Friday, April 20, 2007

Cho = Jesus

Oh no, the cat is out of the bag. Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui cited Jesus Christ as an inspiration for his murderous rampage:

"Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people."


Cho was already known to have mental problems, and now we know that Cho looked at sacrifice, martyrdom, and the spilling of blood as good and redemptive things. Cho also used, in part, the story of Jesus Christ as an inspiration for, and a legitimization of, his actions:

"Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross? And left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life. Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can just because you can?"


Cho mistakenly thought, as Christianity teaches, that two wrongs somehow make a right. Cho, like the God of Abraham, also had a big problem with happiness and success:

"You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn’t enough. Your vodka and Cognac weren’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything."


Cho deemed material successes and pleasurable lifestyles to be corrupting and immoral. And Cho's solution? A massacre! Cho took another lesson from Abrahamic religious thought in concluding that pleasure and indulgence are corruptive and violence is the corrective action!

How twisted of a worldview is it that considers indulgence, pleasure, and material wealth to be bad things? And how sick of a worldview is it that considers pain, death, and violence to be the solution?

It is the Abrahamic religious worldviews (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) where the sickness lies. The values and virtues contained with Abrahamic worldviews are completely ass backwards. These horrible, anti-human worldviews have served as catalysts for deadly and destructive acts time and time again.

I've said it about ten thousand times, but sadly it bears repeating: Mental instability + religious thought = death.

30 comments:

Paul C. Quillman said...

Aaron you wrote:

Cho, like the God of Abraham,
also had a big problem with
happiness and success:

and:

Cho took another lesson from
Abrahamic religious thought in
concluding that pleasure and
indulgence are corruptive and
violence is the corrective
action!

Could you site chapter and verse for these assertions? Well, out of the Bible, not the Koran. I'm not Muslim, so any references to the Koran would be lost on me.

As far as Christianity, I don't think that you can substantiate those claims. I'm no fan of "name it, claim it" theology, but material wealth, pleasure, and other such things are not forbidden in Scripture, and are given a context to be enjoyed in.

Paul

BlackSun said...

Well said, Aaron. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. We can count this as another "Religion Inspired Murder."

The thought processes are the same. He was a slow-motion suicide bomber.

Alison said...

Great post, Aaron!

Aaron Kinney said...

Blacksun and Alison,

Thank you! :)

Paul C. Quillman,

Could you site chapter and verse for these assertions? Well, out of the Bible, not the Koran. I'm not Muslim, so any references to the Koran would be lost on me.

Your wish is my command:

Cho, like the God of Abraham,
also had a big problem with
happiness and success:


Mt. 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mt. 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Mt. 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Mt. 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Mt. 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Mt. 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Cho took another lesson from
Abrahamic religious thought in
concluding that pleasure and
indulgence are corruptive and
violence is the corrective
action!


Again, Mt. 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mt. 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Mt. 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Mt. 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

Mt. 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Mt. 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Mt. 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

And finally, we have the gospel of Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

Of course, we can also find tons of stuff from the Old Testament where indulgence and pleasure is condemned and death is the exclusive punishment prescribed as the solution to the "immorality."

Pretty much anything from Leviticus chapters 20, 21, and 24 demand the dishing out of death to anyone who commits almost any kind of sexual action, including stonings and being burnt with fire.

In addition, Exodus demands the death penalty for breaking commandments like having another god before God, working on the sabbath, cursing your mother and father, etc.

As far as Christianity, I don't think that you can substantiate those claims.

You got another think coming ;)

Agkyra said...

"Slow-motion suicide bomber" is a great way to put it.

Kinney, I hate to burst your balloon, but those passages you just quoted, glaringly lifted out of context, don't even begin to make your case.

Jesus' point was that to follow him would require his disciples to *endure* persecution, suffering, and so on, not to *inflict* persecution or suffering on others. Jesus was, and is, a divisive figure; in his view, you're either for him or against him. What he wanted them to understand was that they would have to remain faithful to him, not abandoning him in the face of suffering, even to the point of death, and even if everyone else--including the people they loved most--despised them for it.

An important example you obviously forgot to cite is Mt 26:51-52, when Jesus is arrested: "And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (ESV).

One more point: it's important to recognize that just because Cho cited Jesus as the inspiration for his murders, that doesn't mean that Jesus would approve or that the murders were coherent with the teaching of Jesus or Scripture. People can mistakenly be inspired by all kinds of things. Think of John Hinckley, who claimed that his assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan was motivated by love for Jodie Foster!

I hope this helps.

Wade said...

Hey Aaron -

I'm not sure it's fair to single out Christianity, and religion for that matter, as being ideologies that provoke people to violence. Bear with me a second: My point behind this is not that religious doctrine does not give some people reason to resort to violence, because it does. My point is that *any* ideology can - and does - give reason to people who follow it to resort to violence. The case can be made for just about anything, when looking at the right examples. You name it - religion, involvement in business, involvement in sports, being very rich, being very poor, believing in good grades, believing in national pride, believing in political doctrine or even playing video games. ANY doctrine or set of beliefs that people can set forth will result in *some* of its followers - usually the extremists or the ones that already have some existing problem - to use parts of such a doctrine and belief system as reasoning for violence.

This is why I don't blame Muslims for the terrorism against our country, as American government propaganda seems to be leaning toward. Islam is not the reasoning for the terrorists' actions - they just happen to be Muslim, and have found reason *in* Muslim doctrine to use as their reasoning for senseless violence.

I do not hate the 1.3 billion or so Muslims of the world because a handful of people *happen to use parts of Muslim doctrine as reasoning for their violence*. The rest of the people who believe in Islam do not find the same doctrines to be telling them to go out and senselessly kill people - thus, I have no reason to believe that belief in a Muslim doctrine is destructive and leads to violent tendencies.

It's simple statistics, Aaron - it's not fair to judge the whole population based on the outliers.

And in response to the last statement in your post - if you understand where I'm coming from, then you'll understand that I'm saying your equation should read:

Mental instability + ANY kind of doctrine or belief system = destructive tendencies.

Bahnsen Burner said...

Aaron, you're a man after my own heart! In fact, you beat me to it. I was planning to write something this weekend along the lines of what you compiled into your present post.

In addition to Cho's explicit allusions to Christ as his moral example, there are many parallels that need to be identified and considered if we are to understand what lead to his actions.

- Like Jesus, Cho suffered from a persecutory complex. "The world has rejected me" is a motif common to Cho's psychosis and the NT conception of Jesus. "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house." (Mt. 13:57) "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." (Isaiah 53:3)

- As you mentioned in your blog, Cho fashioned himself a martyr. He expected those who live after him to benefit from his sacrifice in some way. Isn't this integral to the very essence of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross?

- Like Jesus, Cho thought of himself as a victim of injustice. Do Christians think that their Jesus was justly crucified?

- In his manifesto, Cho modeled a duty-bound ethical determination. In one video clip, he said, “I didn’t have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no, I will no longer run.” I’m reminded of Jesus’ prayer before his execution in Mt. 26:39, where he prays: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

- Cho expressed resentment for "the rich" - anonymous persons who are reviled, not because of any specific injustice they have personally committed or condoned, but simply because they have produced wealth or, as children of such producers, enjoy its bounty. Similarly, the New Testament is saturated with pronouncements against those who are “rich.” For instance:

The Sermon on the Mount uplifts the poor over the rich: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:3)

Elsewhere we read:

“I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Mt. 19:23-24)

“And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mk. 4:19)

“How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” (Mk. 10:23-24)

“He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” (Lk. 1:53)

“But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.” (Lk. 6:24)

- Cho assumed the role of an executor of revenge. He wanted to hold the fate of others in his own hands. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19)

- Cho invested his cognitive life with dialogues between himself an imaginary friends. I have already written on this topic in my blog Christianity: The Imaginary Friend’s Network.

So there are some rich parallels here to explore. We should not discount Cho’s Christian upbringing so readily. To do so is to deny ourselves an essential key to understanding the motivations that lead to such atrocities.

Regards,
Dawson

Aaron Kinney said...

Agkyra

Kinney, I hate to burst your balloon, but those passages you just quoted, glaringly lifted out of context, don't even begin to make your case.

Care to support this assertion?

Jesus' point was that to follow him would require his disciples to *endure* persecution, suffering, and so on, not to *inflict* persecution or suffering on others.

And Cho offered himself up for persecution and even suicided himself. So far Agkyra, you are batting .000

Jesus was, and is, a divisive figure; in his view, you're either for him or against him. What he wanted them to understand was that they would have to remain faithful to him, not abandoning him in the face of suffering, even to the point of death, and even if everyone else--including the people they loved most--despised them for it.

Just like Cho :P

An important example you obviously forgot to cite is Mt 26:51-52, when Jesus is arrested: "And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (ESV).

You took that one out of context. He WANTED to sacrifice himself so he stopped his friends from protecting him in this instance.

Didnt Jesus perish by the sword in a way regardless? Or maybe perish by the cross and spear? Same thing IMO.

One more point: it's important to recognize that just because Cho cited Jesus as the inspiration for his murders, that doesn't mean that Jesus would approve or that the murders were coherent with the teaching of Jesus or Scripture. People can mistakenly be inspired by all kinds of things. Think of John Hinckley, who claimed that his assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan was motivated by love for Jodie Foster!

Sure, but so far youve totally failed to "make your case" that Cho was completely misinterpreting Jesus' example. Sure Cho didn't get it completely correct, but Cho certainly didnt get it completely wrong either. There are many stories about Jesus as well as OT commandments by God that clearly support Cho's actions.

Nice try though, Agkyra! Thanks for playing.

Aaron Kinney said...

Bahnsen Burner,

Thanks!! These are excellent passages to further support the Cho = Jesus link.

The Romans passage, as well as Cho's imaginary girlfriend issues, also go far to support our case. Good job pointing those facts out!

Bahnsen, I think you hit this nail on the head better than I did. Excellent analysis! :)

angelsdepart said...

I had a feeling that Christianity was tied to this in some way!

breakerslion said...

I don't know about this one Aaron. Cho=Jesus? Cho was a paranoid schizoprenic, political correctness of that term notwithstanding. Jesus was portrayed as more of a pathological liar and con man, a typical egomaniac cult-of-personality stereotype.

Cho used biblical imagery to attempt to put his twisted world view into a context that his audience could understand. If this had not been available, I'm sure he would have found another way to "justify" his actions. The core system at work in his delusion was, "You made me do this!" The Babble only enters in because it can be twisted to justify anything. That's what makes it such a dangerous piece of obscene filth.

Wade said...

um - so in addition to my previous post - are we really suggesting here that Jesus' message was similar to Cho's? or that Cho's was similar to Jesus'? these are different, in my opinion...or are we suggesting that Cho derived his message from parts of Jesus' message?

forgive me if the distinction isn't clear. It is in my mind, but hey, I don't always make sense.

Aaron Kinney said...

Wade,

um - so in addition to my previous post - are we really suggesting here that Jesus' message was similar to Cho's? or that Cho's was similar to Jesus'?

Not really. I think that Cho's message was not very similar to Jesus' message. Im not too sure if Cho was a Christian either. What Im really trying to do here is show that Cho took inspiration, in part, from Jesus in his decision to commit this act.

these are different, in my opinion...or are we suggesting that Cho derived his message from parts of Jesus' message?

I think Cho (incorrectly) saw himself as a martyr, and that he saw Jesus as a martyr as well, and then considered himself to be like Jesus in that way.

forgive me if the distinction isn't clear. It is in my mind, but hey, I don't always make sense.

No problem at all. I think the similarities here involve not so much the message, but the inspiration or example or martyrdom. Cho got motivated by the glorification of martyrs who sacrificed themselves for what they believe to be a more profound statement. In this case, Cho looked at the martyrdom of Jesus.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Sorry, I scanned all 3 of those chapters from the news story, & saw no reference to ole JC at all.
What am I missing?

Aaron Kinney said...

KA,

Its hard to find because most of that article is just the reporter blabbing on and on. You gotta look within the portions where they QUOTE Cho. There is a part where they quote him talking about Jesus. I reproduced that quote in my blogpost here: I literally highlighted, copied, and pasted the quote. Try going to page 2 of the article and doing a search for "Jesus"

Krystalline Apostate said...

Oh, there it is.
Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.
Wow, lends a whole new meaning to the phrase, "The meek shall inherit the earth", don't it?

Aaron Kinney said...

Yea, KA, it is pretty fuckin sick. Looks like he wanted to get the ball rolling on that whole inherit the earth thing, huh?

Delta said...

Too bad the headlines didn't read "Christian goes on rampage and kills students"....

farmboy said...

Alright, I see that many of you are using biblical quotes-often out of context-to say that Cho was justified in claiming to be dying like Jesus. Might I say one thing....The Bible, just like any book, can be quoted out-of-context to get it to say just about anything a person wants it to. If any of you are really interested in seeing what the Bible actually says about this, I encourage you to read some of it as a whole....one of the Gospels, for example. Matthew Mark Luke or John...can't take you much more than 30 minutes. I do not pretend to think that the Bible is a simple book, for why should it? If True and even if False, it is the most important book in the history of civilization. I agree with what Wade said, any idealist belief can be taken to an extreme.

That all being said, I think it is quite obvious that Jesus very rarely condoned violence, especially the way in which Cho carried it out. Just look at the things Jesus said, such as "love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44 Jesus didn't just say this, he lived it!
at Luke 23:34, as Jesus is being crucified, nailed to the cross, he doesn't condemn those who were killing him. He prayed for them, saying "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." He most certainly did not try and kill them, although many in the history of Christianity seemed to have forgotten this. (After all, who came up with the Golden Rule?)
Look at Stephen, one of the fist major Christian leaders to be persecuted for his faith. As Stephen is being STONED for his faith in Jesus, he said "Lord Jesus receive my spirit"....."Lord, do not hold this sin against them!"
Now, I do not know the exact amount, but many of Christ's disciples were persecuted and killed in similar ways. They were doing just as Christ did. (I am not saying Christians should be pacifists, because there is a time and place for violence, but that is a different topic entirely)
Let us not forget what Jesus said was the greatest act of love in John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." A Christian who was truly trying to model his life after Christ would not go on a rampage and kill 30some people.

I would also like to note that Christ did not come to dondemn the world, but to save it. I'm sure you have heard of John 3:16 well, 17 says "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

I know there are lots of condemning Christians out there, and while many of them may mean well, they may come off as judgemental and hateful. I'm sure you've heard of the speck in the eye/plank in the eye story of Matthew 7

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
When Christians do try to help others see their need for salvation, it should be out of love for them, not condemnation. This is always easier said that done, of course.

I apologize if I ranted too long!

ecualegacy said...

Since folks above have already touched on this topic enough I'll just say this:

Cho was a nutjob and not worth paying attention to. I'd rather think that the grieving families and traumatized survivors deserve more of our attention.

Aaron Kinney said...

Since folks above have already touched on this topic enough I'll just say this:

Cho was a nutjob and not worth paying attention to. I'd rather think that the grieving families and traumatized survivors deserve more of our attention.


Well, he certainly was a nut, but I think that if some people paid attention to him before he went on the rampage, maybe he wouldnt have done what he did.

Notice that I never said that Cho was even a professed Christian. Also I concede that Cho did something that goes against much of what the Bible teaches.

However, the fact that Cho took Jesus' story as a motivation for his self-perceived martyrdom on behalf of social outcasts like him everywhere is something that cannot be ignored.

And while Cho clearly perverted Jesus' example (Jesus only let himself die while Cho took others with him), the fact still remains that Jesus was a martyr who sacrificed himself, and this act of Jesus is revered in today's American culture. Jesus' martyrdom is looked upon by almost everyone (even many non-Christians) as a good and noble act.

The truth is that martyrdom and self-sacrifice are never good things, regardless if youre doing it out of love or hate. Martyrdom is a bad example and a bad idea as Cho so forcefully demonstrated.

ecualegacy said...

And if people start copycating shootings, we should censor the news?

Anonymous said...

hello,

i agree with ppl who said..it is not fair to exclude a WHOLE group of ppl, such as christians, for what Cho has done.

yes, christians and christian teaching should not be seen as a disgrace, and offcourse they should be discriminated because of someone like cho choose WRONG INFORMATION about the religion...but i wonder those who are protesting and rightly so, for the teaching of Christ, and Christians...have ever singled out muslims and islam for what Laden does...have u guys dare to rethink that it is not the religion who teaches such cruel conducts..and that it is unfair to label all for some one THINKS, they know the islamic faith and lives in pleasure while the common ppl face hate, prejudice everyday...YET they live with pride..and continue to love all ppl..because that what islam teaches (to love and understand differences of others)

btw, peace and blessing to the victims of virginia tech

ecualegacy said...

There is a lot to be admired in Islam, this is true. You can't steel from Christianity and Judaism and not come out with something decent, however much you twist the rest. Sounds harsh, I know, but that's how I see it. Islam has its own faults separate from the abuses of Bin Ladin. But I suspect Aaron would prefer this topic discussed in a separate posting if he's interested in pursuing.

Aaron Kinney said...

delta,

Too bad the headlines didn't read "Christian goes on rampage and kills students"....

To be fair, we dont know if Cho was a Christian or not.

Aaron Kinney said...

There is a lot to be admired in Islam, this is true. You can't steel from Christianity and Judaism and not come out with something decent, however much you twist the rest. Sounds harsh, I know, but that's how I see it. Islam has its own faults separate from the abuses of Bin Ladin. But I suspect Aaron would prefer this topic discussed in a separate posting if he's interested in pursuing.

Yes, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all Abrahamic religions. And all Abrahamic religions have a few good ideas in them. But of course, all Abrahamic religions merely stole these good (and many of the bad) ideas from other religions.

ecualegacy said...

I disagree on the last. Judaism was A LOT kinder to the average joe than the religions around it at the time. Same goes for Christianity.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Farmboy:
The Bible, just like any book, can be quoted out-of-context to get it to say just about anything a person wants it to. If any of you are really interested in seeing what the Bible actually says about this, I encourage you to read some of it as a whole....one of the Gospels, for example. Matthew Mark Luke or John...can't take you much more than 30 minutes.
I've read it. Multiple times, in fact.
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." - Asimov.

Alexc3 said...

"How twisted of a worldview is it that considers indulgence, pleasure, and material wealth to be bad things?"
Not as bad as you'd think. Often those three can mean no longer caring for others or intellectual pursuits and caring only for yourself, among other things.

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: Alexc3,

"How twisted of a worldview is it that considers indulgence, pleasure, and material wealth to be bad things?"
Not as bad as you'd think. Often those three can mean no longer caring for others or intellectual pursuits and caring only for yourself, among other things.


Maybe so, Alex, but only if you are some kind of antisocial hermit. 99.9% of all humans have personal interests that are intimately linked with, and dependent upon, the interests of others. Most of the time, people share values.

For example, me and my girlfriend have shared interests. Her happiness is linked to mine, and vice-versa. Now isnt it true that, in my valuing of my girlfriend and in my happiness being dependent upon hers, I am still acting selfishly?

Isnt it true that when person A helps person B, person A is doing it because it makes HIM feel good to see person B happy? Is that not selfish?