Every time we endure a tragedy such as the recent one in Colorado, certain questions always arise in my mind as I seek to understand why and how people do what they do to other people. That someone would walk into a crowded theatre and open fire on innocent and unarmed people is beyond my ability to comprehend, yet such ugly manifestations of human nature take place daily around the world and have for thousands of years.
I just finished reading a book called “We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families—stories from Rwanda” (how’s that for a title) by Philip Gourevitch. This excellent book actually is on the list of the 100 greatest books of all time and despite its gruesome subject matter, it does an excellent job of tracking down why one group of people in a nation would seek to eliminate another group of people.
I remember vividly when the news broke in April of 1994 of the genocide taking place in Rwanda how my heart broke and everything within me wanted to hop on a plane and go there to help. I could not then, nor can I now comprehend how close to one million innocent and unarmed men, women and children could be killed (mostly with machetes) in the course of three months. It is totally beyond me why and how people can be so cruel to their fellow humans.
While most of the world knows the horrible details of the holocaust, very few know that far more people were murdered upon orders of Hitler than the 6 million Jews. Here is the approximate breakdown:
· Jews- 5.9 million
· Soviet POW's- 3.3 million
· Non-Jewish Poles- 1.8-2 million
· Romanis ('gypsies')- 220,000- 270,000 (but even the higher figure may be too low)
· Disabled- 200,000 - 250,000
· Homosexuals- 5,000 - 15,000
· Jehovahs Witnesses- 2,500 - 5,000
It is absolutely incredible to think of just how many people were “exterminated” simply because of who they were. What is even more incredible is that the world had no idea the scope of the holocaust until after World War II. The holocaust was tragic beyond description, but at the same time there was another “holocaust” going on that far fewer people know about.
It is estimated that Joseph Stalin (the brutal leader of Russia) oversaw the killing of approximately 20 million people during his reign of terror. If one were to add the millions who starved to death and died due to his horrific policies, the figure could easily reach 40 million people. It absolutely boggles my mind to think one person could oversee the elimination of that many people.
Not to diminish the tragedy in Colorado, but over the course of history, there have been far worse events than what took place the other night. Whether it is one person murdering another (think Cain and Abel) or one person being responsible for the murder of 20 million people, the results are tragic and indicative of the depraved nature of man. Sin and death entered the world through Adam’s transgression and sin and death continue to this day.
Without knowledge of the Word of God and without our glorious hope of eternal life, it would be nearly impossible to deal with the violence and wickedness permeating the world today. I pity those who through either ignorance or unbelief do not know the truth. I pity those who sit in either fear or anger as they hear about man’s inhumanity to man. I pity anyone who does not have the foundation of truth found in an understanding of the Word of God.
The Old Testament is full of wars, murders and other acts of violence. The book of Revelation is full of death and events that make one’s skin crawl. In between is the time in which we live when it is indeed possible to live a quiet and peaceful life in all Godliness and honesty as we pray for those in authority and those impacted by the daily tragedies that rock our world.
If anyone is so naïve as to think there are no avenues of outreach available, I suggest simply talking to people about what took place in a Colorado theatre late one night. I guarantee you there are emotions of all kinds bound up in people as they seek to make sense of the violence and in many cases try to suppress their own fears and anxieties.
We who know the truth about God, Jesus Christ, the depravity of man’s nature and the miracle of the new birth need to step up and provide a strong and stable hand to those cowering in fear or lost in a maze of questions and doubts. Certainly we all have a job to do as we reach out to those who are tossed to and fro with every news story and every tragic event taking place in our world.
I did a mission trip in Ukraine and learned about the millions killed that were never acknowledged there. I was astounded to find out more people were killed there than by Hitler. Nothing in our history books about it. I know that people here get so caught up in the news and what stories they show over and over again. I don't watch the news, but i still know what is going on because people fill their daily conversations with whatever the reporters told them was the topic of the day. It is impossible to be uninformed now a days. I actually stopped watching tv when Columbine happened. They kept playing the reels over and over and i just knew that it was not what i should be doing with my time. My heart breaks for this broken world. I hope people will reach out to those around them and love them. Thanks of sharing.
I am familiar with the atrocities committed by Stalin but I know many people aren't. It is a myth that these same sort of atrocities are not being carried out today one way or another.
[quote]We who know the truth about God, Jesus Christ, the depravity of man’s nature and the miracle of the new birth need to step up and provide a strong and stable hand to those cowering in fear or lost in a maze of questions and doubts. [/quote]