There exists a curious mental phenomenon among modern peoples in general and modern Americans in particular. Even some who profess the name of Christ display this same intellectual oddity.
It is the for them, seemingly insurmountable tendency to shift individual culpability for personal sins either to the environment in which they live or in the case of today’s topic, to a morally neutral inanimate object. We’ll call it “ballistic blame shifting syndrome.”
Meet the “Forgotten Winchester.”
The forgotten Winchester is a model 1873 lever action utility rifle, chambered in the 44-40 caliber cartridge. The gun that won the west. Its serial number indicates that this specimen was manufactured in 1882. What makes this well-known and once very common firearm unique is that in 2014 it was discovered resting upright against an old juniper tree in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park.
The condition of the wood furniture and steel components, along with the fact that the butt stock had naturally sunken several inches into the soil beneath it, indicated that it had been mysteriously abandoned there around the turn of the 20th century and had been sitting untouched ever since.
For those suffering from “ballistic blame shifting syndrome,” the greatest mystery of all would seem to be how, in the name of all that’s sensible and right, this gun has managed not to kill anybody in the last hundred years.
It is after all an instrument of carnage and destruction, responsible for untold numbers of brutal and senseless deaths. Can it really be true that this evil and depraved mechanism of murder has failed to transport, load, point and fire itself at an innocent child?
After a century?
Surely this must be alt-right propaganda. All good people understand that “gun crimes,” that is, crimes committed by guns, are a national epidemic. They must be strictly controlled, or if possible, removed from otherwise peaceable law-abiding private hands altogether. Clearly, they turn men into monsters.
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Does the Bible, the revealed mind of the one true and living God speak to this thorny issue?
Well, for the purposes of the topic of this article, this is an easy one. Nowhere, from Genesis to Revelation is an inanimate object held responsible for an action. Because, by God’s creative definition, inanimate objects are incapable of actions. In fact, they are incapable of anything at all if not utilized somehow by a sentient conscious being.
A couple of quick additional observations from a biblical worldview.
Animals use tools. However, neither animals nor tools are created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore not moral agents. They are together incapable of either violating or obeying the law of God.
In biblical history, idols are inanimate objects and yes, the Lord commanded the tearing down of the high places and Himself toppled the image of Dagon (1st Sam. 5) for example.
In this case, we learn however from the apostle Paul, when addressing the controversy of meat sacrificed to idols (1st Cor. 8) that in itself, ” …an idol is nothing at all in the world, and that there is no God but one.” The apostle makes my very point. The idol itself is an inanimate object and it is the heart that worships it that is evil.
I suspect that many sufferers of “ballistic blame shifting syndrome,” would read this piece and agree with me in the abstract. The trouble is, in their attitudes, and most importantly, in their calls for action, they do not.
It isn’t guns that need to be controlled. It’s the evil hands in which they are far too often found.