Kevin H: Guns
So, I’ve taken on politics several times.
I’ve done drinking and just last week touched on the transgender issue and restrooms.
Hmmm….. what can I write about next?
How about guns? 🙂
In all seriousness, however, my thoughts were spurred by this recent terrible incident in my local area.
A little over a week ago on a Sunday morning in a suburban evangelical church as people were gathering for the start of the service, there was a disturbance regarding seating. Apparently a man became upset when told he was sitting in a seat reserved for somebody else. Another man observing the disturbance reportedly decided to take the situation into his own hands and approached the upset man and indicated that he had a gun. The upset man punched the man with the gun who in turn shot and killed the upset man.
This is a preposterous tragedy no matter how one looks at it. I have not seen details as to whether or not the gun was legally owned or carried (although reports seem to indicate that it was all legal) or if the shooter and victim had a bad history with each other or if the shooter had a criminal and/or mental health history. In the end, it was a senseless act of deadly violence that has left families and a community grieving. In a church, no less.
The gun issue is undeniably divisive in our country. Every time there is a shooting that garners national attention, the polar opposite sides of the argument rage at each other. Attacks and insults and accusations of heinous motives are thrown from one side to the other. Those who are pro-gun are labeled as hateful, violent, immoral, morons. Those who favor stricter gun control are labeled as delusional, elitist, autocratic fools. And these are the nice terms. The pejoratives have no end.
What people often fail to acknowledge when they get caught up in this argument, whether intentional or not, is that the other side is usually trying to accomplish a pretty similar end.
Now, the means are quite different, but most times the main goal of both sides is to reduce the occurrences of violent and deadly tragedies.
But no, we can’t admit this while attacking the other side for their foolishness. We cannot admit whenever they have a legitimate point. We must just keep blasting away at their real or perceived weaknesses.
No, we must never acknowledge that many of these mass shootings have occurred in gun free zones and potentially could have been stopped or reduced in size (or some maybe never would have even happened in the first place) if people would had been allowed to carry or armed security had been in place. And no, we must never acknowledge that many of the foolish shootings like this one in the church may very well never happen in the first place if we had stricter gun controls and more gun free zones and far fewer people carrying around guns. No, we must win this argument and so we can never cede any ground to the other side.
I don’t know how many times I have seen articles posted on social media with completely misleading, if not libelous headlines. I rarely take the time to actually read the articles as the headlines are telling enough. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen articles where President Obama any day now is going to declare all guns illegal and the government is going to come and confiscate all our guns. Conversely, there are articles that seemingly portray all would be right with the world if we just got rid of guns and locked up all those gun enthusiasts.
What is most discouraging is when I see Christians displaying the same behavior on the issue. When winning the argument trumps any tactic we take to win the argument. When the right to own guns with little to no governmental oversight is treated like it is some kind of God-given directive. When uninhibited gun ownership slides in just behind Jesus on the importance scale. When the need to condescend to pro-gun advocates ranks right up there with the need to condescend to child molesters or serial rapists.
Now certainly there are many people who handle this issue maturely. Not nearly all act like I described in these scenarios. It is more than understandable that an issue like guns can raise passions. There is nothing wrong with passion. But it cannot be an excuse to act wrongly.
In the end, I believe most people are trying to achieve the same ends. That being of reducing unnecessary and wrongful deaths and violence. I know there are governmental rule implications, too. Philosophies that will butt heads in these regards. I still see the overall goal for both sides is to accomplish the best for the citizens, and that would include a heavy emphasis on their safety and protection. And yes, there are plenty of ulterior motives that come into play in all this debate and argumentation. Some motives purer than others. But again, I see the overall desired end of both sides as being the same for the most part and at most times.
Maybe if we’re more willing to acknowledge, listen, and understand the other side rather than always trying to attack and demonize them, we will actually get somewhere in progressing toward a safer society. No, we will never reach a panacea. We wait for Jesus for that time to come. In the meantime, we surely can do better.
I write this article not to argue about guns. Rather to talk about how we talk about guns. Or really any divisive issue for that matter. Although we often fail, one would hope that Christians would be able to model honorable behavior in this debate. Let us aim to be fair and just and compassionate.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17
I don’t know what I think about guns other than I hate them, personally. When I was a child growing up in rural Ohio we always had a rifle propped by the back door and it sure came in handy the day the rabid skunk wandered into our yard. My dad used to try to hunt deer but when he got one in his sights he was too tender-hearted to pull the trigger. That’s about all I know about guns. One of my sons is of the opinion that we should all carry guns but I don’t want to live in that kind of world.
I do not think I could shoot to kill unless it was to save someone’s life and then I would aim for the kneecap, which of course I have absolutely zero ability to hit.
I don’t think the extreme enthusiasm for gun-toting that I see in some quarters is biblical. Some people do seems to get their 2nd amendment rights all mixed up with their Christianity. I don’t have a “Christian” opinion about guns.
“I don’t have a “Christian” opinion about guns.”
Exactly – I don’t think there should be any kind of appointed “Christian” position on guns. But what I think is important is in the approach and attitude that Christians display on the issue.
In some quarters it does seem as if 2nd amendment rights are somehow equivalent to a biblical directive. And then in other quarters, anybody who is pro-gun couldn’t possibly be a Christian, or at least acting like one.
We need to get past these attitudes.
I have a Christian opinion about guns – do not shoot innocent people.
An interesting documentary is about to come out on the subject. I’m eager to see it:
this is a very faceted issue – you can look at the question from so many angles and not see the whole… i’m not sure that there is a constructive and definitive answer to this
1-is an armed citizenry less apt to be subdued under a dictator? that was true once upon a time
2-is an armed citizenry less apt to be invaded by a ground army? well, yes, but that’s not what we have to face in today’s terrorism and nuclear loose cannons
3-aren’t most of today’s folk, like Xenia, uncomfortable around guns? a very good reason why these folk shouldn’t have one
4-won’t there be more mass shootings if guns are allowed? personally, i don’t think so – these types would find a gun or use other means to “state their opinion”
5-aren’t we facing more incidents like the church event described above, if people carry guns? well, yes … but somebody, long before that incident had failed to be his brother’s keeper IMHO
6-is there ever a justifiable reason to own a gun? self protection – particularly a woman – is a good reason, but conversely, the predators out there pick on the weak and vulnerable appearing, do they not?
7-how about country living where the not always friendly wild critters roam? we just recently had to shoot a crippled deer that had been hit by a car and a few years back had to shoot a large, threatening rattlesnake (my daughter is an excellent marksman with a pistol as was her Navy veteran dad)
seven is a good place to stop 🙂
Another aspect of this debate I’ve never been able to get a good read on is the statistics that both sides use to make their case.
The pro-gun side will trumpet statistics that show “unequivocally” that gun-related and criminal deaths go down and are lower where there are less controls and people can carry more freely.
The other side will proclaim statistics that show gun-related and criminal deaths are “absolutely” much lower in areas where there are much greater restrictions on gun ownership and carrying.
And both sides will then take their statistics which “unassailably” prove them right and call the other side idiots for not seeing obvious truth.
Who to believe? I don’t know. I don’t have the time to throw myself into every single issue to get to the truth of the matter.
That is a good list to think through. And as you intimated, many more questions or thoughts could probably be added after number seven. Additional demonstration that this is not a black and white issue.
Shooting someone over a seat in church? And it wasn’t even his seat that was in dispute. That nut was looking for an excuse to play he-man with his Ruger.
As for the pastor’s written response: the excerpt makes it sound so “business-like” in its careful wording. I hope his letter went far deeper than that.
I sold guns as part of my job during my 20s (I was a Sporting Goods manager for a Kmart store). Most customers were hunters or plinkers, but we had a few who were sketchy. As far as I know, only two weapons from that store were ever traced to a crime: 1) a rifle that was used in the Waco TX shoot-out of 1993 (the Kmart was in CA, so I was very surprised when the BATF contacted us about who bought the gun) and 2) a hunting knife that was used in a local murder-suicide. Crazies kill with whatever they can find.
Gun’s are like Aaron’s golden calf. The people didn’t want to hear from God, so they asked Moses to be their mediator. Then we Moses took too long, they went for the golden calf they could dance around
Many folks in America (not most other civilized nations mind you) think their freedom and liberty rest in their own hands and guns. But, this, like the golden calf is their illusion. Their not free. Now their afraid of everyone else who has a gun. Are my kids safe in school? Is the mall safe? What about the guy who cut me off for the parking space at the supermarket; is he carrying?
This gun idolatry is God handing Americans over to a debased mind. It will only end when the blood shed generated by gun violence is so great as to silence the priests of the golden calf.
I like your article Kevin. I especially like how you extended your comments to a broader group of subjects. My pastor talks often about how media now days exaggerates things and has to include outrage over everything in order to prop up ratings. This is also reflected on blogs on the Internet where the same exact arguments go on between sides of little people yelling at each other. People just mimic what they saw others talking about on MSNBC or on their favorite political talk radio show. This affects our culture and the same kind of thing can happen even here on this blog, which is probably why you wrote about this in the first place. I could not have written it better myself.
My favorite quotes of yours, “the polar opposite sides of the argument rage at each other. Attacks and insults and accusations of heinous motives are thrown from one side to the other.” “The pejoratives have no end. What people often fail to acknowledge when they get caught up in this argument, whether intentional or not, is that the other side is usually trying to accomplish a pretty similar end.” “We cannot admit whenever they have a legitimate point. We must just keep blasting away at their real or perceived weaknesses.” “I don’t know how many times I have seen articles posted on social media with completely misleading, if not libelous headlines. I rarely take the time to actually read the articles as the headlines are telling enough.” “What is most discouraging is when I see Christians displaying the same behavior on the issue. When winning the argument trumps any tactic we take to win the argument.” (By the way that last sentence is a fragment, should be a coma before it and not a period.) “Maybe if we’re more willing to acknowledge, listen, and understand the other side rather than always trying to attack and demonize them, we will actually get somewhere in progressing toward a safer society.” “I write this article not to argue about guns. Rather to talk about how we talk about guns. Or really any divisive issue for that matter. Although we often fail, one would hope that Christians would be able to model honorable behavior in this debate. Let us aim to be fair and just and compassionate.”
I am all for all for this. I frequently find myself misunderstood. I have been trying to say these same things here, probably in a way that is less diplomatic. That has never been a strength of mine, unfortunately. I care about what is Truth. I read dozens of comments for every one that I post. I try to understand what others are saying. I have always had a bent towards being a Berean. I do not take anything as truth just because of tradition, or human authority. I question things in my mind vigorously. The things that do not contradict scripture I hold on to. The other things I disregard. This process has been going on for decades and it still goes on. I am still learning. I am very glad you have said what you said today.
Are all who sincerely believe that having minimal gun controls is more effective at deterring and controlling crime and gun-related deaths than is having greater controls idolaters?
Thanks for your feedback. But did you just “shoot” at me for incorrect grammar? 🙂
KevinH I gotta hand it to you, man, you are fearless in the material you bring up. I’d just like to say that the second amendment states that it must be a “well-regulated militia” and that is what the amendment is about. People fight over exactly what a “well-regulated militia” is. To me, it’s an Army, pure and simple. I know many will disagree with me but that’s how I see it.
Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a “well regulated Militia,” suggests as much.
I do not believe however, that guns should be completely unavailable to the citizenry. Safety is the key. I don’t understand if Apple can make a phone that uses your fingerprint to unlock it, why can’t the gun manufacturers do the same? Is it a matter of they don’t want to spend the money it would take to make these “Smart Guns?”
Jean, I gotta tell ya man, your “God turning gun idolators over to a debased mind” comment, is ridiculous.
And I don’t even own a gun…
Kevin, I am a stickler for details. I notice that it irritates people. Not my intention. The curse of a analytical mind that has been made worse with analytical training. 🙂
“God and Guns” to some people is more important than anything else. I can see that in play more here in Georgia than in my original state of Minnesota. Not everyone here is like that, but I think you see it more here that up north. Left over from the antebellum South? I don’t know.
I wasn’t irritated. I know there are flaws in my writing. Just took the opportunity to use a play on words. 🙂
@9: Jean just did exactly what Kevin’s article argues against. See how difficult it is to change discussion? Jean wants everyone else to change because, of course, he is right and they are wrong. Sorry, kevin…
Thanks for the earlier comment. My fearlessness comes out more in my writing. In real time face-to-face, I am usually one who looks to avoid controversy and confrontation. I don’t like being on the spot. Writing these articles is easier for me because it gives me more time to formulate my thoughts and words. Plus, I can take whatever time I want to respond to any negative or confrontational comments. If I choose to respond at all. 🙂
“Are all who sincerely believe that having minimal gun controls is more effective at deterring and controlling crime and gun-related deaths than is having greater controls idolaters?”
There is NO data demonstrating that arming more people results in less gun violence. This is propaganda furnished by the NRA and gun manufacturers. What does happen, however, is that when people get angry and lose their temper, or are mentally ill, and are in immediate possession of deadly force, they make foolish and poor decisions.
I would love to see some statistics about the number of children who are killed in America each year from playing with loaded guns or by someone else playing with guns. Just within the last month I heard on the news about two mothers shot while driving their car by their child in the back seat playing with guns.
Is there any credible evidence that America is becoming safer with greater proliferation of guns? How do American murder rates compare with the G20 nations?
You didn’t answer my question. I’m not arguing for one viewpoint or the other. I was hoping to gain clarification on your original comment at #9.
(gun) + (bullet) + (human with no regard for life) = death
(remove any of the 3 from the above equation) = life
unless, of course, the human decides to go all Cain and beat the life out of some living creature…
I’m not pro-gun really, but really the (human with no regard for life) is the only part of that equation that matters.
That person could kill with a knife, box-cutter, automobile, poison…really anything.
Fair enough. No, of course not. Some people are probably sincere. Idolatry is a matter of the heart. Sadly, and this pertains to much more than guns, people are easily manipulated.
I think the biblical metaphor of sheep = humanity is basically correct, although I’m not sure many people admit it. Sheep hear their shepherd’s voice and follow him. So, the question is: Who’s voice to we recognize and follow?
But I don’t think the formula is so simple. At least not as an absolute.
Again, I’m not arguing for one viewpoint or another. But you can find plenty of stories where people were protected from violence and/or death by someone who had a gun. Sometimes the person with the gun was law enforcement. Other times they were just regular citizens.
So in some instances your formula works. In other instances, the formula is structured significantly different.
the statistics on gun accidents are out there, Jean… if you want to find them, they’re there
people are stupid, some more so than others…
i could say, let’s outlaw cars as that would really solve a lot of mayhem… do we need cars? reeeally need them? no, we could all take the train and busses… and just think of all the world problems we could solve – including taking away the power of oil cartels – and the environment, too
now there’s a radical cause to get behind, eh?
there are flaws everywhere and an argument for every one… lol
I don’t believe the issue is guns.
The issue is violence in the hearts of men.
I can argue this from many angles…I have been born and raised in rural Oregon and my grandpa had me shooting at about age 5.
Nobody in my world ever shot another human.
Now, I don’t see well enough to shoot and carpal tunnel makes me quite unsteady…I don’t have any guns in the house now.
Mexico has extreme gun control…and they are sitting ducks for both criminals and government…not that there is any difference between the two.
The real questions should be about why we seem so angry and discontent as a culture.
Thank you for the clarification. I asked because your comment at #9 came across as if you were accusing all pro-gun advocates as being idolaters. And that is the type of thing I was arguing against in my article as dominic pointed out at his #18.
#19. I relate to you Kevin. I am similar except that I do not try to avoid confrontation. I am the one quietly listening and analyzing what is being said. I do not tend to speak up unless their is an elephant in the room that everyone is pretending is not there. I noticed that it did not take long for someone to pop in here and do exactly what you were telling us all not to do. To be honest, I do have a problem with a very small group of regular commenters here. They are the elephants who talk like this on a regular basis. They really are not helping things. We need more humility and less demagogues. There is so much that we do not see the same as Jesus.
I pretty much love all the regulars and their contributions.
I think you will find that those with strong opinions are big enough to deal with strong pushback, as long as it is in the framework of historic orthodoxy.
“The real questions should be about why we seem so angry and discontent as a culture.”
Yes, a very legit question. The issue has now incarnated one of our nation’s two historic national political parties.
Does an ethic of mutually assured destruction through the proliferation of guns to virtually anyone, anywhere, with essentially no training increase, decrease or have no bearing on the anger and discontent?
The root issue most certainly is the violence in the hearts of men. The issue that grows out of that is how to best control/temper that violence for the sake of society. What to do about guns is a big factor therein. But our attitudes and behaviors in how we approach this goes back to the heart.
I hate guns, pure and simple.
They are highly crafted killing machines and I avoid being in the presence of them.
I also avoid being in the presence of humans who have no regard for their fellow humans who might be prone to make anything a weapon.
…so I avoid both 😉
#31… I don’t know if there is an answer to that.
I grew up in a culture where guns were everywhere, as common as a kitchen sink or coffee table.
I had half a dozen guns by the time I was ten years old.
I’ve made bullets from scratch. 😉
We didn’t have a problem with gun violence.
I think we err in looking at a symptom rather than a cause…something, somewhere, has twisted this culture badly.
There is no problem with you hating guns. There is no law (spiritual or legal) that says that one must like guns. But you also have to be honest and admit that there are some who carry guns because they have a love for fellow humans and want to protect them and actually have done so in some cases. You are still free to disagree with the strategy.
Let’s go with this:
“I think we err in looking at a symptom rather than a cause…something, somewhere, has twisted this culture badly.”
Doesn’t the gun lobby do the same thing on the other side of the issue by pushing for less control? When you grew up, would anyone have imagined that anyone could by a semi-automatic assault rifle with a high capacity magazine? The arms that civilians can by today without any background check at a gun show are in many cases far superior to the weapons that U.S. soldiers brought with them to Vietnam.
I think gun control advocates (a misnomer as they don’t want gun control, they want gun banishment) – I think these gun control advocates are idolators – worshiping at the feet of the god of political correctness.
You make good points and I’m not opposed to limited background checks.
My view is colored by my upbringing and even more so with having studied issues in Mexico intensely over the last few years.
It would be very difficult to convince me that criminals won’t have access to weapons or that a citizenry should be unarmed.
Jean, it sounds like you are wrongly overstating things again.
First, I think there are very few who favor the proliferation of guns to the extent that you describe. Even most pro-gun advocates favor some kind of controls such as not allowing known criminals from legally acquiring guns.
Second, despite you’re probable well-meaning beliefs, it is not establish fact that limited gun control leads to “mutually assured destruction”. Like I have stated earlier, there are statistics and evidences for each side of the argument. Even if you can say one side has a stronger argument, it still is far from settled.
Third, to state that it is an “mutually assured destruction” is an “ethic” is going a bit too far, especially when the “assured” part is far from such.
And then there goes MLD overstating things. That is to be expected.
In my #39, I should have included the quotation I was reacting to. It was in your #31 – “Does an ethic of mutually assured destruction through the proliferation of guns to virtually anyone, anywhere, with essentially no training increase, decrease or have no bearing on the anger and discontent?”
“Third, to state that it is an “mutually assured destruction” is an “ethic” is going a bit too far, especially when the “assured” part is far from such.”
Here’s what I mean. Let me put it another way: a Mexican standoff. Lobbyists for virtually no gun control (which is what we actually have in many parts of the country) say the only way to stay safe is to arm-up, because the police aren’t effective and you can’t trust some of them anyway. So, everybody walks around afraid to rob or hurt anyone else because everyone is armed. It’s safety by Mexican standoff.
If you think that’s ludicrous, then stand back and listen to the solutions proposed by the gun lobbyists. That’s all they offer.
I just don’t see the assured part. And at the very least, hardly anybody is sincerely following an “ethic” if they think it’s going to bring destruction (or worse destruction than other possible paths, anyway).
“And then there goes MLD overstating things. That is to be expected.”
Why is that an overstatement – I have yet to meet a public gun control advocate who in the end would be happy with any control legislation short of banishment. Gun control is much tighter than it was 20 yrs ago and people still are not happy.
Everyone recognizes that data bases are full of all the information to clear a gun purchase at point of purchase – there is no need for a waiting period. (evidence of my point – the cops can get the information promptly – so could the store owner.)
Calling them idolaters was the main part of the overstatement. While some may fall into idolatry, to make a blanket statement that gun control advocated are idolaters is going overboard. Some are sincere in their belief that strict gun control is best for society and they aren’t utilizing anything.
It’s the same thing that Jean appeared to do when it seemed as if he was calling any pro-gun advocate an idolater.
Stupid autocorrect. Idolizing, not utilizing.
I was playing off of his claim.
But for the most part is gun owners just want to be left alone and gun control advocates are zealots.
these days i question any statement that begins with “everybody knows”
i thought that everybody knew that the police to a man were opposed to private ownership of guns…
then there was the recent incident – in Ohio i believe – where several families were invaded and assassinated (turns out they had involvement with marijuana grow) very like we read about south of the border… the local sheriff was on TV saying that he hoped that every household (in his jurisdiction) had a gun for protection… no i can’t pull up the video
we have a certain – i don’t know if it is a personality type or a community group think – that scares me… it was on display this week when a Trump supporter demonstrating against Cruz out on the street was confronted by Cruz, invited to speak his mind, share his thoughts and he showed that he had no thoughts only labels and buzz words that he mindlessly threw at Cruz for 10 minutes… made me wish that Cruz, not Trump was going to be the nominee of his party…
that said to say the display made me acutely aware that it is those who are hard over on one side or the other that are played and they cause all the noise that allows the behind the scenes manipulators to go on doing whatever it is they’re doing to us undisturbed
it looks like local politics really is all we can impact
“The real questions should be about why we seem so angry and discontent as a culture.” That is a great question there, Michael. I will add another: why is it that people only talk about a legalistic solution to problems like this? I say this because I have seen many laws passed in my lifetime from both sides of the political isle. If there truly is a political solution then why are we still having this conversation? This same question applies to many other such long standing political hot button issues. Did Jesus teach political solutions or are we looking in the wrong place for answers? I think it is always good to back up and to look at the bigger issue. When we do that we get questions like you asked.
FYI, Saeed is now a columnist for Fox News apparently: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/03/saeed-abedini-some-pastors-only-care-about-church-growth.html?intcmp=hphz18
If you think only people who are gun control advocates are zealots, you should read my Twitter timeline if I say anything remotely approaching the need for gun control. Also, you are mistaken that all gun control advocates are for banishment. You are making gross generalizations.
I said public gun control advocates
Saeed’s fifteen minutes are almost up…trust me on that.
. The article at Fox News was reported by the ChristianPost.com and only features Saeed’s comments on the subject.
“But you also have to be honest and admit that there are some who carry guns because they have a love for fellow humans and want to protect them and actually have done so in some cases.”
I understand the perspective, yet I cannot square that reality, for me, with Jesus’ life, words, example or mission.
The heart of what I read of Jesus in the 4 Gospels is summed up in the idea of laying down one’s life.
May I have the grace to do so should the need arise to protect an innocent.
I think it is to lay down your life for the cause of Christ – not just so some crack head can rape your wife and take your wallet.
I like what General Patton was presumed to have said – loosely quoted
“don’t die for your country – make the other poor bastard die for his country.”
I love that idea. 🙂
Your #3 and #56 are excellent.
Lots of good thoughts Kevin, thanks for what you offer I appreciate it.
You’re welcome, brian. I appreciate the encouragement.
I can’t wait to see how Kevin H will top this article next week. What’s the plan? An article about drunken transvestites waving guns inside Target restrooms? (Just kidding)
You’ve written some great blog posts, Kevin H, and encouraged quite a bit of discussion. Good job!
***Maybe if we’re more willing to acknowledge, listen, and understand the other side rather than always trying to attack and demonize them, we will actually get somewhere in progressing toward a safer society.***
One man’s “demonizing” is another man’s “rational disagreement”. I think at least half of what is termed demonizing by one side of the other is just complete and utter disagreement. Sometimes two views are so completely opposed to each other that there really is no way acknowledge one another. It’s like in the abortion debate. If one person says “you’re killing babies” and another person says, “You’re removing unwanted tissue from the uterus” there’s really no way for either side to respect the other’s point of view–they’re just too far removed.
“(gun) + (bullet) + (human with no regard for life) = death”
True, but as you note, you can replace gun and bullet with number of different objects and still achieve death.
Sad story about this situation in a church. All this over a seat.
My thoughts on concealed weapons. They are concealed for a reason, and should never be used as a means of a threat, even in neutralizing a bad situation, unless you are convinced that lethal force might be necessary. The man should have never told the guy he had a concealed weapon. That is asking for an escalation.
I have dealt with very irate people from time to time. Thankfully, I have always been successful at talking them down, and that gives me an opportunity to point them to Jesus and we can all live to learn and love for another day.
Knowing that you had something to do with another person’s death is a place, that, except by the grace of God, you never return from.
I wouldn’t set your expectations too high. I feel like I’m running out of ideas. I may have already hit my peak. 🙂
But what if I add zombies into your described scenario? Will that work? Maybe some aliens, too. And I could throw in a couple cats, just for Michael. 🙂
I think it is possible to have rational disagreement without demonization. Even strong disagreement.
To say things like I think the other side is really wrong in their views and are setting a dangerous precedent is expressing strong disagreement. To give legitimate reasons for why you believe this to be so makes the disagreement rational.
To say that the other side are all idolaters is an example of what crosses over into demonization.
Let me give another example that runs parallel to what I see as the issue with the gun control advocates. They cry out for gun control – but we already have gun control and plenty of it — but the bad guys don’t care about laws. Banish guns as I do believe is the end game of gun control advocates and the bad guys will still have guns.
So in California yesterday the legislature is working to “control” smoking by raising the age from 18 – 21. Now I ask, when considering the smoking control advocates – what is their end game – to control smoking or to banish the tobacco industry?
Gun owners and smokers just want to be left alone – but the “advocates” just do not have it in them to do so.
Michael, I hope you are right about the 15 mins. thing. As we know, their are many people who have been stretching their 15 mins. for a long time. I think it takes an extremely mature person who can stand in the spotlight and not give in to all the extra temptations that come. Those people are extremely rare, and, ironically, not seeking the spotlight. Last night at church we had a discussion about cultural values and narcissism related to fame came up as a value in conflict with the plain teachings of Jesus.