Evangelical Christian Jerry Newcombe recently suggested that tragedies like the Colorado movie theater shooting are caused by a lack in belief of a literal, eternal hell.
"Tens of millions of young people in this culture seem to have no fear of God. It's becoming too commonplace that some frustrated person will go on a killing spree of random people. If they kill themselves, they think it's all over. But that's like going from the frying pan into the fire," Newcombe wrote in a July 20 column for OneNewsNow.
"Where's the fear of God in our society? I don't think people would do those sorts of things if they truly understood the reality of Hell," he added.
Coincidentally, a day before the July 20 Colo. shooting, Newcombe wrote an opinion piece for The Christian Post entitled "Whatever Happened To Hell?"
Newcombe continued his OneNewsNow op-ed by saying that the more internal, God-fearing constraints people have, the less likely they are to act out in society.
"The founders gave us a system where voluntary God-fearing was the underpinning of civility in society. The more internal restraints people have, the less need they have for external restraints. (And the converse is true)," he wrote.
"That's why I can't understand the ongoing crusade of those who want to remove any vestige of Judeo-Christian in the public arena," he added.
Similarly, in a Jul 20 radio interview on the American Family Association's program "AFA Today," Newcombe said that the Aurora, Colo., tragedy is an opportunity for all to accept Jesus Christ.
"If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place. On the other hand, if a person doesn't know Jesus Christ, if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place," he said on the radio program.
"For those who are not 'in Christ' and see this incredible tragedy, this would be a good time for soul reflection and [to] consider why...you [have] not accepted Jesus Christ. I would urge anyone who is not in Christ to repent of your sins," he said.
Although Newcombe echoed beliefs shared by most Christians in his reflection of the Colo. shooting, some critics found his comments insensitive, arguing that they were too recent to make a positive impact.
The blog Think Progress accused Newcombe of playing the "blame game" in reference to the Colo. Tragedy. Others have argued that Newcombe was using the Colo. tragedy to promote his personal religious agenda, when in reality the victims should simply be mourned and their religious affiliation should not be discussed.
Newcombe is the spokesperson for Truth in Action Ministries, which has two nationally syndicated television programs.