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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did Jeffrey Meet Jesus?

The man slumped to the floor, his glasses crushed, his head bleeding profusely. He looked up at his attacker, the man wielding the blood-soiled, solid-metal weight bar and said, "I don't care if I live or die. Go ahead and kill me."

The man with the metal bar gladly met the bleeding man's demand and administered a vicious adrenalin-infused blow to the man's head. The bleeding man was rendered unconscious as his attacker countinued bludgeoning until he had pulverized the man's head. The man's body survived long enough to make it into the ambulance where he was pronounced dead from severe head trauma.

What do you feel for this bleeding man as he is experiencing this attack? Pain? Sympathy? Anger at his attacker?

What if I tell you both men were prisoners and the bleeding man was serving a life sentence for murder? Do you still feel pain? sympathy? anger? Do you feel less of it because this man was a murderer?

Witnesses say that guards walked away from the attack, closing the doors behind them, allowing the attack to happen. Some say it was planned and that even the guards allowed the plans to play out. Witnesses also say that despite the bloody, gruesome scene, some time passed before the guards called for medical help.

What do you feel now? Anger? Apathy?

What if I tell you the bleeding man with the pulverized head was Jeffrey Dahmer? In 1991 Dahmer confessed to raping, torturing, killing, and dismembering 15 men and boys and murdering 2 other men. He also confessed to committing post mortem rapes and cannibalism on his victims.

What do you feel about this vicious attack now? Anything?

In the early 90's I was in my early 20's. I remember I couldn't turn on the news for months it seemed without being inundated with Dahmer details. We learned more than we needed to know about what this guy did, and the details were so disgusting and shocking that as time went on and more details emerged, the schock drifted into a complacency. Not because we didn't care but because the recent week's horrid revelation just didn't seem to out-disgust the one they shared the week before.

I probably should have been a psychiatrist because I've always been interested in what makes the darkest of the dark in humanity tick. And I truly thought I could never hear a another detail that would surprise me about Jeffrey Dahmer.

But this past Saturday, I did.

I wandered across an old prime time news program that consisted of a 1994 interview with Dahmer shortly before his death. The interview shocked me - not because of any of the horrid things I already knew about him but because of one shocking thing I'd never heard.

Dahmer who had believed in the theory of evolution and felt that it made him his own god - Dahmer who also believed he was the devil - had prayed for the salvation that only Jesus Christ offers and was baptized - both while incarcerated. Dahmer's father had shared creationism and Jesus with Dahmer after he went to prison, and according to Dahmer, his heart accepted it.

If his heart truly was right with God and if there are no unforgivable sins, this means Dahmer slipped out of his flesh and into the arms of Jesus.

Now, what do you feel?

I leave you with these questions:

1. Are there any unforgivable sins?

2. Do you think when Dahmer slipped out of his flesh that he landed in the arms of Jesus?


  1. warrenjc said...

    If Jeff's heart was REALLY right with God, then yes he did. There is only one sin that God will not forgive, and that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Every other sin God will forgive. Matthew 12:31 declares it to be so.

    To think that someday when we get to heaven and Dahmer has the mansion next to us, how will we feel about that.

  2. warrenjc said...

    Food for thought. Good article/blog.

    Isn't it interesting that as the details change, so does our attitude and feelings about a given subject? That's what I found fascinating about this blog. Keep writing Karen.

  3. Stephanie Faris said...

    Wow, some REALLY deep questions! It's true that it changes our perception of the "victim" when we learn he was a serial killer. There are many who believe in the "eye for an eye" practice...they believe serial killers and such should be punished in the way their victims were punished. But is it our place to enact that vengeance? What has always disturbed me, though, is that someone like Dahmer could go through life doing horrible things, then seek salvation at the end and all is well from then on. Of course, we never really know that he was genuine in seeking that salvation. Only God can know that...

    Oh, and I've found the same traits that would have made you a good psychiatrist also make you a really good writer. It's a fascination with our fellow human beings and the human condition.

  4. AnneSee3 said...

    Hope for the hopeless? What and incredible thought! It brings home 'while we were still sinners . . .'

  5. dreggplant said...

    Leonard Shengold, a psychiatrist, wrote the book, "Soul Murder," which describes the effects of child abuse, i.e. the first "gods," the parents sadism on the developing child. I, too, saw the program with Dahmer and his parents, but I was most struck by the dissociation, denial, and automaton-like behavior in all three of the Dahmers. The barely suspressed rage of the mother along with her la belle indifference bordered on the psychotic. In fact, they appeared to be a psychotic family unit with Jeff as the scapegoat. So, I don't know about Jesus, but Jeff was murdered long before his death in a jail cell.

  6. Warren Baldwin said...

    To the first question - are there any unforgivable sins - I would say only the sin of not repenting and turning to Jesus.

    To the second question - do I think Dahmer slipped into the arms of Jesus - Yes!

    That is our great hope, that God can and will forgive sin!

    I've always found this story so interesting and hopeful. Thanks for sharing it here.

  7. Shauna Renee' said...

    Wow, this really gives one food for thought. I usually don't dwell on who gets in and who doesn't scenarios because I honestly feel it's not up to us. It's up to God. He is the only one who truly knows what was in Jeffrey Dahmer's heart if he truly asked Jesus in. He is the only one who knows if Jeffrey's father was sincere in trying to lead him to Jesus.
    This is what people find frustrating about questions of faith. Those who question our ideologies are quick to point out any faults they find with our reasoning or our expression of faith. By human nature, we don't want to admit that God can forgive every sin when we have such a hard time doing it.
    Look back to Genesis and Cain and Abel. Even after Cain killed his brother, God still loved him, and scripture says "And the Lord, said to him, 'Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him." (Genesis 4:15NKJV)
    My thought is, when I get to heaven, I'll be too busy worshipping to be worrying about who else is there. When we slip from this world to there, our purposes will be changed.
    Good post Karen!