The Diseased Imaginings of a Tainted Mind
Adam Dickison said If somebody comes into steal my t.v. should I help them load of the V.C.R. and tv stand too? Maybe give them some cash for gas? I mean is my stuff so important? The gun in connection with protecting my stuff is where I’ve felt out of sync mostly
The more I think about this, the more I feel that it is in this statement that we have found the heart of the matter. It is when a gun is being used to protect the “Bigger Idol” of property.
While theft is, by and large, a breaking of one of God’s laws, those same laws were written in context of a society where to steal should not be (theoretically) necessary. The temple was charged to give money to the poor, to ensure they were clothed and so on. There are laws that ensure that the poor can feed themselves through gleaning fields. In a society where there should be no need to steal for survival, then to steal is done out of pure greed.
However, we do not live in that society. We (probably) never have. As Christians, we are called to work towards the Kingdom, a place where everyone will have sufficient for their needs.
Theft then, can be seen as falling into two categories. Theft for survival, and theft for greed. While it could be argued that there are better ways than stealing other “other people’s stuff” to feed yourself, when you add to that the need to feed a family, put a roof over their heads, and pay the bills, it may not be possible to find a job that does that, especially as the social safety net is being destroyed.
This then brings us to a futher question about “who’s stuff is it?”. It’s not my stuff, it’s not our stuff. It’s God’s. Taking the understanding of God’s Creation seriously means that what we have been given we have been granted through His grace. We should then be able to give this “stuff” away to any of God’s Children who need it.
Stuff, then, that is taken for survival simply shows our failure as Christians to get even close to a fully realised Kingdom.
Stuff taken for greed, however, is a breaking of God’s Law. Can we then, at that point, deal out justice as we see fit? Well, not really. Even in the Old Testament before a stoning could occur there needed to be a form of judgement, and what amounted for a trial. We can, however, restrain them and take them before the elders.
What, then, if they have come to do us physical harm? If their intention is purely to enter our space and to attack us, then our first principle should be to try and find out why. If we must resort to defending ourselves, can we still stand as judge over them? While I would not say that to use force to protect yourself is wrong, what I wonder at here, as a Christian, is the amount of force you intend to use, and how much force you are automatically capable of using?
In this case, the gun has very few non-damaging settings. While it is possible to shoot someone and they live (Knee-capping them, shoulder shots, and so on), the likelihood of that happening in a tense situation is slim. People aim for the biggest target, often the torso.
Even the non-fatal shots with a gun can permenantly damage someone.
The gun also removes a vital part of Jesus’ message to us, that of forgiveness. The _criminal_ will find it more difficult to seek forgiveness, and we may have, through physically damaging them, made their seeking a fuller life more difficult.
While I appreciate that there is a lot of things wrapped up in the notion of a gun, as a Christian, I feel that theologically it doesn’t give me much scope to practice Christianity.