Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OF Murder, Guns, and God...

It's manifestly true that guns are extremely efficient killing tools. That's what they are meant for--to kill.  The words "elephant rifle" conjure up a type of firearm that is used to kill elephants--to stop them with one shot.  The words "assault rifle" mean something similar--a rifle used in assaulting and killing.  There is a sort of grim humor in firearms, since governments, which seek to prevent private ownership, furnish these items to their militaries and their police agencies, on the theory that governments are "responsible." I was watching a video on gun control not so very long ago, and the commentator mentioned that governments were "responsible" for the 100 MILLION deaths in the 20th century.  I began to count up, and even I could see that number was either correct, or too low. So if school shootings are the subject, we also need to ask, "would governments do a better job if their citizens were DISarmed?" The history behind this doesn't favor government at all. In virtually every country where the citizens have no firearms, the government eventually becomes repressive, and then the government hauls out its OWN firearms (which it still has, of course) to use against the people it governs.
Having said that, it's certainly wrong for people to go around shooting their neighbors.  Nobody should ever take a weapon into a school and shoot the children.  That is a crime that demands attention, and answers.

The answer may be to remove assault rifles from the hands of people who are not in the police or military.  It may be that.  The answer may be to identify the people who would do such crimes, and get them help before it is too late.  The answer may be to take all weapons of all kinds from everyone but the military, and allow them to use weapons of any kind only in battle situations. The answer may be to give every person a gun, and have all of us walk around armed (that would certainly reduce the prevalence of insults!!).

On the other hand, none of these "answers" really address the problem, and taking all firearms from private citizens, as six million Jewish folk found out in World War II, is really worse than the problem it tries to address.  Firearms give determined citizens protection against many forms of evil--evil that arises from criminals, from crazies, and of course, from their own government.  A gun gives a small woman the same protective power as a large, formidable martial arms expert--and while the police may be 10 minutes away, a woman who wants to protect herself and owns a firearm can have her own defense right next to her.

The national answer to the Newtown shootings will no doubt be some greater form of control over firearms. This is probably a "given." However, the problem that needs to be addressed is really not the existence of the gun, or of someone owning it.  It's rather, "How come people think that others are worth so little that they believe they have the right to kill them?"  Or put differently, "How is it possible that a teenager (or young person) can grow up in our society and set so little value on the lives of other people--or even his own?"
I believe that the real problem lies in the view we have taken as a society about human beings.  If in fact humans are nothing more than "mechanical devices of flesh," what difference does it make?  Why not kill, if you can?  However, in his heart of hearts, nobody really believes that, because people don't believe that about themselves.
Every person believes he's "special," and psychopaths actually believe that they are "more special."  If you believe you are special, it's not a great leap of thought to come to the conclusion that people are special, and finally, that life is special.  This, in fact is the Bible's view of life, and human life in particular.  From Scripture we get the notion that men and women (and boys and girls) are made in the image of God, and therefore precious.  Those who reject this believe and think counter to their own very strong intuition.  This concept of being in "the image of God" makes people valuable. It means they ought not to be killed by their governments, or their neighbors, or anyone else.  If people are valuable, human life is precious, and by extension so is all life precious.
Rejection of this is at the core of what is missing in our society--a deep selfishness, and the sense that nobody is of value, other than me.  This is why bankers steal from the common man with no conscience, why armies go into "conquest mode," killing all who don't like them, why gangsters rule over their turf by making everyone afraid of them.  Serial killers kill because they believe only their life is special, and they have the right to kill all those "not special" subhumans--those subhumans are "nothing," after all.

But the truth is,
"God made man in His image," and every human is therefore special, because he is (however imperfect) a shadow-picture of the invisible God, who made us all.
And so, YOU are special.  You are special to the God who made you, you have your own place in the world, and you are gifted with that greatest of all common gifts. Human life.