Florida tragedy

In a disturbing and tragic bit of news, a mother in Florida shot her son and then herself at a gun range. What reasoning did she use that led to these actions?

“I’m so sorry,” Marie Moore wrote in one note. “I had to send my son to heaven and myself to Hell.”

Apparently she also thought she was the Antichrist.

On audio recordings left for her family, police and gun range owners, Moore apologized for what she had done, but said God commanded her to do it. She said God made her the ‘Antichrist,’ and that she must die to save her boyfriend, son and the world from violence, and her mother, father and brother from hell.

“You have a gun, you can do it,” she said God told her while she was in a mental hospital. “I have to die and go to hell so there can be a thousand years peace on Earth.”

Her fate made no sense to Moore.

“I don’t know how all this happened. It’s not in the Bible,” she adds later. “No forgiveness for me. That’s not in the Bible. The Antichrist being a woman.”

Now, clearly most Christians do not go around thinking they are the Antichrist and shooting their children and are probably just as appalled at this as anybody else. Nonetheless, it seems to me difficult to argue that the thinking here is not entirely inconsistent with a religious mindset. Perhaps the son was saved, and in her view, he will now be spending eternity in heaven with God, before he has a chance to change his mind. She says that God talked to her. We recognize this as mental illness, but what makes this different than the numerous people God is said to have talked to in the Bible? What makes her interpretation of the Antichrist any less correct than any others? This is the kind of ungrounded thinking that religion enables. Perhaps without religion another tragic manifestation of her mental illness would have come to pass, but at least this easy avenue would not have been available. Without superstitious thinking, maybe she would have recognized the problems she was having and taken appropriate steps. We’ll never know.

Of course, this is not evidence against Christianity. But I would think that this should cause one to at least examine the beliefs that can enable this train of thought. If you are a believer, ask yourself if this belief set is really consistent with the world around you. Is it really consistent with your own morals and views concerning how worthwhile life is?

Regardless, deepest sympathies to the family of Marie Moore in this senseless tragedy.

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