Jerry C. Brewer
A litany of disbelief has become the predictable response in the wake of school shootings and murders. While seeking answers, neighbors, classmates, friends and family express incredulity that quiet kids from “good families” could commit such heinous acts. The school shooting at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma in 1999 was no exception.
Most people in Fort Gibson shook their heads in disbelief when a seventh grade honor roll student was arrested in the shooting of four classmates. ‘He’s not that kind of kid,’ many said …But what kind of child is? (Lisa Tatum, “Common Threads Found In School Shooters,” The Sunday Oklahoman, Dec. 19, 1999).
Such crimes are the things toward which American society has inexorably journeyed for at least four decades. They are the evil fruits of a society in which each individual exalts self above others and worships at the altar of Secular Humanism. “Humanism” is defined by Webster as, “…a doctrine or way of life centered on human values: esp : a philosophy that asserts the dignity and worth of man and his capacity for self realization through reason and that often rejects supernaturalism” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary).
When the nihilistic philosophy of “Do Your Own Thing” in the 1960s replaced the ancient verities of objective morality and divine revelation, confirmed by the miraculous, it created a moral vacuum into which humanism rushed. A religion of self-denial was replaced with one of self-fulfillment and self-esteem as individuals set off on a quest to “find themselves.” Nothing short of moral anarchy, that emphasis on “self” has become the narcissistic worldview of much of society, including pampered children who murder their classmates.
Casting aside the objective standard of morality embodied in Biblical precepts, society has embraced a religion of human subjectivity and education has moved from the bedrock foundation of an objective moral standard to the shifting sands of “self-esteem.” That be-all and end-all of a state-run education system has resulted in a plague of violent death to school children across our land. Immunized against life’s realities by “sensitivity training” and loosed from moral restraints by the state-sponsored dogma of Darwinian Evolution, it should come as no surprise that youngsters from “good homes” are now killing their classmates. After all, if we are nothing more than glorified apes, why should it be wrong for us to kill each other? That perspective was chillingly reported in the wake of the Fort Gibson shooting.
Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist in Knoxville, Tenn., who works with violent children—many of them murderers—has interviewed nearly 4,000 violent youths from Harlem to rural Tennessee…She says a distinct personality trait stands out in school shooters: narcissism. ‘Narcissistic youths are those who do not care about other people’s feelings,’ Smith said. ‘They think they are special and entitled to rights others do not have.’ (Tatum)
Narcissism is the fruit of a nihilistic culture. “Nihilism” is defined as,
…a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless…a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and esp. of moral truths…that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake, independent of any constructive program or possibility (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary).
Nihilism was the mantra of the 1960s, expressed in the cry, “Burn, baby burn.” That Hippie generation, which was determined to destroy all religious and moral restraints, offered nothing to replace them but “self.” “Do your own thing” was their catechism and humanism was their religion. Now, after worshiping at Humanism’s shrine for more than five decades, society has produced a generation of narcissistic killers. Of the 1960s, Judge Robert Bork wrote,
Nihilism was the order of the decade. It came in two varieties: hedonism and political rage. Some students or dropouts exhibited both. The Hippies rejected middle-class morality for an unprecedented permissiveness. The incessantly repeated slogans were taken seriously: ‘If it feels good, do it.’ ‘Do your own thing,’ and ‘It is forbidden to forbid.’ (Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., NY, 1996, p. 50).
Narcissism is the antithesis of all Jesus taught about self-denial, loving God and loving one’s neighbor (Matt. 10:38-39; 22:37-40). Secular Humanism is the all-pervading state religion that had its genesis in narcissistic nihilism. It legitimizes the murder of the unborn in the name of “self-choice,” destroys homes in the name of “self-fulfillment,” fills our airways and public places with filthy language in the name of “self-expression,” and creates narcissistic youngsters in public schools in the name of “self-esteem,” constituting a danger far more dangerous to our society than any foreign enemy.
Protests and threatened boycotts caused Calvin Klein to cancel his semi pornographic ad campaign showing teenagers in sexually provocative poses—a girl of 13 or 14 for instance, on her back, skirt lifted to show her panties. Columnist John Leo of U. S. News & World Report called the ads ‘decadent.’ But a spokesman for Klein said that the ads were perfect for today’s independent generation: ‘people who do only what they want to do’…There are words to describe the Klein attitude. One, obviously, is narcissism; the other nihilism. One who is absorbed in himself and his sensations, believing in few or no moral or religious principles, in nothing transcendental, is a nihilist. A culture that preaches narcissistic nihilism is asking for trouble (Bork, pp. 125, 126).
Sowing the wind in the 1960s, America is reaping the whirlwind more than two decades into the 21st century. The nihilism of the 60s replaced God with man, self-denial with self-esteem, and love of righteousness with narcissism. It should then come as no surprise that in this age of “heightened sensitivity” we have forfeited the capacity to love our fellow man and that “good kids” kill their classmates. Having become inured to evil, society no longer has a sense of moral outrage. Blithely ignoring the blood of aborted babies that drips from the hands of Supreme Court Justices, we paradoxically cry, “Why?” when school children murder their classmates. We ignore the fact that the same secular state religion that allows the former results in the latter.
Leaving nothing in its place but the vanity of soul expressed by Robert Ingersoll at his brother’s grave when he said, “Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities,” Secular Humanism rejects and repudiates Christ’s teaching of self-denial. Into the ears of the young, it whispers its lie that, “ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5), while telling them that they are mere bits of matter with no reason for being and no destiny beyond this mundane sphere. Perhaps Pogo said it best: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”