By Alex Murashko
Although producers of “I’m Not Ashamed,” which releases Friday, use the 1999 Columbine High School massacre as a backdrop to the feature story of martyred Rachel Joy Scott, the film doesn’t shy away from the underreported fact that killer Eric Harris was most likely motivated by Darwinism and natural selection.
Based on Harris’ own journal, and as depicted in movie clips given exclusively to WND, Harris, along with Dylan Klebold, found justification for their diabolical plans in Charles Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” theology.
A case has been made in the movie and by a few researchers that the evil embraced by the killers was not simply the product of a “Goth” lifestyle or an alienated, tortured youth.
“It’s good that the movie is filling in details that the media overlooked,” apologetics author and university professor Nancy R. Pearcey told WND in an email. “If anything, I wish the movie had pressed even harder on the role that worldviews play. People are influenced by what they believe is true.”
Pearcey adds, “From Harris’ journals, there cannot be any doubt that he was a thoroughgoing disciple of Darwin, and saw his own behavior as acting out Darwinian principles.”
Tragically, this “acting out” resulted in the murder of 12 students and one teacher with another 24 wounded before Harris and Klebold committed suicide.
In a scene in the movie showing Harris in Columbine’s high school cafeteria, he says, “Get rid of all the fat, retarded, crippled, stupid, ignorant, rich, worthless people in this world. No one is worthy of this planet. Only me and who I choose. Everyone should be sent out into space, and only the people I say should be left behind.”
Harris also was a follower of Nietzsche, who concluded that humans were “evolving to the next stage in evolution, the Super Man,” Pearcey said.
“This advanced being would be superior to the moral rules that apply to ordinary mortals – ‘beyond good and evil,’ in Nietzche’s words,” she explained. “In the recordings he left behind, Harris claimed that he had ‘evolved’ to a higher state of existence where he has no obligation to anyone.
“He clearly saw himself as the embodiment of the Nietzschiean Super Man, far above the herd, someone who would prove his true heroic self by performing some grandiose deed.”
“I’m Not Ashamed” producer Chuck Howard said the killers’ misguided motivation portrayed in the movie was a “great counter point in the story.”
While Scott’s story is one of both struggle and victory as a Christian high school student motivated by her faith, Harris’ faulty reasoning and Klebold’s affirmation of such “gave them the illusion of power to bully others just as they had been bullied.”
“Eric had a psychotic disorder that allowed him to live in a delusional world and Dylan was a follower. Both boys exhibited signs of bullying and being bullied,” said Howard, who believes “a little intervention from the teachers would have gone a long way.”
Still, the question for some remains, as Pearcey asks and answers, “Is it really plausible that someone would take [this] philosophy so seriously? Sure. And it has happened before.
“Pekka Eric Auvinen, the Finnish student who killed eight in a shooting spree at his school, called himself ‘a social Darwinist,’ and wrote, ‘I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.'”
She gave another example of like-minded thinking by referencing the Leopold and Loeb case, which was “one of the most celebrated criminal cases of the twentieth century,” involving two college students who murdered a 14-year-old boy for pure sport.
“What influenced them? At least one of the students had been influenced by the philosopher Nietzsche, who in turn was influenced by Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest,” she said.
“The murderers conceived of themselves as the fittest, who would prove their superiority by committing ‘the perfect crime.’
“Who was the defense lawyer in the case? Clarence Darrow, who went on to defend John T. Scopes in the famous Scopes trial in 1925,” Pearcy said. “In other words, at the time, it was not Christians who pointed the finger at Nietzsche and Darwin as influences behind the murder. It was a secular, liberal lawyer.”
She points out that historian Richard Weikart, in his book “From Darwin to Hitler,” shows that during the Nazi era, the German high command was “deeply influenced by Darwinism.”
“The Germans interpreted the theory to mean that only the strongest survive, the weak fall by the wayside, and might makes rights,” Pearcy said. “The eugenics movement that sent many disabled people to the concentration camps and gas chambers claimed that it was simply acting in harmony with the laws of evolution.
“Darwin himself noted that German biologists were among the first and most enthusiastic endorsers of his theory. He told a friend, ‘The support which I receive from Germany is my chief ground for hoping that our views will ultimately prevail.'”
She notes that “ideas have consequences,” and added, “As a professor at a Christian college, I hear from fellow professors about students who are reading secular thinkers and losing their faith. The names mentioned most often are Darwin and Neitzsche.”
Here are two additional clips: