The issue of gun violence and gun control is one of the most divisive issues in the US today. Philosopher Mike Austin has written a provocative book that attempts to bridge a cultural divide on this controversial issue. Join Scott and Sean for this stimulating discussion of what the Bible contributes to the issue of gun control, gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

More About Our Guest

Portrait of Mike Austin

Dr. Mike Austin is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Eastern Kentucky University. He is an MA Philosophy graduate of Talbot with a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. He is the author of 11 books, including, Being Good: Christian Virtues in Everyday Life, Conceptions of Parenthood: Ethics and the Family, and Football and Philosophy: Going Deep.

Episode Transcript

Scott Rae: Welcome to the podcast, Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. I'm your host, Scott Rae, Dean of Faculty and Professor of Christian Ethics at Talbot School of Theology here at Biola University.

Sean McDowell: And I'm your cohost Sean McDowell, Professor of Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.

Scott Rae: We're here with our guest today, Dr. Mike Austin, who is Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University and he's written on a whole host of things related to different aspects of philosophy and Christian faith.

But recently he has ventured into a new area for him and I think you'll be very interested to hear this conversation today. His new book just out entitled God and Guns In America. It's a Christian approach to the whole gun control debate. So Mike welcome. Thanks for being with us and thank you especially for wading into this not very controversial area.

Mike Austin: Yeah, not at all. No. Thank you for having me. I think it is controversial and we're not making much progress. So yeah, we need to try to do that.

Scott Rae: Now you've as a philosophy, you've written about a lot of things related to family, parenting, virtue ethics and really good stuff relating virtue ethics to Christian faith. Why did you decide to write about guns?

Mike Austin: Yeah, I came across, it wasn't intentional, I just came across some arguments really actually on both sides that I thought were sorely lacking. Like they're just mistaken and weak both from sort of the extreme, let's repeal the Second Amendment folks, and the other side where there should just be absolutely zero restrictions.

I saw there's a lot of, people use cliches and slogans and there's just not a lot of really substantive argument going on. A lot of talking past each other happens in our culture on this issue, and I think that happens in the church as well.

So some people ... I found people in the church using the same kind of slogans, maybe appealing to a Bible verse here or there where I thought this really clearly has nothing to do with violence or guns. And so I wanted to weigh in.

Yeah, I thought there really was no book length, substantial treatment of this from a Christian ethical point of view. And especially I wanted to write the kind of book that wouldn't be for other scholars, but for people who just were interested in thinking about it biblically.

And I think that I've been able to do that and give people some ways to approach it and think through it themselves.

Scott Rae: Now you've got your own background with guns.

Mike Austin: Yeah.

Scott Rae: You grew up with a gun. Tell us a little bit about that.

Mike Austin: Yeah. I grew up in Kansas and so I didn't really know that you grew up without guns. That was just the norm. We didn't live out on a farm or anything, but my dad that's a big part of his recreational life.

So I mentioned in the preface of the book that I owned a gun before I was born because while my mom was pregnant with me, I was their first child, my dad bought for $4 a 22 caliber rifle for me.

Scott Rae: Before you were born?

Mike Austin: Before I was born, yeah. So be with me now. He was ready. Then over the years growing up he mainly was involved and I did it with him, my brother and I trap and skeet shooting, sporting clays. We would go hunting waterfowl. And so that was just a normal part of growing up.

We had, there was a gun cabinet in our family room. It had a little lock on it, but that wasn't odd to me at all. It was just kind of normal. So yeah, I grew up around them.

Sean McDowell: You describe what's called the American myth about guns and America's founding days. Can you describe what that myth is and why you felt it was so important to address it in your book?

Mike Austin: Yeah. We're shaped so much our views of American history, less by the history itself sometimes and more about media, the movies. Look, one of my favorite movies is Tombstone.

Sean McDowell: Your favorite.

Mike Austin: Yeah, I mean, how can you not quote Doc Holliday? But we tend to see those kind of, this sort of the Wild West, the shootouts, everybody having guns as normative, and yeah, that was part of the story. But most people weren't getting in shootouts. Guns had more to do with hunting and provision and they were present, but they didn't have this mystique and sort of emotional value until much later.

So while they were there, they weren't as ubiquitous as people thought. And really gun companies like the Winchester Gun Company, their market was primarily international markets and government contracts. So after the civil war, some of these gun industrialists actually went out of business because they didn't have those contracts.

Sean McDowell: So is this important because a lot of Christians, or even non-Christians will defend a certain view of guns in America thinking they're defending America, but it's not quite as simple.

Mike Austin: Yeah, that's right. And so it's the they think they're part of the revolutionary war, which they were, but guns are more tightly connected in people's hearts and minds with our founding and our history than sort of the evidence shows. Right?

You would think that everybody owned a gun, and if I was a gun industrialist, I'd be making money hand over fist where this wasn't the case.

Scott Rae: Now Mike, to go a little bit further with that. You state in your book that one of the connections that's often made between the advocacy for guns with Christian faith and patriotism, which you call Christian nationalism, is sometimes pretty significant.

But that sort of Christian nationalism makes you nervous. Tell us a little bit why that's the case.

Mike Austin: Yeah. These days, that's a really loaded term and it's a spectrum of things, right? So, there's some people who want a theocracy, right? That really ... Some of those people I have in mind, which means right, just, yeah like a Christian run, the Christians would run the government according to the old Testament.

Scott Rae: Yeah. The law of God is the law of the land.

Mike Austin: Exactly. There's no distinction between those. Yes. So, but I think what I, and the more everyday basis, I think Christians and we often can associate ... We think being an American is intrinsically connected, right, to being a Christian. And that's not the case, right?

There are Americans who aren't Christians, Christians who aren't Americans. And that might seem obvious, but there's a lot of sort of identity that gets wrapped up. So whether it's in Kansas, right, I teach in Kentucky. Some people, there's this sort of family tradition where patriotism, the Christian faith and guns are sort of this they're intertwined with each other.

I'm a little concerned about that and the way that it plays out. So when Christians appeal to the Second Amendment in the same way they might appeal to the passage of scripture that worries me because of course, and I don't think they really think it's on par with the Bible, but they kind of think that settles the moral and spiritual issue.

Settles the legal issue given different interpretations. But as Christians, that's not the final word for us.

The other thing I worry about is we tend to we have to have as our core identity, not being not an American, not a gun owner, but a Christian. Patriotism is a good thing. I'm incredibly grateful to the more you learn about the world and the history of the world, and how fortunate we are to be in America and the rule of law and the things we have.

But I want Christians to be able to speak prophetically to the state. I want the church to be the conscience of the state in a certain way, not just to become a tool of it.

Sean McDowell: So you talked about the conflation between scripture and the second amendment. Let's come back to scripture, but let's start with the Second Amendment. Sometimes I hear people quote it as if that ends the debate, Second Amendment.

So tell us for clarity and reminder, what is the Second Amendment and what can we actually draw from that historically speaking and today for the use of guns.

Mike Austin: Right? And of course then surprisingly the interpretations are controversial, right? Which I think what is the Second Amendment? The right to keep and bear arms. Well, I don't have it memorized. But yeah, basically the controversy is to put in sort of contemporary terms, does it protect an individual right to own guns or a collective right.

So for really until, and I didn't know this until I started doing the research, until 2008 the Supreme Court generally found it was a collective right. So either the right of the militia to be armed or in some sort of communal sense to have arms.

But in the 2008 decision, the Heller Decision in D.C., and then followed up by 2010 decision in Chicago, the Supreme Court explicitly stated the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a gun for the purpose of self-defense. But it had never said that for 200, until that time.

Sean McDowell: Interesting.

Mike Austin: And so the controversy of course is it's choppy. Like the grammar, the Second Amendment is not as clear as the other amendments. And I'm not a constitutional expert.

Sean McDowell: Sure.

Mike Austin: So what I do in the book is just say, here's what people think about it. Here's where the legal situation is. And look, it's uncontroversial legally in the United States. The Second Amendment says we've got an individual right to own guns. What I'm more focused on in the book is, is there a moral right? What does that mean for Christians, those kinds of things.

Scott Rae: So you would maintain that there is an individual legal right to own a gun?

Mike Austin: Yeah. I mean that just seems, you can just quote the Supreme Court. That's what they found, yeah.

Scott Rae: I think you can actually make a pretty decent argument that even around the time of the founders guns were totally different back than they are today. They were basically single shot muskets and there was no such thing as a assault rifle in the founding days.

Mike Austin: Right.

Scott Rae: I think you can make a case that for a militia to actually be effective, you had to have individuals who were skilled at handling a gun and had readied access to it, if they're going to mobilize quickly.

Mike Austin: That's right.

Scott Rae: So I think the idea, it seems to me that's not an either or proposition. That it's either for a militia to have access to arms or an individual. I think for a militia to be effective, individuals have to have access and skill as well.

Mike Austin: Yeah, I would agree with that. Yeah.

Scott Rae: But I think what I'm more interested in is the moral argument. So legality aside, what's the moral argument for gun ownership, if indeed there is one.

Mike Austin: Yeah, this is something I really, I would argue there is a moral right to own a gun. And for Christians, our rights are ultimately grounded in the fact that we're made in God's image, that certain things because we have dignity, we should have certain freedoms, certain interests that we have that generate rights.

So in the book and in my actual view is of course, that there is a right to own a gun. And on the American context, at least in other ones as a means. It's what philosophers call a means, right? Meaning the right to own a gun serves as a means to some further good or interest I have.

So the obvious one that jumps to mind is as self-defense, right? So in many situations, in order to really defend myself, right, I have a right to choose whether or not I want to have a gun available to do that.

To defend to other vulnerable people, right? So defend my family for example. I would argue, I think this is something that many people that aren't familiar really with the role of guns in many people's lives, discount. But I think it's a weaker basis for the right to own and use a gun.

But I think just the roles, the role guns play in recreation, right? I mean in terms of just the liberty to go hunting or go target shooting or like I grew up trap and skeeting. I think it's easy for people who aren't around that to discount it. But then if their favorite recreational activity was taken away because well this might harm people, then they would be upset.

So we want to respect all those things I think can generate a right tone again, a moral right, yeah.

Sean McDowell: I could be wrong, but I would think most Americans would agree with that sentiment and say, okay, you can own a gun, but why an AR-15 or why these kinds of guns. Even my wife has asked me that. She's like, "I get it, but why does a normal person have to have that gun?"

What would that look like? Whether you hold that position or not to make a moral defense of the right to hold such, again, as an AR-15 or so.

Mike Austin: Yeah. And that's where you can really ... It's actually really difficult thing to give a definition of an assault weapon. Right? And I think that's a term that gets thrown around. So, I've talked to people who have AR-15s. There's a guy I know who's, I think it's a ranch or farm where he uses it to defend the sheep he has from coyotes. Right?

And a friend of mine who is a military veteran he talks about AR-15s aren't really that efficient. You wouldn't want to go into combat with one of those. But nevertheless, a lot of the mass shootings are using that gun. So there's something about it that's drawing people and it is efficient. Yeah. It's smaller caliber or these kinds of things.

So I would ... My own view and I don't give one in a book, we need to come up with some kind of ... We need ... There's going to be a line on what kind of arms you're going to allow people to have. Maybe it's AR-15. Right now it's fully automatic weapons that were made. To have a machine gun, it has to be made before 1976 if I'm getting my facts straight and it's really expensive.

Sean McDowell: Sure.

Mike Austin: So that's why we don't have a lot of those. But I don't see a need for large magazine, easily fire, multiple shots, kind of weapons. So I want magazine limits, things like that. So getting the kinds of details, but I think there has to be a line. If there's no line, then I should be able to park and tank an anti aircraft gun. And I talk to people who say, "Yeah, we should. Yeah, of course."

So I just talked to a philosophy professor who is an anarchist who is like, "Yeah, if this government can have it, then we should have it." But I don't ... But look, we have there ... I kind of think the rest of us have rights not to have some guy down the street have chemical weapons or a tank or an RPG. So we've got to ...

Yeah, it's going to be hard. There's got to be a limit and we need to hash that out.

Sean McDowell: So you've made a moral defense, namely for self-defense or for recreation. How about a theological approach to this? Would it overlap? Would it be the same one? Would you draw from any examples or passages within the scripture? How would scripture itself add to the question of the morality of owning a gun?

Mike Austin: Yeah. This is where I think people often misuse scripture. So over and over again, the most common verse that people use is Luke 22:35-38 where Jesus says, "If you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." I've heard people say sword and art in that culture equals handgun in this culture and that settles it.

But I think that, look, the passage itself, the first time I read it, it seemed obvious to me because the passage from Deuteronomy is quoted as a fulfillment of scripture, right? The prophecy that Jesus would be counted among the transgressors. So they say, we have two swords. He says, that's enough. And we see that's what happened, right? They were counted as lawbreakers.

But more generally on the positive moral side, I think there are instances in the Old Testament where the people were told to be armed guards to protect the temple or self-defense is allowed.

Scott Rae: Nehemiah.

Mike Austin: Nehemiah, and then what's the other one?

Scott Rae: In Esther.

Mike Austin: Yeah.

Scott Rae: The Jews are allowed to arm themselves to prevent genocide to take place.

Mike Austin: Yeah. Right. So I think in principle it looks like, to me self-defense. There's a theological justification for arming yourself for the sake of self-defense. Of course there will be limits, but now of course there are pacifists who disagree and people don't want to take that farther than I would. But it looks like that's there.

Sean McDowell: Sure. So in the loop passage, it does seem to me a sword. It does seem to be a sword that's for self-defense. Is that accurate your understanding of that passage?

Mike Austin: I would argue it's not. I would argue that it's that they would be armed and that made them transgressors of the Roman law. So because it says he will be counted among the transgressors that is quoted right after ... It seems to me it's given as a justification for having swords.

I don't think the context is self-defense. I think the context is fulfillment of messianic prophecy. That's what I'm marketing.

Sean McDowell: Okay. Got you. That makes sense.

Mike Austin: So not everybody agrees with that, of course, but I think in the context of Luke and generally, and then of course you look later and Jesus tells Peter to put his sword away and those who live by the sword will die by the sword. So we need to take all those things into account.

There are some arguments about it that I think as self-defense that have a little more weight. But yeah, for me, I came down on the side of this is about prophecy, not about arming yourself.

Sean McDowell: Got you.

Scott Rae: Like you said a little bit earlier that you observed on both sides of the gun control debate, lots of dubious claims being made that just aren't true. Can you give us an example maybe of one on each side?

Mike Austin: Yeah, that's good. There's ... Basically, I devote a whole chapter to this in the book because I think in the culture, these are the things that get put about. So one would be the claim that violence never solves anything and in that ... Let's put that strongly. But of course it does. Violence can beget more violence. We know it can just mushroom and can cause chaos and suffering.

But law enforcement officials use violence to stop criminal violence. Violence was used to end the Holocaust. Violence was used to overthrow a brutal dictatorship in Romania. Violence was used on 9/11 to keep the hijackers of flight 93 from killing larger numbers of people. So, that's one I think.

It doesn't mean we should just always turn to violence. But the myth and violence never does anything good is just demonstrably false. Right. In a fallen world, unfortunately, that's what happens.

On the other side, I think, oh you know, it's not a gun problem, it's a sin problem because that's when the Christians bring up. I understand that, right? The point is guns don't do anything, right? Someone, a sinful person has to pick them up with sinful intentions to do something.

But I think that's ... It's like it's a false dichotomy, right? It's either the heart or the gun, right? And I want to say, well they're both involved, right? That, yeah. You know. Some people said, well look, Cain killed Abel with a rock or is it the other way around?

Sean McDowell: Yeah, you got it.

Scott Rae: That's right.

Mike Austin: All right, good. So we're going to ban rocks. Well, no. But the problem with a gun is that, look, I think from an evangelical perspective, a biblical point of view about the fallenness of human nature, guns enable people who are sinful to kill larger numbers of people more efficiently. Right?

And so I want to ... There's going to be no fix it, right? But I already know the absolute solution to this problem. But if we can reduce gun violence, if we can make it more difficult for people with a fallen sinful heart to express that simple heart through the barrel of a gun, so to speak, we should do that.

Sean McDowell: One of the phrase that we hear that you hinted at earlier is guns don't kill people, people do. Your thoughts on that one.

Mike Austin: Yeah. Right. So guns, it's that yes, that's true. But people kill people with guns, right? So even back in the Newtown shooting at Connecticut, the large number of students and teachers that were killed that day, on that same day, there was a knife attack at a school in China, but no one died that day. All right?

Now, there are issues with knives in the UK for example and all these things that come up. But at the end of the day, if my kid is in a school, or if I'm at the university I teach, somebody comes into the room with a gun or a knife, I'm going to want the evil intentions. I'd rather face the guy with the knife, right? Because he has less ability to do great harm.

So I think that it's true, that both are true. So, it means we have to do what we can to reduce gun violence maybe with laws and policy, but also in ministry to our communities so that people who feel a need to turn to violence, not just mental health, but people who just are desperate get their needs met and really just come to Christ and find what they need.

Scott Rae: So Mike, without getting too much into the public policy weeds on this, but imagine you were King for a day and could write gun laws however you wanted to. How would you write them in a way that would be respectful of the Second Amendment and the moral right to own a gun, but would prevent some of these abuses that you're concerned about?

Mike Austin: Yeah, and I think that's the key. We want to balance the right, the moral and legal right to own a gun with the rights of innocent people, to have their right to life, the right to bodily security and the right to go to church, to school, to the movies without being shot.

But I think ... So I would start with universal background checks, right? I think people can get around that. They'll be able to subvert it, but not everybody. Right? We'll tighten the nut a little bit. So that's one thing I would do.

One thing that I think is even more important and probably would be more effective, and there's evidence for this, they're called extreme risk protection orders or more everyday language red flag laws.

So that's a law that would enable family members, police officers, medical professionals, teachers at a school to basically contact police and then this person is a danger to themselves or others and they have access to firearms.

Police they initially would remove the guns and then soon after there would be a hearing. And so if somebody has a mental health issue or somebody, it comes out, yes this person's got intent to shoot up a school or maybe there's a domestic violence issue, they lose the ability or they lose access to their guns.

The mental health one, maybe they get treatment and they can ... Some laws they can get back a year later. I would argue somebody that's guilty of domestic violence and finds they are a danger, they might, they have access to a gun and are planning on using it, I would want them to lose access for a long time. Maybe even permanently because I think there's some issues there that that's a big problem.

So the extreme risk protection orders, those have been tried in places like Maryland in one. I don't know if it's a six month period of time. There were 301 of these, five of those were school shootings that were potentially, I mean they didn't happen. Right. So I think that's helpful.

I would argue, I mean there are a lot of other things. This one isn't really public policy, although you could craft some policy to do it. But I would love to see looking to technological solutions, right? That like smart gun technology or smart gun safe technology. One problem is ...

Scott Rae: Spell out what that means.

Mike Austin: Yeah. So that would be ... So you can get a safe right now that if ... So people want quick access to guns, have guns in a gun safe and have got to do the combination and get it out, there's somebody in my house, well that's not going to be as effective if I'm trying to defend myself or my family.

Smart safe might be biometric or yeah, like a fingerprint key or you might have on your key chain an RFID tag that's connected to the lock. There are trigger locks. I just saw a video of this where ... So it's on a handgun and you can't fire it because it's locked around the trigger, but I press my thumb on it and it falls away, nearly instantly.

Scott Rae: Wow.

Mike Austin: And so there's not this time lag. What that does is it keeps kids from being able, which is a problem, getting access to guns and because they aren't safely stored and hurting themselves or others. If someone steals a gun, it's going to be a lot harder to use it because you can't ... You don't have the biometrics to get access to it.

So I think those things are important. I would love to see ... We have incredible ability technologically. What if Christians who are concerned about self-defense and defending vulnerable people invested time and thought and money into really effective but non-lethal means of self-defense.

I'm not saying a taser is going to solve it, but something else, right? Something maybe we haven't thought of where we can defend ourselves, but it takes seriously the fact that even the worst among us criminals are people made in God's image. And if we could prevent them from doing violence while also letting them stay alive and perhaps be redeemed that's a worthwhile project.

Sean McDowell: Those are really thoughtful ways we can approach this. You also talk about the connection between the use of guns and character and virtue. Can you talk about that connection a little bit?

Mike Austin: Yeah. This is something I'm interested in because here's where it looks. It looks like people talk about gun culture 1.0 and it was primarily about recreation hunting, but in the past 20 to 30 maybe 40 years, there's been a major shift. There's what some sociologists called gun culture 2.0. Or rather than recreation, the focus of gun ownership is self-defense and what you might call armed citizenship.

So people engage really in the same kind of training that the military adopted. In World War I, the firing rate was 15 to 20%. There's evidence that soldiers just didn't fire their guns or they fired over their enemies. At first I was like so skeptical because this isn't in the war movies I've seen, but no.

Scott Rae: Right.

Mike Austin: But this is kind of the stuff. This comes from a book called On Killing that I recently read that actually is required reading for Marine commandant school and Naval, not the Naval Academy, but anyway, the military is aware of this, military training changed. And so in Korea it went up to 55%, in Vietnam it was 90% to 95%.

Scott Rae: Wow.

Mike Austin: The way it changed was rather than a bullseye target on a hill, you put people in situations where like a human shape target pops up and you get that quick response, that's militarily effective. But it also creates almost a conditioned response, right? Where I shoot another human being before I even think about what I'm doing, right. It's a reflex almost.

Well, gun culture 2.0 a lot of that training is similar, right? So there are drills where you're in an urban area or the target is not just human shaped silhouettes, but targets with actual photographs of human beings pop up. And so you're going through shooting numerous times.

So I think creating a conditioned response where you're shooting without thought coupled with really dehumanization. Now you know, we know that happens in war where you know there's the enemy is seen as morally inferior and they're racial inferiority.

Sometimes that's present in gun culture 2.0 but less, maybe not as bad as that, but there is a, if you listen to some people, not all, but some people in that culture they talk about they'd refer to criminals as wolves. People that don't have guns for self-defense are sheep and then they're the sheepdogs who are protecting.

So think about wolves are often the symbol or symbolic of evil and all those sorts of things. So I think there really is a, if you have a dehumanization coupled with this conditioned response to really quickly fire your gun, there's evidence that that undermines empathy. Empathy is really a foundational aspect of a lot of Christian character traits, compassion, kindness.

I'm not saying that all soldiers have bad character or all gun owners.

Sean McDowell: Sure, sure.

Mike Austin: But we need to be really ... I mean the reason soldiers struggle, my friend who was in combat in the middle East, the reason he struggles is because of the things he did, right. And it's not that he's a bad person for doing that. He paid a high price for us, but he, and he's a good man, but he struggles with ... his flourishing is impacted by that, right?

Sean McDowell: Sure.

Mike Austin: And again, part of a fallen world. But my concern in gun culture 2.0 is that Christians embrace that language, that mindset. They brag about the stopping power of their new gun on Facebook, or my wife just got this gun, don't mess with her. She'll put you down. I mean, those are sort of ... We need to look at violence as regrettable last resort, a terrible thing that sometimes might be called for to protect something of value.

And if we normalize it, make it easy, I worry about our cultivation of the character traits of Christ. Compassion. We're supposed to actually love our enemies, right? I mean sometimes that means not allowing them to do something really evil, but sometimes that means oh yeah, that guy is made in God's image and if I have to do harm to him, that's a really regrettable thing.

Scott Rae: Okay. Yeah. Morally justifiable, but regrettable at the same time.

Mike Austin: Exactly.

Scott Rae: I don't think we often put those two things together in a way that contributes to cultivating virtue like that. Mike, this has been so helpful really. We so appreciate a balanced approach, which takes a Second Amendment seriously but doesn't claim it as an absolute and takes a moral right, theologically, a right to own guns.

But then again, that's not an absolute moral right either. There could be ... You can have a moral right but have responsible limits on gun use and gun availability.

That makes sense in culture today, but it's so well branded theological. I so commend your book to our listeners, God and Guns in America, it's the best thing out there that I've seen. I've done a lot of reading and study on guns. It's the best thing out there that takes it from a distinctly Christian worldview and really grounds it well theologically.

You've done a great work in this and we commend you for that. I very much appreciate you coming on to this to tell us a little bit more about it.

Mike Austin: Thank you. I appreciate that and it's been, yeah, it's been a fun and good discussion.

Sean McDowell: This has been an episode of the podcast, Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. To learn more about us and today's guest, Dr. Mike Austin, and to find more episodes, go to That's

If you enjoyed today's conversation, give us a rating on your podcast app and share it with a friend. Thanks so much for listening and remember, think biblically about everything.