Yesterday, a gunman went into an LA Fitness gym in Pittsburgh and ended up killing three women and injuring many more before turning the gun on himself.
The man had a grudge against women. He was lonely. He was likely crazy. Was there anything more to it?
It turns out George Sodini left us with many blog postings.
I’m not blaming Christianity for the shooting, so bear with me for a moment. But read what he wrote (emphases his):
December 31, 2008:
Now that I am on the topic of family and people I know, I might as well make a summary of sorts to show where things stand. This is New Years Eve I have time, no date tonight of course, so:
Tetelestai Church in Pittsburgh, PA – “Be Ye Holy, even as I have been Ye holy! Thus saith the lord thy God!”, as pastor Rick Knapp would proclaim. Holy —-, religion is a waste. But this guy teaches (and convinced me) you can commit mass murder then still go to heaven. Ask him. Call him at [phone number]. If no answer there, he should still live at [address]. In any case, guilt and fear kept me there 13 long years until Nov 2006. I think his crap did the most damage. Their web site: http://www.tetelestai.org.
August 3, 2009:
… Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.
Obviously, no church or pastor was telling him to kill anyone.
Did religion cause him to do this? No.
Did it prevent it? No.
Religion provided a rationalization for Sodini to commit his crime. He may have done it for other reasons, but he felt justified because of what he learned (and misinterpreted) in church.
The news coverage I’ve seen about this doesn’t focus much on his faith. That’s not very surprising. They’d be under attack if they tried to link this to Christianity.
I can also empathize with religious people who don’t want to see religion blamed for this.
They see religion as irrelevant in this matter.
But I do wonder what their response would be if Sodini’s blog said this instead:
August 3, 2009:
Soon, it will be over. At least that is what I was told. Life doesn’t matter because we’re all accidents. That’s what the atheist said. There is no Heaven or Hell and what I do in this life doesn’t matter. We’re all on a pale blue dot in this universe and our actions will all be forgotten about in a few years, anyway. Hitler and Mother Teresa are both in the same place right now and soon I will join them. How can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when God doesn’t even exist? I was reading the Bible yesterday just to see once again how ridiculous it is.
Would his writings be irrelevant then?
What would you be seeing in FOX News?
Would church leaders be saying that atheism didn’t play a role in this crime?
I doubt it. If George Sodini were an atheist, that’s the only aspect of his life people would be talking about.