Update: I finally admitted to myself that almost no one is going to take this survey. And that’s as it should be. It’s not safe to publicly discuss details of gun ownership online anymore. Big Brother is here.


I’m going to keep the post here anyway. Perhaps just reading it will be informative for someone, or otherwise useful to them. There are also a couple of comments that someone might find useful. Here is the post:


Are you a gun owner and Pagan? If your weapon is for self-defense (as opposed to, for example, hunting), please participate in this survey.


Its purpose is show a diversity of personal opinions, as well as their commonalities. I don’t believe personal viewpoints can ever  represent how other people should think or act. Instead, my hope is that folks sharing about the intersection of gun ownership and Paganism in their own lives will provide food for thought for folks who read this post, including those taking the survey. This mental stimulus might help someone gain greater clarity about what that intersection currently is in their own lives, whether they want to change it and, if so, what they want it to become.


Since I’m hoping to show diversity, some people might be puzzled by my not creating another survey for those who don’t own guns. My reason is twofold:


* I’ve discussed guns with Pagans who don’t own one, but not much with Pagans who do own one. Hearing from the latter group via this survey will hopefully balance the input I’ve thus far received. I want this balance because I’m currently reviewing and refining my own thoughts on how guns and my spirituality intersect in my personal life. (Note that I’m saying “my personal life.” I don’t believe my decisions should dictate anyone else’s.) The survey specifically addresses issues commonly discussed by Pagans who don’t own guns.


* Imagining there must be Pagans lacking the same input I lack, I wanted to get it to them and thus made a public survey. 




* Use the comment field to respond to the questions.


* Answering only one or two questions is fine.


* Preface each answer you give with the number of its corresponding question.


Question 1) How does gun ownership relate to your personal spirituality? Whether or not you are part of a specific Pagan tradition is irrelevant. You have your own personal path, and that’s what I’m asking about.


Question 2) How does responsible gun ownership intersect with your particular spiritual ethics? 


Question 3) There’s an old wartime expression, Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. However, there’s a fine line between, on the one hand, taking appropriate mundane-plane measures to keep yourself safe and, on the other hand, trusting the Divine (whether you define that as Goddess, God, Gods, World Tree, ...) to keep you whole. How do you navigate that line?


Question 4) I experience the cosmos as a single living, breathing, intelligent entity, of which I am a part. As such, my understanding is that whatever I do to any being affects me, in much the way that a limb cut off a tree can cause the tree’s other parts to sicken. This worldview, and behavior congruent with it, is part of my Paganism (which does not imply your Paganism should be similar). If you do believe as I do—that harm done to one is done to all—how does that theory shape your ideals about using guns for self protection?


Question 5) This is your last question, so please bear with its long preface. Some Pagans attempt to live by the maxim Do as thou will and harm none is the whole of the law. That expression was coined in a specific context: 


There is a prevalence of religious groups in which healthy acts, such as joyful sex, pursuit of one’s dream life, and self-care, are regarded as sinful. Given that context, Do as thou will and harm none originally meant that doing what you want is not sinful, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. 


For folks who don’t know its original context, the maxim appears to be a black and white dictate that amounts to insisting everyone be milquetoast doormats. Instead, the statement conveyed a wry insight that lost its punch once out of its initial context. In that context, I believe hurting others if we must is acceptable.


Unless we must—that brings up moral gray areas. How did you navigate those moral gray areas when deciding to own a gun for self-defense?


My sincerest gratitude to you who take part in this. I believe your answers will help create an empowering post.