Love Your Neighbor: Some Thoughts on the Elliot Rodger Killings

Posted: May 30, 2014 by jperritt in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

NEIGHBORS-Poster-1For those of you who have been watching the news over the past week, you’re familiar with the killing spree that has taken place in Santa Barbara.  Elliot Rodger (22) stabbed or shot six people before killing himself.  It’s a tragedy for all those family members involved, this includes the family of Rodger.

As I mentioned previously, my wife and I just had our fourth child, so I was actually unaware of this tragic incident until recently.  While my wife and I were enjoying a new life entering our world, others were mourning the loss of life taken from their world.

As I’ve listened to some of the commentary from various news organizations, I’ve heard conclusions asserted about a specific cause for something like this.  Whenever a horror like this occurs, it’s common to find some avenue to vent our frustrations.  One of those avenues that is not unfamiliar to being viewed as the source of evil…movies.  Movies made Rodger stab and shoot those individuals.  Movies fed Rodger’s appetite for death and destruction.  This has been the assertion of some in the wake of this tragedy.

Whenever one denies God and His Word, one has to create a solution to evils like this.  One columnist in particular has called out – Judd Apatow, Seth Rogan, “Rich white men ruling the cinemas”, etc.  Of course there are outside factors that play a part in a horrible tragedy such as this.  But, the reality of the matter is the fact that Elliot Rodger killed those innocent people because Rodger is broken.  I would agree with psychiatrists who claim Elliot Rodger is sick, but I would disagree with the source of his sickness.  It is not his brain that is sick, but his heart.

A movie like Neighbors does seem to relish debauchery.  I would agree with some who have made the assertion that films like these have degraded women and have fed men with an unhealthy view of manhood, to say the least.  I would also encourage many out there not to see the above film.  However, we need to be reminded that evil is something that comes from within.  Jesus Christ is clear on this in Mark 7, “Evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these things come from within.” [vs. 21-23]

A few years ago, The Dark Knight Rises was to blame for the senseless killing spree of the midnight showing and now it is a film like Neighbors.  While these films have depictions of evil, no movie is evil enough to move someone to act out the sinfulness that is already present in their heart.  I will agree that movies can play a factor.  They can feed sinful passions, and we need to be sensitive to that.  But, so can bad parenting, peer relations, substance abuse, lack of sleep, and a whole host of other things.  These, however, do not excuse the sole responsibility of the individual carrying out those actions.  The source of the sin is not the cinema.  The source is Elliot Rodger’s sinful heart.

Let’s stop with the assertions that stricter gun control will solve the problems (be reminded that Rodger also used a knife).  Let’s stop with the assertion that movies are the problem.  The problem comes from within.  Horrible tragedies like this have been in existence since Genesis 3.  Attempting to find a source of evil other than the human heart is futile.  So is attempting to find a solution other than Jesus Christ.


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