How Vegas Massacre Changed An Agnostic Man’s Heart; ‘I’m a Firm Believer in God’ After The Mass Shooting

By Victor Ochieng

The Las Vegas mass shooting goes down in history as one of the deadliest ever in American history. The massacre left more than 55 people dead, with hundreds injured. As the gunman rained terror on the revelers who’d come together for an outdoor concert, thousands who were in attendance ran for their dear lives.

Anyone who was at the site and survived would tell you the sound of the gunshots is still ringing in their heads. Everybody fled for their lives, including Jason Aldean, who was right on stage at the time of the shooting. The event, Route 91 Harvest Festival, was hosted near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and had attracted more than 20,000 people.

Taylor Benge, a survivor of the Stephen Paddock mass shooting, says the experience changed his heart. During the shooting, Benge says he was in fight-or-flight mode and totally confused on what to do.

“If it were over here, and I took cover, there were still bodies on that side of people just laying in pools of blood,” Benge tells CNN. “I still didn’t know if that was safe or not.”

After experiencing the tormenting shooting, which has been widely condemned by citizens and their leaders alike, Benge says he’s taking a totally different spiritual dimension.

“It’s a fight or flight situation. You can’t really, you just gotta take it to God at that point and hope that you can make it,” Benge says.

He admits he doesn’t know what or how other people felt during the shooting, but for him, he considers it a blessing that he’s alive.

“I know I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, I’m just, you know, I was agnostic going into that concert, I’m a firm believer in God now because there’s no way that, you know, all that happened and I made it and I was blessed enough to still be alive here talking to you today.”

Such are experiences that would make one rethink their life decisions. Being in the middle of such a rain of terror and escaping unscathed is something that would make you seek God, particularly if you’d previously been lukewarm in your salvation. “What if I died?” would be the question that crosses your mind. At the time of the incident, was I in a spiritual state that would allow me to see God?

Benge, even though agnostic before the incident, has come to acknowledge the existence and power of God.