An Inhuman Culture
Yesterday I started a new book, You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World, by Alan Noble.
Today came word of another mass shooting, this one at a Texas school. 18 children and 3 adults are dead.
These are the opening words of Alan Noble’s book:
“A defining feature of life in the modern West is our awareness of society’s inhumanity and our inability to imagine a way out of it.
“This inhumanity includes everything from abortions, mass shootings, and widespread coverups of sexual abuse to meaningless jobs, broken communities, and TV shows that are only good for numbing our anxiety for thirty minutes.”
“We weren’t made to live like this, and most of us know it. But either we don’t care, or we don’t think we can do anything about it. So, the mode that best describes our day-to-day experience is ‘survival.’ Ask any honest parent, student, or employee and they’ll tell you that their goal for the day is to survive — to ‘get through the day,’ or ‘make it through.’ Existence is a thing to be tolerated; time is a burden to be carried. And while there are moments of joy, nobody seems to be actually flourishing — except on Instagram, which only makes us feel worse.”
I might not describe the marks of our “inhuman” society in the same way as Noble, but his overall assessment rings true, especially in light of the most recent unspeakable mass shooting.
Now, once more the words of condolence and promises to “stand with you” are tweeted to the shattered parents and community . . . as they must be.
Once more the debate over guns ignites . . . soon, if past experience is any guide, to flame out. Let it not be so this time.
Instantly, the internet hosts a blizzard of articles headed, “How to talk to your children about violence and mass shootings in schools,” as if there really were a way.
We rush to analysis, interpretation, explanations (racism? mental illness? gun culture?), advice, advocacy, solutions. But really we are wordless. If we are not, we should be. At least for a time.
“I have no other words,” wrote my friend Jason Micheli on Substack, only these,
“A society that tolerates the ongoing slaughter of children in the name of ‘gun rights’ is not a free society but an idolatrous one.”
There’s something wrong. Something terribly wrong. Ours has become “an inhuman culture.”
If we are honest our whole fricking society desperately needs AA’s Step One, this admission, “We admitted we were powerless over guns and violence and that our life together has become unmanageable.” Time, past time, to turn to a Higher Power. Time, way past time, to act against this ridiculous, unfettered access to murderous weapons of carnage.