A Denver Post article from Sunday's newspaper, given to me by Dave Chamberlin, reveals a remarkable motive behind a string of northern Colorado bank robberies. The January 16, 2011, piece, via The Greeley Tribune, conveys the rationale of Amanda Maslen, one half of the heisting duo who stole $11,000 from six Weld County banks. Though she was only involved in one of the robberies with her boyfriend, Jordan Kniffen, she was quick to defend them all. Her defense of the crimes covered three major premises: (a) Kniffen's actions were harmless, since he used an unloaded gun, (b) He "was only stealing from the government or the FDIC," and (c) They deserve the money because they'd had a tough life. Her words play out like the proverbial shell game, hoping to deflect everyone's attention from the fact that they spent a large chunk of that change on heroin and that anarchy would follow if everyone used similar rationale in their decision-making.
But, Maslen represents the fruit of some bad philosophical thinking of our times. Many do not like moral, ethical, and doctrinal judgments to be universal. They are afraid of prescriptive (i.e., rule- imposing and rule-enforcing) language. One may choose a similar line of thinking in situations that they feel to be less harmful, not violent, or even protected by the laws of the land. Do not many people enter into an extramarital affair or divorce and remarry by saying they deserve happiness, fulfillment, a better spouse or partner, or the like? Isn't one who has an abortion because it interferes with her educational, financial, or social future borrowing similar logic? What about the one whose choice of a church because it appeals to or entertains them operate from a like premise?
The only way to straighten out the kind of thinking that led to such outrageous action and even more outrageous defense of it is to recognize and submit to the sovereign will of God and His moral absolutes. We will be judged by the words of Deity (John 12:48). We can know and be made free by the truth (John 8:32). Truth was realized through Christ (John 1:17). As we read Scripture, we have an objective standard that is universally applicable (cf. Acts 17:30-31). Excuse-making is as old as the Garden of Eden. It did not work then, and it will not work now. It is infinitely, eternally better for us to soften our hearts and yield our lives to the guidelines of the Bible than to serve our rebellious desires.