The mass murder in New Zealand illustrates again the problem with “True Believers,” those who believe so strongly they will even resort to violence. This is because if one knows the truth, and knows it with enough passion, it will shut down the “pauser reason” which would tell one that another person might feel differently about what the truth is so that violence would not be necessary. Furthermore, it would reveal internal boundaries, i.e. discretion or “the faculty of judgement” which would allow for value of life, in all forms, so that any belief that one has would not merit acting with violence.
There is inherent in belief a peril as one can be so invested so strongly in his beliefs that the aforementioned discretion is obliterated. This discretion involves a “still small voice” in one’s heart which might tell one thinking of acting in this fashion, “Well, maybe I don’t really have to go to that extreme.” And if this discretion is fully functioning, the issue of acting out will not even be on the table.
Poet Emily Dickinson offered wisdom about this matter of discretion and related it to meaning. She wrote that at times, “a certain slant of light” will break through our consciousness and will bring an “oppressive” mood into our heart; it might even bring us “heavenly hurt” though “we can find no scars, but internal difference where the meanings are.” The ability to feel “difference” in the depths of our heart, though often bringing distress, i.e. “heavenly hurt,” will offer us meaning to our life which will empower us to see meaning beyond the values and beliefs we hold dear to ourselves. The inability to experience “difference” that would offer a meaningful life will create a rigidity denying the “heavenly hurt” that is part of the human experience; it is then more likely that the resulting pent-up anguish will be projected on someone else.
People who can’t handle this internal “discord” which intrinsic to a heart that is alive, will inevitable have to “them” someone else or some group of people. They will have to find someone who is seen as an “other” and vent their self-loathing on them. This is a spiritual issue which is the reason why we find it so common among religious individuals and groups as spirituality often taps into a very dark dimension of the human experience leading to speech, attitudes, and deeds which can only be described as evil.