21 Oct 2012

Render Unto Benjamin What Is Benjamin’s

Religious 6 Comments

Just a quick one tonight: I was explaining to my son all of the cool examples of Jesus swatting away the traps that the religious leaders were laying for Him, and of course I discussed the question of whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.

(Incidentally, I really set this up for him–he’s 7–to make sure he got why it was a trap. I explained that if Jesus said yes, then His hardcore followers would be disappointed and perhaps abandon Him. But if He said no, then the Romans would have to do something with Him because you can’t have rabble rousers running ’round telling people to stop pay taxes to Caesar. I said, “So if He says yes He loses, and if He says no He loses. Do you see why they thought they were going to trap Jesus with that question?” It was great to see the comprehension dawn on his face. In three years I am going to show him how the present generation can steal apples from their grandkids without a time machine; I imagine his reaction will be similar.)

I then explained that Jesus couldn’t simply duck the question either; He had to say something that sounded profound, and yet eluded the trap. I illustrated like this: “He can’t just say, ‘Uh, I have to go to the bathroom!'” as I walked awkwardly away. Good stuff.

As I started telling the answer, I wanted to make sure that my son understood what I meant when I said that the Roman emperor–the one to whom the Jewish people had to pay the hated tax–had his face on the coin. So I walked over to my wallet and pulled out a dollar bill and asked my son, “Who is that?” My son had just learned about Washington in school, so I knew he would know.

Some of you may be thinking, “OK, with you so far Bob, what’s the punchline of the story here?” That was the punchline. Beyond the State wanting to control money for financial reasons, it also is a great way to give their subjects a subconscious association of earthly success and the person embodying the State.

6 Responses to “Render Unto Benjamin What Is Benjamin’s”

  1. Chris B says:

    I think that you’re spot on with this. I was actually just thinking about this tonight as I was going over Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty again today and came across where he points out it would be legitimate to refuse to pay the State due to the nature of their existence.

    I thought about Jesus and I remember where he instructs to give your shoes as well as your coat and turn the other cheek. Coupled with his instructions in the above example I think more so he was telling us not to lay our treasure on earth, so to speak, but rather in heaven. I know you probably already got this but I thought it rather odd, and encouraging personally, that you should be having the same conversation tonight.

    Governments, States, Kings, and Despots could not come to power if God did not allow it. This is not to say he endorses their methods but due to the nature of sin they are understandable. While they are allowed to exist it is up to us to store our treasures in heaven and live as Jesus exemplified in Gods word. It reminds me of Ron Paul’s mission to teach and spread ideas. Rather than rely on anger, animosity, or a rebellious spirit but through a peaceful discourse and intellectual revolution.

  2. Egoist says:

    That was also an excellent, subliminal way of teaching your son that he is not duty bound to pay taxes…to anyone living.

    After all, Washington died a long time ago. LOL

  3. Egoist says:

    Speaking of subconsciousness, I think there is a reason the WTC came down on 9/11, and why the date is written that way and referred to that way.

    “I am hurt! Call 911”. Then the citizen in need is subconsciously reminded of the terrorist attacks, which then forms a mental bridge between the state, and protection against terrorism. Psyops are increasingly needed in a world of increasing questioining of state authority.

    • Tel says:

      Yeah, they don’t play that “911 is a Joke” song as much as they used to do.

  4. Mike K says:

    I’ve always appreciated Jeffrey Barr’s insight on the tribute episode:

    Jesus subtly mocks the government and shows where the power actually lies.

  5. Ken B says:

    Coins have been important propaganda for a long time. Some Roman emperors ‘recalled’ and reminted coins with their predecessor’s face, and this has happened numerous times throughout history. Of course reminting was a practical necessity before edge milling, but the principle remains, as the timing is movable.

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