Take a Step Back in Looking at Murderer’s Upbringing

The journalistic peep show into the life of a murderer continues, as witnessed in this morning’s Denver Post:

The ultra-religious home-school curriculum that Matthew Murray ranted about in Web postings before he opened fire at two Christian centers forbids dating, rock music and “wrong clothes.” It advises young men and women to live at home until their parents release them and counsels parents to choose marriage partners for their offspring.

I suppose this information is interesting as far as it goes, but needs to be carefully qualified with three other vital insights, some of which are covered in the article:

1. The clearly misguided and inappropriate approach of the highlighted facets of this home-school curriculum represent the fringes both of evangelical Christianity and home-schooling. There are many serious believers in Scriptural inerrancy and other fundamental Christian doctrines who cannot be characterized this way.

2. Even so, this case is an isolated incident. It is not as though there is anything approaching an epidemic of Bill Gothard homeschoolers going on homicidal rampages.

3. While this information might be of tangible value if the young man had murdered members of his family, it tells us little or nothing (at least on a rational level) of why he chose to attack organizations that are in the mainstream of evangelical Christianity and detached from these specific teachings.

In the end, the clearly deranged murderer was who he was. There is no apparent rational connection of any sort between the fringe Christian home-schooling movement in which he was raised and the targets of his murderous rage.

But any inordinate attention received by this aspect of the killer’s background only feeds the ill-informed, biased opportunists who will distort reality to paint all evangelical Christians or homeschoolers with this broad brush. Just something for readers to be wary of.


  1. says

    Lets hope this is as far as this criticism gets. The man was hearing voices when he attended YWAM. He needed medication and help. I had a friend who ministered to him about 2 years ago and saw nothing like this, got no clues he was in trouble then.

  2. says

    Those “voices” seemed to me just a ruse to creep out his roommate. Though the roommate could be polishing things up, as reported they sound far too calculated and stylistic to be from a seriously mentally ill person.

    The early CNN report on the “voices” was only partial and deceptive. As I recall, that same roommate went on to say he didn’t know if the future murderer was doing it to creep him out or not.

    He would also imitate Gollum.

    He was one of those people who pushes everyone away and then blames them for not being his best friend.

  3. says

    I think something else people are missing with such a focus on his writings is his state of mind. I think from his actions we can reasonably deduce he was mentally ill. Severely so. Psychotic even.

    So what trust do we put into his online rants? I’m sure there are shreds of truth in their and some correlations to reality. But what we have really is nothing more than his perception of what was going on around him, not an objective handling. And maybe not even that…it could as easily be an attempt to be viewed a certain way.

    We don’t know. People can be incredibly manipulative.

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