Illinois Family Institute: The Newtown Shooter Had ‘Hatred Toward God’

This message is brought to you by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. and endorsed by the Illinois Family Institute, a loving, caring, conservative Christian group:

… [The shooter's] crimes were sick beyond words, and he was undoubtedly unbalanced, but he pulled off a cold, calculated, and premeditated crime, monstrous in its design and accomplishment.

Christians know that this is the result of sin and the horrifying effects of The Fall. Every answer for this evil must affirm the reality and power of sin. The sinfulness of sin is never more clearly revealed than when we look into the heart of a crime like this and see the hatred toward God that precedes the murderous hatred he poured out on his little victims.

We know nothing about the shooter’s religious beliefs yet. To assume it was an atheist or someone who believed in and hated God is a jump to conclusions that has as much basis in reality as saying he was a church-going Christian. We don’t know what he believed in — and even if we did, we don’t know that his religious beliefs had anything to do with this crime.

What we can say with certainty is that a woman eating an apple thousands of years ago has nothing to do with why this murderer committed his horrific act.

Mohler continues:

… We must be thankful for the restraint of the law, operating on the human conscience. Such a crime serves to warn us that putting a curve in the law will inevitably produce a curve in the conscience. We must be thankful for the restraining grace of God that limits human evil and, rightly understood, keeps us all from killing each other.

Right. God’s restraint is so powerful that he only lets 20 children get murdered at school. We should really be grateful God’s Good Graces didn’t allow that number to be any higher.

Also, rest assured that good will win out over evil in the end. Because of Jesus:

There is one and only one reason that evil does not have the last word, and that is the fact that evil, sin, death, and the devil were defeated at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. There they were defeated conclusively, comprehensively, and publicly.

*Phew*… We can all rest easy knowing that Jesus defeated evil and death and Satan. Enjoy your happy, immortal, Satan-free life, everyone!

Such a tragedy calls for the most Gospel-centered Christian thinking, for the substance of biblical theology, and the solace that only the full wealth of Christian conviction can provide.

Those are just Christian code words for forcing God back into the public schools. The Bible makes us no better, no kinder, no more decent than any other book that attempts to teach morality. And the idea that Christians — True ChristiansTM — are free of violent impulses while non-Christians aren’t is such a demonstrable lie that it’s amazing any group would even come up with the thought, much less say it out loud.

That is, until you realize we’re talking about the Christian Right and this is just how they operate.

***Edit***: The post in question was initially attributed to the Illinois Family Institute. In fact, it was written by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. and only promoted by IFI. The piece has been edited to reflect that. The end result is still the same, but my apologies for any confusion.

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.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    The dumb is strong with these people.

  • Lijdare

    The kid had Aspergers.  He had no empathy.  All these Christians and their opinions we might as well be back in the middle ages.

  • John J. Ronald

    “The kid had Aspergers.  He had no empathy.”

    You might want to reconsider that ignorant ejacujation.

    Whether or not he suffered from an ASD, also consider this:

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Has it been confirmed he had Aspergers? I know there are reports about it but have medical records been released to confirm it?

  • RobMcCune

    In other words the only thing to do is believe harder, damn it! Believe the truth even if it’s contradicted by all the facts.

  • ortcutt

    In any case, atheists don’t hate god.  A misotheist hates god.  You need to believe in a god in order to hate it.  I don’t hate Professor Moriarty or Voldemort because neither exists.

  • Angelia Phillips

    Ok let me see if I am understanding this correctly…  God is pissed that fewer and fewer people believe in him and go to church so he is going to scare everyone into becoming Christians  by allowing masses murders of  children…  Doesn’t that make God a terrorist? 

  • Godlesspanther

    So — whose left? 

    Ken Ham — when is Ken Ham going to say something abysmally stupid about this — ?


    KEN!!! (that’s your cue)

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I hate to say this but Ken Ham normally doesn’t say stupid shit after this sort of tragedy.

    In light of the terrible shooting tragedy yesterday at a Connecticut school, I thought it would be good simply to reprint a few passages of Scripture to remind us that this fallen, evil world won’t go on forever.

  • Coyotenose

     Shhhh! Ham and Comfort pretend to not read these blogs. Don’t make them fidgety. Ken Ham, especially; he goes through more piglets than usual when he gets nervous.

  • Coyotenose

    Many people in my family have Aspergers and autism, and they all possess empathy. They aren’t violent or sociopathic. They’ve often been victimized by people who both lack those disorders and empathy and who can easily abuse someone who doesn’t understand how people could be deceitful, hateful or self-serving. Read a book.

  • the moother

    someone link these idiots to the statistics of religious people in prison and the under representation of atheists…

  • Ruth

    Someone with Aspergers Syndrome is not a psychopath.  The problem isn’t empathy in the sense of caring and compassion for others, but with the theory of mind.

  • Plasticpony256

    I’m guessing that if the message and the readers are moronic, then an aptitude for writing is not required. But then who am I to judge.

  • Glasofruix

    Well, all that is left now it’s some noise from those creeps at WBC.

  • Gumbright

    Whether or not he had Aspergers is irrelevant.  At some point a bad idea turned into a good one.  The problem is the ready availability of handguns.

  • Plasticpony256

    Deceptive. Had you put the web links embedded in Mr. Ham’s message, in your comment here, then the message you claim is missing becomes perfectly clear.

  • digitalatheist

    not to mention that God is also a sociopath. Man… hard to believe I used to believe that fairytale

  • phantomreader42

    The scumbags at IFI are living proof that the bible not only doesn’t make people more moral, it makes them LESS moral.  

  • Bad_homonym

    I would like to hear from someone at IFI with some evidence that perhaps these children hadn’t just made fun a bald man or some other heinous crime, and that it wasn’t god himself who sanctioned this.
    (As in 2 kings 2:23 &24)

  • Theo Mayes

    The problem in America isn’t Freedom of Religion, it’s FROM Religion!

  • Richard Wade

    Kent Hovind, Bryan Fischer, Mike Huckabee, and now the IFI.

    It seems that immediately after tragedies like this, the people who opine about the cause the earliest spout the most self-serving, self-centered, self-aggrandizing, and just plain self-ish remarks of all the millions of remarks that will follow. Since they are speaking too early to actually know anything at all about the perpetrator, they can only refer to their prejudices, their agendas, and their pet peeves.  Since they think they possess absolute, perfect and divine knowledge, they’re incapable of the humility it takes to say, “We don’t know yet, let’s wait to learn more.”

    If rushing to judgment, jumping to conclusions, and throwing around accusations were Olympic events, these people would be triathalon gold medalists.

  • drakvl

     As someone with Aspergers, I describe it as an obliviousness to the feelings of others. If I realize I’m hurting someone, I feel bad, but the realization doesn’t always come. That’s what is meant by having a lack of empathy — we have trouble seeing things from the points of view of other people.

  • Richard Wade

    Theo, your statement does not make clear where you stand on the issues of freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Could you elaborate? 

  • Quintin

    Actually, Professor Moriarty teaches physics at Nottingham University.

  • Quintin

    Specifically a lack of it, thanks to the sorts of people the IFI belongs to.

  • Quintin

    I am now ever so slightly more tempted to prove your ignorant claim of the absence of empathy in people suffering from Aspergers syndrome.

  • Tucker

    As a person with Asperger’s raising a son with Asperger’s, I can assure you we DO feel empathy. It’s expressing it that is tricky. I am aware when others are hurting, and I can feel bad for them, but it is very difficult for me to comfort or assess the situation accurately enough to know how to help. The myth that people with autism do not feel empathy or are robotic is ignorant and ensures that the stigma will continue.  I have a very loving, affectionate marriage and am a very loving, affectionate mother. It would never occur to me to harm anyone ever.

  • Godlesspanther

    Ken did say: “In light of the terrible shooting tragedy yesterday at a Connecticut school, I thought it would be good simply to reprint a few passages of Scripture  to remind us that this fallen,evil world won’t go on forever.”

    That is some stupid shit. He is using that incident to pimp his cult just like the others. 

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    But compared to what others have said it is pretty tame.

  • Patheos

    you people are dumb fucks

  • Fractal Heretic

    But I do hate Voldemort. Why can’t he just leave Harry alone? Why???

  • David Chavez

    Question?, How could he have a hatred of god,when we all know in,2012, no gods exits, except in the minds, of those who want to control you

  • DavidC

    We all know that the god of the bible, was the first, psychotic,mass murdering, serial killer

  • DavidC

    Good, he had Aspergers, so god was a psychopathic , mass murderer too, he must have had Asparagus dieease too

  • Baby_Raptor

    I didn’t hate Voldemort. He was a pussy compared to Umbridge. 

    Her? I Fucking HATED her. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Made that point. They just claim that Atheists commit all these crimes and then “find god” in prison thanks to the selfless, sacrificial work of prison ministries. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s being reported that they’re already in Newton to protest. People are calling for the Guard. 

  • viaten

    If something unexpectedly good happens, God made it happen and it’s just
    a bonus (and proof God exists).  If something unexpectedly bad happens,
    God let it happen. And for those affected by it, it’s a punishment if they’re “bad”, a test of faith if they’re “good”, and a (long over due because of God’s patience) wake up call for everyone else (and proof God exists).  Does that cover it?

  • Laurie Higgins


    Your post fails to identify the writer of
    the article about the incomprehensible CT shooting. From what you have said, it
    appears as if the article is an IFI piece, particularly because you say, “IFI
    continues.” IFI did not “continue.” Dr. Al Mohler continued. We simply
    reposted a piece by Dr. Al Mohler who has no association with IFI. At least
    you’re consistent in your dissembling. I’ve come to expect no less.

  • A Portlander

     Regular readers here are aware that Hemant doesn’t dissemble, but he’s occasionally sloppy/hasty with his attributions. We take it in stride.

    I’d list a few things you & your organization are consistent about, but we try to maintain a civil tone here.

  • A Portlander

     Seriously? Where is this asserted, and what source (if any) is cited in support?

  • Rich Wilson

    There’s a FB page up to respond.  Unfortunately I can’d find it again, but they’re emphasizing no violence (WBC would LOVE to incite violence so they can win another lawsuit) but I think there will be a LOT of people out to protect the families’ privacy.  Saw one person promising to bring a bunch of marines.

  • Richard Wade

    Hello Ms. Higgins, thank you for visiting us, and for this clarification about the authorship of the article. Yes, Dr. Mohler’s name appears at the top and bottom of the article on your site.

    I also noticed that on your website there is no disclaimer written before or after Dr. Mohler’s article stating something like, “The opinions herein are those of Dr. Al Mohler, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Illinois Family Institute.” 

    Apparently IFI is comfortable with the implication that IFI agrees with Dr. Mohler’s remarks, since IFI is hosting this repost without writing such a disclaimer or any other commentary.  Is that correct?

    So by making this pointed correction that the article is not an IFI piece, and by characterizing that error as “dissembling,” are you implying that there has been a deliberate hiding or misrepresentation of the real authorship for some malicious purpose? If so, what would be the malicious purpose of falsely or unfairly attributing or associating IFI with the remarks made by Dr. Mohler?  

    Is there is something in Dr. Mohler’s article that you do not want to have attributed or associated with IFI?  Something you wish to disassociate, disavow, or repudiate that Dr. Mohler has said?  

  • Hemant Mehta

    My attributions are pretty accurate, unless you have evidence otherwise.
    As I responded to Laurie Higgins via email, my Google Reader says the piece was posted by IFI’s executive director David Smith. That may have led to confusion, but even if Mohler wrote it, IFI is obviously promoting it on their site.

  • Rich Wilson

    I’ve come to expect no less.

    Your frequent attacks on Hemant have caused us to have similarly low expectations of you Ms. Higgins.

  • Godlesspanther

    Sleazier, mor underhanded and manipulative. Ham’s not any better than them — just snakier. 

  • Laurie Higgins

    No, we do not wish to disavow or repudiate anything in Dr. Mohler’s article. We believe responsible journalism includes proper and clear attribution. Although the article posted on our website correctly attributes it to Dr. Mohler, Hemant’s post gave the appearance that someone at IFI wrote it. He has now clarified that the article was written by Dr. Mohler.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Don’t bother. Some people don’t deserve civility. 

  • Csumner

    Hemant, one thing that would be helpful for your blog, and also your overall understanding of Christianity, would be to become more familiar with Christian theology. Your critique of Mohler’s statement concerning the shooter’s hatred toward God is misguided. As a Reformed theologian, Mohler holds to the view of sin called “Total Depravity.” This view of the Fall posits that humans are completely and totally ruined in sin; every aspect of their being is marred by sin. As a result, all of mankind hates God; not just atheists. A verse for this can be found in Romans 1:30. If you are going to critique Christians, at least do so in a way that takes into account the nuances of theology.

  • Richard Wade

    Thank you for answering my questions, Ms. Higgins. I also value responsible journalism, and beyond proper and clear attribution, I think it also includes refraining from spreading baseless negative stereotypes, unfounded slanderous myths, and outright lies about a whole category of people. It includes being responsible as a human to other humans; to cease doing the harm that your “journalism” causes people who have done no harm to you. 

    Aside from meticulous and proper attribution, the distance between your needle park for hate addicts and responsible journalism is the same as the distance between the farthest galaxy we can see in the northern sky and the farthest galaxy we can see in the southern sky. 

  • Renshia

     Oh come on, you want evidence. HA. It’s just good old christian common sense.

  • Renshia

     That’s a good question.

  • Renshia

     Holy shit. There is like a million different nuances of theology for every belief. What flavor are we talking about today? Is it just yours that matters or do we need to consider everyones? What about muslims do they count?

    Oh, go play with your imaginary friends.

  • Candee Bell

    Christians know that this is the result of sin and the horrifying effects of The Fall. Every answer for this evil must affirm the reality and power of sin. The sinfulness of sin is never more clearly revealed than when we look into the heart of a crime like this and see the hatred toward God that precedes the murderous hatred he poured out on his little victims.———————————

    Actually… I’ve read many killers simply say that Jesus already died for their sins so why not shoot someone. It is already forgiven. Funny how Christians just throw around the word “sin”. Isn’t that why their Jesus died…you know…for all those sinners?

  • Stev84

    Most people here now exactly how fucking insane Calvinism is. It would be almost impossible to given that most prominent American fundamentalist are Calvinists

  • Laurie Higgins

    Point of clarification, Mr. Wilson: Every article I have written about Hemant has been a response to foolish, false, or irresponsible things he has first written about me.

  • Laurie Higgins

    Mr. Wade,

    In the service of responsible journalism, you should provide quotes from me to support your  assertion that I have “spread negative stereotypes, slanderous myths, and outright lies.” Without such evidence, your contentions amount to irresponsible journalism and slanderous, outright lies.

    My central claim is that volitional homosexual acts are not moral acts, a claim  with which you may disagree but , nonetheless, no more constitutes a stereotype, myth, or lie than does someone else’s claim that polyamorous acts are immoral or your claim that volitional homosexual acts are moral acts.

    A proposition about what constitutes a moral act is not a stereotype, a myth, or a lie. It may be wrong as I believe yours is, but it can’t reasonably be considered a stereotype, myth, or lie.

  • Rich Wilson

    I’m sure Hemant would say that his articles about you are in response to foolish, false, or irresponsible thing you have written.

    And of course there was that time when you tried to get him fired.  Did an article of his prompt that?

  • NewDawn2006

    Oh look. Another christian thinking we have no idea what the bible says… Which misinterpretation are we looking at now? Is it coming from the original translation or the thousands or reinterpretations that have occurred since? I am also very interested in why a bunch of Bronze Age men who claimed to be someone they were not, were not present at said events, and have no concept of the universe, much less the world, outside of their geographic location should have any bearing on anyone’s life. Especially since said book contradicts itself innumerable times. We understand the bible and take it for exactly what it is worth. An epic mythological story.

    Perhaps you should take into account the nuances of the meaning of the word atheist. One cannot hate that which doesn’t exist.

  • John

     Who needs evidence when you have FAITH?

  • Phil

    And  smearing  people, vilifying  entire communities, and anyone else who is different from you.  You, madam, are a smug, arrogant piece of work.  You wouldn’t  know  responsible journalism if it bit you on your smug, christian supremacist ass! 

  • Atheist Cheesehead

    If a lack of god in schools causes school shootings, French schools should be riddled with bullet holes. 1/3 of the population of France identifies itself as “non-religious, agnostic or atheist”. France calls itself “religiously neutral” and prayer is not allowed in public schools. 

    France has not had a single school shooting. 

  • Bad_homonym

    I dont fully agree. It may help to restrict the guns, but crazy people will find ways to do crazy things.

  • Jncunni2

    As a sane person, I’d be more terrified of a someone who possesed a christian/biblical  understanding of a deep “love of God.” From commanded genocide, child sacrifice, refusal of medical care, and a book which states several good reasons to kill your own child or to “hate” your own mother, father, sister, brother….It sounds as if the shooter understood the biblical god exactly as he is portrayed. 

    Of course, I’m being sarcastic here – we don’t know the shooters beliefs, and thats just the point – WE DON’T KNOW. I really wish these religous nuts would lay off their habit of using a sick tragedy to promote their worldview.  MAYBE, just MAYBE, this had nothing to do with the imaginary rivalry between magic jesus and jealous satan. 

  • bernardaB

    “The sinfulness of sin”, now that really teaches us a lot. What else would sin be? Since sin is not attached to other animals, why should it be attached to humans? At what point does sin enter the human? At conception? What evidence is their for that? Xians increase their problems by adding the soul, for which there is no evidence. When does that arrive? At conception too? So which came first, the sin or the soul? To complicate their problem more, Xians create freewill, also for which there is no evidence. So does freewill come before, after, or in between sin and soul? If after sin, it is really of no use.

    I disagree with Stev84 about Calvinism. One aspect of it is more consistent than other versions of Xianity. It advocates predestination, meaning that god has already decided who is to be saved no matter the good or evil a chosen individual does. That makes sense if your god is said to be omnipotent, omniscience, and as Homer Simpson says, Omnivorous.

  • A Portlander

     As I’m sure you’d expect considering the subject matter, using Google to search your blog for words like “mistaken” and “misattributed” is only slightly more helpful than combing through old posts one at a time, so no, I haven’t identified any specific instances to cite. I remember that you’ve made one or two similar attribution errors in the last couple of years, at least according to objections that popped up in the threads. Maybe some of the regular commenters who jumped on you over those citations will see this and have their memories jogged, if anybody cares that much.

    Anyhow–I was operating on a sleep deficit when I commented, and perhaps didn’t have the best command of my judgment and tone. It’s far from my place to make backhanded excuses on your behalf to Laurie Higgins, of all people. My apologies.

  • Aspieguy

    As an atheist I don’t hate God. It’s pointless to hate nonexistent beings. It would be like hating Santa Claus or Shrek. 

  • TracieH

    So, hatred toward god caused this? Is his point then that only a theist would be capable of such an atrocity?

  • Ron Takoot

    “Doesn’t that make god a terrorist?”
    Yes, you’re absolutely right, but then he’s always been one. A walk through the OT tells us that he was actually much worse. I’m no Shrink, but I’d venture to say that only a Psychopathic terrorist would take pleasure in the mass killing of women and children, as the biblical god reportedly did.
    Lets be thankful this is mythology and not reality.

  • Ron Takoot

    I saw a caption online yesterday the reason these murders are happening is because, “God is no longer allowed in schools.”

    Well then, why didn’t god stop the shooter at the door?

  • cipher

    I’d point out the irony in a scenario in which a woman who regularly writes articles for a blog that doesn’t allow comments attempts to defend her position on a blog that does – but conservative Christians are notoriously irony-impaired.

    Don’t worry, Ms. Higgins – the day is coming soon in which we’ll get what’s coming to us. We’ll be tormented forever in the lake of fire, while you and your friends hang out with Jesus and George Bush on a mezzanine in heaven, peering over the balcony and enjoying the spectacle.

    I’m sure the mere thought of it titillates you.

  • JustSayNo

    No, Angelia, it does not make a non existent God a terrorist.

    But it does show that you are a bigot and a hater.

  • Angelia Phillips

    How does my question make me a bigot or hater?  

    Christians are saying god did this to make us bring him back into our school and to make use attend church and change our culture into a biblically ruled society. That would make him a religious terrorist by definition. My question was to point out to those who are foolish enough to believe what they are spewing how hateful it is.   

  • JessicaSideways

    Agreed. I can’t believe I used to believe either… and that I had to go to BIBLE COLLEGE to see that it was all a lie.