The problem of evil has been a central topic for philosophy and religion throughout the ages. Stephen Paddock reigned death on Las Vegas as suddenly and almost as violently as berserk Vikings once pillaged unsuspecting and unprepared European villages. But why in America? Our expectation of peace and prosperity is being shattered by real-world events. This would be a good time for us to look in the mirror and rethink our delusions about good and evil.
The retired accountant who murdered 59 people was officially in good standing with the law. Rage that burned inside him against the masses could have been addressed, but it wasn’t, because he didn’t break the law. His father on the other hand, described as a psychopath, did break the law. He was put in prison, from which he escaped twice, but we didn’t fix the problem of evil in his heart. Stephen bore the burden of his father’s unresolved problems, while adding those of his own. Living the American dream, Stephen amassed personal wealth, properties and airplanes, went through two divorces, and spent his leisure gambling in Las Vegas. It’s evident that prosperity did not bring contentment.
How does discontentment turn to unrestricted violence toward others? After all, as we watch the portraits of the people who died, we can only be filled with compassion for them. How then could anyone’s hatred be so impersonal and generalized as to kill complete strangers? The answer might come from looking at the bombing of the Twin Towers by terrorists who consider the United States to be the Great Satan. It’s time we ask ourselves why they see us as being so evil and why we see ourselves as being so good. From what I know so far, Paddock spent his time gambling in “Sin City”, and his self-contempt turned to contempt for all those around him. Our concern should be for the one who might be so disillusioned with the human race that he or she decides to release a virus or a bomb on us all. We should ask ourselves if we really have become an evil society and are in denial.
Locking people up and taking away their guns are superficial solutions that don’t address our free will. Laws are only good when people obey them or when they get caught. Education has been considered by many as the ultimate solution to create a better world. Wasn’t Stephen Paddock well education? Modern education is based on the belief that people are fundamentally good. But Stephen Paddock didn’t act that way. Maybe our society in general isn’t as good as we think it is. Mass murders certainly cause us to question the belief that we are evolving to a brighter future. What we actually see in society is moral relativism, and if pleasure is relative, then so is murder. Relativism makes all laws arbitrary.
What can change a person’s will from living for self to living for good? Imagine the person who really enjoys only doing the purest good all the time. That sounds like a religious conversion, doesn’t it? He or she refuses to lie, to harm others, to indulge in pleasures, or to waste resources on themselves when others are in need. Then imagine that the first person convinces someone else to join them and the movement spread. That’s a revival. America needs a revival and not Band-Aids. Unfortunately, repentance from sins is not socially acceptable because it’s disparaging to our human dignity. The press will not speak against anyone’s personal pleasures because it limits their freedom. Revival is socially unacceptable. Therefore, we go into our houses of worship and pray that God will somehow forgive our sins, even though we refuse to change our hearts.