Regressives cherish an utterly sophomoric myth, that the problem with modern society is guns. If we could just get rid of guns, they think, society would once again be peaceful and harmonious, and everyone would get along famously.
But the problem in modern society is not guns, it is people.
The left thinks that guns are inherently evil. No, they are not. They are inanimate objects which can be used for noble purposes (protecting national security, enforcing the law, protecting your family) as well as for evil purposes. You can use a hammer to build a house or beat in someone’s brains. The hammer is just a tool. The problem is with the one who is swinging it.
Guns are not inherently evil, people are. The Christian doctrine of original sin is that man is an innately fallen creature, fallen from birth and even before. David says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).
What theologians mean by original sin is that every single one of us is born with an inherent bent toward sin, selfishness, and even violence. You yourself have this inherent bent toward sinfulness – ask your wife if you don’t believe me – and she does too. Your children got their sin nature the old-fashioned way, from their parents.
Now many modern liberals take umbrage with the thought that they themselves, as enlightened as they are, could possibly be sinful by nature. But the doctrine of original sin is the easiest doctrine in the Bible to prove. Ask parents one simple question, and the truth will out.
Ask them whether they had to teach their children to be good or to be bad. Parents do not have to teach their children how to be bad – kids have got that figured out all by themselves. No, parents have to teach their children how to be good. Why? Because their humanity is bent, bent toward evil, and unless that pull is resisted and overcome, it will destroy the children and maybe even people around them.
The whole purpose of the incarnation was to defeat this evil that wants to consume human beings. “The reason the Son of God appeared,” John tells us, was to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
Thus the ultimate solution to society’s woes cannot be found in man, no matter how educated and enlightened he happens to be. The ultimate solution to society’s challenge is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So that leaves us with the challenge of living in a fallen world, surrounded by people who may not have interest in restraining their appetites through the power of the Spirit of God. How do we navigate a dangerous world like that? The Founders understood the basic depravity of man, which is why they established clear separation of powers in our Constitution. Power needed to be separated because no man could be trusted with absolute power.
And the Founders also gave us the Second Amendment so we could defend ourselves, our families, and our friends from the physical attacks of fallen people who mean us harm.
Jesus himself provided the theological underpinnings for the right of self-defense when he instructed his own disciples to arm themselves in their own defense. “He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment” (Luke 22:36-37).
And so he was taken into custody just minutes later and executed as a common criminal and a threat to national security. “You will be numbered with me, identified with me, and evil men may assault you because of that. You need, every one of you, to buy a sword in preparation for that day.”
Because man has this disposition toward evil – yes, we are all “born that way” – if we were to confiscate every gun in America today, tomorrow someone would be committing mass murder with something else.
My good friend Clayton Cramer published a column this week at National Review entitled “Mass Murder Without Guns.” After cataloging 504 incidents of mass murder, he concludes that evil people don’t only use guns to commit mass killings. They use axes (“I can imagine axe-control fanatics in 1890 arguing that “an axe in your home is more likely to be used against you than against an intruder,”) hatchets, blunt objects, hanging, drowning, poison gas, poison, fire, and airplanes.
But we’re just getting started. According to Cramer, cigarette lighter fluid, gasoline, camp-stove gas, knives (even kitchen knives), meat cleavers, explosives, bombs, and cars and trucks have all been used in a pinch.
The point here is that if we restrict access to guns, bad actors will simply seize on something else. It’s time to do two things: get our minds right about the fallenness of man, and encourage Americans to follow Christ’s advice and get armored up.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Northwest Connection.)