Thursday, April 19, 2007

Faith of Cho Seung-Hui Uncertain, But Not That of Many of His Victims

Article by Christianity Today
Two days after the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech, many questions remain unanswered. Among them are questions about Cho's personal religious beliefs and his attitude toward Christians. The few details that have emerged in the press so far seem to raise more questions than they answer. The Associated Press reports, for example:

Cho … left a note that was found after the bloodbath.A law enforcement official described it Tuesday as a typed, eight-page rant against rich kids and religion.The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "You caused me to do this," the official quoted the note as saying. Cho indicated in his letter that the end was near and that there was a deed to be done, the official said.He also expressed disappointment in his own religion, and made several references to Christianity, the official said.

Unanswered: What was "his own religion"? USA Today says that at least one point, he (like many South Koreans) was a Presbyterian: "Pastor Cha Young Ho of the Korean Presbyterian Church said that the family once belonged to his church and that Cho was a quiet boy." McClatchy reporters talked with Young-Hwan Kim, president of the school's Korean Campus Crusade for Christ chapter. "No one knew him," Kim said. "We had no contact throughout four years. It's amazing. We could not reach out to him." It wasn't for lack of trying, Kim said. Members of Korean Campus Crusade repeatedly invited him to meetings, he said, but Cho wouldn't even provide personal contact information.
Another "reference to Christianity" comes from AOL blogger Ian MacFarlane's posting of Cho's now infamous plays. As The Washington Post summarizes, "The two plays are filled with diatribes against Catholic priests and Michael Jackson, along with references to government conspiracies to kill Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon."

On a more positive note: If Cho's faith remains something of a mystery, Christianity is front and center in much of the memorial. Stories of the victims are trickling out. The Myspace page of Lauren McCain, 20, now continues her testimony. "The purpose and love of my life is Jesus Christ," she wrote. "I don't have to argue religion, philosophy, or historical evidence because I KNOW Him. He is just as real, if not more so, as my 'earthly' father." McCain is becoming one of the more prominent Christian victims, but she's not alone. "Several of our students were killed," Campus Crusade leader Tony Arnold told Mission Network News. "Three that we know were involved with either Campus Crusade for Christ or with one of our sister affiliate ministries called Valor. There's also another student that is not officially listed yet, but since no one has been able to reach her, we believe she must be among the casualties."

Tuesday's public convocation also offered several notes of faith. WorldNetDaily complained that "speakers … called on Allah and Buddha in their efforts to minister to the survivors, family and friends of victims of the shooting massacre at the school — but Jesus wasn't mentioned by name." Apparently quoting Jesus doesn't count: The thousands of attendees recited The Lord's Prayer. Both the speeches of President George W. Bush and Gov. Tim Kaine have also been noted for their religious references.
Governor Kaine invoked Job and Jesus. Job, he said, "was angry at his Creator. He argued with God. He didn't lose his faith, but it's okay to argue. It's okay to be angry." It's also okay to feel despair, he said, pointing to "those haunting words that were uttered on a hill, on Calvary, 'My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?'" But do not let go of community, Kaine urged both those directly lost family members and those able to help the grieving.
President Bush sounded a similar note. "Across the town of Blacksburg and in towns all across America, houses of worship from every faith have opened their doors and have lifted you up in prayer," he said. "People who have never met you are praying for you; they're praying for your friends who have fallen and who are injured. There's a power in these prayers, real power. In times like this, we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God. As the Scriptures tell us, 'Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'"

These are just a few of the faith tidbits appearing in the media so far. Christianity Today has a reporter in Blacksburg and will be looking for other news about campus ministry, the church, and what God is doing at Virginia Tech.

Eleven people hurt in the attack remained hospitalized, at least one in serious condition.


EDITORIAL: This article was written before the airing of excerpts from Seung Cho's ranting videos mailed to NBC -- aired last night and this morning. It is very clear from the remarks Cho made that he was NOT a Christian. However, Seung thought himself a martyr in the same way as Jesus was thought a martyr for believers. BTW, Bible believing Christians KNOW that Jesus was not a martyr. He arose on the third day and ascended into Heaven. Therefore, Jesus would NOT be thought of as a martyr by ANY true Christian.
The fact is -- Cho was a psychopath who likened himself to others who commit these kinds of heinous atrocities -- as a result of imagined persecution. They are all self-righteous in their commission of murderous acts.

According to reports, a note left by Cho Seung-Hui talked about the "rich kids," "deceitful charlatans" and "debauchery." And there is also talk that he may have been rejected by a woman, or women, that he had feelings for. Perhaps in Cho's mind, these people were his "jailers" — the wardens of his prison responsible for his emotional incarceration. He vilified them, found them guilty of great offenses and then logically executed his warped sense of justice ... and murdered 32 people. {FOX News}

I have taken quite a bit of bashing for stating that Cho would be found to be a fan of violence media -- and that "his own religion" was NOT Christianity. It should be abundantly clear now that Seung-Hui Cho was not a Believer, even though he may have attended a Presbyterian church some years ago. No, Seung Cho was a demonic psycho bent on destroying those whom he didn't want to or couldn't understand.

Photo of Seung-Hui Cho courtesy of NBC
Photo of Lauren McCain courtesy of DailyPress