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That’s the question posed about an article by Peter Manseau over at Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitprop machine The Trace (yes, them again). To be fair, Manseau attempts to be fair about the scriptural underpinning to Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms — at least until the last paragraph. Like this . . .

The fact that “gun” appears nowhere in the Bible means that literal evidence of a divine right to bear them is not available. Instead, believers find their proof in words seen as conveying God’s gun-friendliness. Sometimes the “rod” is cited, as in Psalm 23: “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me …” Others times, hands and fingers are enlisted to suggest the weapons they might wield, as in Psalm 144, a passage quoted reverently by “Saving Private Ryan’s” scripture spouting sniper just before he pulls the trigger. “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”

I reckon Manseau reckons that scriptural justifications for armed self-defense are ridiculous on their face. Which they’re not. Anyway, here’s Manseau’s rebuttal, from his own pen.

The message for believers gets murkier, however, when considered in the context of Jesus’ other teachings. Elsewhere in the gospels, for example, Jesus rebukes the apostle Peter for using the very weapon he suggested his followers should carry. When the disciples see their teacher seized by armed men the night before he will be crucified, Peter lashes out and cuts off the ear of a priest’s servant. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Peter to put his weapon away; his fate is sealed, and there can be no fighting it. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus adds a general opprobrium against meeting force with force, saying, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

Manseau writes for Bloomberg. He has to end his article with a shot at Americans who base their right of armed self-defense on their faith. Specifically those who believe they should be able to be armed in church.

Yet as often as tales of armed and muscular Christianity have been told throughout American history, far less heroic stories of firearms in churches could also be told: In 1885, a scuffle at a church fair in Emporia, Kansas, ended with a preacher arrested for shooting a member of his congregation from the pulpit. In 1889, a disagreement between two men erupted in a pew-emptying melee after one deacon shot another. (“Some say a woman was at the bottom of it,” it was reported at the time, “while others claim that it grew out of a church argument about regeneration.”) Gunfire in churches did not cease with the arrival of the 20th century. In 1979, when two members of a Pontiac, Michigan, church called New Hope settled a disagreement with a gunshot, a 65-year-old woman was killed at 9:50 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

Examples are never more than anecdotal evidence, but they are reminders enough that houses of worship are no less likely to serve as venues of conflicts that escalate uncontrollably because of the presence of a gun than the non-religious spaces currently covered by stand your ground laws. ​“We’re creating a problem we don’t necessarily need,” Senator David Jordan predicted during debate on the bill Tuesday. “Everybody’s going to be packing a .45, even the ministers.”​ If more weapons begin to turn up in congregations in Mississippi and around the country, we may soon hear stories of church guns and their unholy uses told and retold, like so many verses from scripture.

Is Manseau equating journalistic reports with scripture? Shame on him! But the question remains: Does the Bible enshrine a ‘God-given right’ to shoot in self defense? As a Jew, I can tell you that the Torah commands us to defend our lives. As a Christian, what can you tell me?

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  1. The imperative for individual self-defense isn’t Biblical, but is instead Talmudic:
    “If someone comes to kill you, arise and kill him first” (Sanhedrin 72a).

        • Yeh duh on me. Chip squared me up below. I was taking it literally, and having a hard time justifying some stuff. Whow, thanx

        • In defense of Mudshark, the reason the commandment is usually quoted this way is because the King James Version mistranslated it that way.

        • +1 Like any transcript that started out as oral tradition for thousands of years across different societies and dialects before being written and translated and written again and again, there is no perfect biblical translation. Scholars have however made a reasonable guestamation that “Thou Shall not Kill,” should have been translated as “Thou Shall not Murder,” as taken from the ancient Hebrew language. Hebrew, like English, makes a clear distinction between “kill” and “murder.”

        • The New International Version of the Bible has the correct word “murder” at Exodus 20:13, as part of the Ten Commandments. It is also made abundantly clear throughout the Bible that God made us and provided us with the gift of life. To allow an evildoer to take our life, would be theft from God himself. Therefore it is our duty to prevent this from happening by any and all means at our disposal (including modern firearms). Notice Exodus 22:2, “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise he is guilty of bloodshed”. So be careful and situationally aware out there. A firearm is the last resort when all other means have failed. Don’t be the stupid guy doing stupid things in stupid places. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

          • “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise he is guilty of bloodshed” — what happens if its the middle of the night, but the house is brightly lit?

        • I’ll repeat what I said above:

          In defense of Mudshark, the reason the commandment is usually quoted this way is because the King James Version mistranslated it that way.

          It’s not peoples’ fault the (still!) most widely used translation is buggered up. Mudshark didn’t misspell murder, King James’ translators did.

    • You left out the first part of the quote, which is “And the Torah says, if someone comes to kill you, anticipate him and kill him.” From where in the Torah this is derived is subject to much discussion, but the simple text in the Talmud, as well as one of the proposed sources [the command to destroy the Midianites], indicates that preemptive attacks are also warranted.

      • That is Talmudic, it is NOT in the Torah.

        Nevertheless the clear standard throughout scripture remains: We are charged to be stewards of everything God entrusts to us. This most certainly includes defending the innocent and our own lives from evil.

        • If the Talmud says that it in the Torah, I as a Jew accept that as truth. The fact that there is no explicit verse stating, “Shoot faster and straighter than the other guy” do not mean that it is not in the Torah. I have spent tens of thousands of hours studying and teaching Talmud, and even the trivial understanding I have attained has convinced me that if they make a statement “The Torah says…”, it is absolutely true.

          In fact, I gave several hours of lectures on this topic when I taught a graduate class at a Yeshiva, and have many more hours of material on it. On a non-theological note, when one of the participants in the class mentioned that he was studying the topic with me to Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, Rabbi Feinstein, who knows me well, remarked that I must have given them some practical applications also. The student laughed, because just the previous day, I had discussed with them what type of weapons to use, and some of the legal aspects of self-defense.

      • I couldn’t care less if there is a Biblical foundation for a right of self-defense. I think that everyone has that right, irrespective of their religious or nonreligious affiliation, or for that matter their species. All animals in nature in some way fight for their won survival.

        • Right? I’m Atheist. All animals try to fight for life. The bible is completely 100% irrelevant to the Laws of the United States.

        • The bible is completely 100% irrelevant to the Laws of the United States.

        • “Except that, a lion killing a gazelle does not invoke a question of morality.” Chip – the basis of morality is the fundamental survival of the species. As in long-term decisions and choices, not “I want it now, so I kill you now,” -that would lead to the destruction of the society and the species. Treat the other person as you would want the other person to treat you (the basis of Judaism, for example), leads to long term benefits to the society and the species, therefore it is moral. The lion eating a gazelle is moral from the lion’s point of view.

  2. The Holy Bible, starting with your Torah, is abundantly clear, by commandment and by repeated example, that self defense and the defense of others is acceptable and required.
    Really, it’s like arguing if the sky is blue and water is wet.

  3. The fact that “gun” appears nowhere in the Bible means that literal evidence of a divine right to bear them is not available.

    Such sophistry deserves nothing but ridicule.

    Does the Bible enshrine a ‘God-given right’ to shoot in self defense? As a Jew, I can tell you that the Torah commands us to defend our lives. As a Christian, what can you tell me?

    Well, the Bible includes the Torah, and the New Testament only reiterates the value God places on innocent life. Aside from that, I’ll simply answer, “yes”. I’m not going to get into a theological debate, quoting scripture to someone such as Manseau who has no interest in sincere debate. Pearls and swine.

  4. Your religion has no significance over my individual rights, same goes for the Quran or any other religious text.

      • I believe the point is that religion of any stripe neither grants nor denies basic human rights.

        And you will always have those who behave like animals and should have a plan to defend yourself accordingly. Any critter who shows up (4 or 2 legged) with the intent to harm and kill any of the lives on my property will be met with lethal force.

        • I wouldn’t say it comes from “religion” but my personal belief says it comes from God. Yours might say Gaia, a flying spaghetti monster, or however else you believe the universe came to be.

          While we may argue the details, we all agree the right to self defense is a universal truth.

          I once stumbled on a fawn carcass flanked by two dead coyotes. Are we to assume momma doe stopped to ponder whether the yotes were just putting their lives back together?

        • I believe the point is that religion of any stripe neither grants nor denies basic human rights.

          Without God, the concept of natural rights is meaningless. Nevertheless, the question posed in this post asked whether the Bible enshrines a God-given right to armed self-defense. If one does not ascribe to the teachings of the Bible, then the question is irrelevant to such a person. For such a person, the only reason to post a response is to antagonize.

        • Not necessarily. Natural rights do not require a god. They can be understood as those things inherent to the existence of all life forms.

      • “Without God, the concept of natural rights is meaningless.” – I would disagree. Natural Rights come from the fact that we exist. Whether created by God or not, existence is real and therefore there are natural rights.

        • Evolution grants no rights. Evolution grants no morality. Evolution has no plan by which to grant rights or morality.
          There is no murder without law; there is no law without a Lawgiver.
          The morals that atheists follow, although in many cases more faithfully than some Christians do, are made up by humans, not defined by any sort of overarching law. As was said above – the lion killing the gazelle is a natural act to the lion. I would add that the water buffalo killing the lion to defend the herd is a natural act to the water bo – AND the lion.
          Only through a Lawgiver, however, and only through a supreme arbiter of morals, may we have law and morals.

          • I did not say that morality is connected or dependent on evolution. Evolution is the physical (through genetics) alteration of an organism. In the case of viruses, it can happen within a few days; in the case of fruit flies, it can happen within a month; in the case of human beings, it may take centuries or millenia. A society that has failing morals, kind of like in Mad Max beyond the Thunderdome, will self-destruct considerably sooner then any genetic effect could be materialized. Evolution is only one of various forces in nature that affect life. In the case of morality, it is a guiding force for human behavior that affects society instantly and leads to long term prosperity or destruction. Ancient people were intelligent enough to recognize that human behavior is not only a function of our instinct, but also of our intellect, thus certain rules for the long term benefit of the society needed to be established. Now, if we were to try to explain this reasoning process to a minimally evolved homo sapien, like a Bernie or a Hillary supporter, for example, and hope that this being will forgo his desires on your new car, that would be a wasted hope. However, if this minimally evolved being is to be told, from the day of his birth, that there is an omnipresent and omniscient God who is not only aware of the act of him liberating your car, but even of a thought of helping your car along, and a certain punishment is sure to follow, clearly you can see that instilling morality becomes more effective. However, the concept of morality itself is not dependent on the existence, or the acknowledgement of God, but on forces that lead to the prosperity (or not) of the society and, eventually, of the species.

      • Chip such divisiveness only serves to further undermine the protection of rights in this country. Pinning it on God alienates people who don’t have to think the same way you do about that because it is similarly their right. Try to be American about it and see a different path to the perspective of self defense. Nature is red in tooth and claw, after all, if the buffalo has the right to gore the wolf that seeks to eat it then man as an animal has the right to kill those that come to kill it.

        Belief that this comes from a higher power is irrelevant, except as stated above, to further division that undermines strong second amendment principles in this country. That is not to say you should not have that belief for yourself, but to predicate the notion of self defense on it is patently un-American.

        • Chip such divisiveness only serves to further undermine the protection of rights in this country.

          Indeed. Overly insecure atheists who react viscerally to the mere mention of religious belief are incredibly divisive.

          That is not to say you should not have that belief for yourself, but to predicate the notion of self defense on it is patently un-American.

          …which has absolutely nothing to do with the question posed in the OP. The question asks about biblical doctrine, not US law or the constitution.

  5. Yes…The modern firearm is the “sword” of our time but the Sword of the Spirit (Armor of God) is by far much more powerful (His power is beyond my words/understanding)… That’s the sword I seek but I’m keeping my firearms… Jesus loves me and my guns… 🙂

    • Well, if Jesus was alive today, it is obvious which pistol he would command to buy after selling ones “cloak”; it is that holy instrument as brought to us by his prophet Moses, John Moses Browning to be exact.

      All hail the modern day sword of G-d, The Colt 1911!! ( Couldn’t resist) 🙂

      • I’ve chosen a Kimber 1911 as my modern day sword. Nothing wrong with keeping up to date with the latest technological advances. There are several other modern examples to choose from: Wilson Combat, Les Baer, etc., and etc. Even Colt Inc. has modernized the original design a little.

  6. Can’t really add much to what others have already said vis-à-vis the Scriptures (except to reference that “he who doth not have a sword, let him sell his cloak and buy one”, which, BTW, is a pretty big deal; the cloak was such an important part of a man’s possessions that it was exempt from seizure in satisfaction of a debt). I will say that I am no more inclined to follow The Trace’s advice on Biblical matters than I am to follow their counsel on what caliber of handgun to carry.

  7. the bible? are they serious? who gives a crap what the bible says about self defense. its PATHETIC that some people can only justify something as “right” if its in a 2000 yr old text. why can’t people come up with justifiable reasoning all by themselves????? I guess the same reason they need a book that old to tell them what is right and wrong as well. Even though the bible even says on the 3rd page that “man has eaten from the tree of knowledge (explain to me how knowledge is bad) and now knows what good and evil is” the bible is even telling you not to refer back to it as a guide to knowing good and evil.

      • Pretty much this. It’s a theological question on a private blog, so why the need for the hate? Are you a believer? No? Then the respectful thing to do as a human would be to move along.

        Also, if something being 2000 years old magically removes from it’s relevance, should we go ahead and say the same thing about a 200 year old piece of parchment, like the Constitution?

    • Knowledge? Modern medicine= overpopulation. Internal cumbustion= polution. Modern physics= nuclear bomb. I could sit here all day and give you exsamples. We have destroyed the world with knowledge.

      • If you want to go back to mud huts, killing each other with rocks and sticks, and starving to death when winter comes, be my guest.

        • You forgot also likely dying before age 5 of some silly disease we just give shots for now. Or dying in poor health in one’s early 40s, or even 30s.

          Just ask Mozart, who died WAY too soon at the age of 37.

  8. As a Christian, I can tell you that Jesus is perfect, I’m not. That applies to many things, not just the right to bear arms. Additionally, as a Christian, it always disgusts me when they try to use our religion against us, especially when in every other arena, they do everything they can to quash Christianity. By the way, they’re considered natural, god-given rights. Ergo, if God gave us the right to bear arms, I can only assume He meant for us to use them when the need arises. I don’t really attach holiness to my firearms and decision to carry them or use them if need be, but since the question was asked.

    • By the way, they’re considered natural, god-given rights. Ergo, if God gave us the right to bear arms, I can only assume He meant for us to use them when the need arises.

      I view it like so: it is the right to life that is the primary, God-given right. Such a right is meaningless without the right to defend life against that which would threaten it. The right to bear arms derives from that right of self-defense, as the most (and in some cases, only) effective means to exercise the right of self-defense.

      • This comment is where I’m at as well. If somebody submerged you under water, you will fight for air. You may tell yourself it’s voluntary, but that’s bullshit. Your body is gonna automatically fight for oxygen. We are hardwired to survive, whether we have faith or not.

  9. Luke 22:36

    “…whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

    Don’t know what else you would use a sword for other than self defense in this context.

    • It’s obvious what he meant for the use of a sword; cutting bread and then using the sword to spread butter and jam on it. Also for cutting fire wood; Oh, wait, they already had small knives and axes for such uses, I’m dumb founded, what else could tbe sword be used for?

    • Jesus calls for them to have swords to fulfill Old Testament prophesy that He shall be named with transgressors. He also mentioned about that time that He had sent them out with nothing because God would provide them with all they would need to teach. Also, Jesus’ rebuke to Peter was because He knew He had to be arrested, tried, and sacrificed to fulfill God’s promise. I’ve read and thought long about this subject, from both the bible and commentaries, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing difinitive either for or against self defense. This is my opinion at this time, read with an open mind and come up with your own opinion, I can see both sides.

  10. People take Jesus’ command to his apostles to sell their cloak and buy a sword out of context. If you will read two verses onward, they say Lord we have two and Jesus says, that will be enough! I can make the Bible say whatever I want, as can you. And don’t worry, I’m not coming after your rights. I carry my CZ P-01 legally but, when that Roman solder strikes your left cheek, will you show him your right cheek, or your pistol?

    • …when that Roman solder strikes your left cheek, will you show him your right cheek, or your pistol?

      Talk about taking things out of context. The admonition to turn the other cheek is in response to an insult, not a physical threat. If the typical (i.e. right-handed) person strikes you on the right cheek, that person is administering a back-handed strike – i.e. an insult.

      That passage has nothing to do with self-defense.

      • Id like to add the whole “he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword” statement of Jesus. It is likewise usually ised out of context. Jesus isnreferring to those warmongers or those that use violence to achieve thier ends. Not someone who has a sword and uses it to defend themselves from aformentioned people.

        • Agreed, Mecha75. Carrying a sword in case one might have to use it in self defense is not the same as “living by the sword”.

      • True.

        In biblical times, a strike on the right cheek was a most dreadful insult. It indicated that the person delivering the backhanded blow had NO respect all for you, that he considered you as below an animal. If a Roman had struck a Jew on the right cheek, all the Jews would have been greatly offended, and if it happened often enough that offense could have led to an uprising against the Romans.

        When Jesus said to offer the right cheek, He was saying to force the Roman to either up-the-ante to an offense against all Jews, or to show you some degree of respect. It was actually a very shrewd way to stand up against the Romans. A form of “passive resistance” against their oppressors.

    • People take that “other cheek” business out of context. EDIT: Oops, Chip got here first–and better…

    • My reaction would be “holy crap, a Roman!” Then I’d be trying to wrack my brain looking in my high school Latin for the right phrases and vocabulary to get some sort of communication going.

      Then I’d be trying to get through to the Classics department at the UW. A real live Roman could probably answer all sorts of burning questions. They’d want to talk with him, look at his clothes and gear. The med school might want to do some exams.

      That would be an amazing opportunity.

    • Nope, not even slightly out of context. Tell me why the discussion of how many swords a group of twelve guys needs changes the fact that He said they need some. The context is that this is one of the very last things He says to them. He tells them that He won’t be around to hold their hands all the time and they should take the responsibility to get a sword to protect themselves. That is the context.

  11. Jesus never condemned Peter for having it, He condemned him for what he did with it. The mere fact Peter could make that swipe of ear shows he had practiced and kept his sword sharp. Also look at Nehemiah, trowel in one and sword in the other.

    • furthermore, it was an action in the defense of Jesus. Jesus had His purpose and it was not to be physically rescued

      • ^^^THIS!

        Peter tried to defend Jesus.. when in fact Jesus was completing his mission to restore us to sons and daughters (coheirs) of the Highest King of the universe. Peter misunderstood what was going on when he used his weapon at that moment. Not to mention right then and there, Jesus healed the servant of his wound. Can you imagine being in that crowd of people and seeing that?

  12. From what I’ve seen among churchy types they pick and choose and interpret and re-interpret until they get the outcome they desire then often ignore it anyway so does it really matter to anyone anywhere outside of some academic theological/philosophical circle? Same with all the anti’s at the Trace and even with all the pro’s here and anywhere else. Everybody makes up what they need to make up to keep on believing what they want to believe when the reality is none of it matters and you should just do whatever the hell you want without concern for justification.

    It only matters when legislators and police start making up stuff to justify telling others how to live their lives. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about that other than accept the risks and be prepared to put a fight if they ever come for you. Make sure enforcement of their beliefs on you comes at an extremely high cost to them. So high they’d rather not bother.

    • “…From what I’ve seen among churchy types they pick and choose and interpret and re-interpret until they get the outcome they desire then often ignore it anyway”

      The same can be said of the Hoplophobes when it comes to the Second Amendment.

    • People generally make decisions based on how they FEEL about the subject/issue, then find logical arguments to support that decision.

  13. Somehow the anti-gun arguments (if you can call them that) always end up with the same deadbeat slippery-slope fallacy: blood in the streets! Only this time it’s Blood In the Pews! (pew-pew-pews…)

    I dunno about anyone else, but I’m starting to think these people are full of crap.

    • “I dunno about anyone else, but I’m starting to think these people are full of crap.”

      That made me chuckle.

  14. Jesus admonition to Peter is the telling of a story, it’s about not sacrificing yourself for nothing, and Jesus being willing to sacrifice himself knowing that this was the plan and it had to be followed. I don’t believe it was meant as a blanket lesson to not defend oneself or others. The bit about blood in the pews at church is the same rhetoric I have heard since the Heller decision, every time there’s a concealed carry decision or an open carry law passed, we hear that there will be rampant violence, blood in the streets and cops shooting carriers because they can’t tell who’s a bad guy and who’s a good guy. Same tired argument they put forth about guns on college campuses, they ignore the churches and colleges where self defense carry is already legal and encouraged and they have no more problems than any other non gun free zone.

    • You have obviously never tried to build some kitchen cabinets using an alligator.




      • When the alligator goes out of control, you grab your gun, and put the mag full of special anti-alligator ammo in it.

        It’s called an “alligator clip,” of course.

      • Trying to think of some task where an alligator would be the most effective tool. Can’t think of any…

      • Well, if I had to use a gator or nothing, I will absolutely fight that next round with it. Besides, just about anything can be used as a cannon…..once.

  15. Luke 22:37 “And it was written, he was counted among the transgressors (rebels) only rebels or outlaws wore swords. Jesus would be seen as an outlaw.

    • I think you’re out of your depth here. Jesus was indeed seen as an outlaw–that was kind of the plan. Not sure what you’re trying to say. Maybe you should apply for a position with The Trace.

    • I think you are out of your depth(both reading comprehension and theologically speaking) on this.

    • Well i know ky bible tells me that Pilate didnt see Jesus as an outlaw. And by extension neither did any of the romans he encountered. Yet they were the ones that put him to death.

  16. It doesn’t matter if it does or not. Yes, I know what the texts say, and the thoughts put forth by other religions. Even Buddhism allows for self defense.

    None of it matters because the US isn’t a theocracy. Or wasn’t at least, a good bit of religion has snuck in over the last hundred or so years.

    Nature clearly allows for self defense, even demands it. We may not wish to base laws on what nature allows though. We are supposed to be better than that for the most part.

    Now the founding fathers, in line with rational thought made sure that the individual had the ability to defend themselves. This was not simply a response to the events that had at that time just earned the US it’s Independence but also standard practice of pretty much all cultures of the day.

    It is still relevant because even a police state hasn’t shown the ability to protect all of its citizens and we are no police state. The person responsible for protecting you is you.

    The police solve crime and can sometimes stop it while it is already occurring. They are not and cannot be good at preventing it from starting and they cannot be everywhere all the time.

    That means no mater what we might wish the world to be, you must protect yourself.

    Personally, I think only a fool would count on another to save them. Even if that person is around and willing, they may be helping another. Damned if I’m going to die just waiting.

  17. If TTAG didn’t read the Trace, Bloomberg’s audience would drop by half. /;-)

    In any case, I’m not sure why any religious person would want an atheist’s point of view regarding their religious doctrine.

    For me, the right to defend your own life against someone who would take it maliciously and the right to keep and bear a weapon suitable for such defense exist outside and apart from God’s law, the Constitution of United States and pretty much everything else.

    Or, put another way:
    Cogito ergo armatum sum

    I think, therefore I am armed.

    • Indeed, I would think that if TTAG weren’t around to refute things, antigun media would find itself relegated to 4AM infomercials on public access TV and basic cable in a week.

      Cogito, itaque ego fero armas.

  18. The Catholic catechism combines scripture, reason and tradition into its teachings. Paragraph 2264 answers this particular question with precision:

    “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.”

    My personal take: use your gats ONLY to preserve a life actually threatened; question the motives of ANY authoritarian who wants to strip you of the right to repel an unlawful threat.

    • I’d love to hear Pope Francis’ tortured reasoning in trying to explain this part of the catechism.

  19. I’m sorry, I chose the wrong cheek. When Jesus endured rude comments ONLY he turned the other cheek. As my grandfather always said, we’ll just celebrate the passover, point out the verses we like and pass over the ones we don’t. ; )

      • Trespassing, burglary, vandalism. But I think being cooked is a bitch much for those crimes.

        • If I recall, the Grimm versions cleaned up the original folk tales quite a bit, almost as much as Disney cleaning up Grimm.

          As I recall the originals, the kids didn’t make out so good…..

  20. No, because there is no such thing as a natural right beyond “You only have the right to what you can take and hold against being taken”.

  21. I smell bbq next door, I’m gonna go and ask their opinion while I have some pulled pork. Anyone live near fville AR is welcome to join me!

    • That’s the most sensible thing you’ve said yet–and truthfully, IMO, pretty damn sensible in general. If I was there, I would join you.

  22. Luke 22:36

    Then said Jesus unto them, 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.

  23. You know, I don’t agree with a lot of the disrespectful rhetoric about people’s faiths being thrown about here, but I do agree with the point that in these here Newnited States, it really is an academic, so to speak, question. The people’s rights as against government intrusion are not subject to religiously-based approval or disapproval.

    • Man clawed his way to the top by using sharp rocks. We stay there because we figured out how to make similar hurty things go really fast.

  24. A better question: What would Jesus carry?

    I’m thinking a Ruger Blackhawk single action in .45 long colt, custom grips, cross-draw holster.

  25. Luke 22:36

    He said to them,* “But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.

  26. The Bible, both Old and New Testament, clearly establishes the immeasurable sanctity and value of human life. Along those lines, the Bible condemns murder — including what we would call manslaughter (whether negligent or totally accidental). Along those same lines, the Bible also tells us to preserve life. Some examples include direction to provide for widows and orphans, to restrain dangerous livestock, and to build railings around rooftop patios. Finally, we even have Jesus telling his disciples to acquire swords and take their swords with them on their journeys after the Last Supper.

    As for detractors, they really only have three feeble objections:

    (1) Some people claim that Jesus was a pacifist and ordered everyone to be pacifists in His “turn the other cheek” directive as well as His directive to imitate His life. This is wrong because Jesus’ mission was to die in order to reconcile us to God. If He did not die, He could not reconcile us. Therefore, He did not lead a violent overthrow of religion or government. As for “turn the other cheek”, that is direction to refrain from responding to insults with violence. (A slap in the face was an insult and did NOT cause physical injury. Turning the other cheek demonstrated amazing restraint and would have forced the aggressor to impart physical injury if they slapped again, which would no longer be a simple insult.)

    (2) Some people go the “God will provide” route and believe that they do not need to provide for self-defense of their own self or family because God will defend them. This is as silly as taking God’s promise to provide for us to mean that he will drop loaves of bread in our laps. God’s promise to provide for us means that he will provide the raw materials and tools that we need to realize fruits for our labors. He provides soil, rain, sun, and seeds … and we prepare the soil, plant seeds, water the seeds and resulting plants, protect them from pests, and finally harvest the crop. Likewise, God provides the raw materials for us to fashion tools (weapons) that we can use to defend ourselves … and we fashion those weapons, train with those weapons, employ those weapons when necessary, and continue on with our lives.

    (3) Some people quote Jesus’ statement that people who live by the sword will die by the sword and claim that means we should be unarmed. In this statement Jesus is telling us that violent criminals who use weapons to rob other people as a way of life will eventually die at the hands of another person defending themselves with a sword. Jesus is not condemning the use of defensive weapons. We know this because Jesus told his disciples to acquire swords after the Last Supper. And, Jesus told Peter to put his sword away (in its sheath) rather than condemning Peter for owning a sword.

    The Bible as a whole, read in context, clearly supports defense of life — including using weapons and deadly force in defense of life. The versus are there if you want to find them.

  27. MEH-+10000000 Chip(as per usual). I see no problem with guns/self-defense. Why we have cops/military. And if folks don’t like it too bad. I am responsible to GOD. I’m not really Baptist but we attend a large extremely pro-gun/armed up church(1st Baptist of Hammond,IND). No stupid “gun-free zone” signs. Not 100% sure if the pastor has CC but I know he has at least one gun. Carry on my son…

  28. If you believe in a self evident natural right to self-defense, and you believe natural rights come from a creator, then yes, you believe in a God given right to self defense. Weapons are just the tools to exercise that right. Arguing about the choice of weapon is just mental masturbation.

  29. Well boys, my two Krav Maga instructors were there, so I enjoyed my sandwhich, saved my breath, and discussed politics. Wait, I said I saved my breath?

  30. As a man of faith, I believe that we were and are created in Gods image, that our body is His temple. Jesus died for us, and the Holy Spirit lives in us.
    While I do not presume to know the mind of God, I believe he would want me to protect His temple, His image, to the best of my ability. If that means using a stick, a stone, words, or gunfire, I will do so to the best of my ability.

  31. As is often quoated here ” what part of shall not be infringed” dont they understand. In the same instance ” What part of, THOU SHALT NOT KILL” dont they understand? However if my life , or loved ones where threatend with death, I would kill. I am a sinner, Jesus died for my sins. This world belongs to Lucifer not Him.

      • The usual mistranslation of “Thou shall not kill” contradicts exodus 22:2 about the killing of a thief being caught breaking in. The condemnation is on the thief and not the one who killed him. We agree that wouldnt be murder and would be self defense. Therefore it doesnt contradict the true meaning of that commandment.

      • Aye. The most common translation removes some very important nuance from that Commandment, when the more accurate reading commands people not to shed innocent blood. Someone willing to do harm to others for material gain or the exertion of perceived power has willingly given up their innocence both in the eyes of God and Man, and should be dealt with accordingly.

      • In Mr. Mudshark’s defense, it’s that way in the KJV, which is why it’s so commonly misquoted.

        I tend not to blame the people who quote the inaccurate KJV accurately; many are from, or were raised in, sects that regard it as authoritative (more so than extant Greek/Hebrew manuscripts), or just simply never saw a better translation.

        (I thought you were a bit snarky with Mudshark here, but maybe that’s just my perception, intonation (or lack thereof) often being misconveyed in internet print.)

        • (I thought you were a bit snarky with Mudshark here, but maybe that’s just my perception, intonation (or lack thereof) often being misconveyed in internet print.)

          SteveinCO, you’re right. I may have been unnecessarily snarky with Mudshark here. Mudshark: sorry if I was unnecessarily snarky.

  32. I don’t know about the Bible, but self defense/self preservation is a natural response and a natural right. The gazelle flees when it is attacked. The bull tips his horns when he is attacked. The Zebra kicks in the face, etc. There are predators out there and it is natural to defend yourself and others in the interest of preservation. By doing nothing or depending on unreliable sources to defend you – you set yourself up to be a victim.

  33. For those who want to understand the Bible as a foundation of faith, it requires a lifetime of learning, study, listening and discussion. It’s impossible to explain the true significance of Jesus telling his disciples to arm themselves in one breath, and telling Peter to put his sword away hours later, in a single day, let alone a single blog post.

    However, it might be possible to explain this passage:
    “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Matthew 26:52.

    It’s obvious that the sword indeed has a place. Jesus didn’t say get rid of your sword. He said put it away. He’s also saying that those who live a life of violence, who use violence and threats to get what they want, will suffer the same fate.

    I will not live by the sword, nor the gun. I will live a life of peace, posing no threat to anyone. But my gun has a place, and I pray that it will be available for the defense of innocent life if the need arises.

    • Thank you Curtis, I’d like to offer MHO in this thought…

      “For those who want to understand the Bible as a foundation of faith, it requires a lifetime of learning, study, listening and discussion.”

      It’s much easier than that… Give your life to Christ and the Holly Spirit will guide you in the word… Free of charge, the price has been paid in full…

      Haven went bankrupt to save us from this corrupt and dying world… None of us deserve this gift but it is ours… Accept Christ, start praying and studying the Bible…Go is two thirds of God…

      Carry on Sir…

  34. Ah yes, the old evangelical “Well when you take this verse in the context of that verse” when what they really mean is “Ignore this verse, and instead only read the verses that support my predetermined belief.”

    If there is a seeming contradiction in scripture, the solution is NEVER to throw out part of scripture. We must have the humility to admit that we simply don’t understand how to reconcile the two. Jewish thought is very comfortable with paradox and unresolved contradictions. It is our Greek logic driven western minds that have never managed to grasp it.

  35. No religion has survived as long as Christianity without the willingness to defend itself through force of arms. How is that for the blinding flash of the obvious? Can we end this “intellectual” stupidity already?

    • Buddhism has been around longer than Christianity and they believe “all life is sacred” not just in this instance or that instance or on this day and not that day. In other words I view many of the other religions as hypocritical when it comes to this subject. Either you believe it or you do not. Anything else is talking out of the side of your mouth.

      • Let me add more to this discussion.

        Many religions claim to follow a philosophy of “non-violence at all costs”. It sounds great in the ancient press releases, and there are many who will argue that it is noble. Personally, I believe that it is the duty of good people to stop evil, and to do nothing about evil is the worst kind of sin.

        As far as Buddhists, their “non-violence” pact is far from absolute, though.

      • And there have been plenty of wars among thr Buhddist lands. Wether they believe in it or not.

      • Bad news, Petru. Plenty of armies have been fielded and wars fought by Buddhists. Much of the European and American understanding of Buddhism I’d argue comes from the romantic Orientalists, who seemed to spend more time exalting the glories of Buddhism as they wished to see it through rose-tinted academic glasses. Buddhism seems to be a religion which is not terribly practical for structuring lives within anything like a commercial or complex society, where lust fuels romance and procreation, pride brings about ambitions, and greed forges empires. And in modern times, including right now, Buddhism seems to be coopted for plenty of malice, from encouraging Sri Lankans to kill each other in civil war to bringing about mass expulsions of non-Buddhists from Bhutan, to having its principles of selflessness and discipline be abused by authoritarian regimes to keep the populace oppressed.

  36. As a goy and a Christian I can honestly say that this thread is appropriate for kids age 5-8. Seriously, little boys in Hebrew school wrestle w/ these questions. Is it antisemitic to point out that there are cultural & theological reasons (Joshua 1:8) why Jews tend to excel in anything related to Law (a.k.a. Torah)?

    The Torah sanctions, and even commands at times, the taking of human life. Hence, Ex 20:13 can legitimately be interpreted as do not kill/murder/slay. The idea that a rule is generally so but not always so is stuff for kids before they play hungry-hungry-hippos or x-box.

    And that it comes from The Almighty is of vast importance and the Founding Fathers agree w/ me on this one. Natural Law flows out of God’s Law and Character. If there is no moral law giver then there is no moral law. If there is no moral law giver then every document is as binding and as authoritative as Grim’s Fairytale’s – our beloved constitution included. Men being endowed by their Creator and all . . .

  37. Peter carried a two edged short sword, the equivalent of a Glock short stack.

    He wasn’t trying cut the Roman soldiers ear off, he was trying to cut his head off and the soldier ducked sideways.

    I think it is sinful not to protect yourself and loved ones where ever you are, home or out and about.

  38. Doesn’t really matter. You are not safe. You are not safe anywhere. And the Creator, which I believe in, is not going to miraculously save you. The world is the same as it ever was. War never changes. Kill or be killed. Might makes right.

  39. Does the Bible enshrine a ‘God-given right’ to shoot in self defense? As a Jew, I can tell you that the Torah commands us to defend our lives. As a Christian, what can you tell me?
    Jesus really did not say too much new from the traditional Jewish Faith and actually quoted Old Testament books profusely. I think he quoted Deuteronomy more than any other book. Quite a bit from Isaiah as well. I view Jesus as sort of opening up a sort of next level Reformed Judaism for the entire world. The ripping up of the temple curtain separating the Holy of Holies from normal people says it all. Through Jesus, God is now available to everyone, Jew and Greek, male and female. All are one in Jesus.

    • As a Christian I can ask you to believe that Jesus Christ died for *your* sins, was buried, and resurrected the 3rd day, according to the scriptures. This is salvation, and there is salvation in no other.

      Personally I think in a defensive scenario, Jesus would rather you defend your wife and children with lethal force vs getting yourself killed and them killed/tortured/raped/etc. but if you had the ability to stop the threat *without* killing anyone that would be infinitely preferable, for then the attempted killer could be given the opportunity to repent. Saved former-killers preach the Gospel like nobody else!
      Nobody gets a chance after they die.

  40. The first unique antidiluvian law was given in Genesis 9:6: “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man.” It only makes sense that, if life is to be avenged, that it is to be protected and defended.

  41. Yes. Big amen to chip and all who have explained it better than me. Jesus said that we can protect yourself. That is who matters to me.

  42. As a follower of Christ I have a carry permit and carry in church, I served on the security team for approx. 7 years and was armed during that time. The above video dealt for the most part well with the question as to what a follower of Christ should or shouldn’t do regarding defensive gun use. I will say I believe that Christ’s comments to Peter on the night of his arrest “if you live by the sword you will die by the sword” were also a warning that if violence is ones only response to conflict mitigation then violence will take you.

  43. You guys are slacking.

    Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.”

    Me and Mr. 9mm are the Shepard.

    • You read the Bible Ringo? That was a great movie/scene… Both time he said that… What wallet is it… 🙂

  44. Posing such a question towards ancient text when the technology did not exist is piss poor journalism. However, if we replace the fixation on current arms and ask it about available weapons of that time; there is a clear answer. Roughly translated: if you don’t own a weapon, sell your possessions to get the money and get a weapon.

    King James Bible Luke. 22:36
    Then said he unto them, 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.

  45. For more information on this subject and this question, please read this essay from an expert on the Old Testament, Rabbi Bendori of Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership. It explains how the 6th commandment was mistranslated, and it uses other related verses to substantiate what the 6th commandment actually meant. I believe that Jesus and His teachings in the New Testament do not contradict what the Old Testament says on this subject.

  46. As a non-Christian, I don’t care what their stories say. We don’t live in a Christian theocracy, and our Constitutional rights are not based on any god or gods. I’m going to carry to defend my family and myself.

    • As a non-Christian, I don’t care what their stories say.

      Then the question posed in the OP has nothing to do with you.

  47. If you want to wear something that will really offend any libs you meet, go to, and get yourself a few of these lapel pins. I like the one that quotes Luke – “And he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” They also feature an armed crusader, so you can be accused of “Islamophobia” while you are at it.

  48. As a Muslim, I know for sure the Quran instructs us how to defend ourselves — do not provoke, fight only until they stop, and go no further — sounds like our modern defensive doctrine. Self-defense is an irrevocable, divine right. I ought to take this to heart, considering I’m Shia and the history of Shia Islam could essentially be summarized as good men being killed by bad people for bad reasons. My brother is Christian and I’m pretty sure he’s interpreted Jesus as being a pacifist. Pacifism is a noble philosophy for dying a stupid death because you couldn’t be bothered to account for the existence of evil in the world.

  49. Funny how Jesus commanded his Disciples too buy Swords, (Assault Weapon of the Day)! the disciples must not have been slouches in their use either, especially when one chopped off an Ear!
    How about,at night you can Kill an Intruder {thief} but in daylight you have got take him alive or if you accidentally kill some one you can book to a city of refuge where the vengeful relatives can not kill you!
    How about when the Jewish tribes were to Massacre all the evil inhabitants!
    Premeditated killing is a sin, killing in self defense is not a sin as long as Justified! and for Information the Constitution is based on Biblical Precepts, such as freedom of Choice!
    not Christian, read the Koran and read what it says about self defense and Killing, in passages it directs the Faithful to kill the Heretic’s it is the modern rich and cry baby politicians that favor your disarmament because you have equal power over your life and they don’t like it because they are F**kups and might use it on them! so now you get to license a right which right is next!
    Unqualified people espouse Other nation’s gun murder rates, when if you look at total per Capita rates they are about the Same if not higher than the USA, but the Lying Media beats it’s chest and says it know better than you and want to force their will over yours! Lifer politicians must go and Media should be sued every time an opinion is offered as truth! Molon Labe, Semper Fortis!

    • “read the Koran and read what it says about self defense and Killing”

      Gladly, though you English leaves much to be desired.

      “”There shall be no compulsion in religion” (2:256); “Say to the disbelievers [that is, atheists, or polytheists, namely those who reject God] “To you, your beliefs, to me, mine” (109:1-6)”
      “”fight in God’s cause against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits [in aggression]; God does not love transgressors” (2:190)”


      “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.
      And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
      And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
      Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.
      [Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.”

      “Permission to take up arms is hereby given to those who are attacked because they have been oppressed – Allah indeed has power to grant them victory – those who have been unjustly driven from their homes, only because they said: “Our Lord is Allah”.”

      This all sounds reasonable.

  50. To answer this question based entirely on the scriptures, one would have to be a theologian (and even then there are flavors of theologians…), but the question can be easily answered from observation of Christian history. From at least 4th Century AD through most of the 20th Century (80% of it’s existence) Christianity stood behind all kinds of tortures and killings, either performed by its high ranking members themselves or approved others’ doing so on the behalf of Christianity and the Church. Within the last half a century or so, Christianity “evolved” to distance itself from many, if not all forms of intentional life taking. However, if that is not just a fad or hypocrisy, Christianity needs to disavow its past deeds, acknowledge its wrongs and dethrone those Popes and Saints that have committed what Christianity now considers murder. Otherwise, it’s just more hypocrisy of the day.

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