Christians and self defense

Discussion in 'Religious Discussions' started by RunningOnMT, Mar 10, 2012.

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  1. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Akron, Ohio
    There's something I've been thinking about lately that I thought I'd throw out there for us to kick around a bit. I know many, if not most of you, wont agree with this idea, and in fact the idea may even anger a few of you. I'm not even sure of how I feel about it myself, but here goes.

    We've had many discussions on this forum about self defense and specifically the use of firearms to defend ones life or that of another, and I have usually offered my opinions on subjects such as when is it legally justified to shoot and the effectiveness of various calibers for self defense etc. Up until recently I have participated in these discussions without, for the most part, any consideration of Christian principles, or should I say, while presupposing that it was morally justified to take a life in self defense.

    Lately, I've been rethinking this topic from a "what would Jesus do" perspective, and I find I'm not quite as sure about it as I had thought. My thoughts on this are a little unclear, so please bear with me. It started while thinking about Christ dying for my sins and also His teachings about loving ones neighbor and the general theme of self sacrifice. I think about how the early church martyrs went willingly to their deaths without kicking and screaming or raising a finger in self defense.

    Yes I realize that dying for the sake of the gospel is a bit different than not defending yourself against a mugger or car jacking gang banger, but isn't it in essence the same thing. If Christ and the martyrs offered no resistance to their unjustified execution, and further prayed that God forgive those doing it, does God really see killing in self defense as justified? Christ taught that laying down ones life for another was a righteous act. He never qualified that by saying, "only when the one you are making the sacrifice for is righteous". It's never been about the righeousness of someone else, but rather the love of God.

    So what do you all think? Could you see yourself ever choosing not to shoot when it could cost you your own life?
  2. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 Active Member

    Nov 28, 2010
    Good question.............hard to respond to.

    I will do whatever I need to do to protect myself and my family. I know with that action I may be judged by my peers and eventually WILL be judged by God.

    I don't know how he would feel about it or what he would want me to do, but I know He blessed me with this life and family that I would do anything to keep safe.

    I personally think as long as I do not do it out of hatred or with evil intent, that it was done for a noble purpose......He will be understanding.

  3. Bobitis

    Bobitis Guest

    If no one protected themselves, we'd all be slaves.

    Most everything living on this planet has a self preservation instinct. Plants, insects, reptiles, and animals all contain this trait. It's probably the one thing that we all have in common. It may be something as simple as a nasty smell (skunk), camouflage (chamelion), poisonous glands, or tree sap.

    The Bible tells us that God created the earth and everything on it for our use. That means mankind is the top of the food chain, and he gave us the rudimentary skills to exploit the matter.

    The cross is a symbol of mankind being given the freedom to choose. In my opinion, that freedom goes beyond 'heaven and hell'. If not for that gift, well... See the 1st sentence in the post.

    What would Jesus do? No one can answer that question, and quite frankly, I'm tired of the phrase being thrown out there. I mean no offense ROMT, but it drives me nuts when anyone plays that card.

    In short, I don't think we were given the faculties we have just to surrender them away. We do however, have that choice.

    I choose not.
  4. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    A moral sin is a sin that goes against Gods word. A inmoral sin is a sin that makes one feel as though they are sinning against God.

    Moral sin example. Murdering someone. Adultery. Gods word is clear on these as being sins.

    Imoral sin example. Doing something that is not necessarily pointed out in the bible per-say, but it is something that God convicts your heart of.

    Turn the other cheeck was meant that if someone was going to do something that hurts you no more then a slap on the face, than just take it. Kind of like if a person gives you a bad gesture at a traffic light, Jesue EXPECTS us to be the bigger person and let it go. As a Christian our job is to be a part of Gods will and that is the advancement of the coming kingdom. So he needs us to step up and put him as our armor on and let the little things bounce off of us.

    An eye for an eye. Jesus is realistic. For one, he loves all his children and does not want to see us hurt. So, this phrase means that if someone is going to hurt you, he blesses you with the ability to match their threat. If they have a weapon then you pull a weapon and kill them if need be because that is what a weapon does. Think about it this way. If you are dead, how can God use you in this life to advance his kingdom?

    One thing I will say is this. I understand Gods word in great detail. I know that Jesus loves his followers just like a father loves his children. Exactly like that!!! It is a deep love. So just think about it. Could you send your child out into the world and tell them that if someone is going to hurt or them to just take it. No way, a parent would give their life for that child. That is what Jesus did for mankind.

    As for Jesus's death on the cross, that is something that no man can do except God himself. He knew that from the beginning. He knows that by the very nature that he instilled into each and every person in this world that there is not one human man that could not resist physical torture or death. That is why there is no commandment stating that you cannot defend yourself. That is why Jesus submitted to the cross.

    One last thing and I will shut up. No one has ever proven me wrong on this because they can't. This is an unfit world. If it was we would not need a heaven. If you think it is, then get on line and begin surfing the world and look at the despair that children live in because adult humans have fallen short. One can live in a glass house and say all is fine. However that person has not stopped to look outside and see the real world. Oh sure as American's we live the good life. But go to most other parts of the world and leave all of your life's work to a charity and see how fit the world really is. One will soon say, "This is a unfit world." Based on that thought God new this was an unfit world because of satan (who I give virtually zero airtime to) and I don't believe for the advancement of Gods kingdom that he put any man here to roll over and hand evil up to Gods prime adversary,,,, satan.

    I feel it a inmoral sin to allow anyone to harm or take a loved one's life, or my own life and God had blessed me with the ability to defend myself. I woud rather die fighting to benefit God's will then be murdered without justification.

    To those that feel that weapons are a bad thing. They are. Jesus is coming back with sword.

    God Bless all of my TFF freinds that I have had the opportunity to meet.

    P.S. Vert good thread!!!!!!!
  5. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of E. Texas!
    When God first created man, man was perfect. Then came the fall form grace, and man became something that God did not create, and man did this of his own free will. Man kind is of a fallen nature. When we go to God, and become saved, we are still of a fallen nature. There is no way to get around it, and no way for us to correct the situation. We each live our lives, some of us make good choices, and some of us make bad choices. Then there are those people that want to make life choices for us. Do we fight against evil? Or do we let evil overcome? The less we fight against evil, the stronger it becomes. If all the good men, and women, choose to do nothing, then we all become victims of evil. I choose not to become a victim.
  6. TEXAS 1957

    TEXAS 1957 Member

    Mar 24, 2007
    Texas forever outside of Waco
    I am assistant pastor at our church in Texas and we do have not only a right but an obligation to self defense. The Bible has instructions both in the old and new testaments. First let me say that Christ Jesus said
    "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill". Matthew 5:17.
    We also must know that the commandment, "thou shalt not kill" is actually describing thou shall not murder. To this line the Bible tells us our obligation,
    "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel". 1st Timothy 5:8.
    We cannot provide if we do not defend ourselves and our family. To continue this line of defense Christ Jesus said
    "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". Luke 22:36.
    The sword was the means of resisting evil and defending yourself. What to look for, Christ Jesus said,
    "But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would com, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up". Matthew 24:43.
    When you use self defense there is also instruction,
    "If a thief be found breaking up, and he be smitten that he die, there shall NO blood be shed for him". Exodus 22:2.
    Lastly, in dealing with murderers the Bible gives clear direction,
    "Whoso sheddeth mans blood (murders) by man shall his blood be shed:..." Genesis 9:6.
    Christ Jesus is our spiritual example and the Bible is "the Word was made flesh and we beheld His glory as the only begotten of the Father". John 1:14.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  7. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central Florida
    I like your line of reasoning and agree with it completely, however, our leaders keep wanting to re-define the Bible and the Constitution to, in their eyes, meet the needs of today's society. They seem to be of the opinion that language and the meaning of words has changed over the decades and that our 2 greatest documents don't mean what they used to. I disagree with this whole-heartedly. The spirit of the Bible and the Constitution transcends differences in spelling and grammar that time and translation might have changed. Only those with an agenda try to hold the letter of the law above the spirit of the law. "An eye for an eye..." is pretty clear and so is "shall not be infringed".
  8. twobit

    twobit Active Member

    Sep 15, 2010
    I agree with Texas 1957. The bible reinforces my belief in self defense, defense of others, fighting and going to war when necessary for good, capital punishment, and deadly force when necessary. I have been a Christian all my adult life.
  9. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Jan 11, 2010
    The assistant Paster from Texas has answered in full , Cheers!!!
    The Good Lord allows us to defend ourselves , and i've had to here a few times , but He dont allow me to go out and plan and carry out revenge attacks , that would be me being the criminal .. i defend myself , the threat is over , i leave it at that , they attack me again , then i'm ok to defend myself again,

    going to their place a month or two after the attack and attacking them aint defensive

    from what i read and understand ..

    standing in a court and saying " thats the guy who attacked me your honour " is lawful
    and if he's covered in bandages , so much the better ..
  10. H-D

    H-D Active Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    WWJD to the shopkeepers in the temple ? He beat the fire out of them ol boys for sure. I like that Jesus , blessed be the lord, my strength, he makes my hands to war and my fingers to fight, I hope David was right on this one, after all he was a man after Gods own heart , long story short, ill defend me and mine , if I feel bad after ill repent
  11. rosierita

    rosierita Active Member

    Mar 13, 2004
    South Carolina
    i agree.

    its the REVENGE thing i struggle with. :eek:

    God made me extremely protective... it can be a struggle because its nothing for my human nature to take over & want to hunt who-ever-it-is down & hand out my own form of justice.... & the more of a surprise i can make it, the better. :eek:

    God has been dealing w/ me on this very thing lately. so far, its gone no further than temptation, but boy oh boy has it been hard.
  12. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    West Tennessee
    ROMT, Texas1957 has nailed this one perfectly.

    Jesus' sacrifice was a whole 'nother issue.
    He came to earth for the PURPOSE of laying down his life for us.
    He had all the power of God within him, and COULD have stopped the process at any time of his chosing. He could have descended from the cross and smitten all those taking part in his murder.
    He did not.
    In fact, when one of His disciples drew his sword and cut off the ear of the High Priests servent, Christ told him to put his sword away, for He had the power to stop this himself he he so chose to do.

    So, here we have Christ telling us to buy a sword, even if we have to sell our clothes to do so, and then telling his disciple not to fight with the sword.

    The difference is simple.
    Jesus came to die. That was the entire purpose of his trip to earth.
    We did not come here for that purpose, and he instructed us to make sure we could defend ourselves.

    Praise the Lord - and pass the ammunition.
  13. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    I appreciate everybodys thoughts on this. Keep it coming guys.
  14. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    North Florida
  15. Ed~

    Ed~ New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    Wow, RunningOnMT, you really posted a heavy one. I'm with Jim, there is good analysis of the teachings of Christ being applied to this very tough question.

    I must admit that I've often struggled to apply "turn the other cheek" to my life and have seen it as one of my own defensive ego making me fall short.

    But I am also involved in a lawsuit with a neighbor where I admit to having been weak in stopping him from moving a fence and now affecting our parking access. Here is an example where in practicing Defense I failed to stand up effectively early on and am now paying the price in the high legal cost to do so.

    But 76Highboy brought up something that hopefully Terry can clarify: I was always under the impression that "an eye for an eye" was part of the Old Testament that Jesus came to invite us to go beyond; that the strict Hebraic Law of moral retribution may be just but not all there is.

    In that way, I've always imagined The New Testament was teaching us about love and acceptance.

    But not a strict blind following of any principle. Love for a child can also mean tough love. And while defense of our homes doesn't always involve firearms, (nor lawyers) I am learning that sometime an equally loving & strong, "NO!" is what needs to be expressed.

    But more to the OP's question. Personal Defense in a strictly life threatening situation. I have no final answer and can only a story that comes to mind:

    A woman healer, Byron Katie, does work in maximum security prisons, sometime helps heal mentally ill patients, often traveling and volunteering in war-torn countries. Traumatized, violent criminals have run at her screaming murderous threats. Katie responds by physically doing nothing but quote, "I just see love coming toward me. They're just Love having a nightmare." According to Byron Katie and several witnesses, everyone who's tried to attack her dissolved in tears and/or fell down. She almost always ends up holding them while they cry.

    Now I can imagine that in every one of those instances, there was an institution or group of people surrounding her that would have prevented the mad attacker from doing much more than an initial hit. In fact, I think that plays alot into how far any attacker feels they could go, even if they were truly insane.

    Nevertheless, it speaks volumes to the ability for someone like Katie who can dedicate her life to living in Love, as Jesus did, to not see the surface events in life as the most meaningful.

    I know I am not so strong but I pray for such strength when time requires and the wisdom to act accordingly. I do not pray for good aim as much as I do for never having to point my barrel at anyone to protect me and mine.

    In that, I feel my attitude is somewhat different, certainly more humble than those who own guns and regularly like to shoot human shaped silhouette targets at the range.

    I personally like to identify more with the sport of target practice rather than chat about "stopping power" -even with my current and retired LEO friends. Come to think of it, I find that people who carry the responsibility of lethal force as part of their daily work really do not like to talk about that aspect of their job. That fact alone may speak volumes to the OP's question.

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