In the wake of the recent shooting at Umpqua College, political pundits are discussing various proposed solutions for gun violence. There is widespread disagreement about whether and how much government regulation is appropriate. Yet there are a few things on which all can agree:
- Guns as such do not commit crimes—people use guns in committing crimes. (A gun in the hand of a responsible and caring police officer is a blessing, whereas a gun in the hand of a hateful, suicidal person is a disaster waiting to happen.)
- While some governmental gun control measures may be helpful in certain circumstances, there is no such regulation that can totally prevent all people from committing atrocities with guns.
- Therefore, the only reliable prevention of all gun crimes is self-regulation by responsible people, including the regulation of children and the mentally challenged by the appropriate responsible adults.
What would lead to responsible self-regulation and thereby reliably prevent gun crimes? Would it be Darwinism as taught in our schools, which has the moral implication that the stronger should feel free to eliminate the weaker? Would it be a religion that seeks to harm those who refuse to convert to it? No, surely the real solution to gun violence is authentic commitment to a system of thought that promotes peacemaking rather than retaliation, and charity rather than hate. We find just such a system of thought in the New Testament, the charter document for Christianity. Consider the following passages:
- Luke 6:27-29. “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.
- Galatians 6:10. [L]et us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
- Hebrews 12:14. Strive for peace with everyone. . . .
- James 3:17-18. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Biblical Christianity is the real solution to gun violence, and the real solution to all of society’s ills. May we be devoted to Christianity ourselves, and urge our friends and neighbors to make the Lord Jesus the centerpiece of their lives as well.