Jodie Chesney, a young woman, aged 17, was knifed in the back near a playground in Harold Hill, Romford, on March 1, 2019. Police chiefs have recently warned that the scale of knife crime in the UK has become a national emergency.

Can I tell you a parable?

The Columbine High School massacre occurred on April the 20th, 1999, at the Columbine High School(link is external) in Columbine(link is external)Colorado(link is external)  in the United States(link is external). Two students, Eric Harris (1981-1999) and Dylan Klebold(link is external) (1981-1999) killed 12 students and a teacher, injuring 24 others, before they committed suicide(link is external).

In his diary Eric Harris outlined his materialist faith like this:

“just because your mommy and daddy tell you blood and violence is bad, you think it’s a f—g law of nature? wrong, only science and math are true, everything else, and I mean every f—g thing else is man made.”

He also wrote: “There’s no such thing as True Good or True Evil, its all relative to the observer. its just all nature, chemistry, and math. deal with it.”

Unpacking the Parable

Eric was a committed follower of the materialist faith which is popular today. This is the belief that only the natural sciences hook onto reality. If only ‘nature’ exists then the only things we can believe in are those things that can be measured by scientific equipment. This translates into the belief that only maths and physics tell us the truth about the world. This then leads to the conclusion that moral statements such as ‘stabbing innocent women is wrong’ are ‘just opinions’ and have no truth. Materialists contend that Eric Harris had a brain bug, a glitch in his brain and that’s why he did it. In other words, Eric’s brain made him shoot his victims! This is the materialist way of looking at the story.

I find the story of Jodie Chesney heartbreaking but not surprising. Newspapers on the left, like the Guardian, will never connect knife crime to the underlying and tragic failure of secularism/materialism to give us a moral compass. Newspapers on the right e.g. the Daily Mail are no better. Even sadder is the failure of the Christian church to help Christians understand secularism and how the false worship of science and maths leads to disaster.

If only Jeremiah were here to help us understand the false gods that are knifing us in the back!

Mark Roques
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Mark Roques

Mark taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Prior Park College, Bath, for many years. As Director of RealityBites he has developed a rich range of resources for youth workers and teachers. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Holland, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a lively storyteller and the author of four books, including The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith. His work is focused on storytelling and how this can help us to communicate the Christian faith. He has written many articles for the Baptist Times, RE Today, Youthscape, Direction magazine and the Christian Teachers Journal.