Thirty years later, in 2005, Rolling Stone magazine listed the title song, Way of the World, as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time at number 337.
Hauntingly pensive, Way of the World speaks to a duplicity that is all too real in the world in which we live today, declaring:
That’s the way of the world,
Plant your flower and you grow a pearl.
Child is born with a heart of gold,
Way of the world makes his heart so cold.
I write this only a few days after the mass shooting that occurred in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were killed and nearly two dozen injured.
As news of the tragedy spread across the internet and on social media, calls for more gun control were immediate and frequent.
Gun control as a means of behavior change is an idea to which millions of people in America subscribe.
I, however, do not.
I will explain.
A gun is an object and, as an object, it is inherently inanimate.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines inanimate as, “not endowed with life or spirit; lacking consciousness or power of motion.”
Given this definition, I fail to understand why any “thing” – be it a handgun, a knife, a baseball bat, a hammer, or an unopened can of soup – would need to be “controlled” in any way.
Consider, if you will, the aforementioned inanimate objects (handgun, knife, baseball bat, hammer, can of soup.)
Now, let’s assume that each of these items has the potential to be used in such a way as to inflict harm or damage either to someone or something. Based on that assumption, the question we must ask is: what is the source of that potential and how is that potential effectuated with regard to the object in question?
Logic would dictate that it becomes efficacious through an influence that is both other than and greater than the object itself because, being inanimate, the object does not possess the inherent potential to apply itself cognizantly in such a destructive way.
Therefore, that potential, to whatever degree, must somehow be imparted onto the object by something outside the object.
An inanimate object possesses neither the innate capacity nor ability to decide for itself how it will be used – whether for good or evil.
This is because inanimate objects do not make decisions independent of themselves. The reason inanimate objects do not make decisions is because they cannot make decisions. In and of itself, a gun possesses no life, no consciousness, no power whatsoever.
In that regard, a gun is no different than a broomstick.
For all intent and purposes, it is innately incapable of realizing its deadly potential apart from an external and conscious desire to bring that potential to fruition, and desire is a matter of the heart – always.
And He [Jesus] was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” – Mark 7:20-23 (NASB)
What gun control advocates apparently fail to realize is that a gun doesn’t have a heart.
It has no soul.
It does not feel.
It does not think.
It does not love.
It does not hate.
It cannot conceive of ill intent.
You and I, however, are capable of all these things (and worse.)
The reason the “way of the world” is as Earth, Wind & Fire described it, is because the nature of our heart is as Jesus described it.
The weapons used in the attack in San Bernardino did not aim and fire themselves. They did not independently pick out their targets as to consciously bring about the level of death and injury that was inflicted on that day.
Guns have no concept whatsoever of good and evil.
Such discernment rests only with the individual who possesses it at any given moment. In order for a gun – or any other inanimate object – to be transformed into a weapon there must first be intent; and intent begins in the heart not in the object being used to carry out that intent.
People have even used pillows to commit murder, but I’m willing to bet you probably slept on one last night.
“…for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” – Genesis 8:21b
The fallacy of gun control is that it is not the object that influences the heart, but the other way around.
Take away every single gun in the world and you would still have the same problem, as people would simply replace one weapon with another.
It’s just our nature.
There are those today who would have us believe that guns are the exclusive weapons of mass murderers.
They are not.
Guns are simply the most efficient means of inflicting the most destruction.
What gun control advocates really want is what we all want: that people would volitionally treat one another in a manner that transcends what certain laws mandate (John 13:34-35).
On the surface, this kum-bah-yah approach seems admirable. The problem, however, is that behavior change is not achieved by enacting more laws.
Murder is already illegal, you know?
The San Bernardino shooters knew this as well, but a law that prohibits murder did nothing to persuade them, because they had willfully predetermined in their heart that killing a group of people in cold blood was simply what they were going to do that day (John 13:27).
“I admit fully that man has many grand and noble faculties left about him, and that in arts and sciences and literature he shows immense capacity. But the fact still remains that in spiritual things he is utterly ‘dead’, and has no natural knowledge, or love, or fear of God. His best things are so interwoven and intermingled with corruption, that the contrast only brings out into sharper relief the truth and extent of the Fall (Genesis 3).” – J.C. Ryle, Holiness
The problem our nation faces today is not that we don’t have enough gun laws or that there are too many guns. Our problem is exactly the same as what was at issue in the days of Cain and Abel thousands of years ago (Genesis 4:3-8).
And though the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how Cain murdered his brother, that really doesn’t matter, does it?
What truly matters is that there is one thing we do know for certain – Cain didn’t use a gun.
He didn’t need one.
Because guns aren’t the problem.
Humbly in Christ,