America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé


In America and Its Guns, James Atwood contends that the thirty thousand gun deaths America suffers every year cannot be understood apart from our national myth that God has appointed America as “the trustee of the civilization of the world” and even “Christ’s light to the nations.” Because these purposes are noble, and we are supposedly a good and trustworthy people, violence is sometimes “required” and gives license to individuals to carry open or concealed weapons, which “save lives” and can even be “redemptive.”

Atwood, an avid hunter, cautions that an absolute trust in guns and violence morphs easily into idolatry. Having spent thirty-six years as a Presbyterian pastor fighting against the easy access to firearms, one of which took the life of a friend, he uses his unique experience and his biblical and theological understanding to graphically portray the impact guns have on our society. He documents how Americans have been deceived into believing that the tools of violence, whether they take the form of advanced military technology or a handgun in the bedside stand, will provide security. He closes with a wake-up call to the faith community, which he says is America’s best hope to unmask the extremism of the Gun Empire.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.


America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé by James Atwood, Wipf and Stock Publishers, June 2012. ISBN: 9781610978255 https://wipfandstock.com/america-and-its-guns.html

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