Click here to
March 27, 2008
Click Here to Order!
Return to Home Page Return to Old Archive Home Page Doctrine, Scripture, Morality, Vocation, Community Identity, Sexuality, Family, Healing, Work Art, Ideas, Technology, Science, Business Politics, Bioethics, Ecology, Justice, Peace Spirituality, Prayers, Poems, and Witness Archive of top news from around the web Columns, Reviews and Personal Essays What is Godspy?
faith article
A Personal Response to President Bush's Address to the Nation, by Johann Christoph Arnold
Mr. President, I respect you deeply. You are daily in my prayers. I humbly ask that, in this moment of world crisis, you lead our nation by putting your trust in God alone and not in our military superiority.

In Praise of Black Sheep Reasons to Love Your Difficult Child, by Johann Christoph Arnold
If anything, parents of difficult children ought to be envied, because it is they, more than any others, who are forced to learn the most wonderful secret of true parenthood: the meaning of unconditional love.

In Praise of Fatherhood, by Johann Christoph Arnold
Life in today’s world is life in a war zone, and too many fathers are unwilling to be called up—to be soldiers, twenty-four hours a day, on their own home front.

Teaching Science: A Balanced Perspective on the Evolution vs. Creation Debate, by Johann Christoph Arnold
The debate between evolutionism and creationism that rages in our schools has little to do with real science. It’s about who we really are: the image of God or clever animals destined for annihilation?

Click here to buy the movie...
Click here to see the video!
Click here to buy!
Click Here to Order!
Click here to buy!

Will the Virginia Tech Tragedy Change Us?

Senseless violence and death won’t be overcome by sitting, numbly glued to the TV, watching as the story is played and replayed over and over again.

Students at Virginia Tech hold a candlelight vigil after the Virginia Tech massacre.


In the aftermath of Monday's shootings at Virginia Tech, the news media are doing an excellent job. Newspapers are printing lengthy stories on the lives of the dead and their beloved families. NBC has immortalized the shooter by airing his own video clips, photographs, and statements. Eyewitness accounts are being pieced together to tell us, minute-by-minute, how, when, and where each victim was gunned down. While some of this information may be useful, it mostly serves to sensationalize violence.

Out of love and reverence for the victims and their families, let us turn off our TVs, and turn to God.
At Virginia Tech itself, thousands of students have been knocked to their knees. They are weeping, lighting candles, holding vigils, and praying. And on countless other campuses, students are anxiously asking whether such a horror could ever unfold at their school.

But what about the rest of us? Are we going to join these students in our grief? Are we going to let our hearts be moved, and turn to God as we mourn? Or are we just going to sit, numbly glued to the TV, and watch as the story is played and replayed?

The silence of politicians (including those gearing up for presidential
campaigns) is deafening. Most church leaders, too, are remaining safely silent. They seem unwilling to point the nation to what is right and wrong. And of those who are speaking out, few are pointing to prayer, or to God, but are focusing on how we should make campuses safer—more like airports, with metal detectors and armed police.

The power of love alone robs every violent deed of its power.
One NRA member in Virginia is even proposing that college students be allowed to carry firearms for self-defense. Meanwhile, others are recommending the increased use of distance (online) learning, so that students at large universities can choose to study more safely. This last suggestion is especially troubling, as it will only make more students more isolated. After all, it was the gunman's extreme alienation from everyone—his parents, peers, professors, and even roommates—that seems to have driven him over the edge.

When a tragedy of this magnitude strikes, there are never simple answers. But that's precisely why we need to talk to one another. Everyone is scared. Only through sharing and listening can we overcome fear. Through it we will discover that we are all the same.

My heart goes out to every family who lost a loved one. I know there must be intense soul-searching going on in every case. "Where was God in all this?" "Why did he allow such beautiful lives to be cut short?" "Why did so many students in their prime have to sacrifice their futures to someone they didn't even know?"

We may have trouble believing it, but God was there when the killer stalked the campus. He was there as each life was snuffed out, and he received each one of them. We will never understand why he did not intervene and put a stop to it. But we can be sure that he has the matter in his hands, and that he can use even this tragedy for the salvation of the living and of the dead.

When a tragedy of this magnitude strikes, there are never simple answers.
Out of love and reverence for the victims and their families, let us turn off our TVs, and turn to God. Let us become inwardly silent, and pray that the massacre leads us to a sense of nationwide community. If that happens, then these lives were not lost in vain. God sees everything and has a purpose and a plan for everything. He sees the suffering of each soul: the broken, the weak, the humble, the pure in heart, the merciful, and those who are sick and long for God. He sees and accepts us, every one.

Let us also not forget the powerful lesson the Pennsylvania Amish taught us, when five of their children were gunned down last fall. They chose not to defend themselves, but to whole-heartedly forgive. As we contemplate the shooter, let us love and forgive. The cycle of senseless violence and death can be overcome only by good. The power of love alone robs every violent deed of its power.

Even when it goes against our own feelings or when, as in this tragedy, we see the worst of human nature, let us never seek revenge. Every time we do, we become as evil as the aggressor himself. Instead, let us pray for the daring to reach out to one another not less, but more; let us join hands and look up to God. Even when faced with incomprehensible evil, he is the only answer.


April 19, 2007

JOHANN CHRISTOPH ARNOLD is an author, speaker and founder of Breaking the Cycle, which teaches nonviolent conflict resolution in high schools and universities. His books include “Seeking Peace”, “Why Forgive?”, “Escape Routes”, and “Be Not Afraid”.

Copyright © 2007, Johann Christoph Arnold. All rights reserved.

Email A Friend
08.20.07   TonyC says:
Community, interior prayerful silence and forgiveness are three elements of Rev. Arnold's words that stand out for me. This current media-hyped climate of fear tempts us away from each of these into isolation and hopelessness. The Gospel of Jesus offers us a living and timeless message of hope and Love to overcome all fear. Even in the deep sorrows of our time, this message will never be extinguished. Let us unplug the TVs, turn off the noise and find time to rediscover ourselves -alone in prayer and together in worship- rooted in God. Only in this way can we be empowered to live the Gospel's law of love with hope, communion, peace and justice.

06.08.07   troubledgoodangel says:
I doubt that humanity will change after this massacre. The Powers-That-Be will not allow any change! I have commented profusely on the reasons why Mr. Cho went over the board, but the truth of my comments was systematically silenced! Surprise? Why the world fears the truth? Because the truth indicts the world! Every person who knows how evil works, knows exactly what happened at Virginia Tech! But Virginia Tech does not want this truth out! The truth is: the Korean tintorero didn't fit into the plans of students and teachers! In Argentina they say, "el no daba bolas a nadie." The man was simply different! So, as always happens in similar cases in the United States, the "community" decided to truncate his career, and to get him out by character assessination. When Cho realized that this was what happened, he lost his mind. That's the truth that has been censored on this case.

05.09.07   Godspy says:
Senseless violence and death won’t be overcome by sitting, numbly glued to the TV, watching as the story is played and replayed over and over again.

Click to buy at Amazon.com!
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Advertise | About Us