Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guns and Christianity

I'm sure you have noticed the frenzy regarding gun control since the shooting in Connecticut. It isn't any surprise that controversy over this topic is huge - after all, the fight is something that affects just about everyone, and people's lives are at stake from any perspective.

There are many arguments that are pro-gun and many that are anti-gun. I'll go ahead and let you know now that I am pro-gun, if you haven't guessed already. I have many political reasons for this: I believe that the 2nd Amendment states we have the right to individually own guns and form militias to protect ourselves from harmful criminals and governments. I believe that people deserve the right to defend themselves on an equal playing field if they are attacked by wayward police, soldiers, or criminals with illegal weapons. I believe that criminals will obtain guns with or without laws, and moreover, obtain other kinds of weapons if they are unable to reach a gun (eliminating the purpose of the law). I believe that history has revealed that many governments are more of a threat to their people than to other nations, and most of those governments did not begin that way. I also believe that history repeats itself, and in the event of America's fall, any citizen should have the means to defend themselves.

James Madison was the primary author of the Constitution, and he wrote: "Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." At the time, he believed that large government military coverage would easily destroy the country they were attempting to found. I think that it is still true today, though the government has a lot more work to do. However, it is still very possible if we continue to grant power to officials in high places.

How Guns Relate to God's Words
Now that you are familiar with my opinion on a political level, I am compelled to explain my views from the perspective of a Christian. Many people find themselves conflicted on the topic of guns because of course, guns are objects created specifically to harm others. This existence would generally be objected by many people who have read parts of the Bible and know the phrases "Thou shalt not kill" and "turn the other cheek". Yet still, we read all sorts of things in the Bible about people who fight and kill other people, even under God's orders; this would appear to make a contradiction, and confuses many Christians as well as non-Christians who study the Bible. You may also question the harm of adding yet another law, as long as it is intended to bring more peace.

Contrary to common knowledge, modern Bibles typically phrase the sixth commandment "You shall not murder," rather than, "You shall not kill." The Hebrew word inserted in Exodus 20:13 is more accurately translated as "murder" - the original Hebrew text describes the word as malicious and unlawful killing. This would indicate that killing is accepted when it has proper cause. Exodus 22:2 states, "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed." In this context, it is obvious that self defense is an acceptable situation in which to kill, though it also elaborates that if the thief is only discovered later, then there are other punishments later. It is okay, however, to defend one's house, and I would assume also do defend one's person and other people. This explanation certainly allows a Christian or Jew to possess a weapon of any kind, as long as it is only used in a defensive scenario.

I cannot deny, that it is a very big thing to allow yourself to be killed by another man, simply in order to avoid killing the criminal. I may concede this to be unintelligent in most cases, but martyrdom is not an evil thing either, unless there are other duties that a person is meant to complete (such as raising children). Even by this option, however, it is still exactly that - an option. It is unfair to remove people's possessions of defense simply because there are some who think that killing even in defense is evil. For instance, I do not support gay marriage, but I do not think that marriage should be anything regulated by law anyway, and therefore makes the argument regarding such a union irrelevant. I believe that marriage is between two people and God, not between the government. 

"The Strength of Sin is in the Law"
To delve further into the topic of God, guns and the law, I would like to explain 1 Corinthians 15:56. "The sting of death is sin," it says, and continues, "and the strength of sin is in the law." Non-Christians may find this to be a particularly odd statement. Did that verse just say the law is evil? Yes, it kind of did, but probably not the way you are interpreting it. To fully understand what is being said, let me explain the first half of the verse before the second. "The sting of death" obviously refers to the thing that makes death so terrible. The reason that this thing is sin, rather than pain or just the vague loss of life is explainable through the story of Adam and Eve. Before Adam and Eve sinned, it is said that there was no death. There weren't any rules, either, except not to eat of the fruit on one tree. Other than that, everyone lived happily together with nature. The moment they committed the first sin, however, they introduced death into the world, and were cursed to have the earth distrust us (as it should, since we sin and destroy things).

I understand that this is getting fairly philosophical, and it will become even more so. In order to perceive the meaning of the second portion of that verse, please note what sin is, exactly: sin is the breaking of the law. If sin is only the breaking of the law, then that would mean that if there was no law, then there would be no sin. This is entirely true. However, there has been law from Genesis through Revelation. Before there was government to make law, God laid it out. When the people did not know God, there was a government to write and enforce the law. Breaking the law is considered a sin, even government laws (as long as they do not conflict with God's law). By this truth, one can surmise that if guns are in fact banned, it will be a sin to keep them, unless we are otherwise inspired by God. This particular fact enforces to me that we must fight to keep our rights in politics, before they become a moral problem as well.

On that note, we may presume that it is not evil to own a gun so long as it is only used in defensive situations. We may even assume  that because of these Biblical truths, there is no political reason to remove guns from law-abiding citizens. As further proof that we must protect our rights as Christians, we must also acknowledge that the creation of a political law could become a sin, therefore strengthening sin's power and reaches over more and more Christians and others as well. Thankfully, Jesus did come to redeem us from sin, but while we are on this Earth in this flesh, we can still succumb to sin and feel the repercussions of it. If the strength of sin is in the law, then why do we create more laws than what God has laid down, when all we are doing is strengthening sin itself?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Me vs The World

If anyone were to ask me why I don't do things like everybody else, I could attribute it to my name. I am not Everybody. I am Meredith, and "Meredith" starts with "Me". Moreover, I am not vain and I never lie.