TAJIKISTAN — A couple who had quit their jobs and set off on a biking expedition last July, concluding from their travels that “humans are kind” and “[e]vil is a make-believe concept,” were killed by Islamic terrorists while traveling through Tajikistan last month.
Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, both 29, operated a blog entitled “Simply Cycling: Traveling the World by Bicycle” where they chronicled their journey in both text and photographs. In April, Austin penned a blog post in which he outlined that he had come to conclude, in witnessing the hospitality and friendliness of others on his travels, that humans are basically good and that badness is rare.
“You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse,” he wrote. “I don’t buy it.”
“Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it,” Austin stated. “Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.”
“No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.”
However, on July 29, as Geoghegan and Austin rode through Tajikistan with other cyclists—not far from the terrorist hotbed of Afghanistan, a car suddenly crashed into the group, and five men exited the vehicle, attacking the bikers with knives. Geoghan and Austin were stabbed to death, along with a cyclist from Switzerland and one from the Netherlands.
Two days later, the barbaric Islamic group known as ISIS released a video featuring the five young men who are believed to have committed the murders. They pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Bakr al Baghdadi, vowing to kill non-Muslims, according to the New York Times.
“O disbelievers, we have come to you with slaughter,” they stated. “We will eradicate you and make the word of Allah supreme.”
The attackers are believed to have since been killed themselves, according to photographs released by the Interior Ministry of Tajikistan.
The U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan likewise lamented the murder of the cyclists, writing in an official statement, “We condemn the senseless attack, offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and wish the injured a speedy recovery. Due to privacy concerns, we are unable to share further details about the American citizens.”
As previously reported, the Scriptures outline that all men are born with Adamic sinful natures, and are inherently drawn toward wrongdoing and evil in rebellion against God.
Romans 3 states, “There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Jesus also taught in Mark 7:20-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness—all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
It is why He declared in John 3 that men must be born again—they must be regenerated by the Spirit of God—or they cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again,” Jesus explained.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 also reads, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”