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The deadly shooting at the Batman movie was the latest in a string of bad news to come out of Colorado. A couple of weeks ago, wildfires were raging through the state. Normally, at about this time, the self-appointed interpreters of God's Divine Will would be explaining why God is punishing a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. While it's easy to point the finger at far-away places like Thailand, Haiti, and even New Orleans, Colorado is a little too close for comfort. With organizations such as Focus on the Family headquartered in Colorado Springs, it has been called the Evangelical Vatican. Is it possible the Mile High City has offended someone the Heavenly Realms?
It's difficult to fathom God punishing people who don't have much more in common other than an area code. However, perhaps, there is a more obvious message to be gleaned from these increasingly frequent natural disasters and horrific mass slayings. God allows me to suffer the consequences for poor decisions I've made in my own life, so why wouldn't He let the human race reap what we've collectively sown? This would include actions such as clear cutting forests and pumping pollutants into the water and air. It might also include a violent civilization that allows its citizens to legally own automatic guns with 100 round magazines.
The United States leads the world in gun ownership and, not too surprisingly, we have twenty times more gun-related murders (9,000 to 10,000 annually) as other high income countries. High profile shootings occur every year or so" Gabby Giffords, Virginia Tech, and Columbine come to mind. Of course, other countries have mass shootings too, but they typically enact tough gun laws in the wake of their tragedies. Not so in the US. The NRA and their legions of gun-lovers have been extremely effective in beating down any attempt at common sense gun control. As a result we are doomed to repeat the same cycle of violence over and over again.
Natural disasters are not in our control, but we know that CO2 is a major contributing factor to our warmer temperatures. We also know that dryer conditions will inevitably lead to more fires, as well as more droughts and famines. The NOAA recently reported that the ice caps are melting much faster than previously thought, which will cause water level to rise. Combined with oceanic warming trends, we can expect even wilder weather in the form of hurricanes and tsunamis. And yet, trying to enact any legislation capping carbon dioxide emissions has been an uphill battle in this country.
There are religious leaders who are quick to apply Biblical prophecies to explain our modern day problems. For example, they will try to blame homosexuality or abortion (or whatever sin they haven't committed lately) on a completely unrelated catastrophic event. Perhaps, we should look for suspects a little closer to the crime scene. If we are willing to be honest in our investigation, we may not only make progress in addressing the problem; we will also find that the truth does not conflict with Biblical principles. In fact, God has been trying to steer us in the right direction all along.
In the Old Testament, we are told God decided to destroy the earth with a flood because, "Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and full of violence." (Genesis 6:11) It is even harder to imagine Jesus, aka "the Prince of Peace,' demanding the right to buy an AK-47 at Wal-Mart. And in Revelation, anyone who destroys the earth is given this stern warning: "The time has come for judging the dead".and for destroying those who destroy the earth." (11: 15) This scripture could easily be applied not just to the polluters, but to the pundits and politicians who avoid or confuse the issue for their own gain.
Apocalyptic doomsayers look around at the calamities and point to God's anger and the potential end of the world. And who knows? Maybe they're on to something. While I don't believe God uses a wild fire or a mentally deranged person with an assault rifle to vent His anger, He may want us to learn how to work together to prevent, or at least lessen, the evils in the world. Only by learning more about an issue will we be able to implement positive changes for the common good. So, perhaps, God is sending us a message after all. And maybe it's time to answer the call.
Jeff Fulmer lives in Nashville Tennessee and is the author of the book Hometown Prophet . If God spoke through a prophet today, would we really want to hear what he has to say? You can also follow at Twitter or like on Facebook.