Tag: self defense
The left, in it’s full bore, fully automatic attack on firearms, has slipped it’s ropes — probably unknown to them, their true disrespect and disregard for human life are showing through. Take this little gem, for instance:
In a new tact to dissuade American gun owners from purchasing AR-15s, Vice President Joe Biden told an Facebook Q and A audience today it’s easier to hit people with an shotgun than with an “assault rifle.” Moreover, Biden believes the very sound of a shotgun being fired is so frightening that he said he instructs his wife to fire two round rounds in the air, from the balcony of their, to scare off intruders when he’s gone. Biden said if you do that, “I promise you whoever’s coming is not gonna. You don’t need an AR-15. It’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself.” –Big Government
Note this is horrible advice. First, you should never tell an assailant you’re armed, only to stop what they’re doing — now! Second, you’ve just said, “I fired two rounds out of a shotgun that has, a most, six rounds, so I only have four left.” Third, in assuming you only need six rounds to defend yourself, you’re assuming on the number of people who are attacking you. This is never a good assumption — think riots. Fourth, firing a “warning shot,” can still be understood as a threat; in many instances you could be “putting the shoe to the other foot.” Now that you’ve fired, exposing the reality that you’re armed, you’ve also made you attacker the attacked. It’s quite possible that you’ve just given them a good reason to shoot back in self defense.
To get back on topic, perhaps this one:
Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself. Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away. Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them. Don’t take time to look back; just get away. If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense. Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating. Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone. –quoted on Bookworm Room
And they’re not afraid of self defense because of the many ways in which self defense can go wrong. They’re afraid of self defense because they’re afraid of you harming your attacker.
Since that attacker is likely male, what the left is really doing, right now, is screaming about how too many men are injured or killed in the commission of a crime. Yes, it’s insane, but it’s ultimately true — in their rampage to stop people from owning guns, the left is essentially saying that the life of someone bent on raping, killing, or stealing is more important than the rights or life of the person being attacked.
They’d rather see a woman raped than a man hurt in the process of trying to rape.
Let that soak in for a while. The end run of that logic isn’t pretty at all.
The main problem is that Christianity is a suicide pact – assured destruction of any society build upon Christians norms and beliefs. Christianity only survived by becoming ‘un-Christian’ and more like Islam. The Christian Holy Wars (Crusades) under the banner of Christ instead of loving the enemies and turning the other cheek is an example of a more realistic approach to reality – but alas a very un-Christian one. –Quoted at Jihad Watch
One objection I’ve heard over the years to becoming a Christian is that, as a Christian, you must “turn the other cheek.” That, as a Christian, you should never defend yourself against any attack. There are a lot of Christians who seem to take this particular saying in just this way. What the writer above is saying is that Christianity only survives in direct proportion to it’s hypocrisy on this issue —that only when Christianity fails to keep this commandment, does Christianity survive.
But this seems, to me, to be a complete misunderstanding of the Scriptures. Let’s return to the Scriptures themselves to see what we can learn about this particular point.
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. -Matthew 5:38-39
Reading the statement in the immediate context, it’s clear that what the writer above says is true, at least from a human viewpoint. For not only are Christians supposed to turn the other cheek, they’re not even supposed to defend themselves in a court of law, no matter what the circumstances. If someone sues you for your house, move out and give it to them. If someone asks you to quit your job so they can take it, or so they can get ahead, then quit. If someone kidnaps your daughter, neither you nor she should resist.
That this is so radical should pick up our ears and make us wonder what the larger context is. You see, the Apostles certainly didn’t act this way. Paul claimed his Roman citizenship, rather than being struck with 40 lashes. Peter and Stephen both opened their mouths and defended themselves when accused before courts. So how should we read this?
Perhaps it only applies to using physical force to defend yourself? That won’t work, because when you invoke secular law, you are also invoking the force of the secular state in your defense. Limiting yourself to calling on the state only makes you into a mercenary master, refusing to do yourself what you expect others to do. Further, Jesus himself says, quite clearly, not to defend yourself in a court of law.
So what is the larger context, and what is the meaning? Are Christian hypocrites for defending themselves?
This statement is one of many that fall within the Sermon on the Mount, or the Sermon on the Plain. While many Christians take these to be commandments, or even rules for living, they clearly are not meant to be commandments. If you look at the formula Jesus is using here, you find he says, “you have heard it said… but I say to you…”
In the context of his time, these two things were quite clear. One is the oral law, the law actually practiced by the everyday Jew in the period of the Second Temple, and as taught by the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus is taking these statements and comparing them to a full and radical explanation of the Mosaic Law, to show how impossible it is to follow the law for a human.
Jesus is not, in other words, giving a new set of laws, or even explaining how the Mosaic Law should have been lived. He is showing the impossibility of living the law, even the Mosaic Law, in its true meaning and form. He is saying, “Following the oral law will not save you. You could follow this other law, but it’s even more impossible to follow. So follow me instead.”
Read rightly, then we can see that Christians are not hypocrites for picking up the sword to defend their homes, their lives, and the innocent from slaughter.
Wayne Grudem has an excellent outline on Christians and self defense here, as well as an mp3 of a class where he teaches through the outline. It turns out that the reasoning and logic I used in my series of Christians and self defense, starting here, weren’t so insane.
The mp3 file is well worth listening to. Mr. Grudem is the author of a well known and respected systematic theology—in fact, the systematic theology we use at Shepherd’s Theological Seminary. Some points from the outline:
It is right to defend ourselves and others from physical attacks when we are able to do so.
Prohibits individuals from taking personal vengeance to “get even” with another person.
It is right to try to avoid being harmed by a violent attacker.
God wants us to care for the health of our bodies.
If the Bible authorizes self-defense, and Jesus encouraged his disciples to carry a sword for protection, then it is also right for a person to be able to use other kinds of weapons for self-defense.
There is room for Christians to differ about that question & for individuals to decide what is best in their own
Consider the implications of these two videos on your life, specifically your ability to see not only what’s really going on in the physical world, but also your ability to see what’s going on in the spiritual world. While the researchers are still pondering why some people notice this sort of thing, and others don’t, there’s already one thing I know for certain: you can teach yourself to pay attention to things around you to a higher degree than you normally would. This is a matter of learning to really see. In fact, any really good artist will tell you the difference isn’t in learning how to paint, but rather how to see. The one way to kill off your ability to “see,” is to consume lots and lots of visual entertainment, especially entertainment that confuses reality with unreality through “special effects.”
In the spiritual world, the ability to see things change is called discernment. And here again, the best way to mess up your discernment is to fill your mind with unsound thoughts. You must learn to think, it’s not just something that “happens.”
Learning to see is important in both your physical life and your spiritual life.
In the security world, it’s a term meaning to eliminate conflicts, or rather to know who’s who. In the old times, they did it with coats and banners and things, which is why the British wore bright red, and the French, blue. The fog of war is what we call it today, outside the intelligence services. It’s important when considering self defense, and in security and privacy, as well.
There is another reason, to keep the government in check—but this isn’t something people like to talk about in polite company any longer. Note how the two reasons are intertwined with one another; both reasons relate to protecting life and liberty from encroachment from all sources.
Some time back, I observed a long email exchange between various folks on a political mailing list. This paragraph, embedded in one of the emails, caught my attention, because it describes the modern condition so completely.
There’s also the “good” people that occasionally loose it: it’s better they don’t have a gun in their hands in those moments. Let’s admit it, we are all “good”: we have friends, and family (and maybe children) and we pay taxes and occasionally do social works and give money to charities. But deep inside our mind, is there a single crime we haven’t committed? You know, it’s not the drug dealers (or the nice guys that write on politics) I have in mind when I’m thinking about making it more difficult to get a weapon for the average Joe: it’s the neighbor next door that really scares me…that I may one day scratch his car, and he comes out of his house and freezes me with a bullet in my back.
Here we have one of the most complete explanations of the liberal worldview in one paragraph I’ve ever seen. The person writing this doesn’t trust his next door neighbor with this life, so he would turn to government, as an authority over people, to remove his neighbor’s ability to harm him.
The writer has imbued the government, in his mind, with a quality of reality that doesn’t exist. Governments are abstract things, like the set of all green vegetables. For a government to exist in the real world, it must be instantiated with people. The irony is the people who make up the government are the writer’s next door neighbors. The writer doesn’t trust his neighbor with a firearm, but he trusts them with the power of government.
Since the government is force, what, precisely, is the difference between these two?
It’s always easier to trust an abstract over an absolute. The grass is always greener on the other side. The apple is always good to make one wise, and for food. The picture of the resturaunt’s dinner is always better than the actual dinner they serve. It is far too easy to become so involved in the abstract, chasing the abstract, that we lose touch with reality. We can imbue the abstract with values and morals we, as people, could never hold ourselves to, and would never want to hold ourselves to.
And maybe this is the key. Perhaps the point is that we want government to be good, so we can let it all hang out. We want government to be good, so we can “have fun,” and not worry about the consequences. Perhaps the point is to shift responsibility from our own shoulders to the shoulders of others, believing as hard as we can that they will accept that responsibility, they will protect us, and take care of us.
We choose the abstract because it is comforting to think that we can do whatever we like, and we can believe that someone, someplace, will take care of us. We are in mortal fear of reality, so we shroud reality in the abstract, hiding it from our eyes.
Reality, in the form of Yeshua, stares back, trying to break through the cloud of abstractions. God loved the world in this way: He gave His only Son to die so that our collective sin, through Adam, and our individuals sins, might be covered, and we might be able to choose spiritual maturity. God covers our sins, so we might live, and grow, and choose the good. But choosing the good also means facing our mortal fears, rather than making God into yet another abstraction. It means learning to take individual responsibility for our own actions, understanding the worst about our fellow travellers, and preparing for the actions of others.
The last seven parts of this series have dealt with the various objections to Christian self defense. This last one covers a bit of new ground, looking at why Christians should defend themselves.
And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. Luke 22:35 (ESV)
Many would like to interpret the sword as a printed copy of the Scriptures, since a sword often symbolized the Word of God, as in Paul’s description of the complete armor of God. The problem with this theory is that you couldn’t buy a set of the Scriptures for the cost of a cloak in those days. There were few copies of the Scriptures available, not many of which were in private hands, until the invention of the printing press. There is only one meaning you can assign to Jesus’ statement here: He meant for those listening to Him to go buy a literal sword.
Why? Jesus says that up to that point, they have traveled without a moneybag, and without a knapsack, and yet they have lacked for nothing. They lacked for nothing, of course, because Jesus, Himself, was with them. Now that Jesus is to be gone, He is telling them they need to take care of themselves once more. In the same way, while they were with Him, they had no need for personal protection, in the form of a sword. Now that He is leaving, He expects them to take responsibility in this area, as well. Thus Jesus is placing self protection back into the real of personal responsibility.
There is, finally, a strong argument to be made that life is a gift from God, and we should not treat it lightly. That by not defending ourselves, we are spurning the gift of God, just as much as if we refused to eat, or refused to take care of ourselves medically. This argument is often used in the abortion debate—for instance, from the web site of a ministry that provides counseling services to those considering abortion:
Nebraska Christian Services (NCS) provides pregnancy counseling and adoption services that are a positive alternative to abortion for those who choose to give the gift of life.
Here we find the concept of life as a gift. When you refuse to defend yourself, you are spurning that gift. This was a common enough line of reasoning years ago, but it has fallen from favor in recent times, probably because of the constant harping on “social justice” issues. But the remnants of this argument are still there, in the abortion debate.
It’s time we bring this line of thinking back into the self-defense debate, as well. It’s time we realize that our lives are precious, and that by not defending them when it becomes a nessecity, we are spuring a gift of God.
In the end, it is not the State’s responsibility to defend us against criminal attack. It is not “taking justice into your own hands,” to defend yourself against criminal attack. It is permitted by the Scriptures to defend yourself against criminal attack, and it is the right thing to do. Christians need to rethink their position on self defense.
Christians need to stand for law and order, against the increasing lawlessness in our society, and we need to do it on a personal basis, not counting on the collective to save us. Let’s stop putting our heads in the sand, and abdicating a responsibility God gave us.
I have been in many extended discussions on various discussion boards about Christian self defense. In most of these discussions, one of the people opposed to Christians owning firearms always says:
Don’t you trust God?
This is almost always followed up with some sort of note saying you must not be a mature Christian if you have a gun, because, after all, you don’t trust God. I’m always tempted to just reply to this question with a question, like this:
Do you lock your doors at night? Do you save for the future? Don’t you trust God?
This gets to the general point, but let’s dig a little deeper into this topic.
There are a number of verses that discuss our trust for God. This is one of the perennial favorites:
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! uke 12:27 (ESV)
This appears to be a rather absolute statement: Christians only worry about things like self defense because they don’t trust in God. Of course, this verse also argues that Christians should not bother with working to fulfill material needs, they should not bother with buying clothes, or with finding food, because all of this will drop into our laps, as long as we seek the Kingdom of God first.
But does this really means Christians should not work, not buy or make clothes, nor buy or grow food? And then there are counterpoints to this statement, such as:
And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack Luke 22:35 (ESV)
Or this one:
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 (ESV)
How can we reconcile these two apparently contradictory views? Perhaps the best reconciliation takes into account the one thing we normally don’t think of when reading the Bible: time. In the first instance, Jesus, the King, is actually with the Disciples, taking care of them. They should trust in His immediate presence, since He has shown the ability to feed the crowds and heal the sick miraculously. When you eat at the King’s table, you have no need of planting, harvesting, or cooking. However, when the King leaves, you need to go back to taking care of yourself, until He returns again.
This interpretation allows for both the complete reliance on Christ while He was physically present, and for Christians to take responsibility for our own well being, including self defense, now that Christ has left the Earth, until He returns again. This is a problematic interpretation for those who believe in Preterism, those who believe Christ is already reigning on the Earth. In this case, it is difficult to reconcile these two sets of Scriptures, where we should not work nor toil, yet we should work for our food, and we should take a cloak and a sack, to be prepared for our future.
From a Premillennialists view , we should trust in God, rather than our riches, but we should prepare for the future the best we can. We should trust God first, then our families, and then ourselves. But we must remember that our families are depending on us, and hence, we must work and be prepared for their needs, including self defense, buying food, etc–we should be good stewards of the money and means God has given us, which appears to be rather well accepted, but we should also be good stewards of the lives God has given us, by defending it when necessary.