This week on the Lived Theology Reading List, we offer a review of James E. Atwood’s America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé published in 2012 by Cascade Books. Atwood 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.
In his review of America and Its Guns, Project Contributor Kristopher Norris states:
Atwood confesses that during his early years of activism, he misplaced his hopes and energies in the power of national and state legislatures to regulate guns while still respecting gun rights. Laws will not change, he believes, until people of faith realize how the “Gun Empire” has convinced America that only violence will achieve our security. Recognizing the inability of the political powers to adequately address the problem, he realized that gun violence was as much a spiritual issue as a political one. Understanding gun violence as a spiritual issue allows us to see that our trust in guns is nothing less than idolatry, he confesses. “Instruments which bring only death [are] incapable of providing peace” (204).
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