Thursday, August 18, 2005

get behind me satan

the serial killer known as BTK was sentenced today. i couldn't help reading the details of his crimes. i wish that i hadn't. the uk guardian has a story quoting him thusly:

"A dark side is there, but now I think light is beginning to shine," Rader said, his voice choking at times. "Hopefully someday God will accept me."

the man had been the president of his lutheran congregation in wichita. (he was also a boy scout leader.) he's not going to be put to death b/c kansas didn't have the death penalty when he committed his crimes. he's only 60. so he might have a lot of time to sit in his prison cell and see if the light can penetrate further into his darkness. after all, he was a church-going man.

in the same story, the sister of one of his victims says:

"This man needs to be thrown in a deep, dark hole and left to rot. He should never, ever see the light of day ... On the day he dies, Nancy and all of his victims will be waiting with God and watching him as he burns in hell."

this is a perfectly natural and understandable sentiment. if someone murdered my sister, i would want to kill them with my bare hands (and would probably try to), but if i were a religious person, i could totally see relishing the idea of my sister's spirit being able to witness eternal vengeance being wrought upon this man's immortal soul -- any time she wanted to peer down into the fiery pits of hell, point, and laugh at his suffering. it might be a comforting enough revenge fantasy. maybe.

however. in sunday school, i was taught that god loves everyone. and that god wants everyone to live forever. and that all you have to do to live forever is accept jesus as your savior, and repent your sins.

so, here is my question, with absolutely no disrespect intended whatsoever to the families of these victims or the victims themselves. i just can't help wondering:

if there is a god, and if he is the christian god depicted in the bible, then what if rader actually truly repents his sins of torturing and murdering these people? what if, when he dies, he goes to heaven too? what will nancy and all of his victims do then? does heaven give you a different perspective on such a thing? do they have separate areas for people whom god has forgiven, but who might not be able to forgive each other? it is hard to imagine a murder victim seeing their killer in heaven and going, "hey! so you finally got here, huh?" wouldn't they at least be allowed to smack them around for a while? (can noncorporeal beings even do that?) or is it like, "well, god has forgiven him, so you're just going to have to deal?" that doesn't seem fair. and i thought this was a just god? hmmm.

this is just one reason i have problems with religion. it makes no sense at all that there's even a possibility that this guy could go to heaven.

eh, you know what? i don't believe that he is really sorry, anyway. i don't know what he feels he has to gain by taking this tack, but i think it's an act. he told investigators he was a "monster"; he was proud of what he did. and he sure seems like a textbook sociopath. honestly, i am not sure that, even if he is sincere, he could actually get sorry enough for god to let him into heaven. and i really hope not.

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