Skip to content

Christian Liberatarianism, part the first

May 14, 2012

This always or has always seemed like an oxymoron to me.

When I think about libertarianism, I think about the Good Samaritan crossing to the other side of the road.  You know, not rescuing the man beaten by robbers, instead behaving as the priest and Levite did.

I think about the cheering when Ron Paul said a man in coma is to be left to shift for himself.  That exemplifies libertarianism to me.

“What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself,” Paul responded, adding, “That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risk. This whole idea that you have to compare and take care of everybody…”

You know what is interesting to me  along with Jesus talking about the Samaritan is Jesus’ call to treat people better than yourself.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be childrenof your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The above is Jesus Christ himself  (the Christ part of the word Christian) speaking to his followers.

I have heard hard right Christians quote Proverbs 6:6.  I guess that means anyone who can’t afford health insurance is a sluggard.  And if you’re trying to get ahead and build your business to take care of yourself, that would mean certainly not offering health insurance to your workers no matter how industrious they are.

Do you see why that makes my brain ache?

I have more to say on Christian libertarianism but in the meantime help me out here.  Tell me how Christians can reconcile Jesus and the themes of caring for one another to Ron Paul’s audience last September.

Please comment below.  I truly want to know.

From → Economy, Religion

4 Comments
  1. Thanks for opening up a discussion about these issues. I’m a Christian. Also I believe in the American founding father’s vision for what a government should be. It is often described as “libertarianism” today. If you would like to learn about the view, I’m able to answer questions. I blog about individualism and Christianity at ifwewilllive.com. You can email me at ifwewilllive@gmail.com. Here’s a good article summing up why I think capitalism is good from the Christian point of view: http://www.seanedwards.com/the-human-right-that-doesnt-exist/

  2. Cody, thank you so much for commenting. I appreciate it. I have no beef with well-regulated Capitalism. I’m an American, after all.

    Also, I have read the “human right that doesn’t exist” post. I admit I was hoping for answer from the Bible and not from our Constitution. I think of the Bible as God-breathed and I think of the Constitution as an important document devised by humankind. I say this to tell you that, for me personally, these two sources are not even on the same planet with each other.

    I don’t think of it as God —–>Jesus——->Founding Fathers of the United States of America. The latter were human and were very much of their time and their concerns and the document is limited by that. Again for me only, our highest calling is not to freedom but to service.

    Any time you want to link me one of your blog posts, I’ll be happy to read. Thank you.

    PS. You’ll see that I believe the politics of the Christian right has been co-opted by the corporatist-wing of the Republican party and by secular libertarians. Neither of these groups really reflect biblical beliefs.

    • Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. I’m glad for the chance at civil conversation with an intellectual such as yourself. I have great respect for your faith and for your desire to see Christian principles implemented in society.

      You are right that we should base our political views on Scripture.

      We should use both Scripture and common sense, because, while Scripture says do not steal, it does not say everything there is to say about what stealing consists of. While Scripture says the government is to bear the sword and prevent wrong-doing, it does not explain a full governmental policy.

      John Frame is a respected theologian with political views similar to mine. I highly recommend Frame’s work. He gives the kind of answer you are looking for in order to understand the free market position of many Christians.

      Frame has said: “Scripture never commands civil government to meet the needs of the poor, nor is there any suggestion that government should control the economy to benefit the poor. Indeed, we should assume that the government in general, like the courts, should not favor any economic group. Government, like all individuals and institutions, should be concerned for the poor. But the best thing that government can do for them is to be economically neutral.

      “Scripture, then, envisions a free economy, in which wealth is privately owned and the needs of the poor are met by the voluntary (but divinely mandated) generosity of individuals and families.”

      You can read more of Frame’s thoughts on government here: http://www.frame-poythress.org/toward-a-theology-of-the-state/

      If you want to establish your own position and convince someone like me to change his view, you will need to do the same thing you asked of me. That is, you also will need to show how Scripture supports your vision for the role of government.

      It will not do merely to show that Christians are commanded by God to serve others and to be giving. You would also need to show that it is proper for society to force other people (Christian or not) to give to others. That view is not found in Scripture, and it is a radical departure from the role of government we see presented in Scripture. The law about leaving the corners of the field for gleaners is not compelling evidence in favor of a redistributionary state.

      Thanks for discussing. God bless!

  3. Cody, greetings. I’ll check into Dr Frame over the weekend. In the meantime, 1) I’m not an intellectual, just a curious Christian and 2) I’m not out to convince anyone that my view is the right one. I just couldn’t see a biblical basis for libertarianism and was asking for help. Thank you for offering. I look forward to reading Frame’s comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: