On July 29th, 3 were killed and 16 wounded at the Gilroy (California) Garlic Festival. On August 3rd, 20 were killed and 26 wounded at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, TX. Then just 13 hours later, 9 were killed and 27 wounded at a popular downtown area in Dayton, OH. Add to that other active shootings of the past months and years, in addition to what takes place in our biggest cities like Chicago, on a regular basis.
So the question is “why”.
Some want to point to guns and others mental health issues or current public discourse. Given our current political climate, I’m not confident that our politicians will do anything to positively impact the issue. And how about this…even if it were the best of political climates, would what they do really address the core problem?
The Impact of Religion
As religion, spirituality, and attending Church decline in our society, we lose our moral compass. We become desensitized to so many things, including the value of life. Here are some facts:
- Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”) has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. You can get more info here.
- Gallup indicates that U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.
- In 2014, the FBI released a study showing that “active shooting incidents” had increased at an average annual rate of 16 percent between 2000 and 2013 (Blair and Schweit, 2014). Blair and Schweit found that active shootings had increased from only one incident in 2000 to 17 in 2013.
Notice the correlation above between active (mass) shootings and a decline in religion, spirituality, and church membership.
Other Potential Reasons
Some would blame Justice Hugo Black and the Supreme Court for their ruling in Everson v. Board of Education(1947), where they had an interpretation of “a wall of separation between church and state” which was much different than that of Thomas Jefferson. Although just one ruling, the impact has been devastating to those of us of faith.
With a little looking, you can find articles or research that point to societal issues, like “Individualism” rather than laws or government. In the same article, the researcher points to kids not going to church because their parents don’t go to church.
Here’s the Point
Without God, without our faith, we lose our way. To understand what the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit are, or what the seven Christian virtues include, is to want them for ourselves and for our children. But more and more of society is turning its back on the only institution that teaches them.
I saw a recent post that said, “Dear God, why do you allow so much violence in our schools?”, signed Concerned Student. The same post had the following reply, “Dear Concerned Student, I’m not allowed in schools”, signed God.
Jesus Brings Meaning to Our Lives
More important than the institution is Jesus Christ, our Savior. As many of us know, it’s only being in relationship with Him, understanding our identity as children of God, that life is meaningful. In fact, if you’re a reader of my blogs, you know that:
- God made each of us with special gifts and talents
- In His image, as part of His grand plan, individually and as part of all of humanity
- He put you on this earth for a specific purpose
- God made you for Greatness!!!
So…what to do. Here’s what I think. Pray for the victims. Pray for our society. And share the love of Christ with as many as possible…one soul at a time.
As always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.
May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!