Some Thoughts On Guns In Church

Rod is upside down, reading a book.... This still makes me laugh.

Rod is upside down, reading a book…. This still makes me laugh.

There’s a joke in an old episode of The Simpsons…. It’s the one where a hurricane blows through town, and the only house that gets destroyed is Ned Flanders’ home. If you don’t already know, Ned Flanders is the town of Springfield’s s most devout Christian, and he’s a super kind guy–to an annoying degree. In that episode (it’s called “Hurricane Neddy”–Season 8, Episode 8), Ned loses his faith in God, has a nervous breakdown, and has to deal with some issues from his childhood. It’s a really good episode…. but there is one joke in that episode that is one of my favorite jokes The Simpsons ever made. After the house is destroyed, Ned finds his wife, Maude, safe in the rubble underneath their bathtub. When he finds her, she says, “Oh Neddy, it was terrifying! I thought I was headed for the eternal bliss of paradise.”

With one joke, the writers of The Simpsons hilariously highlighted one of the most glaring hypocrisies within modern Christianity. When I was trying to Google the line (to find out the exact wording of the line), many of the links were to Atheist web pages–THAT’s how perfectly targeted that joke was. Now, if you don’t see why that joke is awesome, I’m not going to murder the joke to dissect it for you…. But I’ve been thinking again about that joke these last few days since the massacre at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

“You point that end at the person you want to send to hell.”

Predictably and tragically, people have started calling for guns in church as a response to the nine people who lost their lives that day at the hands of a racist, domestic terrorist with a bad haircut. Within the first few hours after the shooting, there was talk of arming pastors and elders in the church in an attempt to protect the congregation from other attackers. This is a terrific idea–If your goal is to make the world think Christians are even more full of shit than they thought they were before…. If that’s possible. Here is the flawed logic that the world sees and understands, but for some reason, so many gun-toting people in the church are incapable of comprehending:

  1. Christians profess to believe that when they die, they are going to go to a place called Heaven–A paradise where there is no more pain, everyone is happy, and bacon is a health food.
  2. Christians profess to follow a man named Jesus, who commanded his followers to love their enemies instead of hating them, and said that “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” A man who, while he was being unjustly arrested in a plot to take his life, told his friends to put down their weapons…. Even–as the story goes–going so far as to heal the ear of one of the men who was arresting him. A man who died using his last agonizing breaths to forgive his murderers. THAT Jesus.
  3. Many We’ll say most of these Christians also believe that people who die NOT believing in Jesus will go to a place called Hell, where they will be tortured forever (I don’t believe this, by the way).
  4. Here’s where things stop making sense…. A very large portion of people calling themselves Christians are so terrified of going to the eternal paradise called Heaven that they have purchased portable, concealable, highly effective killing tools to keep from being sent there. And in order to avoid the bliss of Heaven, they are not only willing to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the Jesus they claim to follow commands, but they are willing to send another person to Hell. To be tortured. Forever. All to avoid dying and going to paradise. Forever.
He's not winking.... He's looking down the sight.

He’s not winking…. He’s looking down the sight.

Now, if this doesn’t make any sense to you, you are not alone. It doesn’t make any sense to me either.  I mean, if you believe that the time we are alive for is all there is–That when you die, there is nothing else–I can at least see why it might make sense to carry a gun to kill someone who is trying to cut your life short. But if you believe that when you die, you will go to heaven–if you believe in the Jesus who called us to love our enemies, take up our crosses, and lay down our lives–then you have no business carrying around something designed to kill people…. Especially something that you believe is probably going to send them to Hell. GUNS IN CHURCH?!? Are you kidding me? This kind of stuff is MiracleGro for atheists. You want to see people start coming to Church again? Show the world more of the kinds of loving, merciful, forgiving reactions that the families of the slain showed the killer of their loved ones. If you want even more people running for the exit doors of the church, start calling for “pistol-packing-preachers” and more guns as a way of dealing with the problem of guns.

Alright…. It’s so late that it’s early, so I’ve got to wrap this up. I have written about this before, and I’m really proud of the things I wrote, so I’m going to post links to some of them here. If you have the time, I really hope you read them. If one of them speaks to you, maybe even give me a little Father’s Day gift and share it…. Love you guys.

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26 Responses to Some Thoughts On Guns In Church

  1. Augury Harbinger says:

    I do not see how anything coming from The Simpsons ever can be construed as “good.” The entire series is written by an occultist to downplay Christianity. In my culture, we are mostly evangelical Christians and nobody would watch that series and many other cartoons. Perhaps if some Christians did not feed on junk, they would have had a truer perspective upon life, better discernment and righteous judgement. GIGO.

    • There are those people who embrace truth and there are those who embrace only what proves them true. It’s a choice we get to make for ourselves since God for some unknown reason gave humankind the gift of free will. Exploring the complexities of faith is encouraged by no one less that St. Paul who advised the Philippians to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. By the way, I am assuming your name Augury Harbinger is not your real name. Interesting that you would chose to associate yourself with witches and fortune tellers. GIGO

      • Augury Harbinger says:

        He gave us free will so that we are not animals but more like Him. Read my post Creation An Act Of Love. It explains it concisely and accurately.

    • Kerry says:

      The Simpsons is far cleverer and more insightful than anything your crowd has ever come up with. Maybe you should try watching it before insulting it and the people who created it and enjoy it.

      • Augury Harbinger says:

        Cleverer is not English. I did watch it but found it to be shallow. It is for the unsphisticated and illiterate. In deficit.

      • Augury Harbinger says:

        I do not know what you mean by “your crowd” as I am not part of any, but an anti-conformist and dis-sect-ed free ranging spiritual traveller. Read my blog and see that I am not your average sorority or fraternity type.

        I know Who is real and left the fake commercial salvation stores almost a decade ago.

      • theboeskool says:

        comparative adjective: cleverer”

        I could not not, however, find a definition for “unsphisticated.”

    • veronica says:

      The Simpsons is written with far more intelligence, insight, and cleverness than anything on tv today. You would do well to watch it and try to mine it for the message underneath. I haven’t seen the episode that the original author speaks of, but wow, that one line… “Oh Neddy, it was terrifying! I thought I was headed for the eternal bliss of paradise.” Brilliant! That says it all about people of your ilk.

    • Daniel Olson says:

      I would be inclined to agree…. until I saw the episode (movie?) where Flanders adopts Bart, and Bart learns what it truly means to have a father that treats him with compassion. When i saw it I was shocked… but in the totally good way. The fact that the Simpsons would even *consider* showing Christianity in a positive light was monumental. Unfortunately, the Simpsons being what it is, Bart ultimately rejects Flanders and “returns to the vomit” he is accustomed to…. But for that brief shining moment…..

    • Kevin Camp says:

      This is a great example of an ad hominem attack, a type of logical fallacy. You say nothing that disproves his point, you simply attack the source. Do you have anything substantive to contribute to the conversation?

  2. Once again, you have hit the proverbial nail on its tiny little head. I hope you are starting to find some healing through this process. Happy Father’s Day.

  3. Chris Hauser says:

    Do you get replies to these? At this address? One of your best ever. Die hard Simpsons fan since 1989.

    Chris Hauser Sent from my iPhone so please excuse the crazy flipper fingers


  4. mihipte says:

    It first I thought, well, at least Jesus (in the second picture) has his finger outside the trigger guard. Then I looked up at the first picture and I think he’s holding the gun unsafely.

    To go slightly counter to your point, my recent Twitter-ing (which started before, but was helped by, your mention of Shaun King) has shown me that plenty of black folks get annoyed by the talk of gun control. They prefer to target the root of the problem; I’m not actually sure what they say that is just yet, but I’ll keep looking.

  5. Barbara says:

    I’ve never watched the Simpsons, but that is a great joke. I have noticed that many high profile Chistians spout rhetoric that seems to indicate they actually have no believe in God at all. If someone believes that one day they will stand before God and have to give an accounting of everything they said, thought, did I believe they would be very careful during their mortal life. Especially since those who have led others astray will be judged more harshly.

  6. Gil Gonzalez says:

    I know I sound like a fawning fangirl, but I can’t say enough how brilliant and awesome your writing is. Excellent piece.

  7. rogerwolsey says:

    Good stuff. See also: “Friends, we have a choice to make. We can either fully receive this gift of Jesus’ teachings and his gift to us in making known to us the reality and on-going presence of the Holy Comforter. Or, we can reject them and exchange them for weapons and buying our kids bullet-proof backpacks – and feed industries that profit on fear.” Jesus: an unwanted Christmas present

  8. Please consult spellcheck before accusing someone else of being “illiterate” and “unsphisticated”

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