Guns, Violence, & the Heart of Man

Some regular readers of this blog might be wondering why I haven’t yet commented on the horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that occurred last Friday. First, I wasn’t even planning on doing blogs this week since my wife was having more surgery and we had to go out of state for that. She has had the surgery and is recovering; all seems well.

Second, the blogs earlier in the week were written late last week, about the time that shooting took place, and there wasn’t time to find out enough facts about it yet. Neither did I know for sure how the media and politicians would treat the incident—although I could have guessed without too much trouble. They have exhibited their natural tendency to blame all the wrong people and offer all the wrong solutions. If you were to take their analysis seriously, you would have to consider the NRA public enemy number one, and the absence of gun-control laws as the cause for the loss of innocent lives.

I am not a gun owner; I’ve only ever shot guns one time in my life at an NRA shooting range. It turns out I’m actually a pretty good shot. But I’ve never had the urge to buy a gun for myself. Generally, I’ve felt fairly safe. But I do believe in the right of gun ownership without interference from government. The Founding Fathers went through an experience that confirmed the need for a people to defend themselves against a government that sought to take away their basic liberties. Self-defense is Christian. Being meek and humble does not equate to being a fool.

Those on the liberal/progressive/socialist [choose one—they are synonymous] side of the spectrum, due to the worldview from which they operate, mistake the problem and the solution. Gun-free zones, rather than offering more safety, instead advertise just how defenseless those in that zone are. And I know this will sound like a cliché, but gun-control laws only affect the law-abiding; criminals ignore them. Therefore, all they accomplish is to make the criminal’s task easier.

I oppose, then, any presumed solution that concentrates on the external without taking into account the hearts of men. Only a few commentators have braved the political correctness police to say what really needs to be said: the real problem is the evil that lurks in the minds of sinful men. Evil does exist, and it is explained by the Biblical worldview. Man is at odds with God, rebelling against His righteous ways. Man seeks to do his own will, whatever fulfills his own selfish desires. Evil is real, and it won’t be appeased by any gun-control law.

We have to look deeper to find why these episodes seem to be increasing. It has to do with a culture that pushes God and His laws to the periphery. It has to do with a culture that idolizes selfish pursuits regardless of the moral law God established. It has to do with a culture that has overthrown sexual restraints. It has to do with a culture that has lost the belief in the image of God stamped upon every person, leading to disregard for the sanctity of human life. And this is how we train our children. At least a couple of cartoonists get it:

The only amendment I would make to the second cartoon is “easy access to guns without proper moral guidance.”

Some may object: doesn’t the Bible have a lot of violence in it? Yes, it does. But it roundly condemns the sinful actions of men. I’m not against all depictions of violence; what I am against is the loss of right and wrong when we encounter violence, particularly in the entertainment media. All too often, evil is glorified and righteousness is derided. A generation raised on that type of indoctrination is the real Lost Generation.

Here comes my “simplistic” solution: we must return to the Biblical understanding of man’s sinfulness, God’s judgment on sin, and the hope that is given through the Cross of Jesus Christ. When we recognize our sin, repent of it, and turn to the mercy and grace offered to us in that Cross, the heart is changed. If enough hearts change, a culture is changed. When a culture is changed, a nation may yet survive and prosper.