Jesus and the Gun-Loving Young Man

A paraphrase from the Gospel according to Matthew:

And behold, a Gun Lover came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell your guns and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young Gun Lover heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had a great arsenal.

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a Gun Lover to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a Gun Lover to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt 19:16–24)

What Jesus is doing in his encounter is not condemning guns, but challenging idolatry, just as he did with the Rich Young Man. The Rich Young Man had an attachment to an idol and when Jesus probed the infection in his soul with the divine scalpel, the Rich Young Man recoiled because he did not want the surgery necessary to drain the pus.

Gun Cultists suffering from their peculiar infection of the soul are nearly identical in every way. They constantly lie that “It’s a sin problem, not a gun problem” just as the Rich Young Man would no doubt have lied to the GOP Prayer Breakfast that “It’s a sin problem, not a money problem.”

But precisely the nature of the Sin Problem of the Rich Young Man, like the Gun Cultist, is idolatrous attachment to a material fetish. Paul’s remarks on money apply just as much to the Gun Cultist whose attachment to his steel god blinds him to the common good as much the Rich Young Man’s attachment to his golden god did:

There is great gain in godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be armed fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of guns is the root of all kinds of evil; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs. (1 Ti 6:5–10)

If your first response to the massacre of children is “Dear God! I will do anything–including give up my gun–to end this horror!” then you are a Normal Person who puts what matters first and your attachment to material things like guns second. But if your reaction to the slaughter of children is, instead, always and only, “Don’t blame me! Don’t touch my gun! Me! My gun! Mine! Me!” then you are no different than the Rich Young Man and you have a very serious spiritual sickness, as he did.

Also, if you feel “accused” by me or have a weird compulsion to complain that I am painting you (who I do not know and have never met) with a “broad brush”, ask yourself why you feel that strange need to wear the shoe you deny fits you.


10 Responses

  1. At Mass yesterday Father preached on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and said that wisdom and justice should force us to implement strong gun laws. He’s heard a lot from pro-life people, he said, sure — and people in Buffalo NY and students and teachers in Uvalde certainly had a right to life.

    I am in dread that he will get death threats.

  2. On the topic and accompanying pictures:

    “Why Do Gun Hoarders Feel ‘Less Safe’ In America?”

    The thing of note mentioned is that even as gun sales are going up, the base of gun owners is not expanding significantly, so a lot of this is just the same people doing repeat purchases.

  3. Mark, I live in a high crime area. I own a firearm to defend myself and my family. Am I sining?

    1. Why are you asking me to sit in judgment of your soul?

      Note that in a discussion centering around a massacre, your first and only thought is about yourself. Why do you suppose that is?

  4. False equivalence. There are guitar players with dozens of guitars, car enthusiasts with the same amount of cars, why demonize the law abiding gun hobbyists? Idolatry is one thing, but that is not what this is…

    1. You can make an idol out of any possessions. But only gun cultists make an idol out of a possession that slaughters 45,000 people each year and then, as you are doing right here, think first, last, and only of themselves and never of the those slaughtered by your fetish. Your attempt to finger point and make excuses is typical of your pathetic sociopathically narcissistic cult of selfishness that simply does not care how many children you kill in your selfishness.

    2. The case could easily be made that a collector with dozens of cars, which are his principal occupation and amusement, is not seeking first the Kingdom and God’s righteousness, especially if that collector has no time and resources to share with others because the car obsession is paramount. Such is the case with anybody who has too much stuff.

      But apart from that there is a significant difference between your example and the folks in Mark’s illustrations. Those folks are clearly not just using resources but taking their identity from a physical object whose sole purpose is to kill other human beings. If that’s lost on you I have no idea how to explain it — but I suspect you’d just dismiss the attempt in any case.

  5. You have a fair point when it comes to greed. Like all of the deadly sins greed is defined by the “EXCESS” love of something(in this case material possessions). This can apply to anyone regardless of wealth(yes the poor can be greedy).

    Aside from that, your article has no basis in sound Catholic theology.

    The first glaring error is the incorrect citing of the 6th commandment. While it is true that it is commonly(and incorrectly) cited as “you shall not kill” the proper translation is, “you shall not murder”. I’m not trying to “pick nits” here. The difference is significant. Catholic teaching as ALWAYS recognized the inherent moral right to defense(including possibly deadly force) not only of self, but also of others.

    The next glaring error is falsely equating any firearm ownership with greed(excess love).

    You also incorrectly assume that if the masses voluntarily disarmed themselves, that those with murderous intent would likewise disarm themselves. The history of the world has proven this to NEVER be the case. Those with murderous intent have shown they have no respect for law. Disarming everyone simply makes them easier prey.

    1. As is always the case with the gun cult, you begin and end with yourself, not with the 45,000 slaughtered by guns each year. Your first, last, and only thought is about you and your gun, not the victims of gun violence. As to the right to self-defense, the leap from that to the right to the massive deranged gun cult you defend is like the leap from a right to shelter to a right to own Buckingham Palace. It’s insane, like the gun cult. I don’t equate gun ownership with greed. I equate a massive, narcissistic sociopathic cult fixated on guns which prioritizes that fixation over the slaughter of 45,000 people each year (including the slaughtered of Uvalde) with greed and more than greed.

      As to standard lie that gun control means letting maniacs run loose with guns, every other civilized nation on earth consistently proves you wrong. This is a US problem because your evil selfish cult is still enabled by your the evil selfish GOP in the pocket of the evil selfish arms industry. I look forward to the day your party, your cult, and the arms industry are smashed by Normals. I’m blocking your after this response because my sole interest in replying to you is to encourage and strengthen your enemies with the truth, not to give you a platform for more lies. You’ve served your purpose. Goodbye.

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