Guns don’t kill people, Bibles do

Stanley Hauerwas was right – we need to get the bible out of the hands of people!  He opens his 1993 book, Unleashing the Scripture, with these words

Most North American Christians assume they have a right, if not an obligation, to read the Bible. I challenge that assumption. No task is more important than for the Church to take the Bible out of the hands of individual Christians in North America.

The Supreme Court may not agree with Hauerwas, but hopefully, after you read this, you will.

Khristian Oliver was convicted of murder for a 1998 beating death in Nacogdoches.  During the sentencing phase of his trial, jurors apparently consulted Bibles.  The verse they sought?  Numbers 35: 16, which in the New American Standard Version that was consulted, reads: “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.”

Oliver had been convicted of  killing by not only shooting the victim, but also beating him with the barrel of the gun.  In other words, he “struck him down with an iron object.” In other words, according to the Bible, he should be put to death.

We know, don’t we, that most of the Bible really wasn’t written to be read one verse at a time?  We know, don’t we, that looking at the larger context of anything written or otherwise is important for gaining understanding?

I don’t have to give examples of other verses that we (ought to) know better than to pull out of context, do I?

If this is the way a jury reads the Bible when a man\’s life is in their hands, we need to take the Bible away from juries.

4 thoughts on “Guns don’t kill people, Bibles do

  1. When I read the Bible . . . I get a sense that the main theme is restoration and “giving life”, and that judgment is better left to God, because if I get involved in judging . . . it is usually not very pretty.

  2. In the example given, if it wasn’t the Bible it would be something else. It’s the thinking that’s messed up, not the reading material. Besides, a bullet would count as striking with an iron object (or is it lead?)

  3. I’ve been having some conversations on an atheist blog,

    Much of the concern there is that the bible can be used to justify anything.

    Taking scripture out of context can create problems and misunderstandings regardless of who is doing it.
    It comes down to your desire.
    Is a person trying to stay true to the intention of the writer and the purpose for the writing or trying to reach a conclusion that was not the original intent?

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