Is it right for a Christian to carry a gun? Or even own one at all?
I'm not here to debate pacifism. For centuries, even millennia, there have been debates both among Christians and in general society over the legitimacy of war and even self-defense. I can't settle that here.
Nor, despite the subject, is this about gun control, gun safety, or the Second Amendment. It's about something much more important.
What I want to address is an idea currently making the rounds in the Christian community: that a Christian who buys a gun to protect his family is proclaiming his lack of faith. That he doesn't trust God to take care of him and the people he loves.
Such a statement is absolute nonsense.
I've heard that logic before. I wonder how many of those who loudly proclaim that buying a gun means you don't trust God for your safety would agree with the following similar claims:
- People who use birth control don't trust God to determine the size of their families and provide for them.
- People who use doctors/hospitals/medications aren't trusting God to take care of their health.
I acknowledge that certain elements behind those ideas ring true. There is in modern society what I'd call a "birth control mentality" that I believe has done great harm (blog post on that to come eventually, I hope), and blind trust in medicine has done its share of damage, too. But the above statements, as they stand, are dangerous nonsense, and so is the same logic applied to guns.
God gives us resources, and the ability to develop and use tools. It is our responsibility to use the tools wisely. Embracing them uncritically and rejecting them out of hand are both extremes that risk insulting the Giver. Even worse than insulting God (he's already handled more than we could possibly dish out), is belittling the faith of those who don't share our opinions. "To his own master he stands or falls."