Social Question

gorillapaws's avatar

Is it a sin to own a firearm (in Christianity)?

Asked by gorillapaws (26042points) July 18th, 2010

You frequently hear about people who are for “God ‘n Guns,” and I am wondering whether guns might be considered sinful to own under Christianity. In the Bible it says “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” and also instructs to “turn the other cheek” etc.

Some Christian denominations have come to the conclusion that Christianity necessitates pacifism and refuse to fight in wars. So is it possible to interpret the Bible such that owning a tool designed explicitly for the taking of human life is sinful?

If you disagree, do you think if Jesus were alive today, would he own a gun? If so, what kind of gun would he own?

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39 Answers

janbb's avatar

What Would Jesus Carry? Of course, he wouldn’t – it is antithetical to everything we learn about him. As far as the rationale for why Christians own guns, I’ll leave that answer to those who are more knowlegeable than me about the subject.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Not everyone owns a firearm explicitly for taking human life. There are some people that own them and refuse to use them as self-defense even. I don’t think it’s a sin to own a firearm.

I don’t know if he would carry a gun or not.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Seaofclouds that’s a fair point. I guess I would exclude hunting rifles from the question. But it’s clear that some guns are designed for the purpose of taking human lives, these would likely be the ones that are sinful if any kind are sinful.

Qingu's avatar

Jesus would own a gunblade.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@gorillapaws It’s not just hunting rifles. We have rifles, shotguns, and handguns. None will be used for self-defense. They are strictly for hunting and recreational shooting.

wilma's avatar

Not all guns are owned for killing people.
I would think in reality, outside of the military, that very few of them are.
They are used for target shooting, hunting, collectors who would never even think of firing a weapon, but love antiques or the craftsmanship.

Mamradpivo's avatar

You know, I really don’t picture Jesus carrying a gun. Maybe for hunting, but he seemed to spend more time eating fish (probably due to the lack of large game in the area).

I certainly don’t imagine Jesus as the kind of guy who feels he can only protect himself from some vague enemy by clinging to a killing machine.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I wouldn’t have thought so. I mean look at the Bible. Satan killed 10 people where as God kills several million. A gun is the sort of thing God needs to keep those numbers up.

tinyfaery's avatar

As long as someone can still turn the other cheek while holding a firearm.

filmfann's avatar

Proverbs speaks directly to not admire or embrace violence.

gorillapaws's avatar

@wilma aren’t collector guns worth more if they’ve been used in battle? and even more if they’ve actually killed someone?

Randy's avatar

@gorillapaws guns are worth more if they are in good shape. The best way to keep a gun in immaculate condition is to never use it.

Guns aren’t just for killing. Shooting is a sport like archery, which is taught in some schools. You could even compare it to basketball in some ways. It’s really not that easy to hit what you’re aiming at. It takes lots of practice and skill. And it’s exhilarating. It gets the endorphins pumping.

Sure they can be used in killing but so can just about anything really. A car is a fairly common murder tool. (sometimes accidental; sometimes not)

As far as Jesus owning a gun goes, I doubt he would. What would he need it for? According to the bible, he could easily handle any situation where he would need the protection of a gun. One time he even ran an entire group of merchants out of a temple because he felt as though they were desecrating the house of his father, God. He flipped chairs and tables, yelled and ran them out. He practiced peaceful ways most of the time, but I have a feeling he could have kicked some ass if he wanted to. Plus, he died and came back to life. That’s the biggest win over any gun. Shoot him, kill him and then he gets up and keeps coming. It may take him three days but still… Jesus beats gun.

wilma's avatar

@gorillapaws I think @Randy knows a lot more about the value of old guns than I do.
Thanks @Randy !

gorillapaws's avatar

@Randy you just got finnished saying all of the reasons one might own a gun other than killing, and then proceeded to say why would Jesus need a gun? Maybe he gets off from the endorphins pumping when target practicing? Maybe he would be a collector?

Randy's avatar

@gorillapaws The only reason I could think that Jesus would need a gun is because of the protection. He could be a collector or just enjoy the rush of spending a weekend at the range but as far as I know, there are no stories of Jesus going out looking for an endorphin rush or collecting anything. He was a carpenter who later in life traveled to spread his teachings and the word of God. Carpenters are pretty busy people by trade and travelers/seminar speakers are also. I just figured him as too busy for any other use of a gun, but I could be wrong. I didn’t personally know him.

But for the record, I see owing a gun being a sin about as much as owning any of these other items from the game of clue being a sin.

gorillapaws's avatar

Another point to consider is that many Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin, would they believe that it’s ok for a straight person to own a collection of strap-on dildos because they liked the craftsmanship? In other words, isn’t it possible that collecting something can be considered sinful even if its never intended to be used to commit sin?

Randy's avatar

@gorillapaws What if a fellow lost his penis in some accident? A strap on could be the only way he has to please his wife. I’m just being argumentative with that. I don’t really have an answer for you’re dildo question but, going by Christianity and way things seem to work, I think a collection of dildos?... dildoes?... dildi? are a bit different than guns. In Christianity, God says not to commit murder in the ten commandments and one can legitimately own a gun without the intent of killing. It would be tough to own a collection of (I’ve decided on dildi because it sounds funny) dildi without planning on using them to go against God’s rule of homosexuality being an abomination. Of course he didn’t have Moses write that in the ten commandments so… maybe it’s not as big a deal to him. I don’t really know.

If you want to stretch even farther, the Israelites (Jews, basically) are God’s chosen people. We all know what Hitler did to them but anything owned by Hitler is worth lots and people have collections of things he owned that are harmless like plates, papers, paintings and so on.

My point is, most people these days are skilled enough to twist just about anything into being sinful. I don’t think collecting is considered sinful to God unless you put it before him. The second commandment says not to idolize anything.

I feel that I should point out that I don’t claim to be Christian and I don’t even know if I believe in God. I’m not one of those gun totin’, Southern by the grace of God, red, white and blue blood, radical conservatives. I do own two guns and both are for protection. I’m just taking guesses based on my knowledge of Christianity.

Berserker's avatar

Jesus didn’t even wear shoes.

Besides, it’s not like he’d need a gun to defend himself if that came up. He never hurt anyone, but when I was little my dad told me that if he wanted to, Jesus could point his finger at you and you’d drop dead.

I don’t believe in God or Jesus though, but I’d be willing to believe that you could own a gun as a Christian, as long as you didn’t harm or kill anyone with it.

meagan's avatar

I don’t think so. This could be applied to “hunting guns”. And I’m sure most people don’t buy guns thinking they’ll kill someone.
Maybe they want to go to the shooting range for fun, duck hunting, yadda yadda. I’ve even shot a gun. Its not such a big deal.

But you also have the right to defend yourself. Should a Christian person not be able to protect themselves like anyone else, if someone broke into their house?
Oh no! Don’t come murder me! I’m a Christian, and I don’t have a gun!
Seems like an unfair disadvantage.

TexasDude's avatar

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
Luke 22:36

Also, like others have said, just because you have a gun doesn’t instantly make you a ruthless killer or a criminal. Literally millions of people shoot for fun, or like to collect guns just like other people like to collect stamps. Hell, I’ve got guns (legal of course) that would make some of you shit yourselves if you saw them, but that doesn’t mean I would ever think of using them for purposes other than punching holes in paper from a long range. And I’m not even a Christian.

ragingloli's avatar

he said “turn the other cheek”, not “pump ‘em full of lead”

Qingu's avatar

I would like to change my answer from “gunblade” to “proton pack shooter from Ghostbusters.”

In the synoptic gospels, Jesus spends most of his time fighting demons. I figure he’d want to use the latest in modern technology to take on malevolent spirits.

ragingloli's avatar

Yeah but that might literally backfire.
Being a zombie and all.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t think the proton packs work on zombies? Because they didn’t do much good against Vigo in the second movie. Vigo wasn’t exactly a zombie, more like a necromancer, but he was corporeal. And actually, I would argue Jesus is more like a necromancer than a zombie to begin with.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I think it’s perfectly fine to own a gun if you need it to provide food for yourself or your family or to protect yourself. Other than that, in my opinion, guns are dangerous and not exactly the best. You never know when a kid would find it and hurt themselves or something could happen. But then again, you never know when you might need it. I would leave it up to other people’s consciences and trust of themselves and people around them.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

If Jesus were real and on earth he would quote the ancient words,

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2–4)

kess's avatar

Sin is what the mind makes it to be….
Therefore if a christian or any other thinks it is a sin to do anthing whatsoever, then to that one it is a sin.

Jesus would think nothing of owning a gun and therefore most likely would not own one.
The religions of today as they always was, are much more dangerous than individual gun owners.

josie's avatar

If Jesus had had a gun, they might not have been able to arrest him on trumped up charges.

ratboy's avatar

Turning to his left, Jesus raised His Glock 23 to the temple of Judas and spake, saying “now hast thou kissed thine last cheek, thou wretched swineherd.” Thereupon, He depressed his trigger saying “hollowed be thine head,” and thusly did dispatch the evildoer unto hell. He then spake unto His remaining disciples, who stood all amazed beside Him, saying “chill my brothern, for never shall ye want for wine whilst I am yet among thee.”

TexasDude's avatar

@ratboy, hollowed be thine head…

Okay, I admit. I lol’d heartily.

Cruiser's avatar

More people have died in the name of God than those who have been slain by a bullet. A gun is what it is and meant first and foremost to provide defense against an enemy or put food on the table. Target shooting is fun too even if it is in the name of God!

Ludy's avatar

that would be kind of extremist, don’t you think? i mean we would never know what would jesus do because he did’t live in this time.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Ludy well we can probably infer certain things. Like I doubt Jesus would snort lines of coke, even though I can’t know for certain since it wasn’t around in biblical times.

Thanks for the interesting responses from both sides thus far.

Randy's avatar

@ratboy Jesus was a G.

Ludy's avatar

what is a G ?

mattbrowne's avatar

Guns can be a temptation for evil people. When I think of firearms and policemen my associations are positive. Same for hunters. Same for people in sparsely populated areas who can’t rely on the police alone. And these people can be Christians of course.

Ludy's avatar

hahahahahah, you could say that, him and the other 12!!!

kritiper's avatar

Guns can be used to provide food and protection from wild animals. They aren’t solely for killing people.

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