Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) – There are a lot of things I am sick of hearing after massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Here are six of them:
1. “It was God’s will.”
There may or may not be a God, but if there is, I sure hope he (or she or it) does not go around raising up killers, plying them with semiautomatic weapons, goading them to target practice, encouraging them to plot mass killings and cheering them on as they shoot multiple bullets into screaming 6- and 7-year-old children. Much better to say there is no God or, as Abraham Lincoln did, “The Almighty has his own purposes,” than to flatter ourselves with knowing what those purposes are.
2. “Jesus called the children home.”
I don’t want to hear that Jesus needed 20 more kids in heaven on Friday – that Madeleine Hsu (age 6) or Daniel Barden (age 7) were slain because Jesus couldn't wait to see them join his heavenly choir. Even the most fervent Christians I know want to live out their lives on Earth before going “home” to “glory.” The Hebrew Bible patriarchs rightly wanted long lives. Moses lived to be 120. Abraham was 175 when he died. Madeleine and Daniel deserved more than 6 or 7 years.
3. “After death, there is the resurrection.”
In the Jewish tradition, it is offensive to bring up the afterlife while in the presence of death. Death is tragic, and deaths such as these are unspeakably so. So now is the time for grief, not for pat answers to piercing questions. “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” says the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and now is not a time for laughing or dancing or talk of children raised from the dead.
4. “This was God’s judgment.”
After every hurricane or earthquake, someone steps up to a mic to say that “this was God’s judgment” on New Orleans for being too gay or the United States for being too secular. I’m not sure what judgment of God would provoke the killing of 27 innocent women and children, but I certainly don’t want to entertain any theorizing on the question right now. Let’s leave God’s judgment out of this one, OK? Especially if we want to continue to believe God's judgments are "true and righteous altogether" (Psalms 19:9).
5. “This happened because America is too secular.”
Unlike those of us who are shaking their heads trying to figure out what transpired in Newtown, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical icon, apparently has it all figured out. We don’t need fewer guns in the hands of killers, he said Friday on Fox News, we need more God in our public schools.
“Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability,” Huckabee said in an astonishing flight of theological and sociological fancy.
Just keep plying people like the killer with Glocks and Sig Sauers. As long as we force Jewish and Buddhist Americans to say Christian prayers, then the violence will magically go away. The logic here is convoluted to the point of absent, leaving me wondering whether what passes for "leadership" in America can sink any lower.
6. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it. The logical fallacy here is imagining that people are killed either by people or by guns. Come again? Obviously, guns do not kill people on their own. But people do not shoot bullets into people without guns. At Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine, people with guns killed people. This is a fact. To pretend it away with slogans is illogical and revolting.
The question now is: Are those of us who have not yet been killed by guns going to allow these massacres to continue unimpeded? Are Americans that callous? Is life here so cheap? I have read the Second Amendment, and I find no mention there of any right to possess any gun more advanced than an 18th-century musket? Do I really have the right to bear a nuclear weapon? Or a rocket-propelled grenade? Then why in God’s name would any U.S. civilian have the right (or the need) to bear a .223-caliber assault rifle made by Bushmaster?
If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
I was with you until # 6. I have my own # 6 that I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre: People who have zero understanding of the 2nd amendment, but insist on trying to abolish it.
Are you implying that any move to limit access to assault rifles and 30 round clips must come from people who just don't understand the 2nd Amendment?
Yes, Sam – what is exactly your reasoning, besides what your interpretation of the Constitution says, why you think any citizen should be walking around with the kind of killing machine and ammunition that we saw used last Friday?
or my number 6: People who have zero understanding of the 2nd amendment, but insist on trying to support it based on what they think it says or means.
yo Mamma K over in page 66
Interesting article. I agree that we need to sit down and have a discussion about what to do and we need to base those talks on facts, not feelings.
"I have read the Second Amendment, and I find no mention there of any right to possess any gun more advanced than an 18th-century musket? "
Would you please show me where the word, 'musket' or 'current weapons of the last 1700's'? I missed that part.
Fact: Mass killers tend to use the most efficient weapons at their disposal, and here in the USA they have weapons at their disposal that most professional soldiers worldwide would be envious of.
Word search the bible for "futility". You will gain a better understanding of God's method for dealing with a fallen universe worthy of total decimation.
Word search the Bible for "talking serpent" and "unicorn" while you are at it.
your god hate the world and wants to destroy it that makes him evil in my book, i will protect this world that i love against any one including a god
and to the Observer, Unicorns was another name for Rhinoceros
Unicorn was a mistranslation of "horned ox". The evil one can speak lies through a glass tube full of circuits. Where do you get your satanic lies?
wow......worthy of total decimation......that's bad.........
2357.....grow a set and stop being a mouthy little b1tch
Lol. So you know more than the Biblical scholars who translated the Bible. Get SERIOUS.
unicorn means One Horn... done
go read that one mid evil book called the bestiary
One suggestion is that the unicorn is based on the extinct animal Elasmotherium, a huge Eurasian rhinoceros native to the steppes, south of the range of the woolly rhinoceros of Ice Age Europe. Elasmotherium looked little like a horse, but it had a large single horn in its forehead. It became extinct about the same time as the rest of the glacial age megafauna.
However, according to the Nordisk familjebok (Nordic Familybook) and science writer Willy Ley the animal may have survived long enough to be remembered in the legends of the native European peoples as a huge black bull with a single horn in the forehead.
In support of this claim, it has been noted that the 13th century traveller Marco Polo claimed to have seen a unicorn in Java, but his description makes it clear to the modern reader that he actually saw a Javan rhinoceros.
also guess what Kappas are
their is truth buried in myth
What was the mistranslation of the six days of creation? Of the global flood we know did not happen. The talking snake? The age of humanity based on the lineage from Adam to Noah, wrong. Please explain 40,000 year old cave paintings, please explain the earths geological record or the fosil record. None of it fit's with the account given in the bible regardless of whether you can explain away the use of "unicorn" in some bibles.
It's not unicorn or "horned ox." The original word is "re'em," and nobody knows what a re'em is. There are guesses, but they are just guesses. "Unicorn" came from the King James Bible, written when belief in unicorns was pretty strong in Europe.
If you are reading the Latin bible in medieval England, "unicorn" is a plausible translation for "one-horned beast of burden". But I was not talking about animals and diction. I was talking about the futility of creation under God's curse.
2357's god is quite psychopath. I wonder what that says about 2357 that he apparently thinks this god is deserving of worship.
So you think Nostrildamus foresaw Mick Jagger?
"If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process."
Sir, God is neither defined nor limited by humanity. He does not owe us an answer. He may choose to provide an answer, but often, He has already provided the answer, but we don't accept it because we don't like it. It's not wrong to ask, but I don't have the right to demand an answer I want. His ways are NOT the ways of man.
It's sounds like you are on the verge of finding Truth. Don't stop shaking your fist. Don't stop demanding answers. Don't be ignorant and blindly accept that no response means god is undefinable. It can also be a sign he doesn't exist. Accept this possibility and you will find god. He exists where he has always existed, in your mind. He is just another extension of your ego's unceasing effort to create a sustainable itenti.ty to give meaning or comfort to your life. But this is not who you are. You are greater than this. You are older than this. You will find this when you stop believing these false projections of yourself are you.
Public service announcement of the year:
Please don't pi$$off the retarded kid, especially if he has guns.
In response to many post's i've read defending large capacity magazines with "You can fire just as many rounds with a 10 round magazine as you can with a 20 clip magazine because it only takes a few extra seconds to switch between clips..."
This is a lie. It is a fallicy. And the truth is apparent when you ask those same persons making that claim if they would go into battle with 10 round magazines vs a group with the same guns but 20 round magazines, see how they respond.
I do support restricting magazine sizes.
however, I can tell you for a fact that it takes only a little practice to be able to switch magazines in under 3 seconds.
note also that the size of the magazines on weapons such as the M-16 is typically limited to 20 rounds because the larger banana clips are unwieldy and get caught on things.
And what is so wrong about asking for a 3 second "waiting period"? We already have a several day waiting period to buy the gun in the first place, unless of course you are one of the 40% of gun sales which require no background checks at all because you bought it at a gun show or online.
I would be fine with a 3 second waiting period between each round but I know that is too much to ask of these angry zealots gnashing their teeth and frothing at the mouth with self righteous indignation.
It would be a 3 sec wait between periods of bullets being fired in succession based on the size of the magazine.
If we limited magazines to 10 rounds, a reasonable coordinated person could easily fire 60-80 rounds a minute.
Limiting the magazine size isnt going to address the real problem, that's why prothero wants us to focus on that. Being an atheist committed to the destruction of Christian morality he wants to take the discussion off of the real problem.
we're the problem. The only solution is a change in our thoughts and att.i.tudes, a transformation of character, and only the God of Israel can accomplish that.
The relevant action here is not about clip sizes. It is to ban all new sales of semi-automatic rifles.
Pragmatically speaking, no progress would be made with handguns, and unless you are a well practiced marksman it is a lot harder to hit something with a handgun than with a rifle anyway.
GOPer, "The relevant action here is not about clip sizes. It is to ban all new sales of semi-automatic rifles."
setting aside for the moment the reality that the existing distributed population of semi-autos a.s.sures their availability, you need to understand that a reasonably competent person can aim, fire and reload a lever action rifle with a 10 shot magazine 40-50 times a minute.
you are looking at the wrong problem.
"you need to understand that a reasonably competent person can aim, fire and reload a lever action rifle with a 10 shot magazine 40-50 times a minute."
From a rate of fire standpoint yes, but not with anywhere near the same accuracy as a semi-automatic rifle. Reloading with a lever also means re-aiming.
Perhaps more important than a semi-automatic rifle ban is the requirement for a single national standard for background check for ALL gun sales, commercial AND private is more important.
But what is your suggestion? "Do nothing" is not an answer.
Restricting magazine size is using a bandaid on cancer.
Even gun activists will tell you a magazine is no more than a can and a spring and 'illegal' larger ones could be easily fabricated.
" reasonable coordinated person could easily fire 60-80 rounds a minute." utter bs and you know it Chad or you know nothing about guns. Look up the stats on an AK-47 and you will see it's semi-automatic rounds per minute is 45 and fully auto 3 round burts is 90 rounds a minute. Are you going to try to push what some amazing gun experts might be able to crank out with modified semi-automatic gun's made specificly for firing as fast as possible as the reason we should limit standard available magazines? If so you are just a clueless partisan defending something you know nothing about.
correction: "shouldn't limit"
Bear in mind that I support restricting handgun sales, limiting magazine sizes and banning commercial sale of assault rifles.
@Chad "you need to understand that a reasonably competent person can aim, fire and reload a lever action rifle with a 10 shot magazine 40-50 times a minute."
@GOPer, "From a rate of fire standpoint yes, but not with anywhere near the same accuracy as a semi-automatic rifle. Reloading with a lever also means re-aiming."
@Chad "wrong, reality is this:
– accuracy is MUCH better when you take an extra instant to aim rather than just squeezing the trigger over and over. Standard training for any armed services boot.
– you do NOT need to take your eyes out of the sights to lever a new round into the chamber, the rifle is designed to be operated in that manner.
@GOPer, "Perhaps more important than a semi-automatic rifle ban is the requirement for a single national standard for background check for ALL gun sales, commercial AND private is more important."
@Chad "I support doing it, but again it wont solve the problem Background checks would not have weeded out any of the Sandy Hook, Columbine, or WVA sho.o.ters. Those people did not have criminal backgrounds.
@GOPer "But what is your suggestion? "Do nothing" is not an answer."
@Chad "Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer, He alone can change thoughts and at.i.tudes. Huckabee is right.
Chad, key point here is that your Jeebus sky fairy hasn't done a damn thing to help, and in fact doesn't exist. And please, stop with the friggin repeated quotes please, you moron.
@Truth " reasonable coordinated person could easily fire 60-80 rounds a minute." utter bs and you know it Chad or you know nothing about guns..."
@Chad "so, one of us grew up with guns and has shot everything from bb gun to .357, shotguns, rifles and handguns, shot a marksman score at Camp Lejune NC and has scored 23/25 skeet consistently.
The other has no clue what they are talking about.
which is which?
"Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer, He alone can change thoughts and at.i.tudes. Huckabee is right."
"Bear in mind that I support restricting handgun sales, limiting magazine sizes and banning commercial sale of assault rifles."
So Jesus Christ isn't the only answer...
@Truth "So Jesus Christ isn't the only answer..."
=>I realize it's difficult for you, but you'll need to read the entire post (where I say that even though I support them, none provide the answer..)
I'm sorry, "Chad", but "Jesus Christ" is an element of mythology, therefore it cannot be a real-world answer to anything. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertion may represent a true statement is: "TOTAL FAIL".
this is moronic sophistry: "Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer, He alone can change thoughts and at.i.tudes. Huckabee is right.
Jesus didn't save those little children.
Regarding this comment: "Those people did not have criminal backgrounds.
I didn't say only felons should be restricted from owning firearms. Other ineligible people need to be on the background check list as well. Incomptence criteria need to be established.
So what do I think will fix the problem?
1. Repeal the 2nd amendment. It is moot.
2. Ban all weapons except sporting weapons (single action rifles and shotguns) with perhaps some proviso for small magazine handguns.
3. Inst!tute a weapons buy-back. Give people a $200.00 tax-deduction (or whatever) for every firearm turned in.
4. Comprehensive national background checks for ineligible gun-owners.
There is zero chance of this happening, so I think a ban on semi-automatic rifles and back-ground checks are a good start. If these measures save *any* lives (and over time they will) then they are worth it.
Trusting Jesus to fix it is absurd. Only the gun-owners in this country can make a difference here.
It's amazing to me how the religious will use any tragedy to push their religion. The contempt for life lost, and the utter disrespect for others is palpable in people like Chad and Huckabee.
Again, just because a trained marksman can fire competltion hand guns or shotguns as fast as they can pull the trigger does not mean we need to arm everyone else to those same specs. To put in place common sense gun safety laws is the only reasonable answer to the epedemic of easily obtained high capacity magazine rifles and handguns designed for the express purpose of killing humans. If you fear the government and feel the need to arm yourself against it please get some help, talk to a neighbor and get out of the compound, no one in UN or US uniforms will be dropping in anytime soon. Besides, what will your gun and ammo stockpile do against a drone strike? The average hunstman has been outgunned by the US military since the civil war, why do some think they need to re-introduce some human milita, it's completely insane, it's "74 vir.g.ins suicide bom.ber strap c4 to your chest" insane.
@GOPer "this is moronic sophistry: "Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer, He alone can change thoughts and at.i.tudes. Huckabee is right. Jesus didn't save those little children."
I guess you must have somehow thought that I said "Jesus will physically restrain violent people from taking life"
that's not what I said.
What I did say was that the problem we face is one basic human nature. "We" produced the holocaust, innumerable senseless killings, two world wars, and on and on.
If you learn anything from history, it is simply that "We" dont have a chance of behaving in anything other than a morally reprehensible fashion.
Jesus can, and does, change that.
@GOP "I didn't say only felons should be restricted from owning firearms. Other ineligible people need to be on the background check list as well. Incomptence criteria need to be established."
@Chad "so, now you're going to establish a psychiatric board? lol
The argument as follows: "That wouldn't have helped the children of Sandy Hook" is entirely moot. Tragically, they are dead.
The mother of the shooter paid with her life for her mistake in providing weapons to her son. Our country has also paid dearly for HER mistake.
While we mourn, any discussion of gun control is about reducing further violence. Current legal gun owners bear the responsibility for the firearms in their possession. A gun buy-back is an excellent idea, but if you think you can get the gun-lobby to go for it, be my guest.
47% of Americans own firearms and there are 88 privately owned firearms for every 100 Americans. Let's not make it 89 or 90 or more than 100.
Not a GOPer, it is clear that you mean well and that you went to some effort to come up with your list of proposals, but they are mostly unworkable and ridiculous, so don't expect everyone to get behind you on those things.
Your proposals are unrealistic and do not take into account the way people's brains work or how our rule of law works or the laws themselves, like the Bill of Rights.
It's like you want to ban butterscotch lollipops for most people and require child-proof wrappers for those who can have them. I hate butterscotch, but I don't need to ban it. Absent a Constltutionally valid proposal, your list should be scrapped.
@GOPer "The argument as follows: "That wouldn't have helped the children of Sandy Hook" is entirely moot. Tragically, they are dead."
=>oh, sorry.. I thought you were trying to identify actions which if undertaken could have prevented this kind of tragedy from happening. You confused me when you said "So what do I think will fix the problem?"
@Chad the disingenuous,
putting unspoken words in people's mouths as usual. Should someone, technically not a felon, but who has demonstrated absusive relationship behavior and has court-appointed anger management counselling be permitted to keep their 2nd amendment rights?
Should people who have been committed be permitted to keep their 2nd amendment rights?
There are lots of criteria that do not require a psychiatric board.
perhaps you missed this statement of mine: "I think a ban on semi-automatic rifles and [standard national] back-ground checks are a good start. If these measures save *any* lives (and over time they will) then they are worth it."
What is your proposal. "Do nothing" is not an answer.
Only gun-owners can solve this problem. Opponents of the current gun 'free-for-all" will be happy to see *any* meaningful progress.
"Absent a Constltutionally valid proposal . . ." I think we will see something on this. It may go in the direction for those who want more restrictions or not, but I think enough people are riled up that we will see a some laws proposed and challenged and a case on 2nd Amendment interpretation before SCOTUS , but all from this incident as a catalyst.
"putting unspoken words in people's mouths as usual."
Well there is no one better than that than Chad.
@Chad "background checks would not have stopped the Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech or Columbine tragedies"
@GOPer "The argument as follows: "That wouldn't have helped the children of Sandy Hook" is entirely moot. Tragically, they are dead."
@Chad "oh, sorry.. I thought you were trying to identify actions which if undertaken could have prevented this kind of tragedy from happening. You confused me when you said "So what do I think will fix the problem?""
exactly how is that disingenuous? Where exactly did I "putting unspoken words in people's mouths as usual"
Sure seems like you are jumping on this tragedy to push an anti-gun agenda, and admitting that you dont care that none of your agenda would have stopped the tragedy.
cue: "I'm not going to play games with you"
you offered nothing but "God is the answer" and some nonsense about easily circvmvented magazine size.
What is your pragmatic>/i> solution to reduce firearm violence?
Ultimately a sword would be just as effective fighting off the military as any legal gun on the market, so there is no reason to arm youself with the most deadly weapons you can own if you are doing it to protect yourself from the UN or the US. So the only other reason to buy weapons is to protect yourself from other people with those same weapons, so let's go back to where everyone has a sword but no one can own a gun. It will not prevent all violence, but this story would not have been a story if this kid had to attempt to kill 27 people with a sword and it would provide the same protection as assault rifles have versus drone strikes or rocket propelled grenades. Grow some brains people, use those instead of your tightly held weapons of death.
I guess you somehow missed my post..:
you accused me of "jumping on this tragedy to push an anti-gun agenda"
Ummm ... yes?
What are you going to do about it? Mouth plat!tudes? "God is Great! There is no God but God and John the Baptist is his prophet."
What change to the status-quo will you support?
Published today: http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/pollingcenter/polls/3348
There should be major restrictions on owning guns .............................................. 37%
There should be minor restrictions on owning guns .............................................. 33%
All guns should be illegal for everyone except police and authorized personnel .. 15%
There should be no restrictions on owning guns ................................................... 13%
I am in the 15%, though I recognize this is unacceptable to most Americans. The 37% is a pragmatic approach.
Where do you stand?
So, just to summarize:
1. you accused me of being disingenuous, then later admitted I was not being so.
2. you have admitted that you arent seeking a solution to the tragedies of Sandy Hook, Columbine and Virginia Tech (amongst others)
3. you have admitted that you are just jumping on this tragedy to push an anti-gun agenda
what do I want to do? I want to solve the problem and prevent future tragedies (GASP!! I know, right? who would have taken that approach)
The problem is us, the answer is Jesus
so your response to this national tragedy is: Jesus?
How is this different from do nothing. According to you Jesus was there before and is there after – so change nothing?
@GOPer, "so your response to this national tragedy is: Jesus? How is this different from do nothing. According to you Jesus was there before and is there after – so change nothing?"
=>ok, list of amazing things about your responses:
1. doesnt bother you in the slightest to knowingly hurl inaccurate accusations of "disingenuousness" around (and you're the one continually accusing me of dishonesty.. how exactly does that work anyway?)
2. doesnt bother you in the slightest to jump on a tragedy and push an agenda that wouldnt have prevented the tragedy in the first place.
You are more interested in pushing your agenda, than in solving the problem.
3. You are clueless about the Christian belief that to accompanying a belief in Jesus Christ is an indwelling Holy Spirit, that can and will change your thoughts and at.i.tudes to be more in line with those of Jesus.
is that about right? jeeze.. amazing
in the context of this discussion, I am only interested in addressing the problem of firearm casualties.
What do you propose?
in the memories of the slain children and those children who, without your support, will be slain by firearms, what changes to gun ownership do you support?
I am unashamedly anti-guns. I won't have any impact on the outcome. Only the gun-supporters can make this change.
First I propose you look in the mirror and ask yourself a couple questions:
1. "why do I think it's ok for anti-theists to say whatever they want regardless of its accuracy?"
2. "why do I rabidly condemn a belief system that I am unfamiliar with?"
3. "Why do I just have a solution in search of a problem, why am I not actually trying to address issues with workable solutions"
4. "Why am I going to ignore all of these excellent questions, and respond to Chad with "your religion is nonsense!! (see #2)"
I don't care about your circular diversionary crap. If you are honest with yourself you will understand that I do respect people wo live a life of faith. Others here do abuse this. Call me anything you want to. Accuse me of anything you want to. I don't care.
I do care about the absurdity of living in a society where firearms are pervasive. This is not a question about theism or atheism. It is a pragmatic issue facing our country now, in the wake of this horrible tragedy.
What changes to firearm ownership will you support?
Be a man and take a stand.
"Be a man and take a stand."
Tall order for the Chard. I can't imagine him being a "man."
@GOPer "What changes to firearm ownership will you support? Be a man and take a stand."
@Chad "uh gee.. I thought I already did :-)
Bear in mind that I support restricting handgun sales, limiting magazine sizes and banning commercial sale of assault rifles. December 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm
now, be a man and answer those 4 questions, plus one more: "Why do I think it's perfectly fine to not read a posters comments and at least attempt to get familiar with what they are saying before responding and calling them names"
Fair enough. Truthfully, I missed that.
I am in complete agreement with everything you have said there – assuming that by "assault rifles" you also mean semi-automatic weapons. Many will semantically argue that a semi-automatic rifle is not an "assault rifle".
Thank you for being direct.
A ban on the sales of new semi-automatic rifles is a good start.
In my opinion it is also essential to have a standard, national background check for *all* gun sales, both commercial and private. We also need to reduce the flow of weapons to criminals.
While we sensibly avoid too much autobiographical information here, it might interest you to know that a colleague of mine and his wife lost their daughter to a school shooting.
He is a regular all-American guy. Football fan, recreational hunter and fisherman, etc. His personal tragedy changed his outlook on second amendment issues.
NotaGOPer: Chard doesn't have kids. He doesn't really give two sh!ts about them. His concern is only for fetuses.
I will 'rabidly', to use your wording, endorse *any* opportunity to get people to think about changes to 2nd amendment related laws and policies.
@GOPer "I will 'rabidly', to use your wording, endorse *any* opportunity to get people to think about changes to 2nd amendment related laws and policies."
@Chad "at the same time admitting that what you are proposing wouldnt have prevented this tragedy?
are you more concerned with preventing that tragedy, or pushing your agenda?
pretty obvious which, which is bizarre, right? Dont you care to address the underlying issue and prevent tragedies like this?
please convince me that you arent just willfully ignoring the problem.
@GOPer, "it might interest you to know that a colleague of mine and his wife lost their daughter to a school shooting"
@Chad "tragic, i'm a parent, unutterably tragic"
@GOPer "His personal tragedy changed his outlook on second amendment issues."
you just acknowledged that your proposed changes wouldnt have prevented them. Doesnt he want to prevent future events like that which took the life of his child?
reminds me of the old saying:
Person1 "what are you doing"
Person2 "looking for my keys"
Person1 "oh, I'll help you look. where did you loose them"
Person2 "over on 24th street"
Person1"What? why are you looking for them here?"
Person2 "Well, the light is better here"
Chard: a Biblical "scholar" who can't figure out the difference between "loose" and "lose."
by your statement that you would support changes to gun ownership laws – where we both agree in principle if not all the specifics, yet you persist and want to bicker.
are you more concerned with preventing that tragedy, or pushing your agenda?
Neither you nor I can prevent that tragedy. It is done and the children are dead. My agenda is to try to reduce future tragedies of this kind and the ONLY practical solution is to start limiting gun ownership somehow.
The only real answer is to get rid of all the guns designed to kill humans that are in circulation. That WILL greatly minimize this kind of tragedy. You and I both know it won't happen anytime soon.
I proposed what I would like to see and as a fallback position, what I think is a pragmatic compromise – most of which you agree with.
What is your problem?
@GOPer "Neither you nor I can prevent that tragedy. It is done and the children are dead. My agenda is to try to reduce future tragedies of this kind and the ONLY practical solution is to start limiting gun ownership somehow."
@Chad "your logic is bizarre.
You admit that your proposed changes would not have averted this tragedy.
You proceed to say that, that fact is moot. Your agenda is among other things a repeal of the second amendment
How can you hope to prevent future tragedies if this kind, when your proposed changes would do nothing to avert them (based on past history of events of this kind)???
I mean seriously. Where is your logic?
you are a solution in search of a problem, you are Irrational,
As an atheist, you refuse to look at the real problem, so you push the only panic button left for you to use.
Thank you Stephen! That was the finest column of yours that I've ever read. And it expresses every one of my own views with a clarity, and force that I haven't been able to summon on my own.
I agree, and I normally think this guys articles are really bad.
This one was succinct and right on the money.
Agreed. Kudos to Prof. Prothero.
This artice actually nicely juxtaposes two extremes in the religious spectrum. At one end you have Stephen Prothero, whose views on religion appear to be sophisticated and well though through (in so far as a belief in sky-faries can ever be) and at the other end, you have a knuckle dragging Kansas simpleton like Mike Huckabee whose religiosity never matured past the Sunday school stoires of Adam and Eve etc.
Huckelberry only went in front of a mic to further his own fortunes, not to try to say anything to make any difference for the better.
He is a big azz punk.
Are you typing with gloves on or something? Are you sick? I hope you get better.
Prothero is blabbing adolecent denial against the sovereignty of God. Beating his head hard against the granite mountain. Shows what sophistication means to you.
Prothero is blabbing adolecent denial against the sovereignty of God. Beating his head hard against the granite mountain. Sophistication – pfff.
@ 2357 – interesting that you call Prothero adolescent, but see nothing wrong with the "retarded" epithet.
I stand by the accuracy of my description. Adam Lanza was a retarded kid with guns.
And painfully adolescent, nonetheless.
Still waiting for Stevie P's declaration:->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
My Take: One thing I want to hear from S. Prothero. ""After Newtown, "I am now an atheist.""
This man sounds like an " Unbeleiver" posing as a true Beleiver....Case in Point, his remarks regarding " It was The Lord' s Will"...
He does not beleive that. In The Bible Jesus tells us he holds the keys unto Life and Death. Also God owns all the Souls Past, Present, and Future. He can have killed, or give life to whom he pleases, whenever.
The Bible also soberly states this; Psalms 111 verse 10 " The FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING of Wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments ; his praise endures forever". We also read where he can enter into a person' s Mind to perform his will whenever he so desires ( Read Revelation 17 verse 17).
So let me get this straight. We are God's property and play things, and he can destroy us on a whim, because he made us? Is that really your position?
"He can have killed, or give life to whom he pleases, whenever"
Sounds like many Ceasars or other past human dictators...
Name*Ricardo, ant the difference between your God and 9 year old boy with a magnifying glass?
I'm sick of believers and non-believers taking a time of mourning for families to jump in front of a camera or jumping on computers to post articles to have a religious battle royale – respect the lives lost and fight about this at a time when there aren't 28 families grieving the loss of loved ones. My question to both believers and non-believers is "how would you feel if your daughter, son, wife, husband, (insert valuable relationship here) were gunned down by a person seeking attention for his problems and the media eating up that attention cry and plastering it all over the television followed by a religious advocate claiming this is God's will/Satan did this followed by a non-believer taking your time of mourning to go after the incosiderate religious advocate, instead of recognizing that this is a terrible thing that happened and taking a moment out of their self centered day to think about you and send prayers or vibes of sympathy depending on their belief." I would feel robbed of my chance to mourn the loss of my loved one in peace. Yes, everyone has a right to their opinion but for once can we take that right and sacrificing it for the sake of the lives left behind with a hole they can't fill.
Great article, Prothero! Excellent list that I should hope that we all can agree on!
Here is some questions. Why the shooter was wearing mask if he killed himself?
There is no wonded victims, all of the victims were killed and all of them have multiple wounds.
Seems like this guy was trained shooting or had expertize doing so.
Where is the video from the security cameras that captured all the monents? I am 100% shure that there is video cameras were installed in the school.
Who was another person that was captured next to the school. As I remember it was broadcasted a day or so later indicating the capturer.
Who removed the shooter from the Facebook and how acome the computer and hard drives were found totaly damaged without any chance to recover any information?
According tothe picture the killer was not that a big guy. But he had so much ammunition with him, bullets, rifle, two guns, bullet proof vest. It could be around 20 pounds.
What about his psychitrist. What prescription the killer had, what medications was taking before it all happened, who was his doctor?
Interesting questions, although I seem to sense that you are going somewhere with them..... what are you insinuating? Also, why such poor spelling? Just curious.
Excellent! More shoddy interpretation! The second amendment does not contain the word musket. Nor any reference to type of "arms".
Yep. The 2nd Amendment puts NO RESTRICTIIONS on guns. Children, the insane, felons, senile people, etc. all can have guns if your Bible on it is the 2nd Amendment. Or do you support GUN CONTROL?
Cool! Thanks Mike! I think tomorrow morning I will walk into the nearest elementary school carrying a rocket propelled grenade and a bazooka. And the best part. When the coppers arrest me, I'll just show them your post, and they'll have to let me go – right?
The second amendment says "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
A well regulated militia is no longer necessary for the security of a free state. Do we retain an uninfringeable right to bear arms?
@ Huebert – while I agree that there has to be a reasonable debate on the issue, I find it interesting that there is only one independent clause in the sentence known as the 2nd Amendment.
Sorry you missed the question:
Do you believe that everyone should be able to own bazookas, machine guns and hand grenades or do you support GUN CONTROL?
What a waste of a read. Author is a moron!
@Author is a moron,
Thanks for self-identifying.
For Christians who skip what they don't like in the Bible:
– Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I, the Lord, doeth all these things.”
Odd that they forget that passage, or deem it irrelevant because it is in the OT.
yep, a lot of christians use that excuse. they think the NT replaces the OT. but it doesn't. it only adds to it. they are just as bound by the old laws as they are the new. jesus himself said you cannot drop a single letter from the OT. but really, they just drop what they find unappetizing in the OT - they still follow the 10 commandments, talk of the stories of noah, abraham, moses, etc. all that is OT stuff. christians like to cherry pick. basically, they realize how absolutely disgusting god is in the OT, so they try to distance themselves from that fire and brimstone deity. but of course there's plenty of terrible behavior and questionable ethics to go around in the NT...
Clinging to straws, self interpretations? Wresting Scripture to your own self destruction?
Wrestling scripture?? It's not worth that. It does have some value if you happen to be out of TP. Psalms is the most like Charmin by the way.
"Clinging to straws, self interpretations? Wresting Scripture"
Excellent desription of most Christians. See all the HYPOCRISY?
The only thing worse then a hypocritical Christian is an egotistic atheist, and an atheist trying to interpret the Bible is like a Ford owner reading the manual to a Cadillac.
Wrong. The hypocritical Christian PRETENDS to believe eveything in the bible.
Of course somewhere, there are always Christians that will have exactly the interpretation that many other Christians just don't want them to have. And vice versa! lol.
Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.
(Thomas Jefferson – from Notes on the State of Virginia)
as much as I appreciate Jeffersonian notions of liberty regarding the doctrine of separation, Jefferson's writings are part of the problem with interpretations of the 2nd amendment.
The myth is that Americans and American militiamen won the revolution. They didn't. The tipping point was the French Navy.
A professional military won the day – not the amateurs.
not a GOPer – I'm quoting Jefferson regarding Christians not agreeing with one another, not regarding any Amendment.
I know and understand that and I'm not attacking your argument – and certainly not your views.
I just find that Jefferson is a dangerous exemplar in this discussion. It's easy to turn other words of his around to attack viewpoints that from your other postings I believe you hold.
I understand not a GOPer – I don't believe anyone was talking about 2nd Amendment here. Maybe in another place.
So cops(Public Servants) keep the right to carry but it's taken from the Masters? Servants are not greater than their Masters. Unless you're a Socialist who makes everything up as you go along. They progress, so to speak. HAHAHA Rights don't come from gubmints but from God. Infringe at your own risk.
God doesn't exist. Lol!
You are incredibly stupid to think that you are the master and government is the servant. That's what it was ideally supposed to have been, but the reality is that the government is that they are the leaders, in control, and voting is just the barest illusion of a democratic republic. Especially since money influences the voting results so much, and you actually vote on very very very little.
If you could ask politicians if they considered themselves leaders, all of them would say yes if they were being honest. But theoretically they are representatives, not leaders. When was the last time your congressman asked your opinion before deciding his position? Never.
America has transformed into a plutocratic neo-feudalism. The rich have the power, and you are a serf to corporations. The corporations are the lords, and this new version of feurdalism, you are serving many of them at one time. Even if you are a small business owner, you are a serf of the bank who lends you money, the insurance corporations who define what you can and can't do, and so on.
The government isthe overlord, the corporations are the powerful lords, and you are the serf.
Plutocratic neofeudalism. It's the way of most of the world now.
You are right Yolanda that it has deteriorated to this point. And now it is time to disarm the peasants. Only trouble is that some of us remember that our rights do, in fact, come from the fact that we are born free men under the dominion of our creator and that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Contiitution provides the means to protect those rights from tyrants both foreign and domestic.
"And now it is time to disarm the peasants."
The peasants were effectively disarmed the moment the government dropped a bomb that wiped out an entire city for all to see. Since then the 2nd amendment was amended in all of our minds if not on paper which is the only sane response.
Syrian rebels report that Bashar al Assad is on the verge of using chemical weapons in order to retain power
So you are saying that America is just like Syria and we should be careful because the government is poised to use military weapons against it's own people in order to retain power? You are nuttier than I thought Bill.
You must believe in American exceptionalism. That somehow, we are immune from the possibility of despotism. And what, may I ask gives you that security? Your opinion on a blog?
I believe the system of government we have is not perfect but it is far more accesable and transparent then conspiracy theorists like yourself believe. I understand that we have a long way to go but I am in no fear of having the government show up on my door to take away my freedoms. Are we slaves to the financial system? To some degree yes, we all have to work with the system we have but It is far more rigged for unaccountable corporations than to any despots within the government working to form some sort of deceptive dictatorship. By rejecting the possibility that government can be anything but ineffective or evil you choose to directly work against it's success which makes you yourself a traitor to this great nation, flaws and all.
@Bill Deacon: "U.S. Contiitution provides the means to protect those rights from tyrants both foreign and domestic"
Ah, but it makes use of them against domestic governments a capital crime called "treason."
The whole "My gun protects me from my government" thing is a childish right-wing fantasy. The people who have actually tried that are reviled as nuts, and nobody was unhappy when they were imprisoned or executed.
Why is it Billy is so concerned with making sure our rights and freedoms are not infringed upon by foreign powers, but it would be perfectly okay with him if women's rights are abrogated when they became pregnant. Billy thinks everyone deserves the right to own guns but women don't deserve the right to have control of their own reproduction.
If your god is all powerful and omnipotent that would directly contradict the notion god gave humans free will.
How is it when good things happen god is praised but when bad things happen its blamed on man or the devil?
Christian logic is sofa king stupid.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
- David Hume, echoing the logical formulation that we have dubbed the "Epicurean Riddle"
The condition of the dead: Eccles. 9:5; John 11:11 Their hope: John 5:29; Acts 24:15; John 11:25.
gibberish from men that thought the earth was flat.
Sure... blame me. Maybe you forgot god threw me out of heaven. There is nothing I can do that she can't stop if she wanted to. Thats right... god is female... you know the power of procreation? All this time you thought god had this epic shlong between his legs. WRONG!
The shooting happened because:
A. An insane person had access to high capacity guns.
B. Atheists expelled God from school, so he was teaching him a lesson even though he cannot be involved due to free will.
If you chose A, you have at least enough intelligence ot comprehend obvious situation. If you chose B, you have been indoctrinated in religion since early childhood, and now are so submerged in the indoctrination that you cannot fathom the possibility that the indoctrination is indoctrination and not the absolute truth. You are a moron.
false dichotomies are simplistic and unrealistic
I once was "indoctrinated in religion since early childhood, and" was "so submerged in the indoctrination that I could not fathom the possibility that the indoctrination is indoctrination and not the absolute truth."
Yes, they turned me into a "Newt"
But I got better.
The answer is A...
A better question would be: How does one spell the word "determine"? Is it:
If you selected B, then you are a moron.
If you KNOW that it was not a typo error, you are right. Otherwise, you could be the "moron".
daM! wen i misssPEll and mess up my punktu punctctu uh commmas and stuff i get laffed at but when i try to do it myself nobody thinks the other guy is as STOOPAD as me i think i is very sMArty and all and you atheee athiiei god-hatersjust think youse is so smart with youor big iq thingy numbers
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