For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." - Genesis 3: 5 (ESV)
The devil rarely has to change tactics when it comes to manipulating mankind. The reason why is we are anything if not predictable. We have the same lusts and desires. We react to many of the same buttons when pressed. Sure their are subtle variations across different people but as Al Pacino once declared while playing Satan, vanity is definitely his favorite sin. It is pride that led to the fall of Lucifer:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' - Isaiah 14: 14 (ESV)
When he failed at making himself like God and was thrown down to the earth, he set about to corrupt mankind in the very same way. The key verse above shows he offered the same thing to Eve in the garden. You will be like God! And Eve took the bait and took the bite and man fell just as Satan had fallen. Thanks be to our merciful God that He provided His only Son to atone for our sin and reconcile us back to Him but the tactics of the enemy remain unchanged. I say this as the backdrop of discussing the events over this weekend that saw 22 year old Elliot Rodger slaughter six people before taking his own life in a well planned killing spree. I say well planned because he wrote a manifesto of his life in excess of 100 pages and mailed it to 22 different people before he began his carnage. He also created a YouTube video discussing his plans in detail. In the chilling seven minute video there was one line from the would be killer that stood out to me:
"I will be a god compared to you."
You can hear Satan speaking through him on the video at this point. It is the same promise he promised Eve in the garden. It is the same plan he himself tried which led to him being banished to earth. But where do we go from here? Society will do its usual song and dance about mourning the loss of life while ignoring the obvious problem, which is the prevailing culture of death we embrace. I listened to the complaints of Elliot Rodger on his video. They were very unremarkable. They were very similar to many a frustrated young man who did not fit with the "in" crowds. Lack of acceptance. Lack of affection from women. Lack of sex. These were not uncommon in my generation growing up and I am sure continuing back to decades before that, most would agree they are unremarkable complaints. Then what is the real issue here? What is so different about the year 2014 from 1984, when I was graduating high school?
We can always talk about the destruction of the nuclear family. How kids are left to be raised on their own more and more these days. That is a fair assessment a part of the problem but even that misses the mark. No beloved, the truth is that we no longer value life in this country. In my days growing up there definitely was equal angst but the notion of casually taking another person's life simply was not acceptable. Don't believe me? Let's turn to the statistics then.
A U.S. Senate report in 1999 found that by the age of 18 someone will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and over 200,000 acts of violence. One expert concluded that we are not only teaching kids to kill but we are teaching them to like it. That was in 1999, before the age of Grand Theft Auto. Think about these numbers. Not only are they being numbed to murder but quite frequently Hollywood makes the "bad guy" the hero in the story. The "antihero" is one of the more celebrated cinematic themes. Revenge is celebrated by the culture at large. Entire movies have been made that are nothing more than a glorified revenge spree. Forgiveness? Mercy? That's for suckers. You are taught to get rich or die trying.