Jesus and the Gun
I began this essay as a response to a "progressive" with whom I exchanged tweets, who throught that Holly Fisher's posing with a Bible in one hand and an AR15 in the other was hypocritical of her. More about Ms. Fisher at the end of this essay, but you can see a little bit of her story HERE.
I am frequently confronted by "progressives" (meaning "people who want to take my stuff and boss me around") who state that I should be experiencing cognitive dissonance as a Christian who owns a gun. These people, mostly atheists (or at least, not Christians), who always claim to know more about Christianity than most Christians do. In particular, they claim that, since the Jesus they don't believe existed was supposed to be a man of peace, a Jesus follower who owns "an evil weapon designed only for taking life" is either a hypocrite, or doesn't really believe in Jesus.
Just. Wow. Really? First, let's dispense with non-Christians setting themselves up as experts on Christianity. 99% of the times that I have asked, it turns out that the atheist actually have never read the Bible cover-to-cover—so they actually don't know what it says. They have never spent any time inside a contemporary church—so they don't really understand how churches operate and govern themselves. They don't associate with Christians, so they don't have any Christian friends, or really have any clue of how Christians individually see or experience the world in which they live. In fact, the only Christians they ever speak to are online, where the atheist feels safe in his/her anonymity to behave like a complete tool, knowing that the Christian can't reach through the Internet and slap some politeness into them. Let's be clear. I do not hate them; but I am human, and I don't like being abused by someone who lacks the intellectual horsepower to back up their positions. (There is a corollary to this, and that is Constitutional ignorance. Most the progressives I've asked have never bothered to read the Constitution. They claim to know what's in it, but they've never actually read it for themselves. It's only a few pages long, but they rely on what they've heard about it in the progressive echo chamber rather than going to actually read the document. This is how we get the kind of ignoramuses who believe that the words "separation of church and state" are lifted directly from the Constitution. When you encounter such ignoramuses, feel free to have gentle fun at their expense. They deserve it. Then hand them a copy of the Constitution and suggest that by actually reading it, they might be surprised to come away believing differently about things.)
Here's what really happens: these poor benighted souls listen to the progressive atheist echo chamber, and they repeat everything they hear which is convenient to their most cherished shibboleths, and they discard without addressing it anything that is inconvenient to those notions. They cherrypick verses out of context. They assign translations to verses that no true Christian or Jewish biblical scholar agrees with. They attempt to append false gospels to the biblical content which were originally discarded from the Bible exactly because they do not jibe with the teachings of Jesus. And then, claiming to understand Christianity, its precepts, its holy scriptures, and its history, they then make statements trying to define real Christians. It's like a blind man who has never ridden in a car or studied automotive engineering, claiming to be an expert on driving cars. He's heard them before. He's run his hands over a few fenders. He can smell the exhaust.....but that's all he knows. He is not knowledgeable about cars, he is a liar if he makes the claim that he is an expert on the subject matter. (This is another cherished progressive shibboleth - the idea that "brain trusts", groups of [mostely self-appointed] people who are allegedly "experts" on a given subject matter, should be directing life for the rest of us. In other words, the progressive brain trust becomes God. It's corrollary is the self-congratulatory belief that one must necessarily be a progressive to be have an expert understanding of a subject, and that any other viewpoint necessarily excludes expertise. If that sounds just a little bit arrogant [ok... a LOT arrogant], that's because it is.)
I am actually grateful (though saddened) to speak with an atheist who actually has read all of the scriptures, knows well people who are believers, and has had some actual spiritual training..... and still rejects faith. Those people tend to be respectful of my faith even though they don't share it, and they are able to carry on a civil conversation about our differences because they don't demonize me for being Christian. These ones are easy to love in return, because they aren't doing their level best to get their entertainment by trying to "bait the Christian". And, it is important for the Christian believer to understand that atheism is not the sole province of progressivism, anymore than Christianity is the sole province of conservatism or libertarianism. I know many people who are atheists, whom I trust more with the protection of MY religious liberties because they understand—and practice—classical liberalism, which I define as "liberative conservatarianism" than I would entrust some Christians with protecting those same liberties.
But the other 99%, the progressive atheists, are just plain ignorant. They truly don't know what they are talking about. Let us educate them; and let us start by talking about the difference between the "progressive" and "liberative conservatarian" position regarding rights. I will start with actual examples from late-historical legislation which starkly illustrates the difference between the "progressive" position, and those who love liberty.
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