To Christian Gun Owners: Why do you disagree with the Amish position?


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Doug.38PR
October 4, 2006, 02:46 PM
1. There is no assurance that use of force would save my life or the life of my family if confronted by an attacker.
2. We could recall many accounts of unhoped for deliverances, whether by mediation, nature, or divine Providence, when Christians refused to use force when confronted by an attacker.
3. If the result is death at the hands of the attacker, so be it; death is not threatening to us as Christians. Hopefully the attacker will have at least had a glimpse of the love of Christ in our nonviolent response.
4. The Christian does not choose a nonviolent approach to conflict because of assurance it will always work; rather the Christian chooses this approach because of his/her commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord.

The above was quoted from another thread as an Amish response to violence from a bad guy.

This thread is primarily geared to devouted Christians who own firearms and believe in just warfare and defense of self, home, family and property.

What responses do you have to the above said comments?

I won't go into all the Biblical passages and evidences, we all know them. I will just say this, We are commanded to love honor and protect our family and loved ones and to not do so in the name of "showing love to the attacker" is backward. He who does not take care of his own family is worse than a non-believer.
Even many modern non-Amish effeminant Christians wince at carrying a gun claiming "if God wants me to die, then I am going to die." While that is true, you still have an obligation and a duty to care for yourself and those around you within the realm of Providence. That's almost like saying, "I shouldn't work to eat, because if God wants me to die, then I am going to die, the Lord will provide and let food fall on my plate." or "If I am in an car accident I shouldn't try to get medical attention because if God wants me to die then I am going to die." Bottom line, we have a responsibility to preserve life, including our own, just not at the cost of our souls. Putting your own life on the line in defense of your kith and kin shows more love and sacrifice than timidly submitting to a bullet in the head when the means to do something to stop it is available.
Your faith is NOT in the sword/gun, your faith is in God and He can deliever you gun or no gun. That doesn't mean that you throw away the gun. (that's not what Christ told Peter. "PUT away your sword" not "THROW away your sword." We don't live by weapons, but we use them as tools.
None of this is to say that the Amish are evil, bad or non-Christian. They are, without a doubt, very good and gentle people who have many fine qualities of agrarianism, non-materialism and strong ties of local community

PLEASE DON"T LET THIS DEGENERATE INTO AN ARGUMENT OVER WHETHER THERE IS A GOD OR WHY YOU HATE GOD OR CHRISTIANS. If you don't like Christians, then start your own thread or move on to the next thread. Lets keep this a civil discussion about the use of arms/guns within that faith.

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Tim Burke
October 4, 2006, 02:51 PM
I don't believe God means for us to acquiesce to evil.

M249MachineGun
October 4, 2006, 02:53 PM
If the great Flying Spaghetti Monster didn't want me to have a gun and protect myself with it, he would not have, in his infinite wisdom, blessed me with a trigger finger.

/Not exactly Christian.
//Pastafarian!
///I guess it could be the same for your Christian God, too.

Vitamin G
October 4, 2006, 02:54 PM
Some might feel that you can spead the Good Word through your death, but you can't spead the Good Word in your death, and as for me, I would much rather prefer to spread the Good Word through my life, and in my life.

And if God wants me to die, yes, im going to die... But what if God does NOT want me to die, and through my inaction, go before he intended me to? To pretend that everyone dies when God wants them to, denies the idea of free will... bad guys have free will, too.

SoCalShooter
October 4, 2006, 02:57 PM
I am gonna have to agree with M249MACHINEGUN on this one if his noodly goodness did not want me to have firearms then why did he bestow them on me.

hso
October 4, 2006, 03:05 PM
Any post with religious context has usually degraded into something very ugly in the past.

As a very strong reminder to our members, please keep in mind that religious attacks are not acceptable on THR, whether they be made in fun or not. Let's be respectful of your colleagues here and not do anything that violates the rules. This may be the only warning that’s given.

Deathrider1579
October 4, 2006, 03:06 PM
I am what you would consider a fundamentalist Christian.

I disagree with the Amish position because of several reasons.

1. Although we were told to "turn the other cheek", I have never seen in the Bible where it says we have to just let anyone hurt us for no reason. (Although you could probably make a good argument about not killing them for stealing your property but you never know they might come and kill you because you saw them take what they took)
2. As a man it is my responsibility to defend my family, to "love them as Christ loved the Church" this means I will defend them with my very life if I have to.
3. Not all of the Old Testament was done away with when Christ came. I still think OT justice works and works well.


I have made my peace with violence and self defense. If some one presents an imminent threat I will deal with it as best I can. God gives grace even if I am wrong I believe and there for am forgiven of any sins I commit so I am not worried.

-DR

Polishrifleman
October 4, 2006, 03:13 PM
#1 True
#2 True and those Christens are now dancing with Christ
#3 True, my response is In being a Christian I know I can always ask for forgiveness if I truely and honestly want to be forgiven and my moral code says my actions are just then I should have no problem asking for forgiveness, that is something that we have to live with in our daily lives just like the Amish.
#4 See statement #3 and don't wait for the outcome.

When you say Just Warfare what are you regarding to? The reason for going to war or the conduct of the war? Hopefully you mean the reason for war.

TJTay89
October 4, 2006, 03:14 PM
Everyone has their own beliefs, and everyone’s beliefs should be respected, not just when the coincide with your own. I respect that the Amish would probably not defend themselves, thinking that whatever happens is Gods will. It would take very strong faith to be able to overcome your natural instinct for preservation and not defend yourself. That however, doesn't mean I agree with them.

tcgeol
October 4, 2006, 03:14 PM
Apart from the points you all have already made, Jesus told his disciples that if they didn't have a sword, they should buy one. I realize that there are some debates over the application of this passage, but that is what He said. Also, in one of the Pauline epistles, Christians are told to live peaceably with all men as much as we can. There is a definite inference that there will be times when we can't live peaceably with all men. Not because we don't want to do so, but because other men will not allow it.

Sistema1927
October 4, 2006, 03:17 PM
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. - I Timothy 5:8(ESV)

My responsibility for the safety of my family is just as important as my responsibility to feed, clothe, and house them. To those who expect that God is going to protect them from evil men, do they also expect that He is going to drop manna out of heaven each day, or do they work for their daily bread? If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. - I Thes 3:10b(ESV). Responsibility, a Biblical concept.

UKTN
October 4, 2006, 03:17 PM
I believe it is my duty as a Christian to do all I can to protect myself and my family in Luke 22 36 Christ said sell your cloak and buy a sword the best weapon at the time.

Geronimo45
October 4, 2006, 03:18 PM
Turn the other cheek = don't sweat the small stuff, from what I've read. Christians aren't supposed to run around getting upset over everything and throwing tantrums. If somebody borrows your tool set and doesn't bring it back, you don't have a license to kill.
We're not supposed to sit idly by while somebody's being abused, either.
When my time comes - a .45 won't stop a brain tumor, trauma plates won't protect against a heart attack. When the time allotted me has run out, I'm dead. I intend to die on schedule, not a minute early and not a minute late.

M249MachineGun
October 4, 2006, 03:20 PM
Any post with religious context has usually degraded into something very ugly in the past.

As a very strong reminder to our members, please keep in mind that religious attacks are not acceptable on THR, whether they be made in fun or not. Let's be respectful of your colleagues here and not do anything that violates the rules. This may be the only warning that’s given.

I am sorry if you found my beliefs offensive; The FSM would not want that. May peace be with you and your pasta bowl runneth over.

carlrodd
October 4, 2006, 03:21 PM
i have very strong feelings about how faith ties into using force. there are opposing forces in this world. evil is a very real, very tangible thing. in many ways it is a huge overarching force, and in other ways it can be seen in very specific circumstances. god only commands that we not try to judge other men's hearts. you do not need to judge the heart of a man to identify evil behaviour. when evil has so consumed a person that they are brought to violent criminal behaviour, if a christian just so happens to be caught in the middle, i see every justification FOR disrupting, preventing, eliminating that evil. i don't believe god intends for christians to sit idly by while people with black hearts do as they wish because no one feels obligated to, or has the courage to confront them.

gunsmith
October 4, 2006, 03:24 PM
That's why it is a sin to commit suicide.
Our Creator gave us our instincts for a reason too.
To not fight for your life is against instinct and a sin. (ymmv,I am praying for those Amish kids)
I was raised Catholic and am new to Christianity, I ccw to church
and see others doing it to:D

bearmgc
October 4, 2006, 03:25 PM
Their beliefs are THEIR business not mine. They are not imposing their religion on me. So all points arising from others regarding the Amish beliefs are mute.

glummer
October 4, 2006, 03:29 PM
The problem with non-violence & forgiveness is, where do you stop?
The Nickle Mines kids?
The Holocaust?
Nuclear war?
Is there NOTHING so wrong that using violence is justified to stop it?

The world is run by people willing to use weapons. There is no choice about that; never has been; never will be.
The only choice is WHO is using the weapons.

Stauble
October 4, 2006, 03:31 PM
Why Can't I Own a Canadian?

why would you want too?

seriously though, the catechism says i can so i will

Doug.38PR
October 4, 2006, 03:33 PM
The reason for going to war or the conduct of the war?

both. I believe that God permits defensive wars (and sometimes the best defense is a good offense) and we are held accountable to how we conduct ourselves in that war (treatment of civilians, prisoners, etc.) It is to be a war among armies, not a war on the culture and people of that country (a concept that we have gradually lost over the past 150 years).

I am reminded is some of this discussion of Edmond Burke's (also a Christian gentleman) famous comment, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

PlayboyPenguin
October 4, 2006, 03:35 PM
I hope this conversation can stay civil even though religion is involved.

I myself am a devout atheist. I have no belief what-so-ever in any godly beings, ghosts, spooks, spirits, monsters, etc. (except for bigfoot...he is of course real)

I can agree that the christian belief would lend one towards non-violence even in defense of one's own life. After all, if the greatest gift you can receive is the after-life why fear going into it.

However, I would think that even though one would not kill to protect their own life I would not say that they should not resort to violence in the protection of others. Such as family friends, and other innocents. Religion is a small comfort after the loss of a loved one and I would think that protecting the innocent would come before personal gratification or values.

Candiru
October 4, 2006, 03:35 PM
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:


Legitimate defense

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.66

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.


The theological reasoning behind this stance is brilliant. To paraphrase the late John Paul II in his encyclical Evangalium Vitae, the death of an aggressor due to the use of lethal force on the part of the defender is not only pardonable, it's not even a sin for the defender. This is because sin requires free will; when someone attacks another with lethal force, the defender has two options, neither of which constitute ideal behavior: commit an assault upon the attacker that may cause his demise, or permit aggression and injury against the innocent. The former option is the lesser evil, but since the defender has been deprived of the free choice of choosing an Option C (neither attack another nor permit an innocent to be harmed), it cannot be a sin.

All that being said, I have deep respect for the beliefs of the Amish and the degree to which they live wholesome Christian lives.

Stiletto Null
October 4, 2006, 03:45 PM
1. It's supposed to be "thou shalt not murder", not "thou shalt not kill".
2. Luke 22:36, I think.

"Turn the other cheek" refers to a slap in the face. The Torah (aka Old Testament) actually states outright that it is an insult to God to allow yourself to die without putting up some kind of fight.

I'm an atheist, by the way. But I like to keep track of this sort of stuff.

Dirk Pitt
October 4, 2006, 03:45 PM
Sorry, I don't really care what your beliefs or faith is.

Violence can only be met one way, --- with overwhelming retalatory violence. If you don't all you wind up is ......... dead.

BTW I am Catholic.

Stiletto Null
October 4, 2006, 03:48 PM
"Be polite. Be courteous. Be ready to kill everybody in the room."

critter
October 4, 2006, 03:51 PM
If it is my time to go, I know I will go. However, I want to make 100% SURE it IS my time to go and that time IS NOT DECIDED by some POS with a gun.

And who knows! I just may meet somebody and it is HIS time to go!

bigun15
October 4, 2006, 03:52 PM
If God wants me to die, he will do it in a way that will work.

Old Fuff
October 4, 2006, 03:55 PM
I don't disagree with the Amish position, although it is not one that I would choose.

In my view they, and their community have a right to believe whatever they want, and be secure in their beliefs.

They will I think, work this out among themselves, and whatever way they go I would be supportive - because I have no right to impose my beliefs and/or positions on them. Nowhere is it written that what I believe is better that which they do, it is simply different.

This is a time that Christians should stand together, not split apart. It is not the Amish that are evil.

romma
October 4, 2006, 03:56 PM
but bring a shovel! :evil: <<< The irony of this guy!

usp9
October 4, 2006, 03:58 PM
I do not believe for one second that if an Amish man's child were being molested in his sight, he would not stop the attack. The method and tools of stopping the attack are the question. The Amish have strong beliefs that govern their outlook, that are different from mine. They take the step of seperating themselves from the secular world around them

My use of a handgun to defend myself stems more from recognising that as I age I become more of the prey to the preditor. Using whatever means at your disposal, a father in most cases, will defend to his death, his children...especially from such monsters as we saw this week. Even Jesus mentions that children are special and anyone harming them gets His special attention. I believe Him.

The other question is simple: Is taking a life while defending yourself murder, a thou shall not? Our Judeo Christian legal system says no. As christians we are encouraged to obey the law. If it is legal to defend oneself, then one is not breaking a Christian teaching.

fiVe
October 4, 2006, 03:58 PM
I think Deathrider1579 & Sistema1927 summed it up well.

I will not allow anyone or anything violate the covenant I have with Mrs. fiVe.

Christianity does not equal weakness.

redneck2
October 4, 2006, 04:01 PM
If God wants me to die, he will do it in a way that will work.
For the most part, God doesn't get involved the live and die thing. Free will and all that. This is where the "kill them all and let God sort it out" is actually correct. If some POS whacks you in the head, it's not because God was behind it. God condemns the POS and you ride in Heaven (assuming you did the right things).

Now, the whole New Testament, Old Testament....

IMO, the one most telling thing was when the Pharasees were carping on Jesus about defiling the Law. Something to the effect "I came to fulfill the Law, not replace it"

There's a reason Bibles have the Old and New Testament.

taliv
October 4, 2006, 04:04 PM
effeminent != pacifist

not even close

ALHunter
October 4, 2006, 04:11 PM
M249 - Nice reference to the FSP. Not many know if his abundant blessings of a good trigger finger.

mp510
October 4, 2006, 04:22 PM
I'm Roman Catholic. I have no problem with hunting or fishing, and actively particiapte in both. Killing an animal isn't a problem, an animal isn't a person, and God gave man dominion over the animals (and plants). I have no problem with killing a person in self defense. IIRC, in Bible, it mentions the importance of self preservation, though some may cite passages dictating the contrary (live by the sword, die by the sword). Basically, my position is that "Though shalt not kill" is about killing people for pleasure, or non necesity. I also believe that war is acceptable, as long as it is for just cause, such as liberation, removal of tyrants, or preserving innocent life, and stuff of that sort.

While the Church opposed the invasion of Iraq, the Pope also said that it was possible for Catholics to, in good faith, believe it to be the right thing to do. I know of a now deceased Catholic priest that owned a handgun. And the father of my church said, while talking about the negatives of abortion and killing, that it would be stupid to not fight back, and possibly kill, somebody who is putting your life in imminent danger (he said that in his homily).

Doug.38PR
October 4, 2006, 04:32 PM
the way I see it is that no you don't fear death as Christian, but you fight because you love life and you are commanded to preserve and cherish it. I like the comment of Stonewall Jackson's character in the movie "Gods and Generals" where he is ask after the battle of First Manassas (where he earned the name Stonewall) how he can be so calm in battle. He simply replies, "my religious belief teaches me that I must be as calm in battle as I am in bed. God has planned the time of my death, I need not worry about that. If all men would live as such, then all men would be equally brave."

Turn the other Cheek is talking about vengence. It's a matter of the heart. There is a difference between vengence and justice and self defense. I remind fellow believers who think Jesus was a feminine pacifist with a lisp to his voice, he was the one that drove men out of the Temple with a whip and turned over tables single handed. Why didn't the stop him? Because he would have given them a whoopin'! He saved a woman (prostitute) from essentially a lynch mob. He did this without having to use physical violence, but his presence was enough to take command and bring wisdom into the situation. Roman soldiers thoughout the New Testament were NEVER commanded to leave the army once they converted. In fact they are commended on several occasions. God commands his people to go to war all throughout the Old Testament (and there are rules of just warfare to be used against the surrounding nations S&E Cannan). He even allows people to kill in defense of home and property and says "they are not guilty of bloodshed (muder)." Surely He would not command his people to do something that was contrary to His character.

Christianity, throughout the history of the Church, has never been a pacifist religion. True there are historical sects like the Amish who take these postions but they are a small minority. There is a balance of justice and mercy in it that is consistant with God's character as shown in his Word.

redneck2
October 4, 2006, 04:37 PM
Though shalt not kill"Proper translation is "Thou shall not murder" (lie in wait to take the life of an innocent).

As with many things in the Bible, there are several problems.

1) The translation is insufficient or incorrect as applied to our language

2) Many things are parables or metaphores

3) There are references to things, names, meanings as they were then and not now.

Prince Yamato
October 4, 2006, 04:40 PM
I always liked what the Catechism of the Catholic Church said concerning self-defence. Basically it is summarized as:

"Don't do harm to others, but don't stand there like a dumbass if they try and harm you. "

Not as eloquent as John Paul II, but much more concise :)

GEM
October 4, 2006, 04:46 PM
To me the Amish position is to be respected and envied. It is the high ground of moral positions. BTW, I'm not a Christian but the issue is whether their position is philosophically defensible - and it is.

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” - Matthew 26:52-54

Scripture has everything anyone wants for most positions. One uses your brain and mind to decide what you think is the correct way to act in this world. If the Amish feel it is the will of God to act the way they do - more power to them. If you use your intelligence to reason to act a different way, that is your choice and it is is your reason as compared to parsing scripts of unknown actual validity that should determine your actions.

We have certainly changed our behavior from strict adherence to Scripture in many venues. I find the Amish most admirable as compared to most.

MechAg94
October 4, 2006, 04:51 PM
I believe the Bible also says something to the effect of: Those who harm the children should be tied to a millstone pulled by an @$$ and thrown in the ocean far from shore.
My pastor used it in discussing child abuse. I think it was in one of Peter's books. I'll have to find it at some point.

History Prof
October 4, 2006, 04:54 PM
I cannot add to the positions that have already been presented. I will say that I am an armed Evangelical Christian, and I do not fault the Amish for their interpretation. I still expect to see the Amish victims in heaven when I get there.

Commenting on what has already been said, I would add that even though the KJV is considered the best translation, it is not perfect, and our athiest friend Stiletto Null is right. The most appropriate context in modern plain English is Do Not Murder.

In debating translations with one of those KJV ONLY type people, a friend of mine (a surfer dude) said to him "God speaks Dude! He reached me, didn't he?":D

Vern Humphrey
October 4, 2006, 04:57 PM
Christ said if someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other. He did not say, if someone rapes and kills your wife, deliver to him your daughter so he can do likewise to her.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the section on Social Order:
1909 Finally, the common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should ensure by morally acceptable means the security of society and its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense.
And from the section on Legitimate defense:

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:


If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.


As for schools, school officials have a duty to protect the children entrusted to them -- even to risking their own lives, if necessary. If any teacher or school official is not willing to accept this duty, let them seek work in some other field.

eastwood44mag
October 4, 2006, 05:00 PM
Thou shalt not test the Lord, thy God.

If I'm going to die today, then I'm going to die. BUT, don't expect me to just lay down and die. God helps those who help themselves, and if you sit around, waiting for a miracle to happen, refusing to take any action yourself, then you've missed the point.

"Thou shalt not murder" is not equivalent to "thou shalt not kill." Don't confuse the two.

mnrivrat
October 4, 2006, 05:00 PM
I respect the rights of others to decide what is best for them.

I'll let the Amish decide what they believe is right, and they can live or die with the peace of mind that brings to them.

neoncowboy
October 4, 2006, 05:08 PM
1. Life, human life, is the most precious thing in all creation. It is the crowning jewel of God's creation and worth any sacrifice (including the sacrificial death of his Son, Jesus) to preserve, secure and safeguard.

2. Men are created in the image of God, to be like God. It is only in Christ that we realize this potential. God is cast as a peaceful, loving, gentle, kind Father most of the time. He is also a mighty warrior, wielding a sword and the ultimate conqueror. Fire and brimstone of judgment and wrath are every bit as much 'godly' as grace and peace.

3. Jesus, who came as a Lamb to be slaughtered for our sins, will return as a warrior to destroy those opposed to him.

It's my belief that our Amish friends have idealized one particular facet of Christ and elevated it to a position above the other facets of Christ. That to mimic the humility and gentility of Jesus...remianing silent as they are beaten and killed, is somehow superior to defending oneself (as David did). That's not uncommon, especially in people who believe it is somehow more righteous to ride in a horse drawn buggy and live in a house with no electricity than to enjoy the God given conveniences of modern America.

Whatever, the Amish are not a 'standard of righteousness' that we all have to look toward to gauge our holiness.

I am fairly biblically literate and don't see any biblical prohibition against actively preserving the life that God gave me and the lives that He has given to my care. In fact, I see that as one of my responsibilities.

Armed, righteous men have been an instrument that God has used to do some of His greatest work on planet Earth.

Check out Revelation 19:11 and one of my favorites, Psalm 18, which reads (in part):
For who is God, except Yahweh? Who is a rock, besides our God,

32 the God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect?

33 He makes my feet like deer's feet, and sets me on my high places.

34 He teaches my hands to war, so that my arms bend a bow of bronze.

35 You have also given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand sustains me. Your gentleness has made me great.

36 You have enlarged my steps under me, My feet have not slipped.

37 I will pursue my enemies, and overtake them. Neither will I turn again until they are consumed.

38 I will strike them through, so that they will not be able to rise. They shall fall under my feet.

39 For you have girded me with strength to the battle. You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

mljdeckard
October 4, 2006, 05:09 PM
Someone beat me to it, "Faith in God can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel." Every day we see miracles that come about by the grace of God through the sweat of man. If I train my whole life, carry a gun for many years, and prevent one innocent person from being killed, that person and their family can thank God because He happened to put me in that place at that time.

Brigham Young said, when addressing concerns of Utah settlers dealing with native Americans, "Pray always, but keep your powder dry." To me, this means, yes God will help you. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't do everything you can on your own to protect yourself.

edit- I have nothing but respect for the Amish philosophy and lifestyle, and I truly hope that this incident doesn't shake their faith.

Vern Humphrey
October 4, 2006, 05:11 PM
I respect the rights of others to decide what is best for them.

I'll let the Amish decide what they believe is right, and they can live or die with the peace of mind that brings to them.

So do I. But there are three issues here:

1. Their right to decide for themselves -- they certainly have that right.

2. Their right to decide for other, helpless people in their care -- such as the children who died. I'm not sure they have that right.

3. Their right to decide for me. They don't have that right.

Doug.38PR
October 4, 2006, 05:13 PM
When Peter drew the sword, Christ didn't tell him to throw it away, he said to put it away in it's place (back in the scabbard). He was the one who told him and another to take a bag, a purse and sell their cloak and buy a sword in preparation for the ministry they would soon be embarking on to spread the gospel to the four corners of the earth. Sounded like their ministry was not going be confined to local Judeah, but the world. When he said whoever draws the sword will die by the sword, he wasn't condemning defense or the sword itself, but rather the way it is used. We don't LIVE by the sword, we live by the word of God and trust in him. We don't spread the word through violence and destruction.

Man this is a hot topic. Since I posted it only 2 hours ago it has spawned 47 responses

neoncowboy
October 4, 2006, 05:44 PM
I also trust God for His provision, yet I rejoice in work and labor and the ambition and inspiration (that flows from Him) to succeed.

And I trust God for my health, but make healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

I trust God to bring me through the air safely (I'm a pilot), but train hard for contingencies and make wise aeronautical decisions to mitigate as much risk as possible.

Our minds and bodies that God gave us are key instruments in doing his work here on Earth.

snewbie
October 4, 2006, 05:45 PM
"Turn the other cheek" to me means do not commit acts of revenge. It doesnt mean that if I see the fist comming that I cant step out of the way or block it.


Mat 26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take [your] rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.


Mat 26:46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.


Mat 26:47 ¶ And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.


Mat 26:48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.


Mat 26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.


Mat 26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.


Mat 26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out [his] hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.




Reading the 3 earlier verses(Matthew 26:52-54) in context will show that Jesus was talking about letting biblical prophecy(his death) be fulfilled.
In other words, then(not always) was not the time for the use of weopons. Jesus willfully let himself be captured.

Zundfolge
October 4, 2006, 05:46 PM
The Amish have abandoned The Great Commission ... so why should I take any of their other beliefs as an example of how I as a Christian should live/act/believe?

Koobuh
October 4, 2006, 06:04 PM
Two things leap to mind when self defense as a Christian comes up.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."
In context this means that we will be judged by the standards we set for others' behavior. We can't set a higher standard for others than ourselves and expect to get away with it. By that logic, if I would not expect someone else to submit to evil, I am not bound to that expectation either.

"Love others as you love yourself."
Someone willing to kill others unjustly is a rabid dog and must be put down. Not with hatred or cruelty, but swiftness and compassion. I must think also of those that love me and the troubles they would experience if I were to submit to evil.

Flopsy
October 4, 2006, 06:07 PM
Yes, I disagree. God blessed man with the ingenuity to create effective weapons, and he blessed me with the inclination to protect myself and my loved ones, and with the ability to get a paycheck so I can afford weaponry. He did not bless me with these things so I can turn myself over to the violence and control of evil people.

I know that Christians are directed by God not to kill and to turn the other cheek. One day I may find myself asking the Father and Son for forgiveness. But I also believe that God and Son are inherently good, and by nature highly intelligent...

...so when God is watching when a crackhead decides to stab me for my wallet, I believe that God will be rooting for me and not the crackhead. :)

Pilgrim
October 4, 2006, 06:10 PM
True pacifists are doomed to extinction except when they can rely on the protection of others.

Pilgrim

Derby FALs
October 4, 2006, 06:12 PM
...so when God is watching when a crackhead decides to stab me for my wallet, I believe that God will be rooting for me and not the crackhead.

I doubt he loves the crackhead any less than you.

kikr
October 4, 2006, 06:14 PM
I look at it this way. If someone is going to attack me, what are they going to do to someone who can not defend themself. I believe with have an obligation to protect those who can't protect themself and that begins with self defense.

critter
October 4, 2006, 06:20 PM
Pacifist to thief who has broken into his house:

Friend, I would do thee no harm for the world, but thou standest where I'm about to shoot!

Something to that!

No, we shouldn't judge. God does that. But we can facilitate the meeting.

Something to that too!

dmallind
October 4, 2006, 06:31 PM
I was raised Catholic and am new to Christianity

Now in the spirit of the mod's warning I'm not sure I'm reading this comment in the way it was intended but it strikes me that this is a bit confrontational to say the least. Again, could be wrong.

My answer as an admitted non-Christian is that there are arguments aplenty in scripture to support both the Amish contention and the more popular one here.

Doug.38PR
October 4, 2006, 06:48 PM
Now in the spirit of the mod's warning I'm not sure I'm reading this comment in the way it was intended but it strikes me that this is a bit confrontational to say the least. Again, could be wrong.


I read the comment and didn't sense anything ugly about it. I took it to mean "I was raised a Catholic but am new to Christianity." I have known people who were "raised Baptist" or "raised Methodist" who are new to Christianity. In other words, they were raised in the church by their parents, but never really understood until recently what it mean't. It was just going through ritual and doing what mom and dad wanted you to do. I don't think he mean't anything against Catholics.

STAGE 2
October 4, 2006, 06:57 PM
The amish are free to do as they please, and no one should bother them. That said I've never quite understood why they do what they do. There is no biblical justification for not using a telephone anymore than there is a horse driven buggy. While I think their views are very shortsighted, its their right to practice what they believe without interference from anyone else in society.

Stiletto Null
October 4, 2006, 06:58 PM
I hear they make some pretty nice furniture...?

dmallind
October 4, 2006, 06:59 PM
Quite probably you are right. Gunsmith has alweays been very reasonable IMO so was probably not being inciteful here. Maybe I've been reading too many Jack Chick (who really does consider Catholics as non-Christians and hellbound) tracts lately!

redranger1
October 4, 2006, 07:15 PM
Im not certain if anybody mentioned it yet or not, but in the Garden of Gesthemene when Christ was siezed by the guards Peter drew his sword and cut of a guards ear. If Christians are not to defend ourselves against a threat then why would Peter have had a sword and use it in the presence of Christ? And though Christ did rebuke Peter, He did so because He knew why the guards where there.

Rupestris
October 4, 2006, 07:22 PM
I read the comment and didn't sense anything ugly about it. I took it to mean "I was raised a Catholic but am new to Christianity." I have known people who were "raised Baptist" or "raised Methodist" who are new to Christianity. In other words, they were raised in the church by their parents, but never really understood until recently what it meant. It was just going through ritual and doing what mom and dad wanted you to do. I don't think he meant anything against Catholics.

Agreed.

I was also raised Catholic. It wasn't 'til I left the Catholic church, and did a boat load of "soul searching" before I became a Christian. I have since rejoined the Catholic church.

Gunsmith might find one day that Catholicism fits him again. If not, thats fine. I've been there and can appreciate it.

'Card
October 4, 2006, 07:26 PM
Why do you disagree with the Amish position?
The question is flawed and invalid.

I may not share the Amish position, but that doesn't mean that I disagree with it.

Do you understand the distinction? If I disagree with someone, that means I think they are wrong. A balanced and mature individual can respect a position, understand the validity of a position, and respect the sacrifice inherent in taking a position, without sharing it personally. A person who doesn't have an egocentric view of the universe can discuss and consider issues without having to proclaim agreement or disagreement with everything.

MrTuffPaws
October 4, 2006, 07:27 PM
Glad to see there are still some people that are, in my book, true Christains. I wish all proclaimed Christains would follow the Amish in their ways of following Christ.

Eightball
October 4, 2006, 07:28 PM
If it's time for me to die, then it's time for me to die. But if it boils down to it, I'll die defending those I love, doing whatever I can to keep them out of harm's way.

SolaScriptura139
October 4, 2006, 07:29 PM
I am a Fundamentalist (when it comes to the bible, not political issues) Christian, and I do not agree or disagree with the Amish position. They have chosen a path which they believe honors Jesus Christ. It is not essential to salvation to choose the path they choose, therefore, it is not worth arguing over, but it is worth dialogue with the Amish for better understanding of their beliefs. I find their lifestyle appealing, but I do not believe (from prayer, fasting, meditation, etc.) that I am called to that lifestyle, my mission is here in Morgantown. I am also charged with the protection of my family, so I will arm myself to do so. Plus, shooting guns is just sooo darn fun...:D

As for self-defense, I don't know whether a Christian should fight physically against religious persecution or not. I don't think the bible really clearly addresses the issue, because Paul was imprisoned many times, beaten, stoned, etc., and he never fought back. Neither, to my knowledge, did the early Christians when they were persecuted by Rome. So the issue is hard to deal with, but I would never say that a Christian shouldn't defend others or his family.

I know that Christians are directed by God not to kill and to turn the other cheek.

Well, we're actually directed not to murder, so there is a difference there in terminology, which affects the meaning. Also, turning the other cheek was an act of passive resistance, turn the other cheek means that the attacker would have to turn their hand the other way when striking, which was a shameful way to strike someone in the first century.

History Prof
October 4, 2006, 07:30 PM
One day I may find myself asking the Father and Son for forgiveness.
Why not today?


I suppose I better not turn this into a witness fest, but you believers know where I am going with this......

Doug S
October 4, 2006, 07:41 PM
It is not essential to salvation to choose the path they choose, therefore, it is not worth arguing over,

Good point. As Christians we understand that some things are "essentials". For instance, have you accepted Christ as your savior. Other things such as eating certain items are "non-essential", and therefore not worth arguing over. I personally believe that self-defense is supported by the Bible. I'm sure that this is elementary for most here, but the Bible says "Thou shall not murder". This scripture does not prohibit killing in self-defense. Here are a couple of scriptures that I believe support our right to self-defense. Christ says in Luke 11:21, "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe." (NIV). Then there is what some call "the NRA verse", In Luke 22:36 Christ states "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." I'm sure some could argue that they interpret these verses differently, but again they are not "essential". If the Amish choose to live otherwise, that is fine with me, but just because they, like me, are a Christian, doesn't mean I feel the need to live exactly as they do.

Oh, and go for it History Prof. It might do some of us good:) .

Bruce H
October 4, 2006, 07:41 PM
If someone doesn't believe in protecting his family from harm I'll be damned if I will risk myself in their protection. Have all the beliefs you want but be prepaired to live with the concequinces of those beliefs.

Vern Humphrey
October 4, 2006, 07:51 PM
The amish are free to do as they please, and no one should bother them. That said I've never quite understood why they do what they do. There is no biblical justification for not using a telephone anymore than there is a horse driven buggy. While I think their views are very shortsighted, its their right to practice what they believe without interference from anyone else in society.

Their practices with regard to telephones, automobiles, etc., are not based on scripture, but on the evidence of the world around them. They see the material society as a corrupting influence, and do not choose to participate in it.

C. Rabbit
October 4, 2006, 07:57 PM
God has given me the gift of life; to not defend it would squander a great thing.

CR

Lunga Bunga
October 4, 2006, 08:00 PM
Hold that thought while this Blonde guy LQQKS in his King James Version of the Bible . As I LOOK , I'm polishing my Brand New Kimber 2 ..... 45 Stainless.......... 5 " ... Hmmmmmm. LOOKING at the 10 commandments . I don't see an 11th commandment that says ~ Thou shalt be STUPID ~ !!!!!
So.... if I ever have another guy that wants to jerk my car door open .. or carjack me . I'm gonna have my door UNLOCKED .. so he can COME GET YA Some of this HOT 45 lead ! :neener: :neener: :neener: :neener:

orionengnr
October 4, 2006, 08:04 PM
but for a change, I really don't need to read three pages of responses to know the answer to this one..The answer is self-evident.

"The Lord helps those who help themselves".

If I am the first one to say this, I am appalled...and disappointed.

And no, i'm not going to go back, read three pages and check :neener:

Green Lantern
October 4, 2006, 08:10 PM
I still feel the same as when I emailed the following comment to the "God Not Guns" BradyBunch offshoot:

"Show me the passage in the Bible that tells me that born-again Christians become BULLETPROOF, and I'll sell my guns!" :evil:

Like another poster already mentioned - there's a difference between cold-blooded murder, and killing in self defense.

It's like when I tried to convince a loved one that needing certian medicines did NOT make her a failure as a Christian. God provides things to us, it would be lazy and ungrateful to sit on our duffs and wait for Him to spoon-feed us everything!

Just like God provided the know-how for man to invent SSRI's and psychotherapy, He also provided the know-how that a polymer framed pistol COULD work...! :D

SO, as a Christian I have no problem carrying - and would have no problem USING - a gun for self defense.

Delta608
October 4, 2006, 08:11 PM
I am not Christian, but I do admire the Amish gentlemans statements and beliefs...

Green Lantern
October 4, 2006, 08:19 PM
And just for the record, I don't think the Amish should change their beleifs unless they truly WANT to. I do my thing, they do their thing, and it's all right with me.

Pilgrim
October 4, 2006, 09:07 PM
As for self-defense, I don't know whether a Christian should fight physically against religious persecution or not.
The world would have turned out to be a different place if the Roman Church and the Roman Empire had not chosen to fight the soldiers of Islam.

Pilgrim

eagle45
October 4, 2006, 10:01 PM
The following is my answer to a similar question in a thread a couple of months ago. That thread was closed, even though it was a very civil discussion. Since this one is being allowed to continue, I will repost it here.

I will make one additional comment though. I find it odd as Christians that we see an interaction of sorts between us and God in every aspect of our lives but think that in the area of self defense God does not want us involved. For example, God provides for us, yet we go to work each day. We tithe to be involved financially in various ministries. We ask for travelling mercies, yet we try to drive defensively. Why then would we think when it comes to defense of life we should sit on the sideline? I just never could understand that attitude.

Of course I understand there are many that will not agree with the ideas in this post. This is simply an honest answer to the question that was asked.


Again, this is my quote from a previous thread:
Conservative Christian here. Occasionally I do run into someone who feels that firearm ownership and a willingness to use them if necessary in defense of life and limb are contrary to the Christian belief system, or any spiritual belief system for that matter. I find that this often is tied to what I call a ‘modern’ attitude toward God. By that I mean that over time, our society has grown to look at God in the “God is love” attitude only, as opposed to the scriptural description of God, which includes “God is love” but also that “God is holy and righteous and judges sin”. When God is viewed in the “God is love” attitude only, it is only a small step forward to view pacifism as the spiritual road to travel, so to speak. Therein lies the rub for many folks.

I personally don’t feel the need to reconcile firearm ownership, but those with the aforementioned attitude often do. Looking at the Bible in its entirety, you’ll see that there is no shortage of war, killing and a host of other reasons to have a means of self defense. Human nature has not really changed over the years, if anything it has gotten worse. Here are a couple of things I try to tell them.

The disciples were known to be armed even in the presence of Jesus. When Peter tried to defend Jesus when Jesus was being arrested, and sliced off an ear of the high priest’s servant Jesus did not reprimand him for being armed, or being armed in Jesus’ presence. He reprimanded Peter for getting in the way of God’s plan. If Jesus had a problem with going armed he did not mention it.

A scripture frequently quoted to support the idea that Christians should not go armed almost always includes the quote about “beating your swords into plowshares” which is actually part of Micah 4:3. This is in reference to the way the world will be after Jesus Christ returns and sets up his kingdom. It certainly does not apply to the way the world is now. (A humorous side note, this verse is supposedly on the United Nations building). A more accurate description of what we should be doing now is actually found in Luke 11:21 which says “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace.” Another is Luke 22:36 – “and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” You have to keep the scripture in proper perspective to history for it to be meaningful.

I like what the Bible commentator J. Vernon McGee says about this in his study of Micah – “Because He is not ruling in our day, we are not to beat our swords into plowshares; we are to keep our powder dry. This is not the time to disarm. Certainly everyone who wants peace would like to see our armaments cut back and our tax dollars going to something else, but as long as we are living in a big, bad world—not of make-believe but of reality—we need to be armed.” (But of course, J. Vernon was from Texas! )

Just my perspective on your question.

Doug.38PR
October 4, 2006, 10:08 PM
Pilgrim,
right. Charles Martel stopped the Islamic advance at the Battle of Tours. The Knights of Europe who answered the Pope's call to the Crusades assisted the Othodox Eastern church against the Islamic advance and in trying to retake Jerusalem.



Card, SolaScriptura
I think you can disagree with a postion believing it to be wrong (and I DO think pacifism is wrong) but still understand it and even have respect for the said person or people who believe it in other areas and have common ground.

No, Sola, the issue of this thread is not essential to salvation. But it is an important issue. Modern Christians have this idea that "if it doesn't pertain to salvation then don't talk about it" or they will make fence riding statements like "Doctrine divides and Christ unites." Well, if believing in Jesus's sacrifice and going to heaven were all that mattered then the Bible wouldn't even be a full page thick. But as you know the Bible says a lot more than that. In a nutshell, it is a roadmap to guiding a fallen world back to the light. It is about how we live, how we view the world and how we are to live in the world. So it is important to discuss these issues. Whether you go to war or not or fight for your family or not I would say is a pretty critical issue.

NailGun
October 4, 2006, 10:09 PM
As we know, there are two things assured in this life. Death and Taxes. I'm thinking that it ain't going to matter whether I meet death with a passive smile or decide to shoot at it with a .38, or a .500 Smith, death will prevail.
Then comes the scary part....the judgement. We all get to meet Jesus face to face as either savior or judge. I'm guessing that I will get some tough questions and have some lame answers. How will you stand? I know that Jesus protects children and idiots. He protected me while I was young , and he continues to protect me now. When I die, it will not be a surprise to Jesus. "What! NailGun is DEAD! How did this happened...Why was I not informed! No, we are in His hand and no one can snatch us away.
As for the Amish, I am not qualified to judge the validity of their beliefs. I do respect them and their beliefs. Jesus arose for them too. The US Constitution addresses religious freedom. My prayers go out to the families. NailGun.

John-Melb
October 4, 2006, 10:10 PM
Best response to this comes from a question I asked of an Australian Army chaplain many years ago. We were going bush and he was carrying a pistol. I've never forgotten it.

"I've been ordained by God to care for and minister to you lot, I cannot do the job God requires me to do if I'm dead."

Harley Quinn
October 4, 2006, 10:25 PM
1. It's supposed to be "thou shalt not murder", not "thou shalt not kill".

"Turn the other cheek" refers to a slap in the face. The Torah (aka Old Testament) actually states outright that it is an insult to God to allow yourself to die without putting up some kind of fight.

But the Torah is not the Christ way. It is the Jewish way.:uhoh:

I'm an "agnostic", by the way. But I like to keep track of this sort of stuff.

I changed it slightly.:what:

If we would think the way all the "amish" are, we are not going to be Christ way, we will be Islam way. Are they going to die, so the others can live?

HMMM:fire:

HQ:)

__________________

Flopsy
October 4, 2006, 10:30 PM
I doubt he loves the crackhead any less than you.

True enough. But I believe He loves the crackhead's methods and practices less than my own.

To elaborate on my previous point, if God empowers and guides us, protects His people, and moves in mysterious ways, then why can't God's protection over me from evil be in the form of a Glock 27?

Okay I know I'm getting a little silly, but if He truly created man in His own image, then He must have a sense of humor too. :)

spooney
October 4, 2006, 10:42 PM
I was raised Catholic, I have many fundamentalist Christian friends and none of us have ever found anything in any bible that says that God means for people to be murdered.

Flopsy
October 4, 2006, 11:02 PM
I hear they make some pretty nice furniture...?

Yeah they do! I live in central PA, and many furniture or other carpentry retailers use this as an advertising point, that their stuff is AMISH MADE. They will put that right out on their signs, because everybody knows that their carpentry skills are refined and highly advanced. Their abandonment of technology does NOT mean that they are dim, quite the contrary, they have developed highly advanced techniques in architecture and physical construction.

The impression of them as historical throwbacks can be very misleading - yes they rely on agriculture and won't use zippers, but the focus and intensiveness of their apprenticeship is a rare thing in today's world, and their skills have in some cases led them to accumulate surprising amounts of wealth. You just won't see their wealth on display through the typical corvette and rolex.

Totally off topic I know...sorry I was a sociology minor.

Snake Eyes
October 4, 2006, 11:18 PM
I myself plan to burn in Hell, so I really don't have a dog in this fight. But I felt compelled to comment on how impressed I am that this thread has stayed open for four pages.

This really must be the High Road.

Congratulations!

Eleven Mike
October 4, 2006, 11:41 PM
The question is backward. As the Amish occupy the minority position and are aberrant from the orthodox in other ways; the correct question is why they don't agree with the mainstream. Christians have generally held that there is a place for the use of force, though of course, we've varied widely on the specifics.

I'm not saying that truth is democratic, but I am saying that they should not be assumed to have the correct interpretation when they disagree with the vast majority of Christian and Jewish thought of the last few millenia.

Doug.38PR
October 4, 2006, 11:56 PM
Good point ElevenMike

Preacherman
October 5, 2006, 12:00 AM
My congratulations to all who've posted responsibly and not let this thread degenerate into a religious diatribe. As long as it stays that way, the thread can run its course. Keep it up! :cool:

happybrew
October 5, 2006, 12:08 AM
I can't disagree with the Amish position, nor can I agree with it. It's simply not my position.

Had this happened at a Catholic homeschool association, like my family belongs to, the result would have been the same. Most women are not prepared to defend against a person bent on murder. That being said, though, I think that, like women and children, pacifists deserve our protection.

I can take the position that I won't take another's life to protect my own, but I cannot in good conscience make that decision for my wife and children. They deserve my protection, even with deadly force if necessary. Furthermore, because they require my support for the things they need to live, I cannot in my current circumstances make the decision to not protect my own life. I owe it to them to preserve my life, even with deadly force if necessary.

If I were single and had no one depending on me, however, I might have the option of not defending myself, although I would retain the duty to defend others. If we look at St. Maximilian Kolbe, he gave his life willingly to save a man who had a family in a concentration camp, when the man did not have the means to protect himself or his family on his own. He exemplifies very well how one's duty plays out in relation to one's state in life and one's other duties, although it doesn't involve use of deadly force.

happybrew

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 01:49 AM
But the Torah is not the Christ way. It is the Jewish way.That's not what Christ said.
Matthew 5.17
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (NIV)

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 01:55 AM
Good stuff:

Two things leap to mind when self defense as a Christian comes up.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."
In context this means that we will be judged by the standards we set for others' behavior. We can't set a higher standard for others than ourselves and expect to get away with it. By that logic, if I would not expect someone else to submit to evil, I am not bound to that expectation either.

"Love others as you love yourself."
Someone willing to kill others unjustly is a rabid dog and must be put down. Not with hatred or cruelty, but swiftness and compassion. I must think also of those that love me and the troubles they would experience if I were to submit to evil.

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 01:57 AM
non sequitir, but perhaps just a poor choice of words:

I don't disagree with the Amish position, although it is not one that I would choose.

DRMMR02
October 5, 2006, 02:01 AM
This reminds me of an anecdote I read around the time of Hurricane Katrina

"A flood came and a man had to climb onto the roof of his house. As the waters rose a neighbor in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof, "the Lord will save me." Then a firefighter appeared in a speedboat. "Climb in!" shouted the firefighter. "No," replied the man on the roof, "The Lord will save me." A helicopter appeared and the pilot shouted that he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof, "the Lord will save me." Eventually the man drowned and went to heaven, where he asked God why He hadn't helped him. "I sent a neighbor, a firefighter, and helicopter," said God. "What more do you want?"

A lot of times God sends us the tools to do things ourselves. One can't just stand around and expect Him to do everything for you. A big part in living a life of faith is knowing the role you play. God may send others, or alter situations to help me in times of need. Other times I might be the instrument he uses to help another in need. He can just make everything perfect and do all the work Himself, but then what is the point? Why live? Why have faith at all?

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 02:04 AM
Jesus did say "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword." But what does it mean to live by the sword? Carrying a sword, or using it to defend myself, doesn't mean that I am living by the sword. Having and using money doesn't mean that I live by it. Christ advised man to live "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." I can do that while still using money, guns, tractors and cell phones. But I don't have to live by them in the sense of seeing them as the ultimate preservers of my life and health.

Christ's rebuke to Peter's use of a sword in that case was a rebuke to his trust of his own swordsmanship, rather than a reliance on Jesus Christ. He did not trust Christ enough to let Him meet His arrest in His way. Placing one's ultimate faith in something other than God is the essence of sin.

DRMMR02
October 5, 2006, 02:06 AM
That is a great post Eleven Mike :)

ctdonath
October 5, 2006, 02:34 AM
Christ spoke of having "legions of angels" at His command, and did not tell his followers to get rid of swords He knew they had. That He did not use them, or encourage their use, was a matter of not interfering with the matter of saving souls; sometimes death is less important than standing up for what's right.
That said, using force to defend innocent life is axiomatic in scripture. Many actions and parables are recounted with the fundamental presumption that fighting back to save lives is a given. Passages depicting "a strong man protecting his house", "putting on the armor [weapons included] of God", "I bring not peace but a sword", etc. are all preposterous if weapons and use thereof is inherently evil.

Pacifists facilitate violence by doing nothing to stop it.
Letting the unsaved die at the hands of the wicked obviously does little to save those souls.
Per the recent Amish shootings: one well-placed shot or punch could have saved the lives of the children AND the attacker, giving all a chance to find Christ if they had not already. By being wilfully unarmed, and not physically interfering in what was obviously about to happen, several souls were lost.

(Remember: most people who are shot do live. We shoot/slash/strike to stop the attacker, not to kill him.)

Blue .45
October 5, 2006, 04:49 AM
Luke 11:21

21"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

Josh Aston
October 5, 2006, 07:37 AM
It is my belief that the Old Testament is a guide to running a society. The New Testament is a guide for your personal life.

Many that believe Jesus was a pacifist tend to forget about him driving the vendors out of the temple. He did not advocate standing by while evil was being committed. Rather by his actions he advocated that evil should be dealt with swiftly and sternly. So yes, I disagree with the Amish beliefs. Even though I disagree with them, I will defend to the death their right to believe as they wish. Even if they will not do the same for me.

Vairochana
October 5, 2006, 08:02 AM
Personally I respect a genuine nonviolent position, if honestly held and held to it is an act of great courage.
I however am a pagan, I intend to leave the world the way I entered- Kicking and screaming

dfaugh
October 5, 2006, 08:07 AM
I believe God put us on Earth to serve many functions (and each may be in different ways.) And one of those functions may be to eliminate Evil if we have th oppotunity (and I do believe in Evil vs. "bad").

Even though I disagree with them, I will defend to the death their right to believe as they wish. Even if they will not do the same for me. Ditto, and will also add that were the majority of people able to live their lives as morally (not necessarily with ALL their beliefs, just the morality/honesty) as the Amish/Mennonites do, the world would be a better place.

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 08:39 AM
Thanks for the compliments, all.

Christ spoke of having "legions of angels" at His command, and did not tell his followers to get rid of swords He knew they had.

Luke 22

35Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
"Nothing," they answered.

36He 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. 37It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."

38[b]The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
"That is enough," he replied.

PennsyPlinker
October 5, 2006, 09:46 AM
Bible believing. Seminary educated. CCW for 15 years now. I agree with just about everything that was quoted in the first post with the exception of:

Hopefully the attacker will have at least had a glimpse of the love of Christ in our nonviolent response.

When Jesus Christ came for the first time, there was an expectation that he would establish His kingdom as promised in the Old Testament. It did not happen because the fullness of the Gentiles had yet to be realized. The Kingdom of God is not being built on violence, but on faith in Jesus Christ. the time will come when it is no longer being built, but will be established. The preparations for that are being made right now.

Turn the other cheek is a very specific reference to personal insult. In the most literal sense, we are to forgive insult that does not really do injury. After this, it gets a little grey, with no specific passage giving explicit direction. However, as I have already seen quoted, we are to be good stewards of what God has given us.

I thank God for the money he brings into our family's life, and the food he gives us, but I still work for that. Why would I not work to protect my family? To not provide for their protection in every way available to me would be like refusing to have a fire extinguisher on hand, or take my child to the doctor for a disease.

I could write an entire sermon on this, but I will try to keep it brief with three observations. First, a quote from Daniel regarding how the Lord keeps me. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Bablylon is speaking first here.

and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?"
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17 "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Dan 3: 15b-18 NASB)

Pacifist or not, the saints of God have the confidence that He will preserve them regardless of whether or not they lose their life here on earth. This is what we are seeing in the Amish right now.

Second thought. People, mostly non-Christians, but also a lot of Christians, view Jesus as some kind of hippy like do-gooder who was wimpy and just wanted us all to love one another. His attributes of love and patience are often mistaken for weakness. What many people do not realize is that He is the Lord Sabaoth - Lord of Hosts - or as I used to tell my Mennonite Sunday School class, the biggest baddest general of the biggest baddest army in all of creation. When He returns it is not going to be with a smile on His face, and He will wipe out evil once and for all (in a very specific and planned out way). You can read about it in Revelation, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Joel, Matthew, and many other places besides.

I am sure there are those who will take issue with me, and I say to them, that God's plan is not dependent on anything that I or anyone else believes. He knows what He is going to do, and I am confident in His ability to do it in my life and in that of the entire world. But until He arrives to take me home, I will carry my Bible in one hand and my gun in the other.

Spartacus451
October 5, 2006, 10:50 AM
Not attempting to defend yourself reminds me of the parable (or story) of the man who is in a building during a flood and refuses to leave because he believes god will save him. As the first floor fills up with water a boat comes and they offer to rescue him. He says don't worry about me, God will save me. The second floor floods so he moves to the roof. A helicopter comes and offers to rescue him and he says don't worry about me, God will save me. Eventually the roof floods and he dies and goes to heaven. He asks God, why didn't you save me? I have been your loyal servant all my life and I have had complete faith in you. To which God replies, I sent you a boat and a helicopter, what do expect me to do?

God gave us the greatest nation on earth that legally guarantees us the right to defend ourselves with the best possible equipment for the job. What more can we expect from him? We believe that mutilating the body is a sin, we believe that comitting suicide is a sin, how is throwing away our lives and the lives of others when he gaves us the tools a good idea?

I write this as someone who was raised Jewish, I am currently agnostic or between religions as I like to call it.

History Prof
October 5, 2006, 11:02 AM
People, mostly non-Christians, but also a lot of Christians, view Jesus as some kind of hippy like do-gooder who was wimpy and just wanted us all to love one another. Before I was saved, I had a friend who hated Christians. He always pointed out that "if Jesus were here, he'd be hanging out with the druggies and hookers, man!" Maybe so, if He were here with the same intent that He was here for 2000 years ago. But when He returns, be it next week, next year or another 1000 years from now, He will not be coming to "hang with the druggies and hookers." He'll be coming to judge them.;)

CoachVince
October 5, 2006, 11:46 AM
When I was growing up, we'd go on trips to the Lancaster area just about every summer, and I think my Dad still goes to the "Rough&Tumble" steam equipment & farming shows. I've studied quite seriously with pacifists, though I still can't claim to be one wholeheartedly. But, here's my question...
If it's OK for an Amish man to hunt, and hunt with a firearm, is it OK for him to shoot a bear that comes charging at him?

If not, OK, I can (try to) accept that. But if it is, why is it NOT OK to shoot a man, even if you must wait until after he's shown murderous intent (fires the first shot, slashes a loved one's throat, etc)?

I've been thinking about this, and pacifism, over the past day or so. Haven't found a satisfactory answer yet.

PennsyPlinker
October 5, 2006, 11:59 AM
I've been thinking about this, and pacifism, over the past day or so. Haven't found a satisfactory answer yet.

I don't think you're going to find one here Coach. It is sort of like asking a bunch of cats why a dog licks the hand of the man who just kicked him! ;) I do not mean that in a derogatory way at all, but it is a mindset that just isn't present in a bunch of people who own guns for self defense. We can talk about it, write about it, describe it to our heart's content, but I don't think that there are too many, if any, pacifists here on this board in the spirit of the Amish we are discussing. I have many friends who are very close, and we have discussed it many a time, but we have never ever been able to come to a conclusion that is mutually satisfying. I can't understand why they wouldn't stand up and fight, and they can't understand why I would. While it is instilled as an environmental factor, I think there may be some genetic hardwiring that contributes as well. but that is only a theory.

Michael Courtney
October 5, 2006, 12:14 PM
I have tremendous respect for the Amish people, their faith, and their way of life. I choose to make choices for my life and family that are different from the Amish in many ways. However, I will not criticize the choices the Amish make according to their faith, conscience, and reading of Scripture.

Michael Courtney

MechAg94
October 5, 2006, 12:19 PM
Quote:
People, mostly non-Christians, but also a lot of Christians, view Jesus as some kind of hippy like do-gooder who was wimpy and just wanted us all to love one another.
Before I was saved, I had a friend who hated Christians. He always pointed out that "if Jesus were here, he'd be hanging out with the druggies and hookers, man!" Maybe so, if He were here with the same intent that He was here for 2000 years ago. But when He returns, be it next week, next year or another 1000 years from now, He will not be coming to "hang with the druggies and hookers." He'll be coming to judge them.
Yes, He might have been hanging out with them, but not the purpose your friend was thinking. :)

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 12:22 PM
MechAg, I assume you mean that Christ met with sinners to convict them of and forgive them for their sin?

Pat McCoy
October 5, 2006, 12:40 PM
I believe personal rights and personal responsibilities are two sides of one coin. The Amish apparently want to have the personal rights without assuming the responsibilities that come with those rights.

MechAg94
October 5, 2006, 12:42 PM
No, I was thinking of Bible stories where Christ hung out with prostitues and tax collectors for the purpose of offering them salvation just like everyone else. The holier-than-thou types of the time were horrified that he would even associate with those people. However, he did not participate in prostitution/sin nor do I think would he participate in the drug culture mentioned above.

Just my 2 cents. It probably devalues the penny though. :)

CiscoKid
October 5, 2006, 12:48 PM
I am a Christian and a LEO...
Before entering into LE, I had already planned on carrying a handgun when the state sends me my CC permit...
IMHO, the 'turn the other cheek' passage is geared toward personal attackes (i.e. assaults on your character, etc.)...however, the OT is full of passages clearing the man who kills in defense of his family.
An absolute pacifism stance doesn't end all evil. Evil is not overcome by running from it.
(my time here is short or my reply would have been more in-depth)

MechAg94
October 5, 2006, 12:56 PM
My pastor wrote a pamphlet called "Freedom Through Military Victory" so you can guess my position on pacifism. Everyone has to live their own life though.

SolaScriptura139
October 5, 2006, 01:01 PM
"The Lord helps those who help themselves".

If I am the first one to say this, I am appalled...and disappointed.


I do want to clarify something about this statement. This statement cannot be found in the Bible, so it cannot be used as a biblical argument for self-defense. I would think the better way to say it is:

The Lord helps those who depend on and trust in Him.

akodo
October 5, 2006, 01:15 PM
'Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul'

To me that tells me God wants me to use my brain, it is why he made man a tool user.

My understanding of the Amish code is not perfect, and whatever it is, they have the right to believe how they wish. It is my understanding that they never see violence as acceptable. Hence, if there were 2 amish men patching up the roof of the school when an axe murderer arrived, it would be against their religion to jump down and smack him with their hammers.

Yet, I believe that God would want me to step in and intervene with whatever tools I had at my disposal when an evil man is in the middle of committing evil acts. Those tools may be a cell phone, a gun, a car, a fire, whatever. He gave me a mind, I plan on following His wishes and using it.

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 01:17 PM
The Lord helps those who depend on and trust in Him.The Lord helps everybody. As the Good Book says, He sends rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

No, I was thinking of Bible stories where Christ hung out with prostitues and tax collectors for the purpose of offering them salvation just like everyone else. The holier-than-thou types of the time were horrified that he would even associate with those people. However, he did not participate in prostitution/sin nor do I think would he participate in the drug culture mentioned above.Right, so we agree. I think Christ's interaction with the hookers and druggies is best exemplified by the incident with the Samaritan woman at the well.

dmallind
October 5, 2006, 01:24 PM
1. It's supposed to be "thou shalt not murder", not "thou shalt not kill".



You know (and not wanting to hijack a thread) this is a truism that is widely publicized and believed but technically it is not true.

The word in the decalogue is "ratsach". This shows up quite a few times in scripture. The most common transalation (KJV) is "slay" but it is used for insatnces of killing in war, accidental killing and even killing by an animal. It's definitely NOT as restricted as the modern understanding of "murder". I DON'T think it is a blanket prohibition against all killing, since that would make no sense given the plenty of killing allowed and even commanded in scripture, but it's not as tidy as homicide only either.

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 01:26 PM
I thought homicide meant killing a human, but you seem to use it to mean murder.

This is getting really weird.

mindwip
October 5, 2006, 01:59 PM
I was wondering about the whole non-violent stance, I can see its good in the short term working, such as Black Civil Rights movement with there peace sit ins and such, or gandhi and south africa.

But has there been any long lasting non-violent group ( generally talking about religion here) that has lived through out the centurys in there own land. I cant think of one group that has lived as a whole being non-violent. Does any one know any? Based off that if true i would say that non-voilence does not work over a long time period. Yes the amish(just saying amish as an example) can be non-violent only becuase violent methods are used to protect them (the US Military and cops), or else i belive they would fade away as any non-violent group would.

dmallind
October 5, 2006, 02:14 PM
Yep I probably expressed that poorly. I meant to say that the word in question is not limited in scripture to either the normal definition of murder or the legal definition of homicide - but is used in senses broader than both.

My bad.

Texas9
October 5, 2006, 03:52 PM
Religion things. Where to begin...

Not to poke one's beliefs in what's likely to be an already flaming pot, I'll say simply this: Does Christianity not hold true that life is a gift from God? One that absolutely cannot be given OR taken by anyone but Him? And to protect it by any means necessary?

Someone let me know if I'm off base here. THAT BEING SAID, I sure as hell don't stand to criticize another for his faith. If they want to be passive/nonviolent, or whatever, it's up to them. They just need to know that if I'm within earshot of some knucklehead with plans to depopulate the local Amish educational facility, I'm gonna do violence on their behalf.

Period.

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 04:31 PM
I'm sorry, dmallind, I should have thanked you for the interesting vocab lesson.

Does Christianity not hold true that life is a gift from God? One that absolutely cannot be given OR taken by anyone but Him? And to protect it by any means necessary?
You may need to clarify the question. If you mean that Christianity doesn't permit the taking of human life, then no. There are circumstances where killing is permitted or even commanded. What are you really asking?

ctdonath
October 5, 2006, 06:53 PM
The longest-lasting nonviolent group I know of is Tibetan Buhddism.
Their greatest defense is probably the rocky terrain and few resources worth fighting over.
Domination by others is more a matter of ego & geography. Conquest of Tibet nets little, and the religion is deeply ingrained, so attempts to commandeer the culture are not enthusiastic enough to be successful - just ain't worth it.
The only reason to conquer Tibet is to dominate people ... and their non-violence policy (coupled with ineptitude when they do take up arms) means the only way to really conquer them is to wipe them out, a rather self-defeating excursion. It's not like the land is inherently desireable.

I have been noting a growing number of groups which, as mindwip observes, can only exist because they are supported/protected by a those with opposing views. Amish can live in peace because of PA cops & USA soldiers. Vegans thrive only thru the efforts of omnivores. Leftists have political power because of a political system built & maintained by Rightists.

History Prof
October 5, 2006, 08:14 PM
No, I was thinking of Bible stories where Christ hung out with prostitues and tax collectors for the purpose of offering them salvation just like everyone else. The holier-than-thou types of the time were horrified that he would even associate with those people. However, he did not participate in prostitution/sin nor do I think would he participate in the drug culture mentioned above.Yea, I think I forgot to mention that part.;) Certainly Jesus would NOT be participating, although He (2000 years ago) would be "hangin' with that crowd" for the purpose of setting them straight. That is why, when He returns, He will be judging those who DIDN'T get on the straight and narrow...

mindwip
October 5, 2006, 08:29 PM
I thought about Tibetan poeple but i thought they were not free and were controled by the chinese. Looking up on the "all knowing" wikipedia i did find some comments that would show that tibet is not a wholely non-violent poeple

Neither the Republic of China nor the People's Republic of China has ever renounced China's claim to sovereignty over Tibet.[14] In 1950, the People's Liberation Army entered the Tibetan area of Chamdo, crushing nominal resistance from the ill-equipped Tibetan army.

The 14th Dalai Lama and other government principals fled to exile in India, but isolated resistance continued in Tibet until 1969 when CIA support was withdrawn.

Tibet has no control over what happens to it, there leaders are exiled in India.

All governments, however, recognise PRC (PRC is People's Republic of China) sovereignty over Tibet, and none has recognised the Dalai Lama's government in exile in India.


I bring up this question because i dont see how any religion can stay alive and be all peaceful. In this way i think it is hard to rationalize that the Amish(or others like it) are the true word of god. I dont personaly see why god would want his followers to die and not spread there religion. It seems counter -productive

Doug.38PR
October 5, 2006, 11:01 PM
Another thought. Since Amish, and other pacifists, are against killing men under any circumstances....that must follow they are against the death penalty. Somebody has to do the executing.

On that note, one of the things anti-Christian anti-death penalty people attack Christianity on is it being "backwards" because the Bible supports the death penatly.

So in that light, pacifist Christians, Amish and otherwise, are saying the Bible is wrong.

I say, since the Bible does support the death penalty then killing in self defense cannot be a sin.

Eleven Mike
October 5, 2006, 11:04 PM
The Catholic Church also opposes the death penalty, yet it does not condemn killing altogether.

While I agree that the Bible supports and even commands the death penalty, there is room for misinterpretation.

Doug.38PR
October 5, 2006, 11:06 PM
The Catholic Church also opposes the death penalty, yet it does not condemn killing altogether.

They do? Are you sure "the" Catholic Church as a denominationl body opposes it or just a large number of Catholics within that denomination? Death penalty has been around for a LONG time, longer than the Catholic Church (one of the oldest of the denominations)

I always thought Catholics (as a denomination) were generally pretty conservative politically and traditionally

hso
October 5, 2006, 11:24 PM
I think the original question has been answered and we're beginning to drift. I'm going to close this thread and thank everyone for showing that a civil discussion about a challenging topic can be carried out.

My compliments to the members of THR.

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