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Guns or God?

Who keeps you safe? Guns or God? If you are a person who professes faith in God and you feel the need to own and perhaps carry a gun with you, it might be helpful to interrogate that position. Because when you carefully think about what creates security in the modern world, guns are the least likely source.

For instance, guns are not useful when it comes to driving and being protected from car accidents. They are not helpful in making sure that the food that we purchase is safe to consume. Guns do not help us with the numerous tasks that are presented to us each day where we have no choice but to trust ourselves to others in some ways. Our dental and doctor visits require trust, visits to the pharmacy require us to have faith that we will get the proper medicine along with visits to our favorite restaurant. All of these acts and so many others require us to have faith.

I wonder what process the person of faith uses to understand their position when there is a serious desire to own and carry their gun to their places of worship? What does the gun represent that helps to make it seem to be the proper remedy for whatever is destabilizing their sense of security? How does their faith sustain them in other areas of life but fail them when it comes to thinking about their interactions with their fellow human beings? Where is the point of disconnection that allows someone to trust that it is possible to drive across country and return home safely, but feel the need to carry a gun to be safe at church, in the grocery store or the local bar?

The answer to these questions does not lie in looking at the gun violence that exists in our land at the present moment and using that as a reason to argue to have a gun to protect yourself or your family. That answer falls short of getting to the heart of the issue. As a nation which includes all of us, regardless of our faith or lack of it, we have allowed violence to permeate us to the core and we have identified guns as the remedy to the internal corruption that violence has caused to our souls. This inner disruption makes it possible to imagine that we can fix the problems that violence causes us to have as we engage in the outer world by being willing to kill any person who offers a threat to us. We have come to believe that God cannot help us in such cases unless we have a gun, an instrument whose only function is to kill or cause injury to another life.

Can we who claim to have faith in God, take a lot of deep breaths and remove ourselves from the 2nd Amendment firestorm and think about this entire matter more deeply than we have thought and talked about it in the past? Can we find the courage to get out of the fear tangle that is keeping us bound to seeing the issue of gun violence in a one-dimensional manner? Can we begin to imagine a world where we do not have to be so afraid of one another that we want to be prepared to kill someone at any given moment? Can we refocus our lens so that we can see others as parts of ourselves who we need to honor and respect as we do ourselves? Can we find the courage to navigate our insecurity without seeing violence as the only remedy for it? Can we see if the God we worship will help us to be a half shade braver regarding this matter?

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