions of people by murdering them. And of course now in the mental health field we are being told that men and women who prey on children are “real victims too”. I mean heck! Everyone in america is a victim! We can all do no wrong because we all have had very bad things happen to us before, so therefore we cannot be held accountable for our “unhealthy behaviors”.This garbage has gotten so old and more ridiculous everyday. What we have done as a society is to elavate evil and sick people, and to minimize the real victims. I mean the Political Correct Police (PCP) are even telling us how Manson the embodiment of evil would be a nice guy to take home for dinner with the wife and kids as long as he is on his meds.Part of me is extremely happy that this sicko took himself out. Could you imagine the so-called trial? It would be a parody of Justice. And think how long it would have lasted! And the effects of the trail on the parents, spouses, and other loved ones. Day after day, month after month, etc..And the other part of me is sad for that sicko because he could not be held with-in the law for long term treatment. That is because we have a Free Society. The law is the same in Texas. It is extremely difficult to get someone put away in a mental institution, or rehab. And for a good reason. Before they tightened up the laws some parents, some adult children, and some spouses were having their so called loved ones put away for selfish reasons.And living in a Free Society means that most of us conform to the “herd”. We are defenseless against the rabid wolves that prey on the sheep. Our law enforcement can be considered the “sheperds” whose duty is to keep the rabid wolves from running amok amongst the sheep! And when a society can no longer protect its young children, the elderly and others with in that society its got some serious problems. Especially when that society views the killers, child rapists, etc.. as equal victims to the real victims we might as well give up calling ourselves “civilized”. Because civilized people don’t condone or make excuses for mass murderers.

  • Freevoice

    It was about time…..God has nothing to do with this but sin. From what I gathered this boy had mental problems and my heart goes out to him because I know what can happen when you feel isolated by your environment which can cause mental harm. That this boy crashed and resorted to violence is a sin (part of the demons playbook to use innocent souls to satisfy its blood thirst)and it took 32 innocent lives in one shot. This death and destruction is the result of the twisted and corrupted word that becomes flesh time and time again. Rod Parsley…..silent no more indeed!

  • MC

    “After more than 30 years of ministry, I’ve learned that understanding situations like these is unfathomable without the knowledge that God created each of us with the freedom to choose His leading as well as the freedom to opt for our own path….What we saw Monday morning is nothing less and nothing other than the result of one young man’s sin – his determination to do what he wanted to do, rather than what His Creator would have him do. It’s a choice each of us faces daily. The only difference is that Cho Seung Hui’s choice led to historically tragic consequences and the attention of a horrified world.”There are indications that he was mentally ill. If so, did he choose this state of mind?Parsley’s explanation is childlike in its simplicity.

  • Athena

    “Choosing a world view that excludes God and disregards the value of human life makes the unforgettable scenes from Virginia Tech possible.”First of all, how do we know that Cho wasn’t a Christian? I’ve heard some rumor that he was angry because his parents tried to force him to convert to Christianity, but I’m not seeing anything in the media about it. Second, Christians are just as capable of horrendous acts of violence as anyone else. The BTK Serial Killer was an Elder in his Church. Eric Rudolph is considered to be a hero in many Evangelical communities because he bombed abortion clinics and a gay nightclub. So, don’t get all sanctimonious! News flash – atheists, Buddhists, Pagans, Hindus, and many others value human life. Christians don’t have a lock on this.

  • Anonymous

    MC: you got one word wrong,You meant to say:It was the epitome of moral infanilism.

  • Henry James

    It is a Travesty to Draw “Christian” Lessons from this TragedyThis is not an opportunity to promulgate Christian views of sin and salvation.The boys ancestors were not Christian.The 76 year old holocaust survivor was not Christian.We have no idea if all of the victimes and their families are Christian.If just one is Atheist or Jewish or Muslim, it is the height of moral insensitivity to suggest that they derive Christ-like lessons from this tragedy.

  • Betty

    Listen to the Goddess AthenaChristians are NO MORE MORAL

  • Mr Mark

    Freevoice wrote:”It was about time…..God has nothing to do with this but sin. From what I gathered this boy had mental problems and my heart goes out to him because I know what can happen when you feel isolated by your environment which can cause mental harm. That this boy crashed and resorted to violence is a sin (part of the demons playbook to use innocent souls to satisfy its blood thirst)and it took 32 innocent lives in one shot. This death and destruction is the result of the twisted and corrupted word that becomes flesh time and time again.”What an infantile, indeed, a medieval view of mental illness.Is a blood diease the product of sin? How about cancer? Mental illness is the result of chemical reactions in the brain, damage to the brain and other entirely physically explainable things. It has nothing to do with making choices to be ill or not, any more than a person losing an arm in an accident that they didn’t cause has to do with chosing to lose an arm.There were no demons involved here anymore than demons are involved in one contracting the common cold. There’s no supernatural entity involved in the fact that this young man was declared mentally ill two years ago by a VA court. If demons were involved, why didn’t the court order up an exorcism?Your views of mental illness harken back to the days when the ill were kept in cages, treated as animals and paraded around for the amusement of the mentally “healthy.”Take your head out of your Bronze Aged books for a minute and pick up a modern health text, or flip on a health channel on TV. You’d be surprised at how much the world has advanced in the last 100 years, let alone the past 2,000.What hope for humanity when such superstitious prattle passes as acceptable belief in polite company?

  • Jimbo

    “What we saw Monday morning is nothing less and nothing other than the result of one young man’s sin – his determination to do what he wanted to do, rather than what His Creator would have him do.”Good point. Crazy people who are guided by God are the ones who hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings. Good thing this whack job rejected God, or he would have killed a lot more people.

  • Henry James

    Freevoice: You are the Voice of Unreason and IgnoranceYou are “free” to be as ignorant as you are,but I beg you,drop the self-congratulatory sobriquet “Freevoice”Freedom implies responsibility, including the responsibility to know what you are talking about.You have nothing to do with Freedom. You have everything to do with irresponsibility and lack of understanding of your fellow man.

  • B-Man

    God, this religious crap gets old. The boy was psychotic, emotionally unstable, and probably had some chemical imbalances in his brain as well. How is this “sin”???? “Sin” — the swiss army knife of cop-outs.As long as Religion blames everything bad on “sin” and “the devil” and gives credit for everything good to “God”, we will never be able to address the underlying problems of our society in particular, and human mental health in general.Religion is harmful to humans because of this insistence on an external agent for everything that happens, rather than taking responsibility for our own actions and trying to understand their (non-supernatural) underlying causes.

  • Mr Mark

    Dear B-Man,Thanks for you last post. Its cogency is welcome. It’s also a sterling example of how and why the non-religious are winning this debate, ie: by presenting facts and occupying the moral high ground.(If this post doesn’t draw a resposne, I’ll eat my catechism).

  • Phantom

    Athena,I had such a long post for you but my internet connection is bumming out on me. In short though: if you’re born in a McDonald’s are you a burger? If you go to church are you a Christian? It takes something more, alot more than being an elder ie.: BTK. It takes relationship, not just knowledge.India/Pakistan and the Kashmere region. Hindu terrorists are just as guilty of terrible atrocities. Japan in World War II-invasion of China and subsequent penalties for wartime atrocities. Tibet? Buddhists, last time I checked. I’m sure you can see that I am generalising here as well. All it takes is something that resembles fact to build a house of cards that comes falling down. I REALLY wish my original post did not go “pphhhooossshshhh” into cyber space due to a faulty internet connection.

  • Phantom

    Athena,I had such a long post for you but my internet connection is bumming out on me. In short though: if you’re born in a McDonald’s are you a burger? If you go to church are you a Christian? It takes something more, alot more than being an elder ie.: BTK. It takes relationship, not just knowledge.India/Pakistan and the Kashmere region. Hindu terrorists are just as guilty of terrible atrocities. Japan in World War II-invasion of China and subsequent penalties for wartime atrocities. Tibet? Buddhists, last time I checked. I’m sure you can see that I am generalising here as well. All it takes is something that resembles fact to build a house of cards that comes falling down. I REALLY wish my original post did not go “pphhhooossshshhh” into cyber space due to a faulty internet connection.

  • Phantom

    Athena,I had such a long post for you but my internet connection is bumming out on me. In short though: if you’re born in a McDonald’s are you a burger? If you go to church are you a Christian? It takes something more, alot more than being an elder ie.: BTK. It takes relationship, not just knowledge.India/Pakistan and the Kashmere region. Hindu terrorists are just as guilty of terrible atrocities. Japan in World War II-invasion of China and subsequent penalties for wartime atrocities. Japan were Buddhists the last time I checked. I’m sure you can see that I am generalising here as well. All it takes is something that resembles fact to build a house of cards that comes falling down. I REALLY wish my original post did not go “pphhhooossshshhh” into cyber space due to a faulty internet connection.

  • Phantom

    Athena,I had such a long post for you but my internet connection is bumming out on me. In short though: if you’re born in a McDonald’s are you a burger? If you go to church are you a Christian? It takes something more, alot more than being an elder ie.: BTK. It takes relationship, not just knowledge.India/Pakistan and the Kashmere region. Hindu terrorists are just as guilty of terrible atrocities. Japan in World War II-invasion of China and subsequent penalties for wartime atrocities. Japan were Buddhists the last time I checked. I’m sure you can see that I am generalising here as well. All it takes is something that resembles fact to build a house of cards that comes falling down. I REALLY wish my original post did not go “pphhhooossshshhh” into cyber space due to a faulty internet connection.

  • Lowell

    Choosing a world view that INCLUDES “God” and disregards the value of human life makes the unforgettable scenes from Virginia Tech ALL THE MORE LIKELY to be repeated. People will do much evil SO much more easily in the name of their “god”. Blaming some horse-manure notion of “sin” and non-belief simply illustrates total lack of touch with reality. It’s no wonder that prominent Atheists like Dawkins and Harris have entered fully on the offensive against arrogant asses who continue to spew the lie that non-Christians are all horrible, depraved people who are “evil”, “sinful” and bound for some BS notion of “hell” for not believing the myth of Jesus. Yet they DEMAND respect for their Christian beliefs while insulting and attacking all others. Well, that time is coming to an end. Folks like these prominent “Christians” would do well to try using their Jesus as an example, not a bludgeon.

  • Soja John Thaikattil, Sydney, Australia

    Dear Rev ParselyIn the case of this tragedy, it might be more appropriate to say that it was the result of one young man’s mental illness, and the easy availability of guns that made such a tragedy possible. There are plenty of mentally ill young men around the world, but not every country provides easy access to guns as the US seems to do. Why is that we don’t hear of school shootings from other countries? It is simply because the opportunity to translate mental illness to such violence is not easy.Being vigilant and caring about the mentally ill, and dealing with the issue of gun control, which has been brought up by Americans, may be one important way to reduce the incidence of such tragedies.I send my heartfelt condolences to all the families and friends of the victims, the family and friends of the young mentally ill man, and the American nation who grieves with them.Soja John Thaikattil

  • Anonymous

    How does Mr Parsley know what Cho’s creator would have him do? All kinds of scriptures are filled with ordinary people (and in the case of Elisha, bears even) who became instruments of destruction wielded by angry gods. Even if we assume the existence of such powers, to claim knowledge of all their desires is presumptuous.

  • Henry James

    Soja JohnA most humane and reasoned post, as we are used to seeing from you.Yes, let us not use this tragedy to promote our view of God and Sin, which for Christians is different from Jews and Buddhists and Muslims and Jains.Let us grieve for the families,and let us try to look at our fellow humans with loving kindness.

  • Freevoice

    Henry James:One more time…remember that when you point the finger at somebody the same finger is pointed right back at you. Personal attacks are a cheapshot simplemindeds use to silence others. Respect yourself first and respect will come back to you simple KARMA. What goes around always comes around. Only judge others if you have walked a mile in their shoes. Talking about responsibility and understanding your fellow man….it starts with you. When you talk the talk you have to also walk the walk…because talk is cheap.

  • deepsouth

    If there is a Hell, there will be a special place in it for Rod Parsley. Why do you disgrace a legendary newspaper by allowing this dimwit space in it?

  • Henry James

    ABC News: Gunman was judged Mentally Illit is a sin to have pneumonia.It is a sin to be as morally stunted as Rev Palsey (oops, sorry, Parsley)

  • bigd

    FORMER CATHOLIC AND MR MARK:Maybe the reason you are former Catholic is because you didn’t understand the faith? To assert that Catholicism calls mental illness a sin is a gross misunderstanding. It is not a sin to be mentally ill. Whether this is the belief of the Pastor I do not know but I know it is not a Catholic perspective. You are absolutely right that more needs to be done to help the mentally ill and other impoverished peoples whether mentally, physically or financially. Do you know what organization on earth does more work to help these groups then any other single group?MR MARK:Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist. Just like your assertion that mental health professionals are PROVEN doesn’t mean they have all the answers. Your PROVEN mental health professionals had at least a few chances to help him, why if they are so PROVEN did they not. Blame it on the in adequacy of the mental illness system and our societies view of mental illness (both definitely are inadequate and need help – I do not disagree). But don’t blame it on all people who believe in God. Most people who believe in God do not believe mental illness is a sin.Speaking of jamming pills, who is doing that? Part of the problem with your PROVEN mental health professionals are that they are more likely to treat symptoms with their pills then try to address the underlying issues. After all in many mental illness cases, take depression; the pills prescribed are less effective then regular exercise. I’d say your results are no more PROVEN then people’s belief in God.

  • Karen

    The Rev. is expressing himself, true, and that should be respected. However, his view is profoundly troubling and childish.There is something called mental illness. It is clearly present here. True that we are responsible for our acts but there is something called “the Durham Rule” that says that someone who is unable to conform his behavior to society’s expectations by reason of mental disease or defect is considered legally insane as well as clinically. I think the man would have satisfied this had he not killed himself. There is a spiritual Durham Rule that permits suicides to be buried in Catholic (and Jewish) cemeteries. They are assumed to have been mad. Not sinful. Not culpable. Mad.Karen

  • Mr Mark

    Dear BigD -Religionists often (and rightly) take non-religionists to task when we compare the best achievements of science with the worst examples of religious practice. I would suggest that you have just done the same to me in your above post.Yes – the worst of mental health doctors are pill pushers, but I’m not suggesting that Mr Cho would have been helped by the worst practitioners around. That’s why I used the word “proven,” as in, doctors with proven results. A good mental health professional, in fact, DOES seek to treat the underlying issues and isn’t a pill pusher. I would hope that you would read my post with an eye to the best available treatment available, ie: effective treatment.As far as who’s to blame: today’s reporting has made it abundantly clear that the campus authorities were quite knowledgable about Mr Cho’s condition. The basically did nothing to help this person. Is that his fault, or theirs?And, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not blaming Mr Cho’s actions on god. Why would I when I don’t believe in god’s existence?Here’s the deal: Mr Cho had been diagnosed as mentally ill. Had he received ANY help at all, the shootings may have been averted. But he didn’t even get a shoulder to cry on, let alone a comprehensive program to help him deal with his illness. As far as science being more effective in treating illness than belief in god: the most-recent studies indicate that prayer actually harms people’s recovery from heart disease. If I had a mental illness, and if I was given the choice of treatment between the most-ardent and heart-felt prayers and the most-generic pill a doctor could offer me, I would hope that I’d have the mental capacity to put my trust in the pill. At least it has some dispassionate statistical data to back up its effectiveness. The same can’t be said about how well god works in such situations.I am asking the religionists on this blog if they still wish to call Mr Cho “evil” now that they have learned that he was mentally ill. A few have said, “yep…still evil!” Others take a different view. I haven’t seen enough responses at this point to assess whether or not “most people” who believe in god consider mental illness to be evil or not.Finally – it’s a sad commentary on Virginia and our country when a person who has been court-diagnosed as being mentally ill cannot get the help he needs to deal with his condition, yet that same person can walk into a gun store any time of the day and walk out with the weapons necessary to carry out this horror, even with his mental diagnosis sitting in a state database.I think that even god would have a hard time understanding that one.

  • B. McKerracher

    So, let me get this straight: God, knower, owner and creator of the world (and creater of Cho) had nothing to do with the killing that happened in Virginia?1st: I want to say how deeply saddened I am by the tragic events. As a college student myself, I was horrified when I realized what had happened. My heart goes out to all the parents, family and friends that have been hurt by this deranged man’s actions.2nd: This is a true example of God’s imaginary status, and any christian should take time out to realize how ‘un-real’ their god is. The question: how could god allow this to happen is not only legitimate, but rational. Any christian who’s trying to make sense of what happened by asking this question is searching for truth: they will not find it in their bible. This is because the bible is something created by man to make sense of our world a few thousand years ago. Just like thousands of years before that Zeus was created. Now that we’ve discovered the beginnings of life (which we are still learning) and our universe (also, still learning), religion is mute. What we should focus on in the 21st century is not why a god would let this happen, but how we as a society can create an atmosphere where someone does not feel included, loved and cherished for the beautiful being they are.Christianity teaches that if you are not a christian you will die in hell. This does not foster an attitude of warmth, love and acceptance. Perhaps this sad young man needed more than intolerant ideas and hypocritical people near him.This is not to say that what happened is the fault of christianity, for that is not my point. My point is that god was not to be found because he simply does not exist and anyone asking that question should reconsider their faith and realize that it is simply a mind-controlling sham that teaches submission.My intention here was not to offend. If you feel offended, I suggest that you look deeply at the inconsistencies of your faith, as well as read about how religion helped people make sense of their world. this is no longer needed. We do not need superstition anymore because we have facts and that my friends, is a wonderful thing.Happiness to all! and I do mean ALL!

  • Timothy

    The readers seem to be more angry and disgusted with the pastor than the killer. Excuses and justifications are made for those that do evil deeds while the worst is always assumed for Christians. I wonder who the hypocrites are. ‘Thou shall not Judge anyone except bible believing Christians’ .This man was evil and what he did was evil, nothing less.

  • bigjimbo

    Most Christianist televangelists are bunko artists, plain and simple. And the majority of them have no or very little theological education from respected institutions. I would like to know how the non-kosher duo, Ham and Parsely, became ordained. By the way, mass murder and genocide are common themes in the Old Testament, and the main instigator is none other than…I’ll let you figure it out.

  • Noel F. Ambery

    Parsley, We are not living in the ‘ Dark Ages ‘ or the ‘ Stone Age ‘ when ‘ sacred scriptures ‘ were written. The world has advanced from superstition to 21st cetury science since then and redefine your definition of ‘sin ‘. Get with the program and get into the 21st century.

  • andrew

    Many of the above posts read like poor parodies of anti-Christian rhetoric. They would be amusing if they weren’t so sad, and they’re sad because they reveal an astonishing ignorance about the way the world works. We may be unable to articlate why God permitted Monday’s events at Va. Tech, but there can be no doubt that He did permit them. Rev. Parsley has skillfully articulated the biblical view of sin – namely, that mankind is inherently sinful and separated from God. Our nature is to do evil, and the only way to change that nature is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. To argue with this post is not to argue with Rev. Parsley, but with the God he represents.

  • Ba’al

    This pastor writes “Choosing a world view that excludes God and disregards the value of human life makes the unforgettable scenes from Virginia Tech possible.” This implicitly shifts the blame for this event to those of us who do not share his religion, a common tactic among his ilk. It is dangerous nonsense. It is nauseating. This killer was mentally ill and deranged. We know nothing about his views of God but they are unlikely to have been coherent one way or the other. The domestic terrorists that blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City were Christians. There are fanatical Muslim terrorists, fanatical Jewish terrorists, and there have been officially atheist states that slaughtered millions. Religion or lack thereof does not correlate with a willingness to engage in senseless killing.

  • B. McKerracher

    Mr. Andrew, It is regrettable that you read the above posts (including mine) and only find anti-christian rhetoric. If you take a deeper look, what you will find is a group of individuals who are becoming aware of serious inconsistencies–not only in christianity, but in religion in general.

  • weirdway

    The Big Bang was a hot spike – the universe has been crystalizing into more & more information-rich & complicated systems ever since. This is called evolution. To go with this flow is good – against it, evil. So the elimination of so many complex, intricate systems as all those poor students is judged evil. The lessons we take from the horrible scene may someday be partially good – given enough time & interaction with other social systems.This is called wisdom.Sin is a meaningless word, except as it is used to eliminate arguement that may reach toward truth – & then it’s an evil concept. A fetus is less informationaly rich than an adult – therefore the life of an adult is worth more than that of a fetus, & should be preferred over it. To eliminate one fly is trivial – the information is redundant – there are many more flies to replace it. To eliminate all flies would be evil – irreplaceable information lost. Is this a new concept/way to form moralities? Forget all “Revealed Truth” – just analyze information lost or gained in each transaction, & know if you’re doing good or bad.So killers should be studied, not condemned or tortured – in hopes we could learn how not to have things like this happen again. Apples & serpents? Feh!

  • TRUEFRIEND

    Mr.Rod Parsley is right. This is not a time to play the blame game. This is a time to reflect. There exists something called sin. Its a disease that all humans suffer everyday.Sin is why there is hurt, pain, sickness, diseases, evil, hate, adultery, sexual immorality and everything dark in this world. Sin is a spiritual force that is so deceitful that it even makes “good things” like God’s law used for bad. See Romans.The only way to defeat sin is to confess it every time we partake of it, repent of it and look to Jesus Christ who died to do away with sin.Sin is really ugly. The events at VT are the tip of the iceberg. Sin is what destroys society, homes, friendships and everything good.I believe God allowed this tragic event to happen for a reason. I do not know what it is. I do know however that “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose”I encourage everyone to commit their lives to believing in Jesus Christ – the true God and Savior from sin. I know it doesnt make sense – youve got to take that leap of faith and trust.You know there is a God. We all just didnt happen by chance. There is a loving God who is watching everything and he is full of LOVE and grace; but we must choose HIM. We must make that CHOICE – to serve or refuse.To follow Christ means life and peace in this world and the next. To reject Jesus Christ and the love of God is to embrace death and eternal separation for God. It all ends up with choice.I pray for all those who suffered at VT and their loved ones. My prayer is that all will be reminded that we should look to God and choose to live for righteousness and holiness and avoid sin at all costs!With love and humility and graceAOE

  • Anonymous

    BIGD,”Maybe the reason you are former Catholic is because you didn’t understand the faith? To assert that Catholicism calls mental illness a sin is a gross misunderstanding.”Former Catholic did not say mental illness was a sin…it was exactly the opposite.

  • E favorite

    Timothy, you say, “The readers seem to be more angry and disgusted with the pastor than the killer.” Good insight – sure goes for me. The killer was mentally ill and now he’s dead. What about the pastor? Maybe he’s mentally ill too – he’s sure talking crazy. Meanwhile, he’s a “guest voice” on this panel and is pastor of a successful mega-church and author of 75 books, sharing his twisted views with thousands. I find that disgusting – and dangerous.

  • E favorite

    As a latecomer to this discussion, I want to say – Thanks Danny B, Mr Mark, Henry James, Wiccan, Martian, Rob, Karen, Ba’al, et al for saying it better than I could.Rev Parsely, if you’re reading through this thinking we’re a bunch of wacko outliers. You’re wrong. I’ve participated in many discussions and feel I know some of the people responding here. I have never seen such a vehemently negative response.

  • Danny B.

    Timothy,”Excuses and justifications are made for those that do evil deeds while the worst is always assumed for Christians. I wonder who the hypocrites are. ‘Thou shall not Judge anyone except bible believing Christians’ .This man was evil and what he did was evil, nothing less.”I, a Christian, am not excusing this man’s actions…let alone justifying them. But this man is also God’s creation, and the man is not evil…his deeds are what was evil.Why does being a Christian, for so many, require this black and white view of everything? Yes, I believe that murder is a sin, and that countless murders have been commited by those who could have made a better choice. But I also believe that there are those who cannot make rational choices, due to other factors, and when one cannot rationally choose one can’t really be held accountable for the sin.Only God knows the full set of circumstances at work here. Only God knows whether this was truly sin or not. I would never presume to know what he knows, and do not believe that he would unjustly punish those who have no real “free-will” as the result of illness.To focus on the killer, who is dead himself, is neglect of the living victims. What comfort could it be to them to simplify (probably incorrectly) reduce these horrific events to just one man’s sin? How is that helpful? Many times saying nothing, but being there, is the greatest comfort of all.

  • BigD

    Anonyomous: Personally I read FORMER CATHOLIC ‘s (POST #2) use of their name and the reference to “This boy was obviously mentally ill — you call that “sin”?” and further to blame Catholic’s and Christians for calling mental illness a sin.Mr Mark: You are correct in that there are obviously good an bad in both religious and medical circles of all types. Anyone would be ignorant to claim that everyone that believes what they do is a good example of what they believe. There are good and bad in every faith and persuasion whether science or religious. I agree with you in that the system both at the university and in general is often flawed and let’s things fall through that shouldn’t.If I insinuated that you were blaming God I did not mean to. It clear that wouldn’t be your belief.You are correct in that maybe if he had gotten help either from spiritual people or from good medicine he may have very well been treated. Where we diverge though is that its an either or. I firmly believe in my faith and that in no way does my faith contradict science or reason. If my faith contradicted things that were proven in any aspect then quite obviously my faith would be false. I am not a person who believes you can pick and choose what you want to believe about a faith. In the end there is one singular truth. Either I am right and we will find out for sure after our death or you are right and death will be the end. But faith and science are not separate in a proper understanding. Real Science only proves or further clarifies the understanding of Real Faith. The problem of course is there is a lot of fake or mislead in both.You are not completely accurate in your analysis of studies. At worst there are equal numbers of studies that show faith, prayer and associated religious activities are also extremely beneficial and sometimes more so than science at healing and treating diseases. One quote from a recent study in the British Medical Journal:Slowing the breathing rate to 6 breaths per minute appears to synchronize breathing with cardiovascular rhythms that also have a 6 per minute cycle. The results are enhanced heart rate variability and arterial baroflex sensitivity, both powerful and independent predictors of long term outcome in heart disease.”The Catholic faith does not claim mental illness is a sin. As the single largest faith a large portion of people – if properly formed would not believe a mental illness to be a sin. What hold forth on this blog will be anyone’s guess.Again there are holes in the system though I think you would have to agree with me that if mental illness made him do this no amount of gun control would have likely prevented this particular tragedy in the long run.Finally your last sentence is the most insightful. I believe God has a hard time understanding a lot of what humans do. Let’s face it as a species we do a lot of stupid things. Would the world be better if everyone followed the Ten Commandments? I think if we could just follow these the world would be a lot better off than it is. Seems simple enough 10 basic laws that pretty much all would agree to. But if God doesn’t exist why bother?

  • E favorite

    BIGD – I bet you could recite anything as a mantra and get your heart rate down – no magic to praying to the holy mother. To me this says nothing about religion and a lot of chanting and rhythmic breathing.

  • Robert

    HiI live in Sweden and have heard about the massacre. It is not likely that the gunman had “God” in mind when he shoot. Here the story is that he went balistic over a relationship.Why do you talk about sin? Sin is in the past on the middle ages not in the modern world when we can explain mental illnes by other means.

  • H.E.

    I whole heartedly endorse Dan’s post on April 18, 2007. As some of us know quite well, common sense, reason, logic and realism are adversaries of the superstition and monkish ignorance of the Rod Parsleys of this world, and their followers. I suppose Parsley advocates the New Testament treatment regimen for mental and physical illnesses, i.e., exorcisms. These religionists are apparently waiting on evolution to boost them into the 21st century, or else evolution has passed them by.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Pastor Parsley,First of all I would like to extend my congratulations for the wonderful victory we had today in Congress. I can’t thank you enough for the time you spent in order to uphold an important moral law.There seems to be one common thread on these school shootings…the shooter is always(to date) an evolutionary atheistic agnostic who hates theistic religion.Benjamin Rush said it best when he said, We are surfing on a post-Christian wave of morality which is quickly subsiding into the hedonistic, narcistic, all-about-me generation. Perhaps what is more disturbing than one person being so caught up in hatred to perpetuate an event like occurred in Virginia, is the fact that HUNDREDS of able, healthy, young people stood by and let it happen. There is no self-sacrifice anymore for the greater good of humanity; two or three quick-witted, sure-footed young men could have subdued the suspect in the beginning of the lethal-tirade.You are right, Pastor Parsley, it is all about our individual choices to follow our Heavenly Father or our surrogate father the devil; if an individual sin was enough to destroy the sanctity of the Earth; and a single man enough to end the lives of 32 students; we can only surmise the animosity God feels towards individuals who willfully sin and purposefully take the lives of others. In our human state we’d like to think that murder is worse than lying, or worse than fornication, but the Bible tells us that any sin is against an infinite God and requires infinite retribution. The Bible reminds us that hatred is the equivalent of murder, and that all murderers as well as all liars shall have their place in the Lake of Fire.God has no hand in the sin of human beings, or in the fallen state of the Earth; these things have been caused by our wicked hearts and deceitful actions; God has every right and every reason to remove all of us from the face of the planet and punish us for the vile creatures we are.Instead God, in an incomprehensible showing of Love, decided to redeem us to Himself. Our transgression had earned us death; because the wage of sin is death. In order to save us, God became manifest in the flesh, as the man Jesus Christ, where He lived a perfect sinless life; only to offer Himself up on the cross as a perfect sacrifice in our stead. Not only so, but after three days, He defeated our greatest enemy, death, and rose from the grave.It is difficult for an unregenerate sinner to hear that we are all worthy of death and damnation. Jesus once preached to a group who had seen eighteen workers killed when a construction project collapsed. They wondered if those people deserved death more than them.Jesus answered by saying, “Repent, or you shall likewise perish!” Jesus has offered His atoning work on the Cross as a Gift; He demands that you repent and receive the Gift before it is too late; lest you likewise perish.

  • Mark of Richmond

    That Pastor Rod Parsley has stooped so low as to use the tragedies of these young peoples’ lives cut down by violence as an opportunity to indulge in the perverse pleasure of blaming an “other” is very frightening to me. Parsley’s “don’t blame God” talk reminds me of the NRA’s “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” campaigns. Who blamed this thing he calls “God” anyway? It seems that what he refers to as “God” embodies an “I’m OK; you are not OK view of the human family that exists outside of his flock:“I came to incite a riot! Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons!Mark of Richmond VA

  • Jon

    GUNS do not kill people. The person or person(s) pulling the trigger are to blame for the killings in this world. GOD does allow things to happen. Look at JOB Chapter 1. Satan requested permission from GOD to make JOB suffer and turn against GOD. GOD had confidence in JOB that he would not turn against HIM. JOB did not and GOD blessed him tremendously and restored everything that he had lost. SATAN’S assignment is to steal, kill and destroy on this earth. SATAN will steal your joy, peace and your very life that GOD created and provide. GOD is a Gentleman and will not violate your freedom of choice (free will) especially if you don’t believe in HIM nor want him. Alot of people have turned their back on GOD in this nation. Ask yourself this question. If someone turned their back on you, would you deal with them or leave them alone to their own thoughts, opinions and self righteousness. GOD’s mercy and grace awake each and everyone of us everyday. We have no power as human beings. If we did, then everyone could control how long they will live die.Only GOD and he ALONE knows the time and hour that our existence on this earth will cease to exist. In other words, HE determines our birth and death date. We are responsible for the dash piece. I’m grateful for each and everyday. GOD did not produce mass murders and the like in the Old testament. The people produced mass murders and the like by turning their back on a GREAT GOD. History continues to repeat itself. As far as the killer at VT, I question was he really insane or mentally ill as people keep insisting or was he completely sane based on the package received by NBC. In other words, was the quietness and everything else an act. I would say he was completely sane and knew exactly what he was doing. He kills two people, mails the packages and records videos and then returns to kill 30 other people all within two hours and even padlocks the facility to keep people from leaving. HMMM!!

  • G K Clifford

    As with most commentators here, I am absolutely appalled by the crassness and stupidity of this article. I will however try to limit my ad hominems and comment on the relationship between religion and morality. Frequently I read the claim that Christianity (or at least theism) leads to moral behaviour. Indeed it is typically just taken for granted. However, what is the evidence for this claim? At most I see selected examples of nasty atheists such as Stalin or Pol Pot (Hitler’s atheism is debateable). Or even worse, we take a murderer and just assume they hadn’t found god and that this was the source of the problem! But instead of looking at anecdotes why don’t we look at some researched evidence. Here the picture is not so clear:G K Clifford

  • Ray

    and presumably epilepsy is caused by possession of evil spirits.What a sad world we live in where such medieval thinking still exists and has influence. (This guy is the the founder of the Center for Moral Clarity!!!) Let’s hope he doesn’t also talk to the president each week on the phone.

  • Anonymous

    To respond to to important points.Divorce rates; Divorce can’t happen if marriage doesn’t happen, atheists and agnostics shacking up drag the statistic down because nobody takes notice when they split up.What causes epilepsy?The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.

  • E favorite

    As a latecomer to this discussion, I want to say – Go Danny B, Mr Mark, Henry James, Wiccan, Martian, Rob, Karen, Ba’al, Dan Emily, Fred,et al. for saying it better than I could.Rev Parsely, if you’re reading through these comments thinking we’re a bunch of wacko outliers. You’re wrong. I’ve participated in many discussions and feel I know some of the people responding here. I have never seen such a vehemently negative response.

  • Henry James

    Morality Predates Religion by Milleniaadding to C Clifford’s important comments,a mountain of scientific evidence shows that moral behavior (like following the 5 of the ten commandments that have to do with morality)predates the estatblishment of monotheism by millenia. Even most Apes are about as moral as humans.Morality is an evolved ability, like language acquisition.see Moral Minds by Harvard prof Marc Hauser

  • Luke

    Ugh…I guess there is no winning this one. The Theists are going to twist the situation and say that the only reason why people kill other people is because they don’t believe in God, and I am going to think of you as being ignorant and blind to the real problems. That’s OK, just gloss it over until the rapture comes (if it ever does), and I will continue to address the real issue at hand rather than push my agenda (since I am void of one). You want to lump everything bad, evil, and unhappy into an “evolutionary atheistic agnostic” group because you can’t take into account any wrongdoing for your own sins. These are just washed away because you have a free ride all the way to heaven. Remember that just because you are ignorant doesn’t make you innocent.

  • Russell D.

    Canyon! Where the heck have you been dude? What is it that you do that keeps you away for so long my friend?anyways, glad to see you back. But as we had agreed to disagree on an earlier post, I am going to politely disagree with you on that. I don’t have to give you any reasons why, because I am sure you know why I disagree. Cheers mate

  • Columbus, Ohio

    I really wish as a Christian and as a Social Worker that Mr. Parsley would expand his mindset. This boy was very obviously suffering from a mental illness. Perhaps if a Christian had reached out to this boy and helped him to receive the treatment he so needed, none of this would happen. I am so tired of “christians” like Rod Parsley casting off people like Cho Seung Hui because it’s easier than dealing with the task at hand. When someone is suffering from a mental illness, they cannot be healed with one trip to a therapist and a few pills. It is time to eliminate this stigma and take responsibility for our neighbors. Increase your education and compassion, Mr. Parsley.

  • AlexM

    Has anybody here seen ‘V for Vendetta’? Anybody else recognize the ‘sin of Godlessness’ phrase? In that movie, it’s spoken by the nastiest, most evil sounding ultra-conservative TV personality you can imagine. Well, when I saw that, I re-read Mr.Parsley’s comment with that character’s voice and sneer in my head, and it fit in as if spoken by that character. Rod Parsley, if you are reading this, perhaps you should re-think your approach to not only the mentally ill, but to people in general. It’s what the Christ I read in the bible would say.

  • Henry James

    Thanks to you, Columbus OhioThough I am a Godless Atheist type,Rev Parsley’s appalling opinions are not “Christian” . They are his twisted interpretation of a tradition that has done much good as well as much evil.

  • Henry James

    Editing MyselfIn my last post I used “Evil” in the last sentence.I, of course, think that “Evil” is an antiquated, destructive concept when it is tied to such contexts as Fundamentalist Christian Beliefs.I generally use terms like “morally despicable” rather than “evil.”The more important point is In the VT case, clearly Mental Illness.

  • crispa

    duh, mr pastor! there is a difference between someone being mean as H3LL and being MENTALLY ILL!!!

  • E favorite

    Jon, you say, “I would say he was completely sane and knew exactly what he was doing. He kills two people, mails the packages and records videos and then returns to kill 30 other people all within two hours and even padlocks the facility to keep people from leaving. HMMM!!”I’d say there’s a lot you don’t know about mental illness, and if something good comes of this, maybe it will be a better understanding of mental illness. For instance, a disturbed person can do lots of “sane” things, like mail a package and make plans. A disturbed person can be intelligent enough to take classes and pass tests. Just because he can do normal things doesn’t make him normal, and people without any training in mental illness are certainly not the ones to make the diagnosis.

  • Henry James

    Echoing E Favorite,I suggest that Jon’s recent post could be a “poster-child” example of how unthinking belief in a God that is clearly nothing like what Jon thinks “he” iscorrelates with Jon’sIt sometimes amazes me that Mankind continues to survive.

  • Danny B.

    E Favorite & Henry James,After I saw the news this morning I was fully expecting to see a post like Jon’s. There it is.I don’t believe John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer were sane either, but they certainly “functioned” long enough without detection.Look at Sybil, she was a functioning dissociative personality.Frankly, (with a little brevity) I think that to be truly sane, one has to be able to question their own sanity from time to time. Don’t you think it is the insane who most adamantly believe that they can’t be?Everyone think carefully before you jump down my thraoat for that one…tee hee. = )

  • 7

    O how original. Yet another rant that blames all of the worlds ill’s on the godless. Where have we heard that before? If your deity is the sort that goes around killing innocent people just to make a point, then I have to say, your god is a jerk.

  • The Gay Species

    I thought God predestined and ordered the world according to his own ineluctable reasons. These killings were obviously a part of his plans.Besides, Jean Calvin insists the Bible insists we humans are totally depraved — incapable of doing good. Original sin!Apparently, God gets all the credit for any “good” we see, but humans get all the “blame” for the evil that is done. Somehow, I don’t think that is just. Damn the sinner, damn the good-doer, damn humanity.

  • BigD

    Mr MarkThank you for your response – it is much nicer to have rational discussions based on true insight then some of the ramblings you often run into.I do not believe that anything in real science in anyway disproves anything in the Catholic faith when the Catholic faith is properly understood. The problem is many people do not understand it and only hear sound bites that claim to be fact but are not.You are right in your questioning of those accusing this man of evil. While his actions and their outcomes could definitely be called evil. If he was truly mentally ill (which I don’t think there is anyway he wasn’t) then of course he was not himself necessarily evil. This is why as in Desmond Tutu’s comments properly formed faithful would pray for the shooter and his family as well as those of the victims.You are right it is not an either or option and I did come across that way. Too often the gun control side also comes across in the either or fashion. You are absolutely right that reasonable limits and checks and balances are not a bad thing. My point is more that what will likely happen is the gun control advocates will jump on this to go overboard. I think we would both agree that the mental health system would be a more productive avenue of addressing to help in such situations than pure gun control.You are correct in that maybe if the guns had been harder to obtain it would have at least limited the fall out. But that’s a big maybe. Maybe he would have learned how to make homemade bombs on the internet and taken out a larger number of people.My comment on the 10 Commandments was to point out that our supposedly genetic/survival code of morality is apparently not enough. Doesn’t seem enough people have the right genetic code if we look at the state of the world around us today. My point was that as one aspect of faith that is well known, if followed would lead to a better society then what pure science has lead us to.As far as the 10 Commandments go I am speaking of I can give you the list if you like but I think you could easily find them for yourself (just let me know if you would like me to list what I am talking about specifically). They do not come just from Exodus 31 and 34. Most come out of Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.As far as punishments and following them go no we do not still have to follow them prescribed as they were. That is the whole point of the New Testament and the message of Jesus. Those punishments were laid down at a specific time and place for a specific people. They eventually failed miserably at keeping God’s laws. God could have said that’s it your on your own but he didn’t. He said look I love you so much that I am giving you my only Son who will die for your sins. That if you believe in him (and do what he says) your sins will be forgiven. But this is a more elaborate discussion for elsewhere. The point is without a complete understanding of the entire faith you can’t pick and choose pieces and asset what I believe. Disagree with what I believe but you have to believe me when I tell you what I believe.Morality was a part of man’s existence since the moment of man’s arrival. Because God put it there not because we developed it into a genetic survival code. Actually much of what anyone would consider morality would go against many aspects of survival of the fittest. God is eternal. Morals are written on to every person’s heart. Put there by God and typically called a conscience. True faith goes back to the beginning of time – not just to when the particular religion was given a name that we recognize today.My faith’s explanation of morals isn’t stuck in any shrinking gap of science. As science learns more my faith will be proven more and more correct. It may take thousands of years to get there, but as I stated previously I do not believe anything in Good Science disproves anything I believe as a matter of faith and morals.Once again – thanks for the great discussion.

  • Mr Mark

    Dear BigD -Thanks for the response. I have some thoughts:1. Gun control v mental health treatment as a preventative method to curb mass killings. We’re better off having both. They can act as a failsafe if one method fails. If Cho had gotten good counseling, the gun control issue may have been moot. But he didn’t. Sadly, there was no failsafe available in the Virgina law to keep a mentally ill person from buying a gun.2. If no guns available, he could have made his own bombs. A hypothetical that can only speculated upon, so any opinion is as valid as the next. I’d just point out that if current gun laws had allowed Cho to buy a bazooka and unlimited shells, he could have legally purchased a weapon that would have a more-devastating effect than him developing his own bombs (greater range of delivery, more firepower per shell). One reason that didn’t happen was because it wasn’t legal for him to buy a bazooka. If we’re limiting the sale of bazookas, why not assault weapons?3. Following the 10 Commandments.Most of the world has problems with Commandment #1 as most of the world doesn’t recognize Yahweh as the true god to have “no other gods before,” nor does most of the world refrain from making “graven images.” Most of the world doesn’t “honor the Sabbath to keep it holy.” Most of the world doesn’t refrain from swearing. Many people in the world are envious (covetess) of their neighbor’s property. I doubt that the world would “be a better place” if the world followed the Commandments that deal with these above infractions.When it comes to murder, divorce, stealing and lying – these are morals that were developed well before the religions arose, morals that allowed early man to live in communities. Every religion on earth – including those that predate the Bible – have some form of these laws, mainly because the societies in which those religions developed already had such laws in their ethics as delimiters of acceptable social behaviour well before a religion was developed.More importantly, such “moral” behaviours can been seen in the “lower species” as well, so not only are these good morals not exclusive to religion, they are not even exclusive to the species Homo sapiens.So, when we speak of “living by the 10 Commandments,” we are REALLY talking about living by FOUR Commandments that find commonality among relgious and non-religious, human and non-human life.Your last two paragraphs are a statement of faith, so there’s no room for argument…and I won’t start one.Thanks.

  • J.P.

    Above is my post – Forgot to put my name

  • Anonymous

    In response and defense of pastor rod parsley. Although all questions seem to be around if Cho was mental or if it was sin – sin is not only an act however, it is most of all a state of being -(meaning one without God or an unrepentive heart).I’m a Christian and I have seen those that where possessed by a spirit and then be free, some say it is psychosymatic again there are those who don’t believe what im saying). Ive also seen those that are mentally ill and need medication, of course I don’t know Cho situation and im assuming that anyone on this blog doesn’t either. I think what people really want in life is an explanation for everything, whether it is found in Christianity, Religion, or Atheism – For me I believe in God and he knows the answer for all things. You say what a mean and heartless God no what a loving God to give us a choice. God created man with the ability to make choices – that is what makes him a loving God. For those who don’t believe in God that’s the choice you made. If you think that there is no God and we are here today and gone tomorrow – we will all find out one day. There is not enough time on earth for people to bash each other especially on this blog. Because of the current tragedies of VT men like Pastor Parsley and Minister Graham have offered comfort and answers. Pastor Parsley has done alot of good and will continue to do so. At the end of life every one of us must give account to the choices we make here on earth – whether or not you believe that there is a God or not. For those that are mourning becasue of VT i speak for myself and fellow christians we are praying for you during this difficult time. For those who continue to bash Christians, Pastors and Pastor Parsley we are also praying for you. Maybe one day in you will remember its the freedom of speech and freedom of religon. “We can all agree that we disagree”

  • JAR

    To All you Christ, Christian and Rod Parsley haters, if you had 1/2 a brain and any biblical knowledge you would know that that Parsley’s simple answer as you call it is correct. Mental illness is the result of mankinds original sin.

  • BIGD

    Mr MarkI will only comment on a couple points and will catch up with you later in another blog on here. In regards to the comandments. First, I wouldn’t say most of the world has a problem with the first commandment. While there maybe differences in who God is I believe the majority of the world’s population still believes in mono-theism.As regards to the others you say the “most of the world” has problems with I don’t think that invalidates their importance. Let’s think about it just from a non-religous view. If everyone really did honor the sabbath even if it was just taking the day to spend with family and friends and relax – if nothing else this would improve peoples mental and physical well being. If people didn’t covet their neighbors goods then maybe we could be more charitable and find ways to help others instead of ourselves.If most people didn’t swear and realized the power of language then maybe we could talk and debate in an educated and rationale manner much as we have done in this discussion. Too often people don’t use language in it’s most effective way (myself included). I think the world would be a better place if people followed these even if it weren’t because of a religous belief. One last thing did you know that rival chimps will attack a rival group and cannablize those they kill? How moral is that?

  • Russell D.

    Jar:I have plenty of Biblical knowledge. I know enough to realize that the Bible is a man made book using borrowed tales and false superstitions to make people believe. I have no sin because I don’t believe in God. I’d rather stand tall than bow down. Sue me.

  • E favorite

    Anon, when you say. “For those who continue to bash Christians…” are you suggesting that criticism of Christians is considered “bashing.”TO me, that implies that Christians are always right. Is that what you’re trying to say?Jar – when you say, “You ignorant people on here have chosen to blast Rod Parsley, who won’t waste his time responding to your stupid attacks and comments” it makes me wonder if you’re his flunkie? Have you spoken to him? Has he said he won’t come here to respond to comments?Something else, Jar – you don’t sound very Christian. You sound full of hate. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this among people here who identify themselves as Christian.

  • B-man

    I suspect that pastor Parsley has resorted to blaming Cho Seung Hui’s mental illness on “sin” because he cannot justify in his own mind how a “loving God” who has “knowledge of everything” could allow something like this to happen.This is when religious explanations fail.

  • Mr Mark

    BigD -Thanks for your response.Yes, the world would be better if people didn’t swear, if they didn’t covet, etc. My point is that these “everybody make nice” commandments are really quite incidental if you think about it. I mean, swearing? You’ve got ten commandments to issue and “don’t swear” is one of them? That’s like having a chance to visit only 10 cities in the world and you choose Secaucus and Muncie over Paris and Vienna.Hell, if god’s gonna give us 10 commandments to live by, if he’s going to boil it all down to 10 things that are the creme de la creme of commandments, then for heaven’s sake, I want me TEN BE-ALL-AND-END-ALL COMMANDMENTS!!!Sorry, but not swearing ain’t one of ‘em.Re: Rival chimp cannibals: I just saw that on TV the other night. Amazing stuff, eh?

  • Shawn

    My heart aches to read the overwhelming responses against Pastor Parsley’s original post. I have noticed that the majority of responses are not written in a spirit of tolerance and openmindness for this pastor’s perspective. No one is stating that “God is to be blamed”. Some have stated that there is no God, but this statement would strengthen Pastor’s case. God is not to be blamed because: 1. He is not the person or force behind such evil (Pastor Parsley’s perspective) 2. God does not exist (many of the bloggers perspective).Either way, God is innocent and someone or something must be responsible. If Cho’s insanity excuses him from his actions, and the mass deaths are not his fault, what would you tell the families of the victims if Cho was not dead, but alive and facing legal charges. Would you tell them, it is not Cho’s fault? Their sons and daughters are dead by the hands of an innocent man? Cho is responisble. Cho’s sinful nature drove him to this crime. The anger of the bloggers stems from a public guilt knowing that we have helped to create a Cho through our culture of death. A culture that argues the Christian pastors but excuses the mass murderer. God loves Pastor Parsley, God loves Cho, and God loves the bloggers. May we love God and others in return and avoid creating another Cho.Thank you Pastor Parsley for bringing “clarity” and pointing us in the right direction.

  • Mr Mark

    Actually Jesus did boil the commandments down to one or two depending on how you read it. Love the Lord your God above all things and Love Your neighbor as yourself. This sums up everything and would be your be-all-end-all commandment if it was truly followed. There is no record of this being stated in this way before Jesus’ time. The only other close types were all negative as in don’t do to others. It was amazing – I love those Planet Earth shows!Again thanks for the great discussion.

  • Drew

    This pastor rant is pretty indicative of a lost faith. Death is inevitable, but to blame a massacre on an impossible-to-define “sin” (which means missing the mark) seems nothing more than a tautology. After all, I’m pretty sure everyone here thinks that mass murders miss pretty much everybody’s moral mark (whether Christian or no). To then point out that “missing the mark” “misses the mark” explains nothing. Although we have heard many tales of individual heroism, I am still heartened by his English department, who tried to intervene in the strongest way (going to police, taking him out of class, trying to talk to him, monitoring him, sharing their concerns with the administration). It may feel good to try to fill the pews with stories of godless victims (yes, Pastor, that is the implication of blaming their deaths on merely sin–why did THEY take a bullet? God help you when someone you love gets viciously killed). Others have started the healing by noting what people did right here. Teachers paid attention and went to police and authorities. We still need to do more, though. We need to enforce the law saying that mentally ill people cannot get guns. Virginia needs to report what they know to the FBI. It would have prevented this particular tragedy. We need to enable schools and police to act on patterns of disturbed behavior to get the person the help they need. We need to stop offering our congregations non-answers by finding 100 words for “evil” and then acting as if that actually explains or changes anything. Like Jesus, you should point to solutions that involve real actions. Help “cast out the demons” of mental illness by diagnosing and treating it (Jesus did NOT cast out the demons by clucking his tongue and turning his back on people–he went out and touched the sinners and spent time among them). Empower everyone to shine the light on their personal torment instead of casting stones. Shame on you, Pastor!

  • Mr Mark

    I think that “my” last post was actually BigD responding to my previous post.That’s OK, BidG. I won’t be the first Mark whose gospels were actually penned by someone else. :)

  • Mr Mark

    Dear Shawn -The pastor’s original column is an exercise in ignorance and prejudice. That’s why he has been roundly and rightly taken to task in this blog.You don’t see it that way because you are suffering from the same ignorance as is the pastor. How else to explain this from your post?:”If Cho’s insanity excuses him from his actions, and the mass deaths are not his fault, what would you tell the families of the victims if Cho was not dead, but alive and facing legal charges. Would you tell them, it is not Cho’s fault? Their sons and daughters are dead by the hands of an innocent man?”Cho is responisble. Cho’s sinful nature drove him to this crime.’1. Cho’s insanity may not fully excuse him from his actions, but it may well fully explain his actions.2. If Cho was alive and facing charges, the first thing that the state would do would be to order up psychiatric exams to judge whether or not he was mentally ill. Considering that the state had declared two years ago that he was mentally ill, we can imagine what they would say now.3. As far as assigning “fault,” the fault could well lie with the system that failed this person. The state could also find him not responsible for his acts because he was insane at the time. The punishment for such a judgement would be quite different than that given to a mentally competent person who committed the same acts. Sorry to upset your worldview, but the secular legal system does NOT hold that insane people are “responsible for their acts” in the same way that sane people are, and our legal system does not recognize “sin” as a motivation in the commiting of crimes (and motive often determines punishment when a crime is committed). If you want to live in country where “sin” is an accepted motive for crime, you’ll need to move to a theocracy.4. What would I tell the parents of the victims? I’d tell them that it is a shame that the system failed them so badly, especially in light of the fact that people on campus and within the system had identified Cho as a problem case years ago and had taken steps to deal with him. The fact that the campus security knew all about this guy yet let him fall through the cracks (case over!) and to reside among his fellow students as a ticking time bomb is an indictment of campus security, the VA courts and the VA medical establishment, not their children or Cho. Their children are dead at the hands of an insane man and the system that didn’t have the wherewithall to follow through and do the proper thing with Mr Cho.Why, you might ask, do I put so much blame on the system and not Cho? For the simple reason that Cho is dead and gone, but the system that failed their children – including the absence of effective gun control laws in VA – is still in place, primed and waiting to fail the next group of victims that it will ill serve just as surely and disgracefully as it failed this week’s victims.5. “Cho’s sinful nature drove him to the crime.” Medieval thinking has no place in our modern legal system. That it still holds sway with some people is frightening, to say the least.

  • Shawn

    Mr. Mark:I never inferred that the system did not fail to do its job in protecting these students, including Mr. Cho who should have been handled in a more proactive manner to curb his violent tendencies. I am suggesting that a spiritual leader of thousands giving a spiritual explaination of this tragedy should not have sparked such a harsh reaction from modern thinking people, which so many bloggers dare to label themselves. The man made system failed again, you are correct. Let’s stop trusting man and secularism and become more understanding that maybe…just maybe…something is wrong with society and the system because God in whatever form has been castaway and man now is the center of all things – man continues to fail.Just a thought…My prayers are with the victim’s families including Mr. Cho’s. Thanks for reading my blog, Mr. Mark.

  • Mr Mark

    Shawn -Thanks for the response.You wrote:”Let’s stop trusting man and secularism and become more understanding that maybe…just maybe…something is wrong with society and the system because God in whatever form has been castaway and man now is the center of all things – man continues to fail.”Boy, I couldn’t disagree more. I am at polar opposite to your belief.To me it’s simple: I accept that by trusting man and secularism, I am going to be let down on occasion; that human beings will often fail, even with the best intentions. But I must take this reality over the alternative that you offer, which is a total fantasy.There is no god to act as an agent in your view of the world. The simple fact – and it is a fact – is that any good that comes out of believing in a god and in his power to help mankind is, in reality, accomplished by PEOPLE. They may think that they are being given strength by some supernatural power, but they aren’t: they are finding strength and ability within themselves, and then chalking up the good done to the power of an absolute delusion.Imagine if we could take half the money that is wasted every week as it is deposited in the church’s coffers, and, instead, put it toward getting people like Cho the mental help they need. Surely, that would be a better prescription for success in treating mentally ill people like Cho than would be the opposite, ie: taking money out of the budgets of mental health entities and giving it to churches to deal with mental illness.Stop trusting man and secularism? To do what? To embrace the void of the religionist’s alternative?No thanks.

  • E favorite

    Hi, Shawn – imagine if we decided that man had failed and a majority voted to put God in control. Then what? How do we find him? Do we pray for him to appear and tell us what to do?Do we expect him speak through someone the way he has in the past? How do we know it’s the right person?I really am not asking you to answer these questions, but to consider that God is and always has been very illusory.

  • Henry James

    Mr Mark keeps hitting himself (i.e., the Mark)my dear ShawnIf you have ANY shame and discernment, you will realize that you have been repeatedly =sorry to be so blunt – Humiliated in your arguments lately.EVERYONE now knows this Boy was Mentally IllIf there is a GOD, God caused it. and therefore caused the tragedy.and you blame the secularists.it is, again pardon my French, obscene to do so.if there is a god, it is an obscene act of god.

  • Sarah

    Some people (without mental health training i take it) assume that if you are mentally ill you are incapable of making decisions and planning something in advance. that is wrong — many mentally ill people make their plans and preparations for suicide in a very methodical, well thought out manner. Now, these decisions may disply a terrible lack of judgement, insight and connection with reality, and that is what qualifies them as possibly being symptomatic of a mental illness. Mental illness does not absolve anyone of having to deal with the consequences of their behavior, but it may help us to better understand what happened, and hopefully how something similar may be prevented in the future.

  • AJM

    “Therefore the Mentall illness that this individual had could have been reversed just by calling on the name of Jesus for healing and deliverance”..you’ve got to be joking..I’ve heard there’s a group of people who hold similar beliefs re:medication and healing, they’re called Scientologists. Perhaps you’d be better suited to them.

  • E favorite

    Brian- Charlotte: you say “If Cho Seung-Hui had been a devout, true follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, this horrible event would have never occurred.”I bet if we find out that the shooter and his family were devout Christians, you’ll be the first to say, “But he wasn’t really a Christian.” I notice, reading through these discussions, that this is the latest cop-out. Whenever Christians do anything abhorrent (e.g. the Inquisition, the Crusades) , the response is – “Oh, they were false Christians – not the real thing.” Somehow, I don’t think Jesus would approve of this behavior.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe that Newsweek and Wa.Post gave the time of day to this nutcase. I remember now why I stopped subscribing to both of them.So Mr. Parsley, mental illness is caused by sin? Unbelievable.

  • E favorite

    Anon – think of it this way – if the Post hadn’t published this, many of us would never have known about Rev Parsley and neither we nor Rev Parsely would ever have known how many people were repulsed by his reaction to the VTech shootings. I’m grateful to the Post for publishing this and hope Rev Parsely writes another essay for “on Faith.” I will read it eagerly, looking for signs that he has learned something from this experience.

  • Fellow Defender of Truth

    I believe that Pastor Parsley has spoken well and expressed the hearts of many of the silent majority in our nation who know the truth. We have seen to often the tragedy that results from individuals or groups who have chosen to live their lives by forsaking God’s unchanging truth or having any form of a moral compass or values in their life. The result of a life that excludes God or His Deity has always produced pain, heartache and destruction. The tentacles of sin that inspired Cain’s decision to slay his brother Able are nothing new. Unfortunately our nation has seen its horrific effects one more time. In our increasingly Politically Correct nation no one can ever say their personal actions or decisions don’t affect others. I pray for the families, friends and all the others who were affected by these senseless acts and sin of the individual who caused this horrible event. I also pray for our Pastors, leaders and nation to be strong and stand for righteousness that good will triumph over evil.

  • Dr.X

    Why in the world does a formerly respected publication like Newsweek allow someone like Parsley to blog here?Do you believe in the evil eye too, Newsweek?

  • Mark of Richmond

    E favorite—Parsley pastors a church of 12,000 members and his is but one of many. The so called Christian Right has been a dominant political force since 1980 and in that time have succeeded in dismantling much of the America built by my parents generation—rightly called the “Greatest.” And tragically most Americans have no idea how these people operate. Parsley, Falwell, Pat Robertson & many others…have used the language of war against other Americans.It’s about time for Newsweek, the Post and others to put Parsley and others of his ilk on the front page above the fold.People should read the following books:American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury:American FascistsExcerpt quoting pastor Parsely:”Now, this revolution is not for the temperate,” the Ohio pastor Rod Parsley shouted out to a crowd when I heard him speak in Washington in March of 2006. “This revolution — that’s what it is — is not for the timid and the weak, but for the brave and strong, who step over the line out of their comfort zone and truly decide to become disciples of Christ. I’m talking about red-blooded men and women who don’t have to be right, recognized, rewarded or regarded…. So my admonishment to you this morning is this. Sound the alarm. A spiritual invasion is taking place. The secular media never likes it when I say this, so let me say it twice,” he says to laughter. “Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! They say this rhetoric is so inciting. I came to incite a riot. I came to effect a divine disturbance in the heart and soul of the church. Man your battle stations. Ready your weapons. Lock and load!”

  • Sydney Chuggles North

    People who believe that anointed prayer cloths are superior to modern medicine should practice what they preach. You should foreswear all modern medicine — no antibiotics, no surgery, no attended birth, no modern diagnostic equipment for you.Otherwise you’re nothing but hypocrites.

  • Dennis

    Allow me to offer my voice in support of those who are appalled that reputable news sources like the Post or Newsweek would publish the insane rant – and that is all it is – of someone like Rod Parsley. The violence at Virgina Tech had absolutely nothing to do with sin or with turning against God. Nothing. That so many people in this country would turn to such inane, absurd explanations to deal with their grief is just incomprehensible to me. Have our mainstream religious beliefs really caused us to be this far removed from reality?

  • Henry James

    Bush’s Follow Up to ParsleyI inadvertantly caught a snatch of our leader’s weekly radio address this morning.Now of course he didn’t WRITE the speech, but he said this (while tripping over the words, especially “educated” later)”This tragedy showed the worst of humanity, and the best.”So, let me get this straight:a mentally ill young man represents the “worst of humanity,” not a tragedy as well? Is this not in the key of our insane Reverend Parsley?

  • BigD

    Henry James:In your response to Shawn you stated “If there is a GOD, God caused it. and therefore caused the tragedy. and you blame the secularists. it is, again pardon my French, obscene to do so. if there is a god, it is an obscene act of god.”

  • BigD

    Mr Mark – you are right that was me. My apologies for putting your name in there.

  • Heraclitus

    The Worst of HumanityThanks for the quote Henry.I would say that the Worst of Humanityis represented by Powerful Leadersthat kills 500,000 more people than otherwise would have diedand destabilizes the world in a profoundly damaging way.Not a mentally ill, out of control, 23 year old boy.Just my opinion.

  • Henry James

    BIGDIt is fortunate that, though I am America’s foremost literary critic, that I don’t take offense easily.To have my critical views characterized as “absurd” by the likes of you is, well, absurd…Have you EVER hear of The Problem of Evil?Thousands of learned and serious theologians and Jesuits, some even more learned than I, have dealt with it.Google it: short version, how could a just God create a world where innocent children are killed in tusnamis etc.You think it is an easy problem to solve. I am not surprised.Many of the greatest minds in history have found it insurmountable. They clearly do not include you in their number.Best wishes.

  • BigD

    Mark of Richmond:

  • Henry james

    The Problem Of EvilIn what is perhaps a vain attempt to assist in your education, my dear BIGD,I refer you to Wikipedia for a beginning primer on The Problem of Evil.Type it in the search, and you will get a sketch going back to Epicurus (I am sure you are familiar with his thought) of the issue, and it continues to be a problem up to the present, except for you.Epicurus ran a Greek restaurant in Brooklyn during the 1950s.

  • BigD

    Henry James:

  • BigD

    Henry James – Thank you for trying to assist in my education. I never will claim to know everything. If we wan’t to get into sarcasm I guess we can do that too – the restauraunt does sound good though. I am not sure I would feel eductaed though if I relied on Wiki for all the answers.How about one simple questions though.Hypothetically if God does exist and evil does exist, wouldn’t I be correct in stating that as a matter of metaphysics that since evil would be a supernatural characteristic that it would require someone or thing that is also supernatural to fully explain or understand it?

  • Henry James

    Thanks BIGD for your question.As the next step in your education, look upYour hypothetical is:Assume thatBigD then sates:THEREFORE:You are attempting to Are you able to see the idiocy of this argument?You DO need to educate yourself before attempting to engage in serious dialog with people who know what they are talking about.BTW, if you don’t like Wikipedia,You truly have no shame. One has to admire that, sort of.

  • Henry

    BigDto clarifythat problem which you think is no problem.

  • BigD

    Henry JamesI wasn’t trying to prove anything about the existence of God. I am not trying to play some sort of mind game with you. I wasn’t debating you on whether or not God exists. Even with my limited education I would assume that to make that argument would take a little more than a short blog.I’ll try to clarify my point, so that even someone like me can understand it.You made the assertion that if God Exists this was an obscene act by God. Insinuating that if God Does exist then he is either evil or incompetent (right out of your Problem of Evil – imagine that). My point was this is not the only explanation nor the explanation of most people who believe in God. My explanation was people have free will separate from God and you chose to make it seem that anyone that believed in God did not have a valid explanation of such events.You then complicated the point I was trying to make by bringing in the entire Problem of Evil. I simply clarified that if we continued on the theory that God Existed (from your first argument) then the reason that there has been so much written and thought of over time about the Problem of Evil is exactly because it can not be simply explained. If God doesn’t exist then there is no problem because Evil per se can’t exist (of course then we would get into the definition of evil).You tried to use the Problem of Evil to say that my insights were in valid and uneducated. I simply gave you a reason that the problem of evil is so complex. And a reason that someone can believe in God and not blame God for the actions of humans or the universe.

  • BigD

    Sydney Chuggles NorthWhose prayer clothes are you talking about? I might have missed that post and would like to read it.If you are talking about most of the Christian world then it doesn’t make sense. Most Christians don’t object to any sort of medical help for physical or mental health. Just because they belive God is also beneficial doesn’t mean most of them don’t also believe medicine is beneficial and has its place as well.

  • Henry James

    Thank you for clarifying, BigD.Your solving of the Problem of evi – it takes a supernatural god to understand a supernatural phenomenon – does now make logical sense to me.it is reasonable for it to satisfy you.there are many who understand your argument but do NOT find it satisfying. That includes some believers who decide to live with their problem, and some atheists for whom the problem makes believing in a Just God impossible. Smart people have taken both postions throughout history.But most agree that it is a WHOPPER of a problem.It makes little sense to most people to say that this mentally ill boy *chose* through free will to be mentally ill and commit these murders.The universe that God created resulted in his actions. An omniscient God would have forseen this.God may be torturing us this way for a reason of his own that we can’t understand,Hence, the NON absurdity of my original example. You are free to take a different point of view of course.

  • BigD

    Henry JamesPerfectly understandable that it doesn’t satisfy all – and of course it is a complex WHOPPER issue. The problem I hoped to clarify wasn’t the problem of evil – its that on blogs like these often times believers are put on the side of if they believe in God then they have to believe he did this. Just as they are put on the side that if they believe in God they must dis-avow science. My point is there is a logical and reasoned way of approaching the issue as a believer.I would venture to say most believers would not make the assertion that this boy chose to be mentally ill. His actions can be debated in how much choice he had but most would not argue that being mentally ill was his choice. You are right an omniscient God that created the universe did forsee this. Does that mean he should have stopped it though? That is the big question and leads to the Problem of Evil and the ability to explain it. Thus in that sense you were not Absurd. The absurdity came from what appeared to be an either or stance in God either doesn’t exist or he is Evil or in your words obscene.We can continue to disagree on the existence of God and the role of Free Will and the Problem of Evil – that’s good debate. I just ask that you realize that many believers are also rationale in their belief system.

  • Phantom

    Heraclitis,Almost as stupid as most people’s arguments that “if I say that God doesn’t exist, then He doesn’t.” Get real dude!

  • Heraclitus

    Phantomin my logical system,”God exists because I have a burning feeling of certainty in my chest that he exists”and saying”I don’t know if God exists (or for atheists, I don’t believe that God exists)Atheists like myself are open to convincing evidence. We just have not seen any, and have seen lots of contrary evidence.Is that what you mean by “Get Real.”? Rely on Real Evidence?

  • Henry James

    Thank you again for your explication, BigD.I agree that many believers are very intelligent people.I do not believe it is “rational” to believe. In fact, many believers acknowledge that their belief is based on Faith rather than rationality. I think it must be. Just my opinion.But of course everyone is free to believe or not believe as they see fit.If there IS a God, in any meaningful sense of God (created the world, can do pretty much whatever he wants)My original point was that to blame the Secularists for this tragedy is Obscene.God is responsible.If one wants to avoid the provocative word “obscene”

  • BigD

    Heraclitus This is the problem with most debates between believers and atheists. Typically though not always as my new friends Mr Mark and Henry James of demonstrated in this BLOG Atheists try to say see you have no proof so God doesn’t exist – I’m smart – you’re dumb – we can’t debate anything else. The same can probably be said in reverse of believers often times.I would make the assertion that you have no proof that God does not exist. Maybe your vision of what God would be if you believed in God doesn’t exist. But you have no proof that an omniscient God does not exist. While I tend to think that more things than not, including my rationale, science, and nature do prove that God exists – I can’t prove it beyond every doubt to anyone who doesn’t want to believe it. Similarly I am quite certain that you have no proof that he doesn’t exist that would convince me beyond every doubt that he doesn’t exist.My point, as I have tried to make earlier in this blog is that if we stop treating each other as ignorant, accept the fact that rational (and many irrational) people for millennia have debated this issue and move past the argument of just does he or doesn’t he exist (since I am pretty sure that won’t be resolved here) we might be able to engage in real debate and dialogue.

  • BigD

    Henry JamesThank you for your insightful reply. Personally – as I tried to point out to Heraclitus – I think this is progress in debate.See you do not believe Faith is rational. I completely understand that. It is definitely true that Faith must be involved. (Back to the supernatural argument – if God exists then obviously we could never understand it all and it would require Faith – not trying to argue any point here).To me though I believe my faith is rational and even though I can’t explain everything most things as I see lead me to believe that God is more likely to exist then not. That is our difference of opinion and that is fine and good.Now comes the hard part. You are correct, I believe, “if God …..” yes he could have prevented the boy from becoming mentally ill. He could also stop every major disaster that befalls human beings. He could create a perfect utopia and form our will to always follow his. BUT…If God created human beings and gave them free will. And more than anything God wants us to love him and realize that if we followed his instructions life would be good. THEN there is no logical way for him to intervene in every day events involving human free will. For if he does that then we don’t freely love him.It’s this view of God that allows for a rational faith. I do not believe in a God who wants to control all things. He wants us to love him because he is good but only if we are willing to do it from our own free choice. This is the view of God that often gets short changed here.So in my opinion of God – he didn’t do anything obscene or incomprehensible (while yes his overall actions are by nature incomprehensible) he just let the world do its thing. Sometimes its tragic sometimes its beautiful. If we didn’t love God in both cases we would be loving him conditionally.

  • Heraclitus

    I think you read more into my post than I meant.I agree with Henry for instance:The smart people who Do believeI am just agreeing with that statement.When Phantom tells me to “get real” however, I feel the need to point out that i AM relying on real observable evidence (or lack of it).BTWThere actually is a reasonable book out by a scientist named Victor Stengel where he takes the position that he can JUST about disprove the existence of God. You may not agree with him, but he makes a pretty healthy stab at it (pardon the verb).

  • BigD

    HeraclitusBelief in God requires some faith but I would argue his existence can be almost proved and doesn’t require faith alone.You are right in that its virtually (I would say its actually impossible) impossible to prove the non-existence of anything which in and of itself discredits Victor Stengel. I can make a pretty healthy stab at disproving lots of things but is really poor science. Science proves things not the other way around.

  • BigD

    Henry-Very well stated and you are absolutely right. The only thing I would differ on with you is that I would assume that you belive belief in God requires Faith and only Faith. Where I believe belief in God requires Faith but is backed up with reason. I don’t believe it requires Faith alone.I enjoyed the discussion greatly and am sure I’ll catch up with you on another one of these blogs.

  • andrew

    Thank you, Fellow Defender of Truth.I was wondering if anyone else responding had actually read the post.

  • Jacques

    Randy: god is real, yes, but he is a man made fiction. Enjoy deluding yourself. I personally love creation, and savour every minute I have. Oh yeah, Jesus never existed and Jerry Falwell was a fraud too.

  • Noel F. Ambery

    The world needs less religion. It comforts the delusional. With the god theory, what would one think of an adult who still belives in Santa Claus ? When one can not prove what believes, it is called a delusion. Take religion out of the picture and you will cut the world’s delusion in half and it would become a safer place to live in. Joseph Cambell said ; religion is mythology gone crazy.

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  • Laurie D. Kitto

    Thank you, Pastor, for this word. I am one of many who believe that this country was much better when the 10 Commandments were posted in public places, including schools. I believe they remind us of right actions and behaviors. “Thou shalt not kill” is one that I wish Cho Seung Hui had seen daily. Perhaps his life and the lives of others at VA Tech would have been different.

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  • Sean Connor

    Rod Parsley, like Hagee and Robertson, is a con-men. They are in religion for the money, in fact they are all millionaires. There is a lot of killing going on in Iraq but Parsley supports that. He also supports the Israeli facists in their mission to wipe out the Palestinians. Men like this are a danger to reason and progress. Beware of them.

  • arletteb

    Dear Pastor Parsley Praise The Lord!Thank You Much God BlessArlette

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  • trent D. Hole

    The church is against gays,but is allowing divorced people to remarry get some real truth sin is sin ,guite making excuses for numbers the Mennonite church still refuses fellowship with people living in adultry such as most evangicals do even preachers of more than one wife,this was not accepted 20 years ago ,why now?

  • Keenan Lee

    I just enjoy your ministry, especially watching it on TBN. I’m a 16 year old young man in Cape Town, South Africa.

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