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God and Guns. The Bible against American Gun Culture-- Part One

God and Guns. The Bible against American Gun Culture-- Part One

By Ben Witherington
January 11, 2022

The precis for this book on Amazon reads as follows:

"Using the Bible as the foundational source and guide, while also bringing contemporary sociological data to the conversation, seven biblical scholars and theologians construct a powerful dialogue about gun violence in America, concluding that guns are incompatible with the God of Christian Scripture. God and Guns is the first book to argue against gun culture from a biblical studies perspective. Bringing the Bible into conversation with contemporary sociological data, the volume breaks new exegetical and critical ground and lays the foundations for further theological work. The scholars assembled in this volume construct a powerful argument against gun violence, concluding that a self-identity based on guns is incompatible with Christian identity. Drawing on their expertise in the Bible's ancient origins and modern usage, they present striking new insights involving psychology, ethics, race, gender, and culture. This collection, carefully edited for clarity and readability, will change conversations--and our culture."

It is long past time for the sort of reasoned discussion (not emotive and irrational posturing), we find in this little book of essays. Why-- you ask? Well, the statistics do not lie, and here are a few of those assembled at the beginning of this book, and the sources for this data is impeccable, including the NIH, headed by Francis Collins, a very committed Christian medical expert.

In 2019 there were 39,707 total gun deaths, the largest number since 1968. Preliminary data for 2020 indicate that it went up to about 41,000 in 2020. The average number of gun injuries between 2013 and 2017 is 100,120. 44% of all Americans say they personally know someone who has been shot, and the figure rises to 57% if we just ask African Americans. While 67% of gun owners say that the main reason, they have guns is for self-protection, guns in the home are 4 times more likely to be involved in an accidental shooting, 7 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault or homicide, and 11 times more likely to be used in a suicide.

In fact, 61.2% of gun deaths are suicides! The U.S. has a higher rate of suicide by gun than any other nation on earth. There has been a 41% increase in suicide by guns between 2006 and 2017. Only 5% of suicide attempts are successful if they do not involve guns. 74% of all suicide by gun victims are white males.

On an average month, 52 women are shot to death by an intimate partner. 1,700 children and teens are killed by gun homicide every year. 4.6 million children live in homes where loaded guns are kept unsecured. On average 3 million children witness gun violence every year.

Black Americans are 10 times more likely to die as a result of gun violence as white Americans, and a black man is 15 times more likely to be shot and injured in an assault than a white man. [N.B. the gun problem is largely a white male problem]. And my personal favorite statistic-- 85% of all gun owners support background checks for all gun sales. It's about time legislators listened to that 85% and to so many of the rest of us who are non-gun owners.


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