11 months, 1 week ago
I’ve dealt with this issue in significant detail before, but occasionally it pays to rehearse the case again for those who missed it, or become weak of heart, or become confused amid all of the sophomoric commentary.
In The Christian Answer To Gun Violence? Eliminate Guns, Dan Webster makes a case that Jesus was a pacifist. The point here isn’t what Dan thinks, because his commentary is silly and trite. Much better commentary is delivered in the comments where I discussed this issue with a reader. I cannot possibly rehearse the entire conversation (you can read it for yourself), but it pays to have this conversation with people.
In large measure, American Christianity has become a free-for-all hermeneutic, with classical doctrine being replaced by bohemian hippie love-fest manifestations of the social gospel. This causes people to believe that Jesus was a pacifist, that they must be doormats, and that they must reject all forms of self defense.
But put in visceral, real-to-life applications for them, they must admit that defense of themselves with whatever means necessary reflects the importance of God’s image in them. A fortiori, from the lesser to the greater, protection of their families is even more important. As I previously observed:
God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries. Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them. God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse. He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls. God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers.
Failing to confess the truthfulness of this, Christians would have to admit that what they believe is both logically incoherent and existentially unappealing. Cowards allow the little ones to be harmed. The morally righteous and strong of heart protect and defend them.
There are always the pretensions of scholarship that distract us from the main points.
I personally would feel better if I, uniquely, had a gun in hand to use against the perpetrator. But I would not prefer a situation in which everyone was carrying guns, all the time, and ready to open fire on anyone who looked threatening. Or even if a lot more people were doing so. Thus for me, a “more guns” policy fails the categorical imperative test. It’s better for me if I do it, worse for us all if everyone does it.
Not a single second amendment defender is advocating that “everyone” carry guns, or that we “fire on anyone who looked threatening.” The author (James Fallows) has erected a straw man to cloud his moral failure, and I’m not impressed by the invocation of Kant. This man would allow his children to be killed by assailants rather than defend them, or if he did defend them out of reflex, he would choose in the detached, unemotional comfort of his home to give himself a low probability of dealing with the assailant. Thus, he is voluntarily choosing (by high probability) to perish, along with his children.
This is both cowardly and immoral. And even if it’s the bohemian hippie position, it’s most certainly not the Christian position.