Many thanks to those of you who contribute to our recent discussion on guns in the U.S.. I think we learned a bit about each other and, in particular, our non-U.S. readers got to hear from some American friends (all Christians) on how they view these things.

If I could sum up the pro-gun argument it falls (as far as I understand it) into 2 general fields:

  1. The 2nd Amendment right and even duty to bear arms against the potential of (as one commentor put it) a “rapacious state).
  2. The right, responsibility and duty to defend
    1. our own selves and property
    2. the weak and defenseless around us, beginning with but not exclusive to our families

So now I have a couple more questions to push the conversation forward.

  1. Have I framed the issue correctly?
  2. What for Christians is the Biblical mandate for these positions?
  3. How do pro-gun Christians answer the challenge from those who would point them to Jesus as the one who taught us to turn the other cheek and was, himself, named the Prince of Peace?

And please remember, the intention here is to help us understand each other better, not to think we’re going to somehow persuade someone out of deeply held convictions. Thanks to my American friends (and others) for their contributions so far.

Comments

comments

4 comments on “Gun Control and the Bible?

  1. You just can’t help stirring the pot. Good on yah! 😉

    My bet is that this “conversation” leads nowhere useful; but I admit an innate tendency towards cynicism.

  2. Just for fun:

    1. Have I framed the issue correctly?

    Don’t know. Is a slap on the cheek the moral equivalent of robbery? Of rape? Of murder? Was Jesus’ point that you shouldn’t resist an attempted murder? Scot McKnight suggested that a slap on the left cheek was, as a backhanded blow, the symbol of expulsion from the synagogue. If that is correct, how does being insulted for the name of Jesus relate to defending oneself (and/or others) against violent physical assault?

    I would like to consider myself a pacifist, but I hope that if I saw a rape in progress I’d be prepared to step in–and assume that some degree of force (even violence) would be necessary.

    2. What for Christians is the Biblical mandate for these positions?

    I’ll assume you’re not asking for a prooftext.
    Total depravity, which suggests that those in power will abuse it and so need to have checks on them. Thus a bicameral legislative system, a court for the express purpose of checking the senate, local governments to enact the will of local citizens, etc. I think this is why people often deride the founders of the nation as “Calvinists”, even when the label is inexact.

    3. How do pro-gun Christians answer the challenge from those who would point them to Jesus as the one who taught us to turn the other cheek and was, himself, named the Prince of Peace?

    I am called to turn my other cheek, not the cheek of another person. Does this compel me to remove from another his or her means of self-protection? As I said earlier, one of the historical concerns of those who defended the 2nd amendment was the protection of blacks in the south when their lives were endangered. And again, if I witnessed a rape and had quicker recourse to a baseball bat than a telephone, I’d reach for the bat.

    A failing in the whole discussion as I see it is that non-Americans often think of the issue in terms of national interests. There was a (not very good) movie about an event, I think it was in 1946 or 7, when the citizens of Athens, Tennessee, many recently returned from war in Europe, rose up and overthrew their corrupt government. Back then that was still considered heroic. I guess it was still viewed positively in the 1990s when the movie was made as well.

  3. I don’t know how long the link will remain active, but the comments on the linked news story (which is interesting in its own right) provide an interesting insight to Canadian attitudes towards American evangelical views on guns and Second Amendment rights:

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/williston-pastors-say-churches-should-have-option-to-decide-on-whether-to-allow-concealed-guns-199771571.html

    Williston is just across the border, but it may as well be a million light years away. There is a lot more I could say, but it would probably be best for all concerned if I didn’t.

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