Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Would Jesus support gun control?

I'm back and ready to blog. First things first. No, Pete, I wasn't ignoring your question on the gun control issue. I just don't have a clear opinion one way or the other. I do think it is rather strange however, that so many Christian groups lobby for the NRA, as if the view of protecting people's rights to purchase semi-automatic weapons is distinctively a Christian issue. I also think it odd that so many conservatives support Rudy Guliani, even though he is pro-abortion and doesn't take a strong stand against gay marriage, based solely on his performance for cleaning up crime as the mayor of New York City and his subsequent post 9/11 leadership. One of the things that Guliani says is that he was able to reduce crime in New York largely through tougher gun control measures.

As far as the issue itself from a biblical standpoint, I think it has to do with living with what is permissable and what is ideal. Defending oneself with a gun, or any other type of self-defense where the potential victim harms or takes the life of the aggressor may be permissable (clearly in the Old Testament this is the case), but is it ideal? Given the pacifist nature of the New Testament, that is the real question in my book.


Here is an article that covers this issue from just about every possible angle.
The author is a pacifist, but a lot of the comments on his article take the opposite position. The dialogue is amazing. Hope you enjoy reading it.

6 comments:

Pete said...

Aaron,
Good to have you back! Thanks for posting this! Your link was exactly what I thought I would get.
There was a shocking, mind blowing, just plain disgusting amount of misinformation in that dialogue, much of which was posted by a man with a D and an R in front of his name. The biggest problem here is that people are posting "facts" and "statistics" that don't exists and are being sold to people who are taking the bait hook, line, and sinker. Someone posting this misinformation and using their educational seal of approval as proof that what they say must be educated just goes to show the level of irresponsibilty of Americans when it comes to guns.
In their attempt to be against violence, the masses have turned to the most readily available scapegoat which is firearms. How many of them know a thing about firerms? Well, let me make up a statistic based of what I've seen and say that it's about 1% of people. Exaggeration? Maybe, but 10 bonus bucks to the first person who can tell me the difference between a traditional firing pin and a striker, or who can tell me what the actual difference in mortality rate or temporal wound cavity between the "evil" hollowpoints and ball ammo.
So what, then, is my solution? My solution is simple. Unless you know what you're talking about, stay out of the conversation and ballot box! Sounds mean, I know, but freedom is not an excuse for ignorance. Recently Missouri residents voted on a stem cell research ammendment. Many people asked me how they should vote during this time for this issue as well as others. My reply was that if they aren't willing to educate themselves and thereby make an educated vote, they shouldn't vote at all. The same holds true for gun control issues. If you aren't educated about guns and violence than you shouldn't tell people how to think about them.
I happen to know more than about 99.9% of the population when it comes to this ( sounds conceited, I know, but this is my passion and others would back me up on this ). For instance, I know that Great Britain has heralded their success in lowering gun violence, while quietly slipping the continuing rise of violence in general and more specifically, an alarming spike in knife related violence right under the rug.
I am not a blind raving gun waving lunatic. There needs to be some common sense used in gun control. Just this past weekend I took a man shooting for the first time, and even though he was quite a natural and had a good time, I recommend against him buying a gun. They aren't for everybody. I do understand that.

I would like to comment on one other appalling thing that I read here and I think you, as a Bible scholar, could agree with me here. This doctorate level Bible scholar took the Bible and wheeled it around like a loaded gun (ironic) and blew away anything that wasn't his own opinion. Hey, I've been reading the NT for a good long time, trying to see if there is a correlation in it for gun control and I can tell you that there is no definitive stance in EITHER DIRECTION! How completely irresponsible to use one's status as a Bible scholar to support one's own opinion. Even if this is just a one time offense, I am really troubled by this. Even a few of his fellow scholars chimed in later in the discussion and gently chastised him for doing so. The misuse of God's text is more harmful than every gun ever made! I hope that this man will be more careful with God's word in the future.
Thanks again for the post and you're willingness to admit it's not a subject that you are passionate about right off the bat.
Pete
P.S. There may be some support for Rudy, but I doubt they are actual conservatives supporting him.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Pete is back with a vengeance! Can you comment on my Good Muslim post? I want to know what you think about my thesis that Jesus was confronting religious bigotry in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Pete said...

Oops! I wasn't trying to be harsh. Just wanted to point some things out and see what people thought. Hey, it could have been worse. I could have started with, "you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers that just got done firing it in your direction". But I would never say that.........because you can NEVER have my gun : )

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Good one Pete. You had me rolling on that one.

toby said...

do you have to be an expert on how guns work to know how guns effect public violence? i think there is a slight flaw in that logic. although i do agree that many people blindly give credibility to people with a degree.

good point when you said that you should be educated when you vote. i like your response that you shared regarding the stem cell question. i'll have to use that one sometime if i ever get a similar question.

i haven't researched the topic a lot, but i'll have to take a look at that article and maybe a few other sources before i make up my mind on this issue.

thanks for the post aaron. good to have you back.

Pete said...

Toby,
I don't believe I ever said or even implied that logic. One certainly doesn't need to be an expert on guns in order to know how they effect public violence. What I believe I did say, and I think the logic works just fine, is that you need to be educated about guns and about public violence in order to understand their relationship correctly and therefore have an educated say in gun control issues.
You see, you haven't been educated on the issues than you will most likely be swayed by the misinformation that abounds. For example, when either you or Aaron read the link in the post, you will probably believe many things in there that aren't true (no offense). It's no different than some guy teaching wacked ideas about God to a bunch of people who know nothing about the Bible. It has happened, and people took the bait because they didn't know the truth from the lies.
If you want me to, I'll read through the link with you and show you all of the fallacies that are in there. I think it would absolutely shock you.
Anyhow, I'm not saying people shouldn't be pro gun control. I actually am okay with it as long as their reasoning is educated and not just some blanket endorsement of all things that might possibly stand against violence. I want them to have the same attitude that they had when they first studied religion. "so you say this is how I should be huh, show me where it says that!"
Someone once told me "If you can't really back up the way you think, than all you are doing is backing up the way someone else thinks!"
Pete