Violence in the Name of Religion
Maynard S. Clark wrote a very interesting observation about a major problem within Christianity:
“We’ve all been treated to public discussions of Violence in the name of religion, and we also know how many “gun toting pastors” are eager to teach their congregants that the “manly” art of self-protection is all in the hot sexy weapon.”
Way back in the 1950’s when I was a student at The University of Pittsburgh, I also owned a few guns. I was a member of the Air Force ROTC rifle team and a member of the Metropolitan Pittsburgh Police Pistol League, and shot in competitions and won a few awards.
However this was before Jesus entered my life and changed my perspective on loving God and the whole of His creation. So, I put the guns away, for I no longer was interested in using them, and I didn’t want anyone else to use them either.
When I became a pastor, I was convicted in my heart that even owning a weapon was a bad witness, for if we truly trust in the Lord, we don’t need any weapons, for as Paul says in Philippians 1:21…
21. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
What Paul is saying is that if we love and trust in God, and continue to live here on earth, we do so in Christ, but even if we die we will gain the everlasting peace of heaven.
So, there is no need for any weapons.
Therefore, I went with the manager of a local foundry, and threw all my weapons into the furnace and melted them down as my way of hammering them into so-called plowshares, or things for peaceful uses, just as we are told in Micah 4:3.
3 And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.
For us, this is all part of living in the heavenly will of God, where there is no violence or death.