Christian Theologian John Piper: The Newtown Murders Are a Warning from God to See Our Souls as Depraved

Here’s Christian theologian John Piper talking out of his ass about the Newtown shootings:

the murders of Newtown are a warning to me — and you. Not a warning to see our schools as defenseless, but to see our souls as depraved. To see our need for a Savior. To humble ourselves in repentance for the God-diminishing bitterness of our hearts. To turn to Christ in desperate need, and to treasure his forgiveness, his transforming, and his friendship.

What did the rest of us take away from the massacre? We should let our friends and family members know that we love them because life is short and anything could happen. We need stricter gun control laws in our country. We live in a country full of people who will use even the cruelest of tragedies to advance their religious/political beliefs.

What did Piper take away from all this? We need more Jesus in our lives.

Not surprisingly, comments are closed on his blog.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Kaydenpat

    “What did Piper take away from all this? We need more Jesus in our lives.”

    Or possibly some gun control legislation? Who knows?

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    I never knew the woodwork was so full of sicko’s, they’re all crawling out now.

  • Stev84

    Ah Calvinism, the most fucked up, immoral, nihilistic and anti-human belief system ever made up.

  • Ruth

    Today I heard someone say that the tragedy was because God has been taken out of our schools.   Ugh.

  • RobMcCune

    Another christian comes out of the wood work. Do these people find vindication in the suffering and death of others? Oh wait, never mind.

  • jose

    Let me finish that quote for him…

    “To turn to
    Christ in desperate need, and to treasure his forgiveness, his
    transforming, and his friendship”

    Fuck you, John Piper, you vulture.

  • Randomfactor

    “… the murders of Newtown are a warning to me — and you”

    No.  Just you.  Thanks for warning us, though. 

  • Stev84

    It was Tertullian who first fantasized about looking down from heaven into hell and taking almost orgasmic joy in watching the people being tormented there. Thomas Aquinas said similar things.

  • Adam Patrick

    And the next clown chimes in

  • Bystander Standingby

    I’m still trying to figure out if stricter gun control laws would have prevented this tragedy.

    The shooter in this case seems to have had a history of mental illness, based on the reports so far. He obtained the weapons from his mother, who was the legally registered owner. He killed her first. The manner in which he killed his mother suggests a motive; what that was, and whether his justification for it was real or imagined we may never know.

    There are several questions this case raises, the first seemingly being whether if you have a family member who is mentally ill or who has a history of such illness, do you deserve extra scrutiny  (or denial of purchase entirely) when you attempt purchase a gun? How many degrees of separation are needed until it is no longer an issue for the background check?

    Then there are the questions directly related to the shooting: Were the guns purchased by her, for her own use or ownership? If so, why did she feel she needed them? Or did she buy the guns for her son? Did she know he had a history of mental illness?

  • C Peterson

    No thanks. What rational, moral person would voluntarily turn to a god that uses methods like this to deliver warnings? The very concept is sick.

  • disillusiondrew

    Well said.

  • Octoberfurst

     Yes if only we had more Jesus in our lives tragedies like this never would happen. And the same goes for hurricane Sandy. And the BP oil spill. And the shootings in Colorado. Yep all we need is Jesus and nothing bad will ever happen.  In fact I believe that nothing bad ever happened before prayer was taken out of public schools.  It was a paradise!
      Seriously, people who think this way really need to have their heads examined. I get so sick it hearing people spew this BS every time something horrible happens. “If only we had more of God in our lives this never would have happened!” AWW SHUT-UP!!

  • Bellj

    Sounds like God is a real dick. So is John Piper. 

  • disillusiondrew

    Sadly, John Piper is highly respected among fundamentalists (i.e. not fringe) and this is a typical way Christians will leverage/spin a tragedy (and many feel they’re being sincere and using it as an opportunity to save souls when they do this). The article is trying to explain to its readers that all people are as culpable as the gunman because we have turned against God (original sin). In other words, we should all feel like murderers in contrast to God. Consequently, we need to beg God’s forgiveness because we are all pathetic, murdering, worms. This is really scary because the way to “fix” this problem is to “come to Jesus” so that you can “take on” his righteousness. So, whether I fantasize about killing someone in a moment of anger (“thought crime”) or ACTUALLY kill someone (ACTUAL crime), Piper is putting these things on the same level before God. The implications of that are frightening. Also, it shows a complete disregard for all of the goodness that people are showing in the wake of this disaster… people rallying to provide support, psychological and medical care, encouragement, etc. These people are not depraved, they’re shining examples of goodness and compassion. 

    Final thought: Don’t pray. Help. See Ericka’s previous article titled “What Can Atheists Do When Horrible Things Happen?”

  • Pawel Samson

    If someone actually said that to me in person, I would probably be left speechless.  The internet and Fox News are a swirling cesspool of those kind of beliefs, but I can’t imagine someone actually saying that out loud…. in public… like it’s some sort of coherent thought.

    So if the kids were lead in prayer and force-fed creationism in public schools, this dude wouldn’t have gone on a rampage?  Wow, that’s some warped logic.  Congrats on completing the indoctrination process, theists.

  • disillusiondrew

    Piper makes no mention of how mental illness may play a role. Christians default to the “depraved or saved” dichotomy, but human behavior is much more complicated than that. 

  • cipher


  • Coyotenose

    Whether better laws would have helped in this care specifically is debatable, but in general I don’t see how they could at this point. In the U.S., we have more privately owned firearms than PEOPLE. The horses have already left the stable.

    If every firearm, bullet, manufacturing facility and equipment for same or similar items, and person who know how to craft them on the planet vanished today, by tomorrow there would be a hundred thousand functioning zip guns. Within a week, we’d have rebuilt the tools to make good quality firearms all over the world.

    We just can’t do much with anti-gun legislation at this point. We have to get people to understand that firearms aren’t actually cool or sexy; that their primary purpose is to leave humans screaming on the ground with holes in their bellies.

    Hell, you don’t even need a gun to HUNT. They’re worse than pointless for the vast majority of citizens. It’s like putting a loaded bear trap on your back porch “just in case” and leaving it there all the time.

    Except, y’know, bear traps don’t put gaping holes in people’s bellies or skulls in normal “worst case scenarios”.

  • cipher

    I take this out and dust it off every so often. I have an article Piper wrote about thirty years ago, when his kids were young. He begins by taking shots at Tom Talbott, the Evangelical universalism, claiming that he is “saddened” by Talbott’s arguments that ultimately, everyone will be saved, then proceeds through paragraph after paragraph or the typical garbage, and ends with this:

    I have three sons. Every night after they are asleep I turn on the hall light, open their bedroom door, and walk from bed to bed, laying my hands on them and praying. Often I am moved to tears of joy and longing. I pray that Karsten Luke become a great physician of the soul, that Benjamin John become the beloved son of my right hand in the gospel, and that Abraham Christian give glory to God as he grows strong in his faith.

    But I am not ignorant that God may not have chosen my sons for his sons. And, though I think I would give my life for their salvation, if they should be lost to me, I would not rail against the Almighty. He is God. I am but a man. The potter has absolute rights over the clay. Mine is to bow before his unimpeachable character and believe that the Judge of all the earth has ever and always will do right.


    In other words, if God has predestined his children to hell, he’s just fine with it. I offer this to all of those who say I’m too harsh when I call them criminal psychopaths and insist the only course of action open to us is to prohibit their reproduction.

    I quoted this passage here about three years ago, and added  “Can you imagine growing up in that environment?” Piper’s son, Abraham, who had left the fold for a brief period but had recently been reconciled to his father and had gone back to work for his father’s organization, came along and left a drive-by comment, to the effect of  “The question isn’t whether or not it’s disturbing, but whether or not it’s true.” The denial was palpable.

    Mike Clawson was contributing in those days, and he asked Abraham (with whom he’d attended Wheaton) to consider that his father’s interpretation might be wrong, and to try to open himself up to a wider range of possibilities. Abraham didn’t bother to respond.

    Bottom line: Piper is a piece of work, and he’s irreparably fucked up his kids.

  • Sara
  • Stev84

    In Calvinism nothing anyone does matters even one bit. God has already chosen everyone who goes to heaven (before he even created the world), so no matter how good anyone is, they are probably already destined for hell. It’s truly sick.

  • cipher

    It is the most grotesque, obscene belief system ever devised. And what is important to remember – and I cannot emphasize this strongly enough – is that all conservative evangelicals are Calvinists, to one extent or another, even if they claim not to be. Calvinism and Dominionism are the two most prominent influences within the evangelical subculture, even upon those who wouldn’t identify either as Calvinists or as Dominionists.

    It’s a subculture of psychopaths.

  • colleen2

    Oddly, I have no difficulty seeing the depravity of this man’s  soul. What an absurd and petty God he believes it.

  • nakedanthropologist

    I both agree and disagree.  In all honesty, and do think some tighter gun laws would help in some situations, although not necessarily this one.  I really don’t see the need for your average Joe to have a semi-automatic or automatic weapons – they’re not good for hunting, and home defense/self defense doesn’t require an uzi.  That said, in order to drive a car legally in the US you have to pass a driving exam, and learn beforehand the rules of the road, safety procedures, as well as capable operating skills.  Something similar should be required for guns, with safety as the primary goal.  As you previously mentioned, the murder’s actions were consistent with mental illness and motive, so in this case gun law might not be a primary causal factor.  But what about gun safety?  Where did his mother keep the weapons – in a drawer or in a locked case? 

  • allein

    Because of Hurricane Sandy, I have one church-going friend who just last week moved to her parents’ house in CT and put her 5 confused kids in a school 2 miles from this one. And another friend who today is moving into the parsonage at her church because her house is currently unliveable and since the church does not currently have a permanent pastor, they are letting her family (including her husband and daughter, and her sister and her 2 kids) live there for a while. That friend’s sister posts religious inspirational messages all the time. Plenty of Jesus in their lives but still homeless and potentially traumatized because of the storm. So yeah.

  • Andrew Hall

    Sinners in the fist of a sociopathic God.

  • Andrew Hall

    I like the picture. It’s what a supervillain giving a monologue would look like.

  • Antinomian

    I see that in this picture, while Piper waves his arms, he’s pronouncing the letter ‘O’. I’m just not sure whether it’s Hocus or Pocus.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Is there some reason god can’t just yell at me if he wants to send me a message? Does he really have to kill children?

  • Michael Emerson

    Dr. Piper has a motto to never let a little human misery go to waste.  When a tornado passed through Minneapolis a few years ago, he was quick to point out that this was punishment for the consideration of gay rights in the lutheran church.  How someone with this type of raw intelligence can think this way is beyond my ability to understand.

  • Michael Emerson

    I think a little bit of Muslim hate would be required to ensure this type of event would not happen.

  • Anna

    Yes, I once had a conversation with a Calvinist who was just fine with babies being tortured in hell. It’s really the most sick, twisted theology I’ve come across. If there’s anything worse, I’m not sure I’ve heard of it. What’s so awful is to think of innocent children being indoctrinated to believe such terrible things about themselves.

  • LesterBallard

    I’ve always thought Piper was a piece of shit. Confirmed. Let me counter him with someone else’s words:

    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”— Fred Rogers (or Mr. Rogers)

  • anuran

    Did not know there are this many depraved pastors. Oh wait, these are pastors… never mind.

  • Brian Scott

    It was reading Tertullian, o’ Hippo and Aquinas that first caused me enough distress in my own faith.

  • Brian Scott

    I usually try to be polite with others as a matter of good faith, religious or not.

    Not with Calvinists, though. They have earned a well deserved contempt from me and I will abuse them when they start their death-speaking.

    Not one, not a single Calvinist have I seen attempt an argument in good faith. Only bashing and using logical undermining based on blase assumptions.

    Calvin should be taught in every class as an author of authoritarianism and terror and stain his name for posterity for the deaths and injustices his ideas wrought.

  • smrnda

    What’s with this OUR souls as depraved, or OUR bitterness in heart? I mean, 1 gunman shot up a bunch of people, while so far, most people have not gone on shooting sprees.  Despite what Christians say (it’s equally sinful to doubt a book of silly mythologies as it is to shoot a bunch of people) there might be something wrong with society, but most people are not like the gunman.

    Christianity works by selling people on the idea that they need a savior. Just like good marketers, they realized that most people aren’t depraved enough, so they have to go in with the BS that all sins are equal to expand their market.

    Of course, equating minor acts of ‘sin’ (their word, not mine!) with homicide is just a way to trivialize the latter. Any god who thinks that way would be a figure I”d want nothing to do with one way or another.

  • Angie H0

    We as humans are so hard headed and sinful, we need to open up our eyes to see how much we need Jesus,

  • MichaelL65

    Piper. Huckabee.  What kind of God do they serve? One that is a petty, spoiled child that gets angry because he is not allowed in a public school (BS By the way).  A god who takes his anger out upon 20 innocent children, and 6 adults trying to protect them.  If this god is so great and worthy of praise, why not stop this?  I am an ex Christian. A decade ago, I would have gone along with the sentiments expressed by Piper and Huckabee. Now I see them for what they are. Fear mongering, hate filled spiritual vampires. They add nothing to providing a rational solution. Continue to ignore the real issues: An out of control gun culture and a woefully inadequate health care system. I guess as long as you have more Jesus, those things don’t matter. Bullshit. God is as much a part of American culture as guns are.  In fact it is the God mob that scream about their Second Amendment rights being trampled every time someone with common sense points out the fact that gun control laws are insane.  Piper and hus type need to just STFU and let more rational people work on fixing this.

  • Brian Scott

    Seriously barking up the wrong tree.

  • Nox

     I assume this is the same John Piper who defended the genocide in the old testament with similar reasoning.

  • Stev84

    It’s simply him being a Calvinist. Look up “total depravity”.  Original Sin taken to the extreme. He thinks all humans are inherently evil and incapable of being good without some blessing from god. Even if we do good things, it’s evil because it comes from humanity, is done for our own gain, or doesn’t directly glorify god.

  • Baal

     I’d probably settle for my shrubbery to light on flame with out some other explaination available – particularly if the shrub also spoke and put it self out after.

  • Baal

     I have to think that a requirement for secure storage be part of gun licensure is merited.    It’d not stop all of these events but it may stop a few. 

  • smrnda

     I’m familiar with the doctrines, but Calvinism is a worldview that you have to totally deny reality in order to believe. I can’t believe that all people are inherently bad just since most people live far too boring of lives to be either very good or evil. The whole ‘when we do good its evil because of bad motives’ sounds like a lazy sod on a couch who has to find a way to bash people better than him. The lazy sod Calvinist sees himself as better than those who actually do more good since he thinks ‘good’ means ‘believing the right things.’

  • Drakk

     >> I’m familiar with the doctrines, but Calvinism is a worldview that you have to totally deny reality in order to believe.

    Well, no different to any of the other religions then.

  • julie

    I think the solution to mass shootings is a combination between more gun control and a better mental health system. Gun control probably wouldn’t have helped very much in this particular case, but it would have in other cases.
    As far as mental health, it’s just not something we take very seriously. We know how a sane person behaves and we know how mentally challenged and insane people behave. We have no idea how to handle the people who are in between. There are so many people who just seem a bit…”off” and we don’t know what to do about them.

  • LesterBallard

    Yeah, these Pakistani children are so depraved, you worthless shitstain.

  • disillusiondrew

    I was raised a Calvinist and didn’t wake up to the craziness until I was 29, but I hope that means there’s hope for some of us. It’s SO obvious how messed up it is now, but I was totally indoctrinated, so even 3 years ago I would’ve defended Piper. Scary. :-(

  • blub blubber

    Apart from smarter gun control legislation and desperately needed upgrades in the psychiatric care in this country there is, I believe, something one might call spiritual or higher order societal to learn or rediscover through this incident:  We will see hatred and despair among those who lost persons who were innocent and most precious to them and we will see them fall apart.
    Maybe, this will help us understand also how (not) to wage war and not to accept collateral damage. People are people wherever you go and they break just like we do. To miss this opportunity for growth would be sad and potentially dangerous.

  • Peter Denshaw

    I don’t know what the answer is to the issue of gun crime and the regular
    massacres that seem part of American culture (though here in the UK we should not forget the Hungerford, Dunblane and Whitehaven massacres ).  But I sure do know that speculation andinnuendo are not helpful.  As for those eager to insinuate the tragedy happened becau‘God’ is not allowed in schools, I think we can safely say they are worthless scum bags, who are eager to make political capital out of others’ misfortune.  For one, in the USA, many of the Bible belt states have far higher than average rates of gun crime and murder anyway (see:!  So I think the‘God in schools’ argument is fairly weak, if not null and void.  Whatever, it is a pretty poor pastor who chooses other people’s misfortune as a means to further his own career and pernicious ministry….

  • David Behrens

    So, let’s try to make Piper’s message more concise.

    Genuflect to the Supreme Being often and with vigor: take him into your heart (translation: give him money). If not,  he will send a spoiled, crazed maniac to kill your children.  Further, that Supreme Being better be Yahweh/Jesus, or not only is Piper/Yahweh/Jesus going to be pissed, but the crazed maniac sent by them will shoot your kids multiple times with an assault rifle.

  • Jncunni2

    i feel like maybe you didn’t get to finish your comment with whatever snarky phrase you had in store for us?…cause there’s no way you meant for that to be insightful to anyone on this website

  • Jamesjones

    God is just a concept that humans use to describe the indescribable. If people keep holding on to this manufactured, spernatural, outdate God concept, we will never truly live our lives without FEAR of the unknown……..

    Yosef – X

  • cipher

    Again – it’s a subculture of congenital criminal psychopaths. More than thirty years of observation have concinvced me of this.

    Don’t let them vote, don’t let them breed. It’s our only hope.

  • cipher

    There are now attempts within academia to rehabilitate John Calvin: “Well, he wasn’t so bad… .” Yeah, tell that to Michael Servetus. I have NO patience. None.

    Last year, I told one young woman who’s a Calvin scholar and is engaged in this nonsense that someone had wasted a great deal of money on her education.

    Calvin – and the subculture he’s largely responsible for spawning – should be reviled from every rooftop.

  • cipher

    Fred Rogers, on an average day, was a better Christian than all of these thugs combined will ever be on their collective best day.

  • cipher

    Wow. Thanks for that, Lester.

    And you’re right; that is precisely what he is. Of course, he’d agree with you, but for the wrong reasons.

  • cipher

    Drew, I’m curious. Did it (the entire evangelical theological package) make sense to you, or did you always have misgivings, but tried to suppress them because you were afraid to leave?

  • LesterBallard

    To me, it’s that he was a better human being.

  • cipher

    Of course; I’m just placing it within their framework (and Mr. Rogers was a minister – although he was liberal, so of course, he wasn’t a real minister… ).

  • Mark

    Why do you atheists have to be so vulgar in expressing yourselves? I pray you come to have the peace Christ offers. I don’t have all the answers, but I pity you for the anger and hostility that rules your hearts.

  • Charis
  • Charis

    Is it the gun that did the killing or the person who pull the trigger?  Is not wickedness what comes out of the heart of an individual and not out of a gun?  Gun laws may help to a point, but any individual who has determine in their heart to kill will do so despite what they find to use to achieve such an evil act. 

  • Count_Von_Krolock

    Ah yes, atheists are collectively responsible for every murder ever committed by deluded Soviets, but Calvin gets a free pass despite being a murderer and and a sociopathic cult leader/dictator. Absolutely despicable. One wonders when evangelicals will finally hit rock bottom.

  • Aspieguy

    Are there any fundies who aren’t deranged?

  • Leeandrathal

    When was the last time someone yelled at you and was successful in getting their point across, just curious?

  • cathouseumbrella

    Who cares? The point is if god suddenly popped out of the clouds and yelled at me it would definitely get his point across.

  • Turned Off by These Comments

    So many comments in this thread are alarming in their disrespect for other humans. The argument that we no longer have a need for God is disproved by the character of the godless. I don’t know him, or follow him, but I doubt John Piper caries the sort of hate displayed here.

  • Eleeo

    Check out the whole message, not just a clipping. What he said made sense in its entirety.

  • crnth13

    Wow people… way to take things out of context. I’m sure that was just one part of the whole message. We do need Jesus. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. “Talking out of his ass???” He also said in another place:
    “The God who draws near to Newtown is the suffering, sympathetic God-man, Jesus Christ. No one else can feel what he has felt. No one else can love like he can love. No one else can heal like he can heal. No one else can save like he can save.”

  • Hrmmm

    Nice twist on what he really said. Maybe you all should take a look at what Piper ACTUALLY SAID before assuming things. Author is WAY off.

  • Godisreal

    Why is this God’s fault? So many of the comments on here are so hateful toward Piper and others that believe in God. I don’t see any of you who deny God as offering any explanations for the incident, which was absolutey horrible. The fact is this, people make choices and the highly intellectual atheistic humanistic liberal thinker does not have the solution to prevent this type of tragedy. I dare say that this incident occurred because of atheistic humanistic liberal thinking and teaching. Afterall, survival of the fittest, isn’t that what you believe? The God of the Bible has made it very clear that man is morally depraved and all of us have it within ourselves to do such horrible things, deny it all you want, but it is true. The hate that you God haters are putting on these comments sure seems like you would kill the John Pipers of this world.

  • TiltedHorizon

    “Survival of the fittest” is an evolutionary description, not a moral statement, morality or lack thereof cannot be derived from what is a descriptive premise.
    Thank goodness that god is real else no one would be there to explain to your dumbass that it is wrong to kill.

  • mjense5271

    God didn’t chose sin for us, we did! Jesus is exactly what EVERYONE needs! I love Jesus and am proud to call myself a follower of Christ! Thanks John Piper for your dedication to the Lord’s work!