Roger Ebert concludes that James Holmes, the orange-haired Dark Knight murderer, must have been insane, as insane as America's gun laws. Holmes nature was so obvious to his mother, said Ebert, that when an ABC News reporter called, she said, "You have the right person." So Ebert asks, should a man of this nature be allowed to buy guns, ammunition and explosives? The gun lobby will say yes, the right wing will issue alarms, and nothing will change because the United State accepts the notion of firearms in public hands because in theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. And because of right wing belief in this theory, there will be another mass murder. (Weâ€™ve Seen This Movie Before, Ebert, July 20, 2012, New York Times) Ebert clearly sets himself and his exalted progressive opinions over and against the so-called right wing and its' insane theory that the citizenry needs to defend itself. So what is this theory and why is it insane, according to Ebert and all who think as he does?
Answer: that all men are endowed with free will, thereby allowing them to exercise authentic moral choice and agency. We can choose to lie or not lie, to hate or not hate, to steal or not steal, to cheat or not cheat, to use porn or not use porn, to abort our unborn baby or not abort. In short, all men are able to take one action rather than the other, and must then take responsibility for their choices.
The Western conception of free will is a product of Christian theism and the Biblical worldview, hence it is bound up with our sense of moral responsibility, said Dr. Albert Mohler:
"The Bible clearly presents human beings as morally responsible. Christians of virtually all theological traditions â€” including Reformed theology, Arminianism, and Catholicism â€” affirm moral and spiritual responsibility and the authenticity of the experience of choice. As a matter of fact, this capacity and accountability is rooted in the biblical concept of the imago Dei â€” the image of God. Our Creator made us as moral creatures and planted within us the capacity of conscience. All this refutes the concept of moral determinism." (So . . . Why Did I Write This? The Delusion of Determinism, Mohler, Aug. 21, 2008, AlbertMohler.com)
The dangerous delusion---moral determinism---is the position of progressive liberal humanists such as Ebert.
The multiple theories of determinism propose that man's choices and decisions are not an exercise of the will, but rather the inevitable outcome of factors outside man's control. As Scientific American explains, determinists argue that,
â€œeverything that happens is determined by what happened before â€” our actions are inevitable consequences of the events leading up to the action.â€ (ibid)
Determinism is a product of naturalism â€” the belief that neither the living God nor heavenly dimension exist; all that exists is the lower dimension, the material or natural world, therefore everything must be explained in purely natural terms.
Naturalism assumes that since man is not created in the spiritual image of the living God, then he has no individual spirit/soul. Spirit---mind, will, conscience-- is the noblest part of man's soul, but naturalism negates spirit and explains the human mind---including the experience of moral choices---is a matter of chemical reactions in the brain and nothing more.
Naturalism and its' canon of diverse theories (i.e., determinism) are neither new nor particularly scientific. Naturalism is rather a regression to man's pre-Christian past wherein man was nothing but an aspect of creation. Man had no moral choice, for he was a cosmic machine made of the same elements, given the same structure, and made subject to the same rhythms and laws of the universe.
In this way of thinking, nature has not only somehow caused man to exist, but tightly bound him to a predetermined nature and subsequent fate, be it as slave, sheep-herder, tent-maker or king. Some nature philosophers even held that man's thoughts were not his own.
Like a dog returning to its' own vomit, modern determinists escape moral responsibilty by conceptually subsuming themselves into the unseen forces and laws of nature just as their pagan predecessors did. Thus Ebert asked, should a man of this (predetermined/ predestined) nature be allowed to buy guns, ammunition and explosives?
Roy Hazelwood (b. 1938) is a former FBI profiler of sex crimes and is highly regarded as the pioneer of profiling sexual predators. Hazelwood is a Christian and in "Dark Dreams," his second book about serial sexual predators, he completely destroys determinism, exposing it as a dangerous delusion. (Roy Hazelwood---Profiler of Sexual Crimes, Katherine Ramsland, Crime Library)
Hazelwood writes that St. Augustine's exposition on the five steps taken by men and women prior to acting in a sinful way are entirely applicable to his own work and lectures by simply replacing the word 'sin' with the word 'crime.'
He notes that Augustine began by arguing that sin (or moral evil and/or crime) originates in the prideful mind (haughty spirit), then moves to the bodily senses for approval. The consequences are considered, the will makes a decision to act, and then the mind rationalizes the choice.
Using Augustine's five steps as his template, Hazelwood explains,
"...the sexual criminal fantasizes about a criminal act, and if the idea is pleasing to his senses..touch, sight, etc. he considers the consequences of what might happen and then decides to act. Finally, he rationalizes his behavior for having committed the crime..."I wouldn't have done it if..." (ibid)
Hazelwood once asked a serial rapist, "If the death penalty was the punishment for your crime, would you still have committed the offense?" The rapist said yes because,
" I didn't think I was going to be caught and I wasn't thinking of the consequences, I was thinking of the immediate gratification." (ibid)
Augustine said all sin begins with pride (narcissism), and this is very true said Hazelwood:
"...most successful sexual criminals are quite narcissistic, believing they are superior to society in general and law enforcement in particular. They come to believe that they can't get caught, so they engage in greater and greater risk taking. This serves two purposes; to prove they are superior and to maintain the "high" they get from committing the crimes."
Proud naturalists deny both their own propensity for evil and their personal responsibility. All who choose to deceive themselves in this way must also choose to explain away if not outright deny moral choice, or free will. And so we find them like Ebert, scapegoating and crucifying right-wingers, the NRA, Tea Party, faithful Christians, and innanimate objects like guns for their own sins and subsequent paranoia as well as championing neo-pagan soulless naturalism, determinism, Freudianism (Freud was a materialist), Jungianism (Jung was a Gnostic pantheist), empiricism, collectivism, redistributionism, sustainability agendas, and of course----gun-control.
Eventually, some deeply self-deluded narcissists choose to hate and from there begin dreaming dark dreams of violence and murder, as Holmes most likely did. Hazelwood writes that dark fantasies precede actual crimes, be it murder, mass-murder, or sex crimes. And this is why we must be concerned about the liberal left's dark fantasies described by James Taranto in a 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed. Taranto describes the growing bloodlust of the progressive left:
â€œAmericaâ€™s liberal left is preoccupied with salacious fantasies of political violence. These take two forms: dreams of leftist insurrection, and nightmares of reactionary bloodshed.â€ (Grotesque Human Moral Evil Destroying the West and America http://patriotsandliberty.com/?p=18017 )
If all of our choices are illusory, as Ebert and other determinists hold, and everything is merely the inevitable consequence of something beyond our control, then moral responsibility is an exercise in delusion, therefore sexual predators, serial killers, orange-haired narcissists pretending to be the Joker and insane progressives preoccupied with insurrection and bloodshed may as well dream dark dreams and act on them.
However, Scientific American reports on a study performed by psychologists Kathleen Vohs and Jonathan Schooler. The psychologists found that individuals who were told that their moral choices were determined, rather than free, were also more likely to cheat on an experimental examination:
"....itâ€™s not surprising that people behave less morally as they become skeptical of free will. Further, the Vohs and Schooler result fits with the idea that people will behave less responsibly if they regard their actions as beyond their control. If I think that thereâ€™s no point in trying to be good, then Iâ€™m less likely to try." (The Delusion of Determinism, Mohler)
In this light, morally responsible, right thinking Americans can clearly see that naturalism and determinism are dark lies and dangerous delusions lending themselves to dark dreams of violence and bloodshed. They are subversions of moral responsiblity, said Dr. Mohler:
"(and are) both a delusion and a trap. And, as the Scientific American report indicates, even those who say they believe in moral determinism are unable to live consistently with this assumption. We know we are responsible." (So . . . Why Did I Write This? The Delusion of Determinism)