Relativism & Atheism Result in Yet Another Murderous Rampage – Christopher Dorner

ap_christopher_dorner_lpl_130207_wgChristopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles Police Officer who felt he was unfairly fired and went on a violent quest for vengeance against police officers and their families, is dead.  After a long standoff with police in the Big Bear area, Dorner set the cabin he was fighting from on fire as police moved in, killing himself and charring his corpse beyond recognition.

Here’s the thing though.  I read Christopher Dorner’s manifesto and I found it not only well written, but very convincing.  I do believe he was targeted by the LAPD for crossing “The Blue Line” by reporting another police officer for using excessive force.  What I disagree with is what he did next, and it’s for that reason that I’m glad the terror of the last week has finally ended.

The strangest thing about this rampage wasn’t even about Dorner; it was the shocking outpouring of support he received by people across the country. The mainstream media won’t talk about this, but the argument is screaming to be made that Dorner’s rampage is yet another example of the violence that is fostered in atheism and, more generally, relativism.

As a Christian, I get really sick and tired of hearing how so many people are killed because of religion.  Yes, it happens; but it’s usually because individuals rationalize the use of religion to justify cruel behavior that’s usually contradictory to the faith they profess.  That’s not the fault of organized religion; that’s the fault of bad people ignoring the lessons their faith teaches.

A quick definition before we get too far into this.

Relativism - a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them

In today’s society, relativism has become the norm; even if not everyone recognizes it formally.  We’ve all heard the question asked, “Is it wrong to steal pills that will save your loved one’s life?”  More and more, people are saying, “No, it’s worth it to save the person’s life.”  That’s relativism, and it’s wrong.  Regardless of our reasons, it is wrong to steal; according to the law, most major faith traditions, and always the person who was robbed.

That’s about as simple as I can make it.

Now let’s apply this to Christopher Dorner.  In his manifesto, he wrote:

I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.

So what exactly is “good?”  That’s a loaded question, but I think you see where I’m going with this.  Murdering a police captain’s daughter and her fiance to get revenge on the Los Angeles Police Department doesn’t seem like it would qualify as “good” in any rational person’s thinking, regardless of what guides their moral compass.  The difference between Dorner and us is that Dorner was angry.  That anger drove Dorner to do things he knew were wrong simply because he believed they were justified by a “higher good” (in this case, exposing corruption in the LAPD).

This is a danger in not just atheism, but non-denominationalism and generic “spirituality” as well where people can literally pick and choose what they want to observe and what they want to ignore.  In organized religion, there is a code of laws that individuals hold themselves accountable to.  These laws are CONSTANTS and founded on ABSOLUTES that rarely change. There are times that these laws seem impossible to comprehend, such as not cutting the throats of child molesters and rapists.  However, the law is the law; and the person in the organized religion knows there will be a consequence for that action – be it here on earth and/or when he or she answers to God.

Christopher Dorner’s universe revolved around Christopher Dorner. He chose what was right and what was wrong based entirely on his self-centered understanding of the universe… based on relativism.  Following his moral compass wasn’t an act of faith, it was a series of personal decisions to “take action” and do something HE thought was good.  In his conscience, he believed murdering an innocent young couple was morally acceptable.  He thought that shooting at and killing or wounding police officers (regardless of their involvement in his case) was morally acceptable.

If you buy into relativism or atheism, HOW CAN WE FAULT HIM?  Christopher Dorner did what he felt was right.

The fact that we all know it’s wrong speaks to the need for organized religion.

 

UPDATE:
I posted this in the comments section because several atheists have come here denying Dorner was an atheist. However, I’ve noticed that on the occassions where progressive-minded folks read my site, they never read the other comments… I’m lucky if they even read more than the title before commenting.

Anyway, at least it’s in the post now where they can see it twice.

“My first recollection of racism was in the first grade at Norwalk
Christian elementary school in Norwalk, CA. A fellow student, XXXX if I can recall, called me a n—-r on the playground. My response was swift and non-lethal. I struck him fast and hard with a punch an kick. He cried and reported it to a teacher. The teacher reported it to the principal.
“The principal swatted XXXX for using a derogatory word toward me. He then for some unknown reason swatted me for striking XXXX in response to him calling me a n—-r. He stated as good Christians we are to turn the other cheek as Jesus did. Problem is, I’m not a f—–g Christian and that old book, made of fiction and limited non-fiction, called the bible, never once stated Jesus was called a n—-r.”

Christopher Dorner was an atheist.

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Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

13 thoughts on “Relativism & Atheism Result in Yet Another Murderous Rampage – Christopher Dorner”

    1. Wow, I stand in amazement of your wit. I didn’t know orangatangs could type. Thank you. You have proven the theory of evolution by serving as the long sought after missing link.

      Next time you put your monkey fingers on a keyboard, think about what you want to type (or at least re-read it) to make sure it’s worth posting.

      When you do that, I’ll treat you with a little more respect.

  1. Boy, where to begin? Mr. Tracy writes, “… the argument is screaming to be made that Dorner’s rampage is yet another example of the violence that is fostered in atheism and, more generally, relativism.” Really? How did you come to that conclusion? It’s amazing how Mr. Tracy can turn senseless acts of violence into a screed against atheism. Mr. Dorner didn’t write he was an atheist. He just wrote he wasn’t a religious person. Does that make him an atheist? I guess it does in Mr. Tracy’s mind. Instead of constructing a straw-man to burn down, how ’bout you just comment on what we know instead of what you think was going on in Mr. Dorner’s mind?

    Also, this argument that people who are part of organized religion somehow are the only ones who adhere to the constant laws based on unchanging absolutes would be comedic if it wasn’t believed by so many. Are you saying that Christians don’t “… literally pick and choose what they want to observe and what they want to ignore?” Please. The Bible (and all religious holy books) is filled with these so-called constant laws that Christians ignore on a daily basis.

    UPDATE:
    I posted this in the comments section because several atheists have come here denying Dorner was an atheist. However, I’ve noticed that on the occassions where progressive-minded folks read my site, they never read the other comments… I’m lucky if they even read more than the title before commenting.

    Anyway, at least it’s in the post now where they can see it twice.

    “My first recollection of racism was in the first grade at Norwalk
    Christian elementary school in Norwalk, CA. A fellow student, XXXX if I can recall, called me a n—-r on the playground. My response was swift and non-lethal. I struck him fast and hard with a punch an kick. He cried and reported it to a teacher. The teacher reported it to the principal.
    “The principal swatted XXXX for using a derogatory word toward me. He then for some unknown reason swatted me for striking XXXX in response to him calling me a n—-r. He stated as good Christians we are to turn the other cheek as Jesus did. Problem is, I’m not a f—–g Christian and that old book, made of fiction and limited non-fiction, called the bible, never once stated Jesus was called a n—-r.”

    Christopher Dorner was an atheist.

    1. I’m sorry I accidentally edited your comment. I was trying out a new editor and added that update to your comment instead of the blog post above.

      First, to your comment about denominational Christians not picking and choosing. You are partially right about this. The thousands of denominations present in Christianity today do enable people to go church shopping to find the church that best fits their lifestyle. I’ve complained about this before simply because I attribute how weak Christianity is around the world politically and culturally with our inability to speak with one voice.

      Part of the reason for that is that there are so many ways to understand the Bible that you can have a church for each variation. In the framework of liberalism (the foundation of western society), there is nothing greater than an individual reading the Bible and anything else that’s available and deciding for himself what to believe or not to believe. Thomas Jefferson even wrote his own Bible focusing on the teachings of Jesus but removing the references to the miracles and other unexplainable parts.

      That’s dangerous not only because of what you can take out, but what you can put in. However, most people aren’t going to write their own version of the Bible. They’re going to read whatever is handy (or parts of it that football players paint on their faces) and begin behaving however they want, thinking it’s okay they’re practically Biblical scholars.

      The difference with organized religion is that there are decades, centuries, and even millenia of REAL scholars considering the entire Bible and the great moral questions, all of who helped to develop the steady absolutes and constants that enable spiritual laws. If you think about the sheer man hours of effort that these philosophers and historians have put into the rules of an organized religion, it becomes apparent that anyone trying to do it on their own isn’t going to succeed.

      Secondly, let’s look at this from the traditional liberal perspective. Individuals are inherently free and the laws governing them are mutually agreed upon rules that we accept for our safety and/or well being. Right?

      Well, that implies that laws and rules are creating externally by groups. If we are left totally free to make up our own rules, that’s kind of defeating the purpose.

      It creates a moral code where it’s acceptable for someone like Christopher Dorner to go on a rampage because he feels it is the right thing to do. That’s not a code, it’s an excuse to do what you want.

    2. Well, contrary to your statement, I did read the entire piece. The above excerpt from Mr. Dorner’s manifesto wasn’t cited in the original piece. It wasn’t cited in the comments until February 13 at 11:39 a.m. which is after the comments questioning whether or not Mr. Dorner was an atheist. For that matter, I haven’t seen anybody claim he wasn’t an atheist.

      Moving on, though. Just because someone isn’t a Christian doesn’t mean that they are an atheist by default. But even if I grant you your claim that Mr. Dorner was an atheist, it still does nothing to bolster your claim that Mr. Dorner acted the way he did because of his atheism or because of moral relativism. Seems like he was extremely pissed about being fired and the circumstances leading up to his termination as a police officer. I think it’s a pretty far reach to blame atheism and/or relativism for his actions.

      1. It was not part of the original post. I accidentally added it to the comment instead of the post. Everything from UPDATE and beyond in that comment was supposed to be added to the post, not your comment. I’m sorry that wasn’t more clear.

        I highly encourage you to read the entire manifesto. He’s shockingly rational for a person about to go on a murderous rampage against the LAPD.

        The stuff that happened to him on the police force didn’t happen weeks or months earlier. It was years. It’s hard to hold on to that kind of anger for so long. If he had that bad of an anger problem, he could have never made it through police academy or served in the military.

        What’s more, I don’t see any evidence that this is anything but moral relativism. Nothing suggests it was blind rage or anger, or him joining a California militia of crazy conspiracy nuts.

        The mere fact that he starts off his manifesto calling this a necessary evil is a pretty clear statement for relativism, too. It implies that engaging in one wrong (murder ans terrorism) in an effort to right another wrong (police corruption) is acceptable.

        Sure, anger may have directed Christopher Dorner, but it was relativistic logic that enabled him to justify it in his own mind.

        1. Good points. It’s been nice discussing this with you. You’ve given me a different viewpoint and that’s always a good thing.

  2. Before anyone else comes here and embarasses themselves, this is from Christopher Dorner, talking about racism:

    “My first recollection of racism was in the first grade at Norwalk
    Christian elementary school in Norwalk, CA. A fellow student, XXXX if I can recall, called me a n—-r on the playground. My response was swift and non-lethal. I struck him fast and hard with a punch an kick. He cried and reported it to a teacher. The teacher reported it to the principal.
    “The principal swatted XXXX for using a derogatory word toward me. He then for some unknown reason swatted me for striking XXXX in response to him calling me a n—-r. He stated as good Christians we are to turn the other cheek as Jesus did. Problem is, I’m not a f—–g Christian and that old book, made of fiction and limited non-fiction, called the bible, never once stated Jesus was called a n—-r.”

    I’m on my lunch break now. I’ll respond to your ignorant comments on the train ride home.

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