After more horrific school shootings this week we find ourselves in the same conversation. Again. To be honest, some of the worst perspectives I’ve heard are from Christians. In fact, so many Christians have been making arguments that helplessly point to generic sin and evil that a friend of ours called Michelle and I today asking if we could explain it to them.
I couldn’t make it make sense for them because it doesn’t make sense to me. It reminds me of a quote I read on the way our reaction to information has changed throughout history.
In the past, censorship worked by blocking the flow of information. In the twenty-first century censorship works by flooding people with irrelevant information. We just don’t know what to pay attention to, and often spend our time investigating and debating side issues. In ancient times having power meant having access to data. Today having power means knowing what to ignore. So considering everything that is happening in our chaotic world, what should we focus on?Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus
Do we throw up our hands and say nothing can be done about this? Despite the popularity of that response from our politicians, I’d emphatically argue no. We can choose to focus on the things we can change until it gets better. I don’t know how any logical person could do that and not do a deep dive into our absurd cultural obsession with guns.
Thoughtful and logical Americans should be able to do this. Christians should especially be able to do this. As Carlos Rodriguez recently said, “Jesus asked religious leaders to drop their stones. Jesus asked Simon Peter to drop his sword. Jesus is asking America to drop her guns.”
Yes, evil is real. But if you want to follow Jesus you have to look at what Jesus did. It won’t take long to realize He spent His time acting, teaching, and advocating on behalf of the marginalized and vulnerable in His culture. And He said things that were so wildly contrary to the empire of Rome that they murdered Him to put down the threat. We shouldn’t be surprised if we lose a few followers on social media for attempting to go against the flow today.
Ironically, I’ve watched my beloved New York Yankees address this problem more courageously than most Christians are willing to do. They recently dedicated their Twitter feed to posting information about guns and shootings and provided resources to focus on in the midst of all the irrelevant information.
My friend Curtis Holtzen recently offered this mock prayer that poignantly illustrates our spiritual condition: “Dear Guns, We thank thee for comforting us from what we fear most, other guns. Specifically government guns and the guns of people who don’t look like us. We know that the guns giveth and the guns taketh away, but that’s the sacrifice we are willing to pay for our fear and pride.”
Our country is sick and it is costing countless lives because we keep hiding behind irrelevant information. And in case you’re still wondering, there’s a gigantic problem with our argument that this is just sin and evil rather than anything specific. Our relationship with guns in America is a sin and it is absolutely being used to embody the purposes of evil.
Can you see it?In ancient times having power meant having access to data. Today having power means knowing what to ignore. So considering everything that is happening in our chaotic world, what should we focus on? @harari_yuval Click To Tweet