Why Does a Man Murder Innocent Sikhs?

To the Sikh community, on behalf of fellow Christians, we share your horror at the evil done and grieve with you. An attack of this kind on any spiritual community is troubling to every spiritual community. For us all, the freedom to worship without threat of violence or suspicion of danger is vital.

In one of a recent string of tragedies, a complete stranger walks into a Sikh temple and opens fire on complete strangers without uttering a word. Six people die, and three are critically wounded, including one police officer who was shot while tending to a wounded victim. The murderer then puts a gun to his head, ending his own life without leaving any explanation for his actions.

And the world asks, “Why?”

The Bible sometimes refers to sin as inexplicable madness (Ecc. 9:3), so perhaps there is no reasonable answer for such atrocious behavior. Or perhaps the fact he was a white supremacist, skinhead, and racist provides an insightful clue.

Racism Is Idolatry

The Bible teaches that everyone is a worshiper and we passionately give ourselves to someone or something. Ultimately, we all worship the Creator, or we worship the created, which is by definition idolatry (Rom. 1:25).

Racism is idolatry. It is worshiping your own kind. Rather than having God as our ideal of perfection to which everyone should aspire, racists assume the place of God. Subsequently, they believe everyone should become them, and if not, they are to be despised.

Simply, if you idolize your race, then you invariably demonize other races so that to some degree your race is god-like and everyone else is devil-like.

People Violently Defend Their Idols

In the Bible, people commonly defend their idols by becoming violent when their idol is threatened. This explains, for example, why Paul was repeatedly surrounded by a riot, beaten, and run out of town, and why racists become angry or even violent because other people are excelling in life or simply exist.

Such acts are god-like. Someone assumes the seat of deity to be appeased, judges life and death for others, and unleashes their wrath without cause. Whereas God is good, these actions are evil at their unvarnished essence.

The Bible Teaches All Races Are Equal

Unlike Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis, which assumes some people are innately more fit than others, the Bible teaches that we were all made by the same God, equally bear the image of God, descend from the same first parents, and are equally sinners in need of a Savior. While it is true that some people have twisted Scripture to justify racism, that twisting is a product of sin and a sin in itself. Within the right Christian understanding of humanity there is simply no place for racism, as it is a sin against God and others rooted in idolatry and self-worship.

The Bible Teaches All Races Are to Worship One God

Revelation 7:9–10 says:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Only when the one true God, Jesus Christ, is in the place of glory receiving all honor, praise, and deference can there be unity and charity among races. Only when we are not fighting for someone like us to sit on the throne that rightfully belongs to God is there room to recognize Jesus ruling and reigning over all peoples times and places. Then, we are free to worship the only one who is worthy together with all races.

This enthroned Jesus is like us in that he came into history to be among us. But he is also entirely unlike us and without sin. Rather than idolizing a race and demonizing the others, he loved all races by not taking lives but instead giving his own. Rather than seeking to make other races be like us, we should join other races in becoming like Jesus.