OK, I’m going to show how fair-minded I am by commenting on George Sodini. Previously I have made remarks about James von Brunn, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, and Seung-Hui Cho, so here I will bring out the dirty laundry on a Christian psychopath. Sodini’s crime has led to new sightings of the Flying Theocracy Monster:
The questions pertaining to this tidbit are as follows:
- Did Sodini make it to heaven even though everyone hates him now?
- Did Sodini’s former church make him a murderer?
- Did Bible doctrine make Sodini a murderer?
Here is the interesting part from an Associated Press report dated August 10, 2009 (I’m not going to bother linking to it, because AP revises their stories constantly, changes page URLs, and wants to charge people for quoting from them):
Church records suggest Sodini last attended services about five years ago. He signed an enrollment card in March 2004 but was removed form the congregation sometime later for harassing a woman, Matone said.
Sodini’s misery was apparent in his rambling, hate-filled blog, in which he complained of a nonexistent sex life, years of rejection by women and social isolation. Among those he blamed for his perceived troubles were his family and Tetelestai’s longtime pastor, Alan “Rick” Knapp, whose teachings he interpreted as assurance he would go to heaven even after committing murder.
“This guy teaches (and convinced me) you can commit mass murder, then still go to heaven,” he wrote.
Based on this excerpt, which seems to be congruent with most of the web news on Sodini, we ought to come up with the following answers:
- Yes (in another story, a deacon who knew Sodini states that he believes he was saved)
Not only did Sodini’s former church not practice zombie mind control techniques on him, the so-called fundamentalist literature Sodini was reading didn’t instruct him to kill women. (Thieme is not a “fundamentalist” and he constantly criticizes those who self-identify as such.) If anything, Thieme’s books convinced Sodini of what a loser he was because women were repelled by him, and this probably made him even more depressed. Nevertheless, he chose to ignore opportunities to repent and grow spiritually; then he planned and carried out something that he knew was criminal, which yet satisfied his warped sense of personal justice.
Once again, “bad ideas” did not cause someone to be a murderer; rage, frustration, envy, and emotional immaturity did.
So, what about the charge that God might let him off without punishment? Let’s see, the guy is dead; if you’re an atheist, what more can you ask for? I know, they just want to show how immoral evangelical Protestants are as compared to Hindus and Buddhists, who would suggest that Sodini will suffer for his crimes in an afterlife or later life.
I must admit that there are many such examples to show that the Protestant doctrines of sin, atonement, and salvation do not comprise a “moral economy” comparable to the karmic system. I don’t have a justification for that, except to say that any earthly good or bad deeds have nothing to do with your heaven/hell status after death, and it is not my responsibility to determine whether Sodini was saved. In fact, I can imagine a situation in which he was saved and realized his sinfulness, but then was so immature and stubborn that he reacted to this knowledge by deciding to kill someone. Contrary to myth, salvation does not cure stupidity; it only gives you an opportunity to improve yourself if you are willing.