Wednesdays raft of killings in Georgia have us
all wondering. Did sexual addiction drive some
young white guy to murder Asian women? Was
it the manifestation of racial bias? Or the evil
influence of both? We know nada. However
as one delves into Robert Aaron Long's past it
only gets more complicated. Reared in an ultra
conservative Southern Baptist home Mr. Long
was "saved" at age eight. Subsequently his teen
years were spent actively engaged in his local
spiritual community. So much so that he was
held up as a good example. Well... that is until
he went bad. As in killing eight people.
Having been raised in fundamentalist isolation
I experienced it's positive and negative impact.
Religious fervor requires that followers adhere
to strict rules. Striving to "live the life" against
all odds. Many are able to find solace in such
stringent dogma. A refuge from temptation.
Whereas others fail under such pressure. Thus
rebelling against constraints and dictums that
no human can uphold. While it's rare that such
strictures lead to murder - many are destroyed
in the process. So where is God in all of this?
Is fundamentalism by its radical nature little
more than a formula for sin in the making?
Mr. Long's crimes against humanity are proof
that we live in dangerous times. Extremism -
whether positive or negatively driven rarely
yields positive end results. Because it holds
humans to inhumane standards. Creating a
context where few if any can ever succeed.
The end result nurturing hate, anger, and self
loathing. A phenomena that based on my
understanding of religion seems sinful at best.
No matter what one believes - our common
hope is that religious pursuit makes us better
for it. If only we could join together in love,
hope, faith, and charity. Imagine that...