What do you get when you add easy access to weapons and a culture that increasingly devalues life and glorifies violence from video games to slasher films? A growing, almost exclusively American, problem. The mass murders by a lone gunman at Virginia Tech are the latest in a string of school shootings that are proof of this.
As this week marks the eighth anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School we couldn't find a worse way to remember that tragedy than through an even worse one. Our hearts break for the friends and families of the victims of this senselessness.
Eight years ago this week I was sitting in a youth room with six youth pastors promoting Dare 2 Share Ministries, an organization committed to training and equipping Christian teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. At 11:30 or so the pastor of the church we were at popped in and said, "You guys had better pray. Something bad is going down at Columbine." Over the hours and days to follow, all of us discovered the extent of these slayings at the hands of two disillusioned teenagers.
Columbine is twenty minutes down the road from Dare 2 Share and I couldn't help but feel that some of the blood of the victims was on my hands. While I didn't pull the trigger I hadn't done all I could do to prevent school shootings.
I had that same sinking feeling today at 10:45am Mountain Standard Time as I saw on msn.com that another school shooting of even greater magnitude had unfolded at Virginia Tech. To be honest, I feel like the blood is on my hands once again.
Do you? I think we all do.
And, just how degrading and violent do video games and movies need to get before moms and dads put their feet down with their own kids and "just say no" to their teenagers?
Movies and video games are getting bloodier and bloodier. And we just hide under the banter that, "kids will be kids."
But, ultimately, it is not just a media thing or a gun thing, but a God thing.
America has forsaken her roots as a Christian nation and is embracing a cultural of secularism that devalues life. Without God we only have "survival of the fittest." In pre-historic days it was those with the biggest claws and jaws that won the day. Today it is those with the biggest guns.
If there is no God then why not pull the trigger, on everyone else and then yourself?
If there is no God then there is no heaven and no hope, just the hell and hopelessness of everyday living in a pain-stained world.
But if there is a God then people matter, for they were made in his image. If there is a God then there is hope, there is a reason to value life.
Let's share the good news of Jesus with a culture that has forgotten or forsaken the true value of life. And let's pray for the family and friends of the victims of another senseless tragedy.
Because if we don't the blood is on our hands.
Greg Stier is the President and Founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with youth leaders and students, equipping them to be effective in sharing the gospel. Dare 2 Share has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teenagers across the country. With experience as a senior teaching pastor and in youth ministry for almost 20 years, he has a reputation of knowing and relating to today's teens. Greg is widely viewed as an authority and expert teen spirituality. He is known for motivating, mobilizing and equipping teens for positive change. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, and the SURVIVE 07/08 conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org.