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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/24/12

Aurora Massacre: Helping the Victims Cope

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Reason Heals
Reason Heals
(Image by World Union of Deists)
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Reason Heals by World Union of Deists

Famous millionaire Christian clergyman Rick Warren tweeted shortly after the mass shooting at the Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado a tweet which strongly implies he blamed the teaching of evolution for the massacre. He tweeted, "When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it."

Warren quickly removed the tweet and has denied that the tweet was in reference to the massacre. However, that denial does not have the ring of truth to it. As the above linked article shows, Warren has done similar things in the past.

Christian clergy like Warren don't have a clue about not only what caused the shooter to commit such a horrendous devastating act (Teaching evolution -- really!? Maybe it was all the violence and genocide taught in the Bible that twisted the shooter's mind?) but they also seem helpless in providing rational reason-friendly answers to help those who survived the carnage and violence.

It's very difficult to understand why deadly senseless tragedies like the Aurora, Colorado shooting at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie happen. It can be very frustrating and depressing for survivors of such an unwarranted attack who are attempting to make sense of what happened to them. However, one good way to understand it is to learn from other people who suffered through similar catastrophic events.

One such lady who was a victim of the al-Qaeda "revealed" religious terror attacks in London, England, on July 7, 2005 has written some insightful healing-promoting articles about how she managed to overcome the frustration, pain and anger these attacks brought to her (she still suffers daily physical pain). Linda was not only crippled for life by the bomb, but her husband and soul-mate was killed.

In her first article which deals with her acquiring the strength to persevere in spite of what happened to her and her husband in which she addresses the huge question "WHY?" she writes...
"I got blown up because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got pain because of scientific reasons because my body was injured. I wasn't being punished because I didn't believe in Islam or a particular "revealed" religion or because I was an agent of Satan and or his demons, (which don't exist anyway). I didn't get hurt because of karma for having had lived a bad life in a previous existence. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

This commonsense approach helps victims to realize they do not have to anguish over all the possibilities of why it happened to them that the various "revealed" religions throw-up to them. Our common sense is a great comforter.

In another profound article Linda covers forgiveness. However, not forgiveness as is popularly understood. She doesn't believe those who murdered her husband and many other people and who crippled her and have caused her to suffer severe pain on a daily basis should not be held responsible for what they did. It's very important that people are held accountable for their actions.

Linda writes regarding forgiveness...

"I have to admit it has been a long and hard struggle but I finally have come to know that I forgive my attackers. And I know it for the simple reason I would never wish what happened to me to happen to them or anyone else and it has made my commitment to non-violence, except in situations of self-defence, absolutely resolute. I would not wish the pain I felt and still feel even on my worst enemy. And for me that is my understanding of forgiveness. I am at some sort of peace now. And my physical pain eases when I forgive and am not full of anger."

Many people may be surprised to learn what brought Linda to the conclusion that to forgive was the right thing to do. It was reason.

After Linda suffered the horrendous losses during the 7/7 attacks, she looked into the various "revealed" religions and into Atheism for answers. She was not satisfied with any of them. Fortunately, when she was reading the book The God Delusion by leading Atheist Richard Dawkins, she came across the words "Deism" and "Deist." This peaked her curiosity and she did some research on Deism and found Thomas Paine's book on God, Deism and religion, The Age of Reason. After reading that, she found the site of the World Union of Deists ( and read all the free material on God, Deism and religion on the site.

Reading all of this Deistic material made her realize that the greatest gift from God we have, other than life itself, is reason. Using her God-given reason made her realize that forgiveness is important. She writes...

"I knew that God had given me Reason that had led me to work out that forgiveness was the way out of my mental hell caused by the bombings. And Reason, that caused me to be able to garner my emotions and rise above my baser instincts, was my evidence of God. It was also in the science- and evidence-based conventional and complimentary medicine that was helping to heal my physical pain.

"So now, still, every day I am on the journey of forgiveness but I know that my God-given reason will help me through. That then is what forgiveness is for me as a Deist. A function of Reason. Our Creator's most precious gift after life itself.

"It was given to us by our Creator to help us heal, not given as a moral mandate. Forgiveness was given to us as a gift to, through Reason, help heal us. But only we, including Deists, can choose whether we make use of that gift or not."

In a Deism podcast Linda recently did she makes the profound point that "Joy is the opposite of fear." Her God-given reason has helped her to lose the fear and regain her natural profound joy!

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Bob Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web (more...)
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