You've heard the catch-all Christian question: What would Jesus do?
So answer this: Would Jesus use a "Jesus rifle"?
Recent reports have come in of U.S. trained Iraqi and Afghani army recruits—largely Muslims—refusing to shoot what the recruits call "Jesus rifles."
The rifle itself is just a variant of the standard American military issue M-16. But the"Jesus rifle" comes from it's hi-tech, telescopic sight.
The sights are manufactured in Wixom, Michigan by a company called Trijicon. They have the ability to gather light and display it on the aiming dot or crosshairs in the scope. The advantage for the soldier is that he can clearly see the aiming point in bright desert light of midday as well as in the very low light of dusk.
For thirty years the manufacturer routinely embossed scriptual reference from the bible next to the sight's model and serial number. The scriptural references typically referred to Jesus Christ as the ultimate source of light.
For instance, "Jn8:12": "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'"
And thus the controversy.
Muslim army recruits in Iraq and Afghanistan were not happy to use a rifle with a sight that references Jesus Christ.
American soldiers had not complained about the sights particulary because generally speaking America is still a traditional Christian nation. And in the context of the War on Terror many of them feel like they are defending their faith as well as their country.
Of course you can guess what's happened. Trijicon has ceased to emboss Bible references on their products manufactured for the military, and they have sent out over 100 special tool kits to areas where their scopes are deployed so that military staff can remove the existing references.
So, would Jesus use a "Jesus rifle"?
First, Christ clearly stated His mission: "The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luke 9:56).
Second, almost no religion in the world, including traditional Christianity, clearly understands that Jesus Christ is planning to take over the world in the near future—but He will not use "Jesus rifles" or any other human weapons.
But your Bible has a lot more to say about what Jesus will do.
For GN magazine, I'm Randy Stiver.