Sunday, September 21, 2014

God and Guns - No Biblical Grounds for Emphasis on Self-defense

Guns in Church
Pastor Ken Pagano of New Bethel Church in Louisville, Ky., talks about the importance of raising awareness of gun safety and the "Open Carry Church Service" he was planning at the church in 2009 in this file photo. Christians or Jews looking to the Bible for justification of a personal focus on self-defense won't find it in the Bible, say advocates of reasonable gun regulation during a panel on "God and Guns" at the 2014 Religion Newswriters Association's annual conference. (AP Photo/Aaron Borton, The Courier-Journal) (Aaron Borton)

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"It's hard to articulate a strong Biblical case for a heavily armed society," said Professor David Gushee, a Christian ethicist at Mercer University. "That's not Biblical reasoning; that's cultural reasoning."

Rachel Laser, the deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, was more blunt.
The indiscriminate support of gun rights in American society has become "the worship of idols," Laser said, "And that's blasphemy. For Jews, there is the biblical mandate from Leviticus: You don't stand by while your brother's blood is being shed."


  1. You don't stand by while your brother's blood is being shed.

    Of course not. You kill the asshole who's shedding it.

    1. A real Biblical ideology.

    2. I've never claimed piety. If I have a "religion," it's the worship of liberty, of self-determination, of individuality, and of self-determination.

    3. Sounds like the blood thirsty, kill happy ideology of a typical gun loon.

    4. Well... I guess your input on this post is irrelevant, since you don't claim the christian faith.

    5. Yeah, good thing Kurt claims no traditional religion, otherwise he'd be guilty of "the worship of idols."

    6. "Of course not. You kill the asshole who's shedding it."

      Actually, Kurt...

      Yeah, that's pretty much in line with what the Bible, Tanakh and New Testament, teach.

      Heck, that's the happy ending to the Book of Esther--she prays and fasts, takes a leap of faith, and protects Israel, not by stopping Haman's order allowing the killing of the Jews, but by having Xerxes send out a decree making it clear that the Jews are, explicitly, allowed to defend themselves. The Jews band together and destroy anyone who attacks them; meanwhile, Haman gets hanged on the ludicrously high gibbet he had made for Esther's uncle.

      The Jews even celebrate this event to this day by drinking, feasting, and reading the book, making noise whenever Haman is mentioned so as to blot out his memory.

  2. I don't mean to insult anyone's sensibilities here. And, of course, I'm glad that fucking idiot, Thomas, no longer comments here. But, here it is.

    Jesus did not advocate killing anyone. His whole trip was about teaching and shaming dickheads into realizing that there was a better way than just killing your enemies. Maybe he was just lucky to have lived thirty years on this earth without being openly challenged by some dick with a sword. My guess is that the dewd was so heavily spiritual that God himself protected Jesus of Nazareth from murder just to tell the world the gospel.

    Anyone who would claim Jesus as a supporter of his right to kill anyone he disagreed with at any time...

    Would have to be completely out of his mind.

    1. "Jesus did not advocate killing anyone."

      "My guess is that the dewd was so heavily spiritual that God himself protected Jesus of Nazareth from murder just to tell the world the gospel."

      I believe you are correct FJ. He seemed to live his life in an absence of fear of death. Likely because he knew when it happened had already been determined.
      That being said, he didn't seem to begrudge the disciples having the means to defend themselves. And acting in self defense is quite a step away from killing someone because you disagree with them.

    2. An absence of fear? That's what gun loons lack. Their fear is so pathological they need to carry a gun wherever they go. If you believe in God why fear death? It's already been determined that you will die and if you are a good little christian you will go to heaven. Just like your Muslim brothers you are promised 7 virgins, or whatever your idea of heaven is.

    3. Ah, the anonymous mental midget has graced us with some of his psychoanalysis and added on some theological thoughts which include his idea that Christians believe that they get 7 virgins in the afterlife.

      Oh yeah, he's TOTALLY qualified to belittle the supposed stupidity of others, and is in no way open to criticism for his brainless comments.

    4. Actually, that first Anonymous made a good point. Isn't fear to the point of going armed at all times incompatible with faith in God and a surrender to God's will?

    5. No, Mike, your new favorite doesn't make a good point.

      You ask if going armed is incompatible with faith and surrender to God's will. Only if you take a fatalistic view that is contrary to the teachings found in the Bible, but more in-line with some schools of teaching in Islam. Seriously, what is up with this constant assumption that Christians have the same views as Muslims?

      As for what the Bible teaches, all through it you see people being told to take action and trust God for the results. David trusted God to protect him from lions, bears, and Philistines, but he still carried arms to protect his flock and himself, trusting God to help him win, and crediting God with teaching his fingers to fight.

      Later, Jesus sent the apostles out on one journey where he gave them a specific command not to take anything with them, but to trust for supernatural provision. They did what He said, and were provided for. The next time, He told them to remember how well they were provided for before, and to trust God to provide for them, but this time to go ahead and take money, gear, and a sword, continuing the same teaching found from Noah to Abraham to David and on--make your plans, take precautions, and trust God to do His Will, whatever that means for you.

      So, no. Anonymous didn't make any good points; he just ignored Christian theology and scriptures in favor of his own warped thoughts on what Christians believe, including a totally pulled out of his ass statement about Christians getting 7 virgins in paradise.

      If a conservative made an error that glaring--say, suggesting that Muslims believe that sinners get reincarnated as Christians Jews or animals, you would be crucifying him for insensitivity, stupidity, and trying to slander the religion, not trying to argue his non-point.

    6. That Anonymous is not the one who is ignoring "Christian theology and scriptures in favor of his own warped thoughts." That's you. He made a general observation that if you believe in God and the afterlife, why do you need to carry a gun all the time. Truly spiritual and religions people don't do that.

      But you, what you do is cherry pick scripture passages that support your warped thoughts, exactly what you accused him of. Why don't you adhere to all those bizarre instructions in Leviticus?

      Answer: because you're a phoney. You're a cherry-picking pseudo-Christian believer in PARTS of the Bible - the parts you like.

    7. See my response below since you basically made the same dodge in both places.

  3. It's always fun to see this. If a conservative cites his religion as the basis for some viewpoint--e.g. being pro-life--liberals howl that he needs to keep it a private matter and scream about how dare he foist his morals upon others.

    Then, when they find it convenient, those same liberals turn around and try to use religion to convince conservatives to join the liberal crusade and foist their values upon others.

    And who are these people trying to make this argument that religious people should become progressives? Theological liberals who question the veracity and origin of their scriptures, pick which parts to consider outdated and excise from what they use to guide their lives, etc. So of COURSE they're going to have a new, posh view of self defense that picks verses they like and ignores others rather than accepting both and tailoring their philosophy and theology to their scriptures.

    Bonus points when it's people of other religions, or no religion at all, pontificating on the religion in question and trying to tell its adherents what their religion REALLY teaches--especially when when they're so obviously not putting in any effort to make actual arguments, just repeating slogans.

    "Dude! Jesus was, like, totally chill! He told people to turn the other cheek--that means you gotta be a pacifist!" Course, this forgets His assault and battery of the money-changers, and that He kept threatening those who rejected His message with Hellfire... Bit more complicated picture than in the hippie quotes...

    1. "Then, when they find it convenient, those same liberals turn around and try to use religion to convince conservatives to join the liberal crusade "

      You've got it exactly backwards. Usually conservative lunatics use the bible to justify their nonsense. Liberals respond by pointing out the hypocrisy and inconsistency.

    2. Mike, it has gone both ways for generations. The only difference is we don't have a jihad over the difference of opinions.

    3. Mike,

      I didn't say that conservatives don't use the Bible to justify their positions. I said that when they try to apply it liberals scream about separation of church and state. Then the liberals turn around, use the Bible, and think nothing of it--e.g. Kerry citing the Bible the other day when talking about dealing with climate change.

      That's hypocrisy. Conservatives can be hypocritical if they ignore the full text and pick and choose, but liberals are just as hypocritical when they scream about how irrelevant the Bible is to policy discussions, and then turn around and use it in policy discussions.

      If you want to use it, then use all of it just as you rightfully demand conservatives do. After all, who's the bigger hypocrite? The hypocrite, or the one who points out his hypocrisy while engaging in it just the same?

    4. There are examples of hypocrisy on both sides, this is true. But it's not the liberals who comprise huge swaths of the population that claim biblical justification of their personal agenda. Conservative Christian gun nuts do that.

    5. Since you keep coming back to the conservative gun nuts, please present how they are hypocritical. You'll need to show how they have either misinterpreted the verses they're using, or how they haven't taken other verses properly into account.

      And you'll need to be arguing against what they Actually say, not against some strawman of your own making.

      Also, you have to go to the text. You can cite theologians for support of your interpretations, but you have to actually show your work, not just quote broad statements like this article did.

      I look forward to seeing this exegesis.


    6. Leviticus 20:13New Living Translation (NLT)

      13 “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.

      There are dozens of others, if not hundreds. Gun nuts who quote the Bible to support their fetish for weapons are hypocrites because they pick and choose the parts of the Bible that work for them and ignore the rest.

      Hows that for an exegesis?

    7. Here and above, you totally dodged the issue. Above, you claimed that Anonymous was not ignoring Christian teaching when he completely, demonstrably, mangled it.

      As for your "exegesis", there was none. You made a broad statement that "Truly spiritual and religions people don't [carry for self defense.]" Then, rather than try to back this up through exegesis, you argued that exegesis was improper and pointless because the Bible contains things that you don't like.

      Since you haven't put forth anything resembling effort to discuss the matter or defend your point, why should I feel the need to do all of the work? Especially when your counter argument is that the Bible shouldn't be used to defend anything...unless it's your side.

      As for your repeated references to Leviticus, in the New Testament, we are repeatedly told that Christ fulfilled the Mosaic Covenant and established a New Covenant based on his fulfillment of the Old. Therefore, some of the rules of the Old Covenant are explicitly no longer applicable--we get explicit statements about various feasts and festivals, and about dietary laws. Rules of morality are considered to be the same since they reflect God's character which is stated not to change. There are differing schools of thought about other passages from the Mosaic law--e.g. some would say that the civil laws, like the only piece of scripture you cited, were part of the theocratic order established under the Old Covenant and are no longer applicable now that it has been fulfilled. Others would say that the moral kernel remains (homosexuality is wrong) but would agree with the first school that the civil penalty is removed, and a third school would favor adopting it as a civil law. Each of these comes to their conclusion by attempting to apply the same, internally consistent rules of exegesis they apply to the rest of scripture.

      So, no. You proved only your ignorance and half-assed scholarship of the Bible.

    8. Short form, if you're going to preach at Christians, maybe you should learn something about what they believe, because reciting old saws like "how dare you take position x based on the Bible, and yet you eat shrimp" just makes you look stupid.

      (And yes, you didn't explicitly cite shrimp, but you did refer above to "all those crazy rules" and this is one of the favorites I've seen Laci and DG come out with in the past.)

    9. " Especially when your counter argument is that the Bible shouldn't be used to defend anything...unless it's your side."

      Is that my counter argument? Please show us where I've used the Boble to support my side.

    10. Seriously? The title of this post claimed that there were no Biblical grounds for any emphasis on self defense. You and your allies were consistently arguing that a consistent application of the Bible would be for us to walk around unarmed and never defend ourselves.

      It's not your main argument for gun control, but you were making it here, repeatedly. It takes some chutzpah to turn around and pretend that's not what you were doing in this post.

      I guess you figured the boldness of your assertion would cover for your refusal to back up your assertions about the Bible and about Christian teachings.

    11. I would never use the Bible to support the gun control argument. The only time I ever refer to the "turn the other cheek" thing is to rebut the pro gun nonsense that gun rights are supported in the Bible.

      This entire post is in response to nuts like Ken Pagano.

  4. The Bible is so full of inconsistencies and contradictions, only loons consider it an unquestionable source of fact.