Saturday afternoon, I returned home after taking my three oldest to a youth function at our church. As I checked my phone for messages, I saw a WhatsApp message from my husband’s uncle in Germany. He had sent a link to a German news sight. After the link, he had one question.
“What is going on in El Paso?”
I opened the link asking myself the same thing. I was concerned because my in-laws live in El Paso.
I mentally translated the German headlines. “Attack in a shopping mall.”
Closing WhatsApp, I headed to Google. “El Paso shooting,” I queried. Up popped various news articles about the shooting near Cielo Vista Mall.
I tried to remember how far away my in-laws lived from Cielo Vista, about 30 minutes. I continued perusing through the news articles and then snippets of tweets from one politician or celebrity. They all expressed their heartfelt condolences. Some expressed outrage. Many echoed my husband’s uncle’s question, “What is going on?”
Sunday morning, a gentleman stood behind the pulpit at my church to pray before the service. He asked for prayer not only for the families in El Paso, but also in Dayton, Ohio. It was the first I’d heard about the second shooting.
I found myself asking again, what is going on? The more I gained information, the more I asked the question.
Politicians, lawmakers, schoolteachers, citizens, everyone wants to know what is going on? Is it guns? Do we need more control? More laws? Is it a lack of education? Is it politics? Do we need different leaders? What is it?
I want to propose that the problem is our belief system.
Our country once believed that we were all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain rights. Our founders believed that we all had equal standing before God. They worked toward freedom for all because of that belief. They worked not just for political freedom, but physical freedom.
They did not see the complete fruition of their belief in their time, but others took up their cause and continued to work having the same belief. All are equal; all are important.
During the Civil War, men and women fought for equality based on the fact that we are created equal, no one is better than another based on birth or color.
After that victory, women took up the cry, gaining the right to vote. Women are created just like men are and so should have equal rights, equal opportunities.
All of our American freedoms were based on this belief. We became a country of freedom because of it. All are equal before God and therefore all are important.
But does our country believe that now?
In our schools, our children are taught that they are the products of millions of years of evolution, of struggle. They are not taught that they are created with intrinsic worth, with rights that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are taught that they are part of the fight for survival.
The strong survive. The weak die.
With this teaching comes the belief that some are better than others. With this belief system comes the bullying that we see, the elitism, the supremacy. This system tells our children that they are only important if they are strong. The weak have no use.
This system teaches that there are those better than others. Not only that, but if you want to help evolution along join in the fight.
It is what Hitler did. He believed that the Aryan was supreme over all. But we don’t work against his belief system, the thoughts that led him to those atrocities, we want to say absolute power corrupts. We want to take away his power, his weapon, instead of dealing with his belief system.
So is the answer gun control or education? Or is it belief?
As we think in our hearts, so are we. Our culture is a result of our cultural belief. If we want to see change in our society, to see love one for another, to see equality and freedom, maybe we need to change our cultural belief system.
Are we special, important creations or are we all animals just trying to survive?