Sunday, August 23, 2009

Christians and Guns

This fascinating issue came up a couple months ago when Rev. Ken Pagano was in the news. Christian gun owners, especially the more fundamental variety, would naturally want to biblically justify their decision to own guns. Our frequent commenter Bob S. is one of them. Well, I say that's great during a Ken Pagano sermon, but in the public domain it's foolish and manipulative.

It's manipulative because, in order to make the argument, not only are the well-known exhortations of Jesus overlooked - love your enemies and turn the cheek, etc. - but so are some Old Testament dictums such as these.

A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13)

The transparent cherry-picking of appropriate quotes is not what makes this justification so pathetic, it's the attempt to put questions about gun ownership on a higher plane, an untouchable plane, a divine plane.

It's foolish because any reasonable person, I'd suspect even many Christian gun owners, see this for what it is, a blatant and pathetic manipulation.

Bob S. said this in his post which I linked to above.

First, GOD is unchanging and unchanged. What he approves of in the Old Testament is still valid. Jesus did not replace the old covenant but came to fulfill it. I know of only one case of Jesus contradicting what was established by GOD in the Old Testament – that was clean and unclean foods.

How does that work exactly? Are some Christian people really in favor of burning to death young girls who lose their virginity before marriage? Are those same people in favor of murdering gays? Of course not, only the most deranged would favor such things. Does it mean, then that according to Bob, only certain parts of the Old Testament are still valid if they support his gun policy?

What's your opinion? What do you think about justifying things like gun ownership using the Bible? It reminds me of the millionaire televangelist who justifies his wealth using excerpts from the Bible. Isn't he a pathetic manipulator?

Please leave a comment.


  1. LOL -- I guess anti-religious people like to comment on faith with as much pontification as holophobes who have never handled a gun talk about gun ownership. Anyway ...

    The New Testament was a continuation of the Old Testament, but under an entirely new covenant. And I think most Christians would agree that while God did not change, his relationship with his people did. Basically, the covenant changed from one of actions to one of faith, and much of Leviticus is about the actions necessary to the old covenant.

    So no ... I don't need to kill homosexuals, anymore than I have to avoid eating pork or putting cheese on hamburgers.

    But in terms of Jesus and gun ownership ... I have blogged on this subject before and still get several hits a day on this, and what Jesus cautioned us NOT to do was escalate situations and to accept indignities rather than resort to greater or deadly violence, (good advice for everyone). He said that if someone SLAPS you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. A slap is a minor act of violence and not life threatening.

    Jesus gives several similar examples of when not to escalate, but never once discusses a threat to life. i.e. he never says "And if the killer doth stab you through one kidney, offer him the other, and your heart as well." Or "If the nightraiders do rape one daughter before your eyes, offer them the other, and also your wife, with no resistance."

    So while I would disagree with those who say there is a mandate to own weapons (though when Jesus tells the apostles to sell their cloaks to buy swords it comes arguably close) it is left up to us to decide. As well as what kinds of weapons we believe our governments should allow ownership of, etc.

  2. Little Steve, That was a wonderful comment. Thanks for the common sense, especially this.

    "So while I would disagree with those who say there is a mandate to own weapons (though when Jesus tells the apostles to sell their cloaks to buy swords it comes arguably close) it is left up to us to decide."

    But, I hope you weren't talking about me when you said, "holophobes who have never handled a gun." I'm a converted hoplophobe.

  3. If I mislabeled you, Mike, I apologize. I assume anyone who respects is a holophobe ;-).

  4. MikeB,

    Why wasn't my comment approved?

    I didn't cross any of your precious commenting policies to keep you from confronting facts you don't like?

    So, once again it seems you are playing games...attacking me personally without giving me a chance to respond on your blog. Is that playing fair?

  5. Bob, You're right that wouldn't be fair. So, for the last time I'll tell you, read the commenting policy again. I never reject comments because they contain facts I don't like. I welcome those. But, I won't accept any more from you that contain personal attacks or name calling.


    You accept comments from people attacking and calling names all the time, as long as they are attacking pro-gunnies.

    Heck, this entire post is an attack on me. How many times did it you say it was pathetic to use Scriptures as a basis for my way of life?

    Double standards MikeB. You specialize in them.

  7. Bob, I attack your argument, I don't attack you. I call your argument pathetic, not you. I show where you're hypocritical, I don't call you a hypocrite. I try to show where you have discrepancies in your logic, I don't call you a liar for it.

    That's the difference between us. It's subtle, I realize, but as I said. I accept no more personal insults from you. That HYPOCRITE in the last comment is the last one.

    As to the others, it has nothing to do with pro-gun or not. If any of the others become as persistent as you in this regard, I assure you they'll get the same treatment.

  8. MikeB,

    Sorry but you are doing it again.

    You aren't telling the truth or you are twisting it so much you can't recognize it.

    When you attack me for using the Bible for my decision making process, you aren't attacking my argument. You are attacking me.

    It doesn't matter if you say I'm a "blatant manipulator" or if you say the attempt to use the Bible is a "blatant manipulation"; it is still attacking me.

    You didn't tell the truth either when you said that the "exhortation of Jesus" were overlooked, did you?

    I covered those and explained them. You want to take them for what you think they mean, not what they truly mean. I pointed out that if you had done any research, you would have found the same thing covered hundreds of times.

    To say that they are overlooked is not telling the what do you say to someone who isn't telling the truth?

    You cherry picked two Scriptures that have nothing to do with self defense to talk about how people such as I used cherry picked scriptures...isn't that a little hypocritical?

    You talk about selecting scripture to support the argument; ignoring the dozens of scriptures and references that I used....isn't that hypocritical when you only use 2 scriptures to make your case?

    Over and over again you do those things that you accuse others of....what should I say to people like you? That you are right and know what you are talking about or that you are wrong and being those things you accuse others of?

  9. Once again MikeB, just because you don't like something doesn't make it a "personal attack"

    Calling you a liar isn't a person attack if I can prove you are in fact a liar. (or a hypocrite for that matter)

    Like when I call Helmke a liar. That's not a personal attack, it's a statement of fact based upon all avaliable evidence.

  10. Bob, I stand corrected. You're right you didn't ignore those exhortations of Jesus. I just read your lengthy posts again, and I admit I was wrong about that.

    But, Bob, that's called a "mistake" not a "lie." It's called an omission or an oversight, but you take every opportunity to call me a liar. That's what I call personal attacking, but I'm sure you could biblically justify it if I pressed you.

    About your explanation of Jesus' words to turn the other cheek. I find it hard to believe that even you believe what you wrote. You went into the whole "insult" thing because it's the right cheek, you quoted Lamentations when the discussion is about the New Testament and you concluded, "So, Jesus wasn’t saying meekly submit to violence…he was saying return insult with the demand to be treated as an equal."

    The literal words of Jesus were "When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well."

    Yours is not even a slick manipulation of the texts, that's a clumsy, sloppy and pathetic attempt at justifying your position. And it just doesn't work, Bob.

  11. "you quoted Lamentations when the discussion is about the New Testament"

    Last time I checked, Lamentations was a still a part of the Bible. If Jesus is God, and God was speaking to his people in the Old Testament, then does it change the issue if someone is quoting what Jesus/God said in 30 AD or 600 BC?

    Is there any religion out there that only believes the New Testament and not the Old Testament?

    Mikeb, that is a pretty pathetic argument.