The social media meme says: “A rock in bad hands killed Abel. A rock in good hands killed Goliath. It’s not about the rock.” FALSE!
Social media flame wars are no fun—but sometimes you have to say something. Sometimes you just can’t let a bad post go without comment. I hate it when people argue with me on my own page—I have a right to my opinion. I also believe in letting others be wrong on their own page. So, when a couple of different friends posted this meme on social media, I didn’t argue with them on their own pages. Instead, I wrote this article about it. This is a perfect example of the religious right weaponizing the Bible in defense of guns.
Weaponizing the Bible in Defense of Guns
This post is so wrong, for so many reasons. Here are seven of them:
1. Good Guy with a Gun
This post uses the Bible to make a case for civilians carrying guns. It hints at the “good guy with a gun” argument which, incidentally, doesn’t solve the problem. It often gets the “good guy” killed. Sometimes the “good guy” ends up shooting noncombatants in the crossfire. Plus, when the police arrive and find two people shooting at each other, they don’t know who the original shooter is. So, guess who gets targeted—both of them!
2. Premeditated Killing
This post literally weaponizes the Bible to support premeditated killing. It’s generally right-wing Christians you see posting this meme on the internet. Yet, while it inaccurately portrays two Old Testament stories, it never once references Jesus. That’s because Jesus never—not once—said it’s okay to kill anyone. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in peace, but I’m not a pacifist. If someone threatened my family, I’m not sure I could hold back. I would probably resort to violence myself. But I believe this would be sin. Carrying a gun is premeditating killing. I know this because I used to carry one on a daily basis. And every day I planned how I would use that gun if threatened. It never occurred to me that if I ever successfully used the gun, it would be premeditated killing.
3. Biblical Inaccuracy
The Bible doesn’t say that Cain used a rock to kill Abel. Actually, the Bible never says what method Cain used for the murder. The creator of this meme has relied more on Bible movies and artwork than the Bible itself.
4. David Used a Sling
This story doesn’t make a point for civilians carrying guns. In fact, it may make a case for the opposite. A sling was a shepherd’s tool, not a military weapon. So David took a civilian weapon onto the battlefield, rather than donning the weapons and armor the king tried to give him.
5. More Biblical Inaccuracy
The meme’s claim that “David used a rock to kill Goliath” Is only partly true. Technically, David knocked the giant down with a rock. He then took the giant’s own sword and decapitated him with it. David refused to carry a sword onto the battlefield.
6. Governmental Authority
While David didn’t accept the military weapons Saul offered, he did accept the military commission. When David enlisted in King Saul’s service, he joined the army for a day. David acted under the authority of the government. He wasn’t a “good guy with a sling” who took matters into his own hands. By using the sword to kill Goliath, David showed that military weapons are for military people under military authority—they are not for civilians.
7. School Stoning?
This meme equates rocks with assault rifles. But nobody ever picked up a rock and created mass casualties. You can’t compare a rock and an AR-15. When was the last time you turned on the news and heard about a school stoning? In the Bible, stoning took place when a whole community executed one person with hundreds of stones. The AR-15 is the exact opposite, with one person killing tons of people with hundreds of bullets.
This post is a false equivalency created by someone on the extreme religious right. They love weaponizing the Bible in defense of guns. They want you to believe that God is in favor of civilians carrying military-style weapons. Don’t believe it. This post is FALSE. In fact, here’s what Jesus actually did say about violence:
What Jesus Actually Said About Violence
- “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 an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also (Matthew 5:38-39).”
- And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them (Luke 9:54-56).”
- Suddenly one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place, for all who take the sword will die by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:51-53).”
Governmental Use of Force
Again—I’m not a pacifist. I just believe that we need to leave it to the government to use force. Romans 13:4 says that the government “does not bear the sword in vain! It is the agent of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.” Good guys with guns aren’t deputized. We must think twice before strapping one on and making ourselves premeditated killers. Besides, it’s been proven that “More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes.”
Since it’s the government’s job to use force against wrongdoers through military and police action, we have no need to carry guns at all. We have even less need to own military-style weapons like assault rifles. If you aren’t in the military or a member of the police force, you don’t have the right to declare yourself a good guy with a gun.
Following Jesus Means Suffering Violence
If you call yourself a Christian, this means you follow Jesus. It means you quit weaponizing the Bible in defense of guns. Instead, you listen to Jesus. You act like Jesus. Jesus refused to defend himself and suffered violence for the sake of peace. He preferred to suffer violence than commit violence. Yet, today’s American right-wing Christians are unwilling to act like Jesus and do the same.
I’ll say again—I’m not a pacifist. I believe that governments have the right to use arms to protect people. But, for a Christian to kill another person outside of that governmental duty to protect the innocent is a sin. We do not have the spiritual right to use lethal force against another human being. It’s time for Americans to give up their guns in exchange for peace. When we do, we’ll find that Jesus was right all along. We’ll be able to beat our “swords into plowshares and…spears into pruning hooks.”