It’s about Guns, not Satan

I imagine that I will write about Satan at some point, as some readers have asked in response to yesterday’s post. However, we should also talk honestly about guns. Guns are everywhere in America, as Bill Moyers notes:

There are some 300 million guns in the United States, one in four adult Americans owns at least one and most of them are men. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, over the last 30 years, “the number of states with a law that automatically approves licenses to carry concealed weapons provided an applicant clears a criminal background check has risen from eight to 38.”

Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and perhaps as many as 300,000 gun-related assaults in the U.S. Firearm violence costs our country as much as $100 billion a year. Toys are regulated with greater care and safety concerns than guns.

So why do we always act so surprised?  Violence is our alter ego, wired into our Stone Age brains, so intrinsic its toxic eruptions no longer shock, except momentarily when we hear of a mass shooting like this latest in Colorado. But this, too, will pass as the nation of the short attention span quickly finds the next thing to divert us from the hard realities of America in 2012.

In The New Christians, I recounted a similar fundamentalist response to the one I found from Greg Stier yesterday:

In the days following the April 2007 Virginia Tech shooting massacre, Pastor Ronnie Floyd posted extensively about the tragedy on his blog, “Between Sundays.” He warned the American church to “get serious” and to “WAKE UP!!!” Thirty-three persons had died, he wrote, and they each went to heaven or hell. He then urged his readers to get busy with evangelism because “death is real,” and the job of Christians is to “bring others to Christ” so that they won’t go to hell when they die.

In Floyd’s blog posts about the Virginia Tech shootings, there was nary a word about Seung-Hui Cho’s ready access to guns and ammunition. No comment about the epidemic of clinical depression in our country. Not a mention of the prevalence of hurting people in our culture, often adolescents who are shrouded in anonymity, lost on college campuses with tens of thousands of other students. In other words, Floyd said nothing about the systemic issues that become acute to many of us during times of tragedy. Floyd’s question is not how this young man’s mind became so twisted in his own mental illness, how he fell through the cracks of our societal net, or how he was able to purchase two handguns and hundreds of bullets with no more than a driver’s license. The question was about whether he and his victims had invited Jesus into their hearts before they died.

So critics can crow about me being insensitive for pointing to Stier’s comments, but he is simply one in a long line of conservative Christians who would rather supernaturalize these tragedies that deal with them in reality, where the rest of us live.

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  • Tony,

    We could say this is about many things but guns would not be my first reaction. The root problem here is not guns. Guns don’t do anything on their own. It is like saying we have too many DUI’s so we need to outlaw cars and how we have 100 million cars in America and so we need fewer cars to crack down on the deaths related to vehicles (which far outweigh deaths due to firearms). It just doesn’t make sense.

    We have a whole society producing people like this and that is what needs to be addressed first. Too often we point at the symptoms that we most dislike and try to control those things but fail to address the underlying causes of these issues. You are saying it goes deeper than guns to a cultural problem that would make so many people so fascinated by guns. Now that is getting closer to the real solution. This is about more about the need to change the culture in America and less about guns.

    • Matt,

      Indeed, there are deeper issues concerning why and how people are so fascinated by guns. We can accept that together no problem but does addressing the core problem negate our need to question societal norms such as owning a gun or driving a car? Let’s look at the car issue. Were our bodies originally meant to be projected at 65 MPH down a path of rock and tar? I would say, yes, we do need fewer cars, not only to avoid projecting our bodies at 65 MPH, but to consider our responsibility to consume less and sustain our environment. My wife and I simplified down to 1 car and chose to live in extremely close proximity to my place of work. It’s not a perfect solution. We still own and use a car but I hope it’s a step in the right direction. Shouldn’t we all be challenging ourselves and others to criticize what we just naturally want to accept – things that perpetuate our desires and addictions?

      Grace and peace,

      • Yet you still own a car 🙂

        • “It’s not a perfect solution. …but I hope it’s a step in the right direction.”

      • I agree very strongly with you, thank you for being here at this time, you dont know how important it is to know these facts because, I here, must introduce another true fact which will re-imply the importance of the facts you brought about: There are secret societies, (yes ! SECRET SOCIETIES!) which are bent on WEAKENNING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC SO THEY CAN MORE EAZILY GAIN CONTROL OVER US ALL. Of all the people that come out with this materiallisticly originalized litigation that the simple ownership and plain existance of guns is the whole cause of all the tragedies in the United States, the vast majourity of them are not only anti-religious but also believe in this “new-age” thing with the occult, I have seen for myself that most people whose actions are against the Second Amendment and it’s root reasons, are mainly wiccans, pagans and other God-hating indaviduals! It’s time to take this to the bank, because that is the whole cause of this “New World Order” and the whole conspiracy theory. And NO! It is NOT some bunch of Islamic radicals in the middle East or anything, it is nothing other than SATANISTS who want to disarm us so they can FORCE their lordship over us ! ! !

    • Patrick Boatman

      To bring the DUI/car analogy more into focus…

      Cars are not specifically designed to kill and have a host of uses that have positive social value: transporting food, transporting the sick and dieing to necessary medical services, people that live at a great distance to spend time together, etc.

      Cars, not being things that are designed to kill, are not illegal to buy, but we do regulate their use. If you have a significant history of DUIs you can not drive. If you have too many tickets for moving violations you can not drive. If you have a medical or psychiatric diagnosis that may make it dangerous for you to move a one ton hunk of metal around at high speed you can not drive. I

      In order to drive you must have proof that you can provide for the needs of other if you accidently (or intentionally) cause them harm with your car.

      We make people take a test, both written and practical, to demonstrate they both understand how to and are capable of using a car in a responsible way.

      Your analogy between guns and cars doesn’t seem to actually demonstrate what you think it does. I think we’d all be safer if some of htose same restrictions were used.

    • Yes and no. Sure, there are underlying causes, and those are serious and need dealing with.

      But if you have lots of guns in circulation, you will tend to get more people shot, as night follows day. The US has more gun-related *accidental* deaths per capita than most European countries have from *all* gun-related deaths. The prevalence of guns is a big factor in that. If you have more guns in circulation, more of them will be in the hands of individuals who are unbalanced, pushed over the edge, or otherwise in a bad situation.

      Sure, there are many means of homicide, but most advanced societies tend to restrict the most dangerous tools, just because by doing so, independent of all the other important stuff you should do too, you limit/reduce the impact of any one crazy individual’s actions.

    • Curtis

      If a car is involved in an accident or a crime, we can easily track down who that car was last registered to. VIN numbers are carefully tracked by auto shops and car dealers, and we can track each existing VIN to an existing owner. We are not even close to that careful with guns. If I had enough money, I could easily buy an unmarked, untraced gun today if I wanted to. It is impossible to buy an unmarked, untraced car.

      In addition to tracking the car itself, to use a car we require 1) a drivers license for the operator 2) a title of ownership for the car and 3) liability insurance for every car on the road.

      On top of that, I have to a special government surcharge for 1) transferring a car title 2) registering a car purchase 3) renewing car registration annually 4) pay an additional surcharge for every gallon of gas I buy.

      We respond to the harm caused by cars by carefully tracking and regulating cars, and charging hefty user fees for car operation.

      Private sales of guns have not tracking, no regulation, no fees.

      I’m happy to compare guns with cars. Why does our regulation of guns fall so far short?

  • Joshua

    If taking away guns is the only solution then you’ll only be left with an unarmed unregenerate person.

    • Daniel

      Not necessarily. I forget…are bombs legal? Yet it appears that the unregenerate person in Denver managed to make some.

      Remembering the root of the problem I recall that Cain didn’t have a gun either…

      • Carl

        Bingo, Daniel. The anti-gun talk is fools whistling in the wind.

  • Wendy

    Tony, try as you might, people are not going to give up the right-wing American agenda until they check out of the right-wing American church. It took me moving to Canada and getting turned on to the fabulous preaching of Greg Boyd in Minnesota to question things that my American mega-church taught. I admire your efforts – it’s going to be a long, long road.

    • Wendy,

      Based on your assertion one might think that if they checked all these guys out the majority of them would fit the profile of Christian religious fundamentalists. They don’t. Were the Columbine shooters right wing church goers? Was this Colorado shooter? The Virginia Tech shooter? The shooter at Fort Hood? Were they all right wingers in fundamentalist churches? If all these guys were I would be more on board with you guys but the assertions you are making just don’t line up to me. The only guy I can think of in the dozens of these shootings was Eric Rudolph but he wasn’t a part of any kind of mainline Christian group at all.

      • Matt: true, the origin of our American violence is not the church, but arises out of our culture. Unfortunately, culture gives us the lens through which the church tends to interpret scripture. As a result, the church becomes complicit in all this because it unwittingly puts the authoritative stamp of God’s approval on what our culture perpetuates.

  • Courtney Clayton

    Better access to mental health care than access to guns would be a GREAT start!!

  • Why the dichotomies? Why does it have to be one thing to the exclusion of all others? Unthinking people look for the one thing.

  • Pax

    Are you saying that our only response to tragedy should be political debate about practical questions of guns, mental health policies, and the like?

    If that’s all I can expect from my religious leaders, then I don’t really need them. I can get that anywhere. And if the supernatural is not part of reality, then I need them even less.

  • Jay

    It is about complex broken humans.

  • Brad

    Here’s the reality: if we, as Christians, were more concerned with engaging the hells of this world (the cycle of violence bein one of the biggest), this kind of thing would happen less and less. We want to talk about eternity while a guy sits alone with no friends in an apartment and plots a mass murder. There’s no need to talk about eternal hells when people are living in them right here and now. The hell of lonliness, the hell of depression, etc. Engaging these hells necessarily means that we do things like advocate more gun control so those who haven’t been reached can’t just walk into a gun show and walk out with an assault rifle.

    Both sides of this debate have been too narrow in their thinking. It’s spiritual and it’s practical. Neglecting either of these will serve no purpose and solve no issues.

  • I’m doubtful anybody who wants stricter gun control laws really believe guns do the killing. It’s the access to guns that they rest their case on. Yet the other side of the story is that law-abiding citizens are also being restricted from a form of self-protection. Somebody wishing to do harm will indeed do harm. If all guns were banned, and magically they were completely iradicaed out of existence, other weapons would be used. Then what?

    I don’t believe that if we had easy gun carry laws that this massacre wouldn’t have happened. I’m not naive enough to believe that the Virginia Tech shooting would have been stopped had a student or a teacher been permitted to carry a weapon. That’s an argument from silence. Yes, there are counter stories about the heroic gun-toting citizen stopping a would-be murderer. But they don’t prove the rule.

    I don’t carry a gun, and I probably never will. But when every second counts during an intense situation, the police being minutes away doesn’t really assure me very much.

    • Statistics reveal that less that 1% of violent crimes are stopped by the legal gun carrying average Joe, even though 47% of Americans own guns. We tend to intervene more often with a gun when our assailant is an unarmed bully.

  • Tony, thanks for the strength of your convictions. I don’t always agree with you but I appreciate the integrity and spirit with which you challenge assumptions and take on issues. There is something about guns that is part of the issue. Moyers full article is a good read on the gun / violent culture issue, but even even the NYTimes and its sources ( aren’t sure that even the toughest gun laws would would have prevented the Colorado shootings. It seems that the issue is deeper, more systemic to me. Already the blogosphere and media pundits are discussing Gun availability, culture of violence, mental health, movie violence, satanic influence, social media isolation etc. in reaction to the Colorado shooting. I do not pretend any expertise on all of these issues but it seems prudent to say there is something about the combination of all of these aspects of our culture that should be part of the conversation.

    Two things related to this story and others like it that are troubling to me. First, Early news reports have said that when the whole incident started many of the movie goers simply thought it was part of the movie experience…that seems powerful to me. That many of us are saturated enough, influenced enough, conditioned enough by a constant stream of media/marketing etc that it took a few moments for the movie goers to grasp the true reality of what was transpiring around them. I intend no judgement here only observation. We are shaped by our culture in powerful ways. So am I.
    Second, as a pastor I see the corrosive effects of what I can only describe as “spectacle journalism” in that it inoculates us to the pain, suffering and injustice that happens daily around us. We get compassion fatigue and it takes an event like the movie theater shootings in Colorado to get our attention. Then the need for sustained, responsible compassion suffers. I see it in my church, I see it in myself.

    No solutions or easy answers. Thanks for the conversation Tony.

  • I’m not an American, or Republican or Democrat but likely closer to being a-political. I am a Christ-follower but not interested in reading the bible like a manual or in raising its importance in my life above trying to become a better person by following Jesus and to try and love more. But perhaps if I can change the slant of the conversation a little and see that perceiving the gun as the means of delivering violence as a solution to anything might be at the core of the problem. Depressed and hopeless? Get a gun and shoot yourself, problem gone. Boss at work at work treated you like dirt and co-workers didn’t give a crap? Get a gun and shoot them, now they’re dead and gone and you feel better. Problem solved. Someone stealing your precious TV? Get a gun and shoot them. Now they’re either dead or injured and heading to fill up another spot in already overflowing jail-biz. You protected your property and justice is served. Problem solved. Wife-running around with another guy? Get a gun and shoot her and or him. They’re out of your face and no longer reminding you of their cheating and your pain. Problem solved. That country threatening to kick yours in the ass? Get a bunch of guns and a bunch of guys to shoot them and problem solved. You straightened out their crooked viewpoint and killed a bunch of ‘em. You part of a street gang since you were a kid and learned that you had to protect your turf and life was cheap and short? You get a gun or maybe two and shoot those other guys regularly to keep the score even and your turf defined. The problem continues to be solved with the quick violence of the gun. I keep seeing the gun being perceived as a solution to anything, be it political, mental illness, personal anguish, preservation of property or pride, or a means of serving justice seems to be at the crux of the matter. Now add to that ease of access to the gun and you have a whole host of dead people, another countless amount rotting in jail, whole countries full of people killing each other and masses of innocents caught in crossfire’s. All because someone thought that the gun was the means to a solution to his or her problem. A nice quick and brutal act of violence perpetrated quickly and effectively by the gun became the means by which to deliver violence, as the solution seems to be at the core of the problem to me. And that does appear to be a spiritual problem as there is no love it that anywhere as far as I can see.

  • Rob

    Guns are symptomatic of a larger societal problem. Speaking as a person of faith, I pose the question, how are we to live in the world? If we are living as salt and light, we are not to live in fear. Generally speaking, instead of living and sharing this peace that we know that is greater than fear, we turn inward trying to protect what we value as ours. Living in fear, we do not share joy and peace. When we focus on protection, we find ourselves circling the wagons and trying to preserve the light as if it is ours rather than reflecting this by living counter-culturally. Without statistics to support, I am going to make the claim that I believe there is no distinction in United States between Christians and people of faith armed to the hilt with arsesanals for self-protection than that of the greater culture. What does this say about where we place our trust? Cultural difference that aspires to something greater than self will never come through giving in to our own fears.

  • Tony!

    Are you just towing the old liberal theological party line that the supernatural is nonexistant? Because my understanding, and countless polls, show that MOST of us believe in the supernatural. And most of us understand that there is something at work in this situation larger than guns and a crazy man. There is, at least, a spiritual component. And I believe denying that puts YOU in the minority and directly at odds with oh….2,000 years of Christian theology and tradition!

    Much Love!

  • Cameron

    I am a Christian and have a concealed carry license, but had to go through state-mandated training for knowledge and proficiency as well and a background check. I know of no states (perhaps Arizona and Alaska) that don’t require training by licensed instructors as well as a background check for a concealed carry license. I could be wrong, but I would like to know where The Guardian got their information on the process. Of getting a license to carry a concealed firearm. Do you have that reference, Tony?

  • I had a church group help me with recovering my house from the NE MN flood. We were talking about the tremendous community response and one said, “it is amazing how when the devil puts these obstacles before us God brings people together to combat it.” I didn’t say anything because I didn’t invite them to my home to evangelize about my particular brand of spirituality. I invited them because I needed help. What I was thinking was, how sad and frightening that woman’s life must be, to constantly be afraid that demons were out there, looking for opportunities to destroy people’s lives.

    • Frank

      Actually it’s a biblical truth.

      Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

      • The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek.
        [1596 Shakespeare Merchant of Venice i. iii. 93]

        • Frank

          Of course he can but what does that have to do with anything?

          You claimed that it was sad and frightening to be afraid of demons yet Peter tells us exactly that. So I guess you were wrong, right?

          BTW Shakespeare, while great writing, is not scripture so not sure why you would use that to support your fallacious theology. Or maybe that explains everything about your theology.

          • Yes, it explains my theology very well. I studied theology to understand what theologians were trying to say and hopefully to find God. What I found is that they are saying that some people commented on what some other people wrote, and they trace that back to the earliest writing and those are truth because they say they are truth. That’s all you got Frank. There is no way to know if God inspired those words or Satan did or if it was just a man.

          • Frank

            Well I have quite a bit more than that but thanks for telling us where you stand and why you can mostly be ignored when discussing Christianity.

          • So, what you’re saying Frank is, throughout history, a variety of people, some liberal, some conservative have examined stories connected to the tribes of Israel and decided if they should be taught to the next generation. We know many were lost because they are named in the Bible but we don’t have them. We know some were left out of the Bible because we have found them in clay jars. We know there are ones that are in the Bible that have had words changed from the ones in the clay jars. Examining all of this and determining what God’s word is, is the definition of theology is it not? And even though the debate continues today, evidenced by the dozens of different interpretations of the Bible still in print, you claim that you know exactly what 1 Peter 5:8 means and that I have no right to even give an opinion. Do I have that right?

          • Frank

            Lauston of course you have the right to an opinion, misinformed or otherwise, and we have the right to ignore your opinion.

          • Nice non-response Frank. Besides spelling my name wrong, you may have mis-read my last question. It means, is my above analysis of your opinion correct? I know I have the right to express my opinion, I wasn’t asking for your permission on that. That you don’t like my opinion is well established. How it is that you know exactly what 1 Peter 5:8 means is not established at all.

          • Frank

            My apologies for the misspelling it was not intentional and you have to admit our name is unique.

            As to the issue what do YOU think that verse means?

          • It uses several words that are obviously symbolic. There is no possible way for me to know precisely what he was saying. Perhaps, as you seem to believe, he was being literal. Perhaps, his idea of a demon was the same as yours. I seriously doubt it. More likely he means something like “watch out for the two faced liars”, “don’t trust someone just because they know your religion, it doesn’t mean they are living its precepts”, “beware the friendly man with the knife hidden behind his back”.

            Keep avoiding my questions Frank, it makes you look bad.

          • Frank

            ME look bad? LOL ok.

            What question? The one where you lay out a supposition that an atheist might dream up and ask if I agree?

            Keep posting it’s the best support I could hope for.

          • I’ll rephrase my question. Part I. Is my definition of theology correct? Is it the study of all scripture and scriptual interpretation in the attempt to discern God’s word? If not, what is your definition.

            Part II. How does one use theology, or any other method, to determine the meaning of a passage like 1 Peter 5:8? Can you be sure about the original author’s intentions for a word like “devil”? How you do explain that it does not appear in the OT?

          • Frank

            Theology is simply the study of God. God revealed who He is in scripture so yes scriptural study is critical to theology and provides the foundation.

            To determine meaning in scripture one looks at the words, context and the eternal principle.

            διάβολος, ου m
            a Devil: 12.34
            b demon: 12.37
            c slanderer: 33.397
            d wicked person: 88.124

            Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 2: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (58). New York: United Bible Societies.

            “Satan,” which means “adversary.” The word “devil” means “slanderer” or “accuser,” and we are reminded of his accusations against Job (Job 1:9–11; 2:4–5) and Joshua, the high priest, in the Old Testament (Zech 3:1–2; cf. also Rev 12:10).

            Schreiner, T. R. (2007). Vol. 37: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (242). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

            And how to you come to the conclusion that it is sad and frightening to believe in “demons, devil, Satan, ect…”? Are you denying that there are evil spiritual forces at work?

          • I can’t deny that there are evil spiritual forces because you haven’t defined what you mean by that. There is nothing tangible to deny. You provided a definition that is a generic “adversary” but seem to be claiming that it is something real and tangible. You offered nothing in the way of evidence for the existence of the devil. You are “reminded” of a character in a story. One of the better and more interesting allegories in the Bible, but a story none the less. As I said a few days ago, theology is saying that somebody said something about something somebody else said, until you get to a point where you have no actual evidence, then you call it truth, a revelation, based solely on faith. You can only get around the translation problems by claiming the original source of the truth continues to work in the world. It’s a circular argument. If that’s how you want to develop your view of the world, that’s your right. Just be honest about it.

          • Frank

            Lausten I believe in God and what the bible says. What do you believe in?

          • I know you believe that Frank. We all know that. What we would like (and I’m making assumptions about others) is for you to acknowledge that what you believe are “Biblical truths” may not be what everybody else believes and could even be wrong. I’m not going into a long explanation of evidence and epistemology, you can figure that out from what I say. What’s more important is that I don’t believe in demons or devils or The Devil. I believe those things were created to frighten and control people and somehow, it still works. I don’t believe that one line from the Bible proves anything. A lot of people here feel that way and I can’t figure why it is so troublesome to you when someone challenges you on that. Unless of course you’re just a troll like Tony says. In which case I shouldn’t be responding to you.

          • Frank

            Demons and Satan are all throughout the bible not just one verse but then again you obviously do not believe in scripture so your opinion about Christian theology is meaningless to anyone serious about it. Thanks for letting us all know we can continue to ignore your opinions.

      • Evelyn

        1 Peter 5:9 “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

        So, I’m not sure how someone resists a “devil” who is shooting at them. Perhaps you could hold up your hand to stop the bullet but I think the bullet would go through your hand and do damage nonetheless. I’m also not sure how you would resist a “demonic” flood that is inundating your house.

        1 Peter 5 is referring to an internal struggle (not external) between a person’s faith in God and their potential loss of that faith instigated by an internal desire to “falsely accuse” the powers that be. It also concerns the development of a will to practice that faith.

  • Larry Barber

    The problem isn’t guns as such, but a society that always resorts to violence as the first answer to any problem. From imprisoning people for minor victimless crimes, to dropping bombs on any foreign country that pisses off our president, we always choose violence first. It shows up in our choice of sports (football over futbol), in our choices in games (ever see a non-violent video game), to the way we deal with our children. The wonder isn’t that incidents like this happen, its that they don’t happen more often. And that would be true with or without gun control, even if we could eliminate guns, guns are far from the only way of killing large numbers of people. The suspect in this case had a degree in neurology (or something similar), graduated at the top of his class, he probably wouldn’t have much problem in making a batch of Sarin or similar neurotoxin and releasing that in the theater instead of the tear gas he did release, and many more would have died. If we had a society that valued peace, the presence of guns wouldn’t be a problem and there would likely be a lot fewer of them anyway, but in our violence loving society people are going to find and have ways to kill other people even if by some miracle you could eliminate firearms (and don’t forget about the ones that belong to the government).

  • Luke Allison

    The fact of the matter is that we don’t need assault rifles. At all. They suck as home defense weapons (good chance of going through a body and through the wall and killing someone) and they aren’t necessary as hunting weapons.
    So on one level this is about guns. This guy would never have gotten an assault rifle through criminal sources, because he’s not a criminal. He’s a pathetic little bored suburbanite. So the whole “well he would have just gotten around the laws anyway” argument doesn’t really fly.

    On another level, this is about power. Is it just me, or almost all these mass shooter types smallish white males with inferiority complexes? Minus the Virginia Tech killer, who was a smallish Asian American male with an inferiority complex. What did they all feel? It seems as though they felt powerless. These types of atrocities have the same root as rape or home invasion; the need to feel significant, powerful, to have an effect on somebody. Clearly this type of person has long ago shed whatever it was that connected them to society psychologically. So it’s likely not that hard to move one step beyond into acting out.

    For the record, I struggle about how to respond to this. Inside, I’m both furious (I would kill that guy if I could) and deeply grieved. Also terrified (that could be any theater anywhere), and full of indignation at our society’s blindness.

    Here’s the question: Will we take measures to try and stop this type of thing from happening? Or will we simply go forward with the whole “if we stop having fun, the terrorists win” mentality that so many seem to already be grabbing hold of? Every time this happens, we’re shocked. Why? It’s happened numerous times in numerous places. It’s normal. We shouldn’t be shocked anymore. What we should do is accept it as a part of our life and seek to make changes that would minimize the damage this type of person can do. That is all.

  • Mccallum

    If guns are the problem in this or VT or any other mass shooting then forks and spoons are the cause of obesity.

    No the problem is people.

  • Luke Allison


    Name me literally any other readily available weapon that could have caused that much damage in that short of time in the hands of that much of an inexperienced weakling.

    • Mccallum

      If one can afford the Magiznes any weapon (gun) on the market. shoot, empty, reload, repeat.

  • Lore

    I think guns are banned in Syria. So are evangelical Christians.

    You are posting too much of other people’s writing.

  • ME

    America has a terrible gun culture. Why don’t we as Christians start a movement to abstain from guns in order to change the culture. Sure, it’s a sacrifice to 99% of gun owning Christians to give up their guns, but making a sacrifice for the Kingdom is a great thing to do.

    • How would this have changed one single thing in this situation?

  • Keith DR

    Those who think that bad guys will get guns in any case, so stricter gun laws will just keep guns out of the hands of the good guys (who might otherwise prevent tragedies), and so will make us more vulnerable to gun deaths (not directing this at any individuals in this thread) have to contend with the facts — that the U.S. has some of the laxest gun laws anywhere, and we are crazy-off-the-charts-high in gun death rates.

    • Mccallum

      Chicago and New York City have strict gun laws. Remind me , “What is the murder rate in these Cities?” If we pass a total Gun ban; the criminals(by which I mean the current crop) would still get guns. Please enforce the gun laws we have and as I have already stated gun bans do not work see Chicago and New York stats.

  • “In The New Christians, I recounted a similar fundamentalist response to the one I found from Greg Stier yesterday”

    “So critics can crow about me being insensitive for pointing to Stier’s comments, but he is simply one in a long line of conservative Christians who would rather supernaturalize these tragedies that deal with them in reality, where the rest of us live.”

    The two things you said in this post are both divisive and critical, reinforcing an “us who are in the real world” vs. the “fundamentalist…conservatives” whom you speak for as if you know their hearts and intentions.

    Tony, I agree with you that supernaturalizing events like this can lead to calloused and unloving responses to people who do (or might someday) suffer, but to respond with divisive finger pointing at souls you only think you understand is to make the exact same error.

    I know that your heart in this is to help people to take responsibility to live for Christ now, to be his hands and feet and voice in this very real world. I don’t meant to make the same error in claiming to know what you’re heart is saying, but I just want to make you aware of how your words are coming across. These things NEED to be discussed, but it seems like there has to be a better way than public finger pointing at individuals who are searching for the peace and rest of heaven, now and forever, just as eagerly as us.

    I know it’s been a rough week for you brother. Keep on keeping up the good work. Love you man.

  • Cameron

    Do you know where The Guardian got their information on the process of getting a concealed carry license? Or, I’d you have a reference to their article, I am happy to research it myself.

  • L.W. Dickel

    And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, what’s this I heareth about me being a human sacrifice for your sins? May I asketh, Who in the goddamn hell came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!!?
    Blood sacrifice!!!??? Are you all fucking insane!!?
    What are we, living in the goddamn Stone Age!!!??
    Listen brethren, you can taketh that ridiculous, pathetic, immoral, vile, wicked, evil, sadistic pile of Cro-Magnon donkey shit and shoveth it straight up thy fucking asses!!”–Jesus H. Christ, the Thinking Mans Gospel

  • Erin

    Actually, it’s not about guns or Satan. It’s about the Y chromosome.