Thursday, October 11, 2007

Does Fighting Over God Push Others Away?

Here is an exerpt from an AP report on the school shootings in Cleveland, Oh.

"Coon's troubles seemed to come to a breaking point this week. Students said Monday's fight was over God — Coon told his classmates he didn't believe in God and instead worshipped rocker Marilyn Manson.
Coon had mental health problems, spent time in two juvenile facilities and threatened to commit suicide while in a mental health facility, according to juvenile court records obtained by The Plain Dealer newspaper."

Ok, now which of the following really contributed to this shooting?

a) mental health issues
b) Marilyn Manson
c) fight with student over God
d) messed up family life
d) all of the above

Many Christians would unfortunately choose B) soley. Marilyn is a symptom not the disease. He's the equivelance of a runny nose. We can blow our noses until Jesus comes but there will always be a Marilyn Manson; a scapegoat for Christians who'd rather point fingers, circle the wagons and find more reasons to homeschool their kids. This is coming from a believer in Jesus. I am not defending Asa or his actions, I am asking a larger question. Does arguing about God contribute to the isolation of others and rejection of the gospel. This is not that young man's fault who argued with Asa, we cannot expect 14 year olds to be C.S Lewis. I am asking as a believer whether we are more about arguing God or living out Christ's teachings.

I would agree that D) is the best answer but C) is just eating at my gut. What led to this fight? What was the argument really about? Was the other boy a Christian or just a a moral zealot who did not like Marilyn Manson? Was he truely sincere in his witness and Asa just went off on him? I'm betting my money on several factors such as teasing and name calling, a screwed up family and a hurt and broken heart with no hope that has contributed to this unfortunate incident. Christians (or anyone else) are not responsible for the final decisions people make. I am asking as to whether we are doing all we can to rescue students like Asa and protect the innocent from those who refuse our help and intervention. Have we given the Asa's in our community every chance to turn it around? This incident only leads to more questions that we must continually ask ourselves as believers engaging an unbelieving, broken and hurt generation. What can we do about it? Your comments are welcome.

Let the sparks fly,



healtheland said...

"Was the other boy a Christian or just a a moral bigot?" On one hand, Asa Coon, whom we know to have been a thug with a documented history of violence and discipline problems, you say nothing about except to defend and make into a victim. On the other hand, this other person that you know NOTHING about you suggest may be a moral bigot? Excuse me, but how do you know that Coon did not attack the alleged moral bigot? Based on his arrest for domestic violence, he obviously did not have a problem with attacking people. And further, how do you know that he was even CHRISTIAN? The fellow could have been Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, deist ... who knows?

Also, Coon was suspended. The unnamed believer in God wasn't. That should show you who the school officials thought was responsible for inciting the violence. That being A) the same person that had a history of violent disruptive behavior at school and at home and B) the same person that shot up the school.

So this kid was teased. I was teased and bullied in school and (as I did grow up in the rural south) had white people direct racial slurs at me. As a matter of fact, I was probably the least popular person in my whole school. (Now I am not going to claim that I was "persecuted" or anything ... I had terrible social skills and was a huge jerk ... ever consider the fact that some kids get picked on for a REASON? The racial slurs aside, most of the abuse that I got I deserved.) Oh yeah, and my home life wasn't perfect either ... my parents divorced and it broke my heart ... not that I had much of a relationship with my mother or father or siblings to begin with, but it was still hard. I managed to get through school without shooting or knifing anyone, so why couldn't this guy?

He was mentally disturbed? Well there are a lot of mentally disturbed people, the overwhelming majority never harm anyone. Further, there have ALWAYS been a large number of mentally disturbed people, and they weren't committing the types of violent acts that we are seeing now.

News reports are to the effect that this Asa Coon was specifically targeting the people that he got into a fight with the previous day. So for all you know, this person that you accused of being a moral hypocrite could be laying in the hospital with a bullet in his back. If that is the case, you are blaming the victim rather than the victimizer. Typical of America this day and age.

Paul Turner said...


Excelent points. When I use the word moral bigot it is to describe those who represent the God, Guns, and Guts crowd who simply make up what it means to be a Christian without a relationship to Christ and feel it necessary to point out students like Asa who was a non conformist. Does Asa have any responibility in this you better beleiver it! He made a choice and at this point is being held accountable for it in an eternal kind of way.

You also make the point

"ever consider the fact that some kids get picked on for a REASON?"

Is there ever a good reason to pick on someone even if they bring it on themslves? Better check the record on Virginia Tech and Colombine because both of those cases invloved people who could not or would not be allowed to fit in. They are also responsible for their choices.

The point of the multiple choice example I gave was to point out that Christians should take a good long hard look at themsleves and stop blaming culture as the only culprit. To the narrow minded, every kid wearing a Manson shirt is going to be suspect, "Is he the next killer?" They will seek to isolate him futher and create what they are trying to stop rather than reaching out to share the love of Christ.

Thanks for your comments