26 Jul 2015

“How Do You Reconcile Your Christianity and Libertarianism?”

Libertarianism, Religious 61 Comments

Such was the question a guy asked me at Mises University (where I spent last week). To be clear, he was also a Christian and (presumably) attracted by libertarianism, but had doubts about how the two fit together.

I realize why atheist libertarians, who argue on Facebook with statist Christians, would walk away thinking that the two frameworks are incompatible. But for me, they are so naturally complementary that it’s hard for me to understand where the confusion comes in. I think the main thing going on is that (in my humble opinion, of course) many loud Christians are being inconsistent with their stated core doctrines, and many loud libertarians are doing the same.

==> If you take the Sermon the Mount literally, it is quite difficult to see how you could support a violent State institution.

==> Yes, Romans 13 admittedly sounds like it is incompatible with Rothbardian libertarianism. But then again, it sounds like it is incompatible with denouncing Hitler, Stalin, or Saddam Hussein. So you could just as easily walk up to any evangelical Republican and ask, “How do you reconcile your political views with Romans 13?” (I’ve given better answers on this thorny question here and here.)

==> The Christian ultimately cares about people’s souls, not their worldly status. I think that’s why Paul did the “shocking” thing of telling slaves to obey their masters, and telling masters to treat their slaves kindly, as opposed to trying to abolish slavery with his pen. His point was to bring the freedom of the gospel to everyone, in all stations in life. Paul himself was filled with joy as he sat in chains.

==> There is a distinction between sin and crime, even in the Old Testament.

==> There was a period when the Israelites were ruled by judges who thought they were leading on their understanding of the Law given by God to Moses, with no political authority above them. Samuel the prophet famously warned what would happen when the fickle Israelites asked for a king to rule over them (and thus ended the period of judges). To be sure, this system wasn’t something out of a David Friedman essay, but it was quite far from a bicameral legislature and a two-party system running a constitutional (sic) republic (sic).

==> Even “extreme” libertarianism recognizes the importance of law enforcement, though I predict that in modern society it would become very peaceful, very quickly. The Bible certainly teaches Christians to aid the poor, orphans, and widows. Most evangelical Christians understand that this does not automatically mean that the State should run all of these initiatives. So, by the same token, if the Bible teaches people to respect property rights, and even (though here I think it gets trickier) says that civil authorities must wield “the sword” to punish criminals, it doesn’t follow that the State should run this initiative. If the Christian objects, “But of course the State has to do it–that’s the only possible way it can happen!” then we are simply having a secular argument about the private provision of judicial and police services. The fact that my critic and I are both Christians has nothing to do with it.

==> Last thing: I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: If I’m at FreedomFest (say) and somebody asks me if I’m an anarchist, I’ll say yes because I know what the person means–he wants to know if I’m a minarchist like Ayn Rand and Mises, or if I believe in full privatization of all useful State functions, like Rothbard.

However, I actually don’t think of myself as an anarchist. Indeed, I am arguably a monarchist, because I serve a King who is master of my life. Do you know Him?

61 Responses to ““How Do You Reconcile Your Christianity and Libertarianism?””

  1. Z says:

    But what about the place where Jesus says “And lo! If you ever come upon a Keynesian, beat the living sh-t out of him immediately before he even initiates any violence and causes an economic collapse!” Haha just joking, that was John the Baptist who said that.

    Have you guys ever invited Blimey Cow to Mises University? I believe they are both Christian and libertarian or atleast libertarianish.

  2. E. Harding says:

    “I realize why atheist libertarians, who argue on Facebook with statist Christians, would walk away thinking that the two frameworks are incompatible.”
    -So did atheist libertarian Ludwig von Mises.

    “Indeed, I am arguably a monarchist”
    -See, there’s the thing that strikes us.

    • Giovanni says:

      You’re totally crazy if you think of God as a secular king. How can you think that if you do not even believe in His existence?

  3. Yosef says:

    Bob you wrote, “The Christian ultimately cares about people’s souls, not their worldly status.” Good point, it’s not like you could save souls AND abolish slavery. I mean, there are limits to what the word of God can do, right? Plus, it was a different time, slavery was seen differently, and should be judged based on the morals of the time. It’s not like something can be absolutely wrong, it’s all relative.

    The one technical correction I would make is that Christianity is not monarchist, but totalitarian.

    • Tel says:

      A wise monarch understands the benefit of voluntarily allowing freedom for his/her subjects, because the whole nation (including the monarch) is better off.

      Thus, the only totalitarian who clings to absolute power is one who really is too weak to deal with freedom (or possibly just stupid, insane, etc).

      There’s plenty of historical examples of human kings who had both theoretical claim to absolute power, and the practical ability to do pretty much whatever they wanted (have people executed at will for example) but by choice they never exercised this power to the fullest extent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that an absolute truth or just relative? If it’s just a relative truth (that there’s no absolute truth) then is pointless.

      Financial slavery is a legitimate out working of the laws of restitution and entailed a limited period of time to restore a financial obligation. Not to be confused with immoral kidnapping and forced confinement/labour. -just as an aside.

    • Anonymous says:

      “The one technical correction I would make is that Christianity is totalitarian not monarchical.”
      Hey, that’s exactly what Satan thought!

  4. Keshav Srinivasan says:

    Bob, out of curiosity, when you first became a Christian, did you undertake a serious reexamination of your political views to see if they still made sense after your most fundamental views about the nature of reality had changed?

  5. Major.Freedom says:

    “But for me, they are so naturally complementary that it’s hard for me to understand where the confusion comes in.”

    and then

    “Yes, Romans 13 admittedly sounds like it is incompatible with Rothbardian libertarianism. But then again, it sounds like it is incompatible with denouncing Hitler, Stalin, or Saddam Hussein.”

    Um yeah, that which is incompatible with denouncing Hitler is sure as $#it incompatible with Libertarianism.

    Hard to understand where the “confusion” comes in? Really? Here we have a passage that you agree is incompatible with Libertarianism, in the same blog post that contains the state “they are so naturally complimentary.”

    Come on Murphy, that is a blatant contradiction, why stress and strain to square a circle? It is time to call the duck a duck.

    • Gene Callahan says:

      What is very funny here, MF, is that if you ever succeed in your efforts, the end result will surely be one less libertarian, not one less Christian.

      • RPLong says:

        Why is that funny?

        • Anonymous says:

          Because MF surely wants him to drop Christianity, not libertarianism.

          • RPLong says:

            No, I mean why is that funny?

            • Keshav Srinivasan says:

              What’s funny is the notion that someone is actively working to undermine their own goals.

              • RPLong says:

                Well, first of all, that’s still not funny. It might qualify as “ironic” or something, but not particularly funny (to anyone but Gene Callahan).

                Second of all, describing the situation that way is twisted. The idea that Bob and MF can’t disagree about libertarianism’s consistency with Christianity without MF “undermining” his supposed “goal” of promoting libertarianism is a totally bizarre claim.

                Bob and MF disagree, that’s all.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                I think generally the notion of people’s endeavors backfiring is funny. Don’t you find it funny when Wile E. Coyote tries so hard to make a bomb go off, and it ends up getting him?

                Anyway, people’s sense of humor differ. I certainly got a chuckle out of it.

              • RPLong says:

                What’s funny about Wile E. Coyote is not that something backfired on him, but rather that the audience already knows in advance that he’s going to get injured. It’s slapstick humor played against the consistent theme that nothing he ever does will ever work. There’s an added richness here in that Wile E. Coyote is obviously the smarter of the two animals, and yet no matter how much of a “genius” he happens to be, his progressively more complex schemes backfire in ways that are, to the audience, simple and predictable.

                It’s not the mere fact of backfiring, but all that added comedic depth.

                Meanwhile, Gene Callahan would find it hilarious if Major_Freedom turned Bob against libertarianism by definitively showing that it cannot be reconciled with Christianity.

                Do you see the difference? Callahan is happy to gloat about Major_Freedom “losing” in a battle for Bob’s ideology.

                But there’s nothing funny about that – we’re talking about Bob’s most deeply held beliefs. “Winning” means arriving at a situation in which Bob is fundamentally happy. If MF changes Bob’s mind in either direction, and Bob is happier as a result, then MF has done Bob a good turn. If Bob ends up less happy, then that would really suck. In either case, I don’t see that there’s anything to laugh about. Doing so would seem petty to me.

              • Gene Callahan says:

                “It might qualify as “ironic” or something”

                One of the definitions of “funny” is “Difficult to account for; unusual or odd.”

                It doesn’t only mean “makes one laugh.”

      • Major.Freedom says:

        But Murphy right now as we speak is either a libertarian or a Christian.

        I think what you really meant to say is that you find it funny that if these arguments ever convince Murphy, then the end result would surely be Murphy recognizing that he is one or the other (or neither).

        I can’t convince him to think one way or the other when he himself has already made the decision (which of course might be subject to change).

        Or, perhaps what you really really meant to say is that you want to make Murphy believe that by you making such a bold prediction about his faith, it can serve as a placeholder for “Please don’t buy into what MF is saying, if you don’t know you then I will play God and do the act of faith for you…which is better than having to engage MF’s arguments.”

        In my view, what can be accepted without evidence, can surely be rejected without evidence. It is not like Christianity has been anything more than threatening thoughts dressed up in lofty verbiage anyway.

        • guest says:

          You’re both wrong. It’ll be his faith in bitcoins that causes him to drop libertarianism.

          Something to think about: The Bible says stuff like “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s …”; In the biblical paradigm, does God view that nation as owned by an individual (other than ultimately owned by God)?

          Or maybe this: The paradigm is that the nation is not owned by an individual, but since God owns everyone, he wants us to stick it out for his plans.

          Or here’s a question that shifts some of the burden: By what criteria are Christians to determine who is, or is not, legitimately a “Romans 13 authority”?

          (This is similar to Bob’s response, below.)

        • RPLong says:

          It’s Schroedinger’s Bob. Right now, Bob is both a Christian and a libertarian… until, that is, someone opens the box…

          • Bob Murphy says:

            *That* was borderline funny, RPLong.

            • RPLong says:

              One day, fingers crossed, I’ll succeed in making you laugh, Bob.

              Well, I mean intentionally make you laugh.

    • Bharat says:

      “Um yeah, that which is incompatible with denouncing Hitler is sure as $#it incompatible with Libertarianism.”

      Murphy is making a point about how even conservatives/liberals could have some trouble with that passage. Obviously, Murphy isn’t saying (in this statement) it actually is incompatible with either. (“in this statement” because clearly he thinks and argues elsewhere it’s only compatible with libertarianism and not with conservatism, etc.)

      “Hard to understand where the “confusion” comes in? Really? Here we have a passage that you agree is incompatible with Libertarianism, in the same blog post that contains the state “they are so naturally complimentary.” ”

      Once again, incorrect. Murphy is stating the passage sounds like it is incompatible with libertarianism. He does not agree it actually is incompatible with libertarianism. The true subject of the contradiction you are talking about involves whether or not Murphy thinks there is anything in the Bible that sounds like it is incompatible with libertarianism. Murphy can easily correct his statement by saying something like “For the most part, Christianity lines up neatly with libertarianism, but there a few passages that will make a person think twice.”

    • Gene Callahan says:

      Major Freedom, I’ve been told that you *continue* to claim that I “threatened to kill you,” this despite the fact I was obviously making a joke, and that I told you very explicitly it was a joke. So, I think it’s about time to sue you for libel. This should be fun, for one thing as it will drive you out of your cowardly anonymity, and for another it will teach you a lesson about the costs of lying.

      So, you can make this easy on Bob, or hard on Bob. Just tell Bob or me your real contact info, so my lawyers can get in touch with you. Or, my lawyers are going to have to subpoena Bob or his ISP, and drag them into this as well, which is really unnecessary.

        • guest says:


        • Gene Callahan says:

          I’m a “nerd” because I don’t like being libeled?!

          And as far as “no one likes you,” who do you think was alerting me to MF’s continuing libels?

        • Gene Callahan says:

          By the way, I freely admit to being a nerd, but that’s not because I don’t like being libeled.

          And I offer MF an olive branch here: if you post here that, “Yes, I’ve known all along that Gene was making a joke, and I’m sorry I kept claiming this,” I will drop my suit, even though it is already in progress, and my lawyer says I have an excellent case.

          • RPLong says:

            Does your lawyer also advise you to comment extensively and publicly on lawsuits you intend to bring against others?

            Would Major_Freedom be wrong to interpret these comments as additional threats?

            I’m not sure you case is as strong as you’re suggesting it is, especially in light of Keshav’s post below.

            • Gene Callahan says:

              “Would Major_Freedom be wrong to interpret these comments as additional threats?”

              Threatening to sue someone who is libeling you is a perfectly legitimate and legal sort of threat.

              • RPLong says:

                All I know is that I see a consistent pattern of you threatening him, not the reverse. You’re weakening your own case.

        • Gene Callahan says:

          I will note that threatening to kill someone is a serious felony. If MF really believed I had done this, he should have had me arrested years ago. But, instead, he just keeps repeating the lie that I committed this felony. Spreading such a lie, if anyone comes to believe it, can be rather damaging to one’s reputation and well being.

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        Can someone please provide a link to original comment being referred to here? I’d like to see the context.

        • Gene Callahan says:

          I sure can’t! As I recall, we were having a discussion and I think capital punishment came up. I said something like, “Generally I’m against it, but in Major Freedom’s case, I’d make an exception.”

          That’s it: this was supposed to be a “threat to kill” him.

          • Keshav Srinivasan says:

            OK, I found it:


            “1) Morally is not relative. It is not subjective.
            2) But it is not a matter of “objective laws.” That is a terrible misunderstanding.
            3) It is a matter of acting according to moral sense.
            4) What that sense dictates will differ vastly according to the circumstances of time and place. An action that was moral in Judea in 1000 BCE may not be moral today, and vice versa. For instance, burning heretics was OK in 1000 CE. It is not today. (I’m willing to make an exception in the case of Major Freedom.)”

            I certainly agree that you intended it as a joke. By the way Gene, you said above “I told you very explicitly it was a joke”. I don’t see such an explicit statement in the thread. In fact, the only subsequent reference you made to the burning heretics part of your comment is when you said “Yeah, I admit the burning heretics point was a bit provocative!”

            Also, here is how Major_Freedom responded when Bob said your remark was a joke: “I don’t trust Callahan. I think he’s crazy. If he said that to my face, then I would not take that as a joke at all…. You know Callahan better than I do, and so you probably know about his sick sense of humor, but I don’t have your insight. What he said was extremely offensive, and coming from him, I would take that as a threat.”

            And Major_Freedom also said “let me just say that if you said that to my face, then Wenzel would be posting a picture of you with two black eyes instead of one.”

            In any case, I don’t think there’s a strong case for libel when someone sincerely interprets a remark as a threat. It’s not a case where there was an explicit disclaimer that it was a joke, so I don’t think legally this would qualify as willing disregard for the truth. It’s just a difference of opinion, considering that it’s hard to judge tone on the Internet.

            • Gene Callahan says:

              It was in another thread, after many, many libels had passed, that I explicitly declared it was a joke.

            • rob says:

              “burning heretics was OK in 1000 CE. It is not today. (I’m willing to make an exception in the case of Major Freedom.)”

              I assume he was joking on the bit in parenthesis. But unless I am missing something he really believes the other bit.


      • Reece says:

        Bad news, Gene. I am going to be Major Freedom’s “lawyer” when you call your “lawyers”. I’m already preparing the defense:

        “In July 2011, Mr. Callahan said, “For instance, burning heretics was OK in 1000 CE. It is not today. (I’m willing to make an exception in the case of Major Freedom.)” This can reasonably be interpreted as a threat toward my client to burn him alive, which is how my client read it. Mr. Callahan used the words “I’m willing to make an exception” clearly indicating that he was referring to himself.

        It was only after many times of Major Freedom trying to bring attention to this issue that Mr. Callahan backtracked and declared this a ‘joke’. Mr. Callahan himself has admitted that he never called it a joke in that thread and that it was only after “many, many” times of Major Freedom bringing this up that he claimed it was a joke: “It was in another thread, after many, many libels had passed, that I explicitly declared it was a joke”.

        Mr. Callahan has shown other signs of malice toward my client. He has asked for my client to either directly or indirectly give him his contact information instead of going through proper channels to get it. He has claimed that he wants to “drive [Mr. Freedom] out of [his] cowardly anonymity”. Why should anonymity be cowardly unless if Mr. Callahan wishes to do something with his identity?

        Mr. Callahan also has no evidence that this statement has caused any damages to himself. Nor does he have any evidence of malicious intent.

        In conclusion, Mr. Callahan made what can be reasonably interpreted as a threat of violence against my client, refused to rescind this threat until after many times of it being brought up, can show no evidence of damages to himself resulting from this claim, asked for my client’s contact information, and has specifically stated that he wants to drive my client out of his “cowardly anonymity”.”

        It obviously has some work to go, but I think it’s a good start on your fake case.

        Also, it’s funny how someone who cries about other people being offended and about “microaggressions” has gotten this offended by Major Freedom spreading around the words you actually said. Do you need a safe space, Gene? 🙁

        (BTW, I am going to be spreading around your actual words now too. Feel free to call your lawyer on me too!)

    • George says:

      First, he didn’t say there was a contradiction, but that it sounds like one, which I take to mean that a superficial reading of the text yields a misinterpretation of Paul’s words. I agree with him on this point.

      Much of the confusion surrounding this passage is cleared up when we realize that Paul is setting out general guidelines on how to live out the faith he described in chapters 1 – 11. Yes Romans 13: 1 – 2 seems to support the Roman government that Paul lived under, but look at verses 3 and 4. Here we learn the assumption under which Paul is operating. Namely that rulers are not a terror to those who do good, but to those who do evil. Paul doesn’t answer the question of what to do with rulers who are a terror to those who do good here. He isn’t laying out a political theory in its entirety, just a guideline for how the Roman Christians should live out their faith under a regime that was barely aware of their existence.

  6. Levi Russell says:

    “But for me, they are so naturally complementary that it’s hard for me to understand where the confusion comes in.”

    My thoughts as well.

    M.F – Robert’s posts on Romans 13 explain the apparent contradiction quite well.

  7. John Arthur says:

    Hi Bob,

    Romans 13:1-7 is incompatible with libertarianism if the latter is defined as anarcho-capitalism. However, it is not necessarily incompatible with classical liberalism with a limited state that provides for defence and maintains law and order within. Taxes need to be raised to finance these activities.

    However, Romans 13 is compatible with non democratic states and within democracy with social democracy and social liberalism. There is no detailed list of what activities the state ought to be involved in and what taxes ought to be raised.

    The passage itself comes within the context of the Roman empire, hardly democratic or libertarian.

    John Arthur

    • Bob Murphy says:

      John Arthur wrote:

      However, it is not necessarily incompatible with classical liberalism with a limited state that provides for defence…

      Wait, if the neighboring king wants to invade, then that means your country must have done something wrong, right? The neighboring king doesn’t wield the sword in vain.

      (I’m being facetious. My point is that a straightforward reading of the most difficult lines from Romans 13 would blow up most people’s political views, so you can’t use those verses to knock out Rothbardianism if you won’t use them to knock out minarchism.)

      • John Arthur says:

        Hi Bob,

        Well, I agree with the principle of non violence and Jesus seems to teach this in the Sermon on the Mount.

        I find it difficult to see how anarcho-capitalism would work in practice. Yes, non aggression is vital, but not everyone is like the Dalai Lama or Jesus.

        People need to have law and order within to protect persons and property and need a defence force to protect citizens from external aggression from abroad. If everyone was non violent, then I can see how anarcho-capitalism might work, but what is to prevent powerful individuals and private groups from imposing their will on others.

        if everyone acted like Jesus and loved their enemies, we probably would not need governments to raise taxes and provide collective services like defence. But not everyone is like this. Many people don’t support non-aggression.

        John Arthur

        • John Arthur says:

          Hi Bob,

          I fail to see how private enterprise with armies is possible in modern democratic societies. Isn’t defence a ‘public good’. How would preferences be revealed if armies were under the control of competing firms? Would there not be a ‘free rider’ problem? So how would anarcho-capitalism work in practice?

          If the governing authorities are “ordained’ of God’,and taxes are to be paid for running government, how would Paul’s view of the state support anarcho- capitalism?

          John Arthur?

          • Art Thomas says:

            If you are interested in a detailed critique of our present collective system of defense and argument for the private production of defense, I would recommend Hoppe’s “The Private Production of Defense” which you can download from mises.org.

  8. Dave Cobb says:

    God created man in his own image, Man feels compelled to return the favor. Thus most mainline white churches represent Jesus a a Northern European, and black churches represent him a African. We look to God as a good father to want his kids to live free, but to follow a strict morral coarse. To do well by their siblings not because of fear the God will be angry, but instead that they and the loving father will be disappointed in their callowness. How would you, how do you use the freedom God gives you to act? Do you fall short? I know I do, but I try to do better. If all Christians put others first we would have no rich Christian. We may or may not have no poor people. We would have fewer poor people, but some are just too incompetant to not be poor. I am happy to see my tax money go to help the poor. I do not consider taxation to be theft. It is a fee paid to live in our society and reap it’s bounty. those unwilling to contribute need not do so. Just leave and don’yt leave your pants on the doorknob. there are plenty of immigrants who are waiting to take your place. Yes I am a libitarrian, but am tired of selfish spoiled brats wrapping themselves in the banner to avoid paying their membership dues.

  9. Bob Roddis says:

    Since the best expression of libertarianism is private neighborhoods with private streets and schools, I would think any Christian, regardless of their take on it, would want to remove themselves and their children from the secular government schools and live with like-minded people in such communities. That could happen right now without taking away the power of D.C. to run the national defense system and without even a debate on the topic.

    The same would apply to “progressives” who do not like guns, suburban “materialism” or Christians.

  10. khodge says:

    i got pounded on a couple weeks ago for making a somewhat similar argument. It was not an identical comparison but I was totally wrong because I rather carelessly lumped the wrong groups together and then doubled down without reflecting on my error. The careless use of labels is a shortcut to misunderstanding.

    There most certainly is nothing incompatible about libertarianism and Christianity. The New Testament has NOTHING to say about a intrusive government bureaucracy providing services or government taking care of the widows and orphans. The OT puts the onus for the widow and orphan on the King but says nothing about other services. We know from experience that the widow and orphan are best served by the free market; where the free market fails is where the Christian is called to act.

  11. Rusty says:

    I came to a similar conclusion that being a classical liberal is very compatible with Christianity through Abraham Kyuper’s work when coined the concept of spherical sovereignty. The idea is that communities have spheres of responsibilities, identifies through scripture, that should not infringe upon one another. The spheres he lists are the family, the church, the state, and economics (specifically work). Each are modeled after the Trinity and I have found that it is the foundation for my political beliefs.

    • John Mann says:

      Interesting. Kuyper influenced my political thought back in the 1980s, and I found his views on sphere sovereignty very helpful. When I encountered libertarian thought a quarter of a century later, thanks to Ron Paul, I also noticed that Kuyper’s views on sphere sovereignty were very compatible with minarchist libertarianism.

  12. Voluntarist says:

    “‘How Do You Reconcile Your Christianity and Libertarianism?’ […] for me, they are so naturally complementary that it’s hard for me to understand where the confusion comes in. […] I actually don’t think of myself as an anarchist. Indeed, I am arguably a monarchist, because I serve a King who is master of my life.”

    Epicurus: “Natural justice is […] to prevent one from harming others and to keep oneself from being harmed. […] men not to do harm or to be harmed[.]”

    Locke: “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”

    Spooner: “Crimes are those act by which one man harms the person or property of another.”

    Rothbard: “The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. […] ‘Aggression’ is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else.”

    As far as I can observe, “Put to Death/Burnt with Fire” are empirical examples of the “Aggression/Harm” expressed above.

    Imagine finding 13 “Put to Death/Burnt with Fire” quotes in any Spooner/Rothbard writings:

    Exodus 21:17 (KJV): And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

    Exodus 31:15 (KJV): […] whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

    Exodus 35:2 (KJV): […] on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

    Leviticus 20:9 (KJV): For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

    Leviticus 20:10 (KJV): And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

    Leviticus 20:11 (KJV): And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    Leviticus 20:12 (KJV): And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.

    Leviticus 20:13 (KJV): If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    Leviticus 20:14 (KJV): And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.

    Leviticus 20:27 (KJV): A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

    Leviticus 21:9 (KJV): And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.

    Leviticus 24:16 (KJV): And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

    Leviticus 27:28-29 (KJV): Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, […] None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.

    • Z says:

      Well, you do know what they say. Death is the final solution to all problems.

    • George says:

      How many instances do we have of Christians executing these laws like modern statutes? I can’t think of a single Christian who has killed someone for any of these reasons and I know a lot of Christians. At the most, we would agree that it is very few.

      Of course, you’ll probably say that Christians are just being inconsistent and that notion is what I would really like to disabuse you and other readers of this of. Many ancient Mesopotamian legal codes have harsh judgments for things that we would find either venial or not criminal at all. What you find is that this is not the case when you look at how laws functioned in both ancient Israel and the ancient near east in general.

      Take Deuteronomy 24: 1-5 for example. Here we have a situation where a man divorces a woman because of “something indecent” which is a way of saying “something unfaithful,” or adultery and he writes her a certificate of divorce and she goes on to marry a second man who does the same thing for the same reason. Well the first man is not permitted to remarry the woman. Now, if Leviticus 20:10 functioned in the same manner as a modern law, then this situation should never come up. The woman should be dead before she has the opportunity to remarry. However, Leviticus 20:10 is just not a modern law. It is written the way it is to underscore the severity of adultery, not to demand a specific punishment that cannot be revoked. If you look up the notion of ransom in the Old Testament and in ancient near eastern cultures, you will get a clearer idea of how punishments were meted out in those times and cultures.

      One other example of this would be Matthew chapter 1. Joseph learns that Mary is pregnant and decides to “put her away quietly” (ie. call off the engagement) since he a “righteous man.” Again, if Leviticus 20:10 were a modern statute, then Joseph would have called the village of Bethlehem together to stone Mary since he was a “righteous man,” but Joseph, the author of Matthew and the audience to whom he directed it knew otherwise.

  13. guest says:

    “To be clear, he was also a Christian and (presumably) attracted by libertarianism, but had doubts about how the two fit together.”

    You have to be careful of cross-Mojonation.

  14. LibertyVini says:

    Matthew 22:15-22English Standard Version (ESV)

    “15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.[a] 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.[b] 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.”

  15. Verl says:

    Neither Christianity nor Judaism is compatible with libertarianism. There are so many places in the Old Testament where followers of Yahweh were ordered to initiate acts of aggression against people. The Old Testament is not compatible with the nonaggression principle and therefore is not compatible libertarianism.

  16. JMafi says:

    Serving God even as a dictator is not anti-anarchism.

    Anarchism is assumed between humans only, this is generally a give. Even if it isnt, no-one practices anarchism with a tree or with a mouse or with a cow or chicken. There is the assumption that it is only between certain sentient beings capable of a particular kind of discourse like humans and conversation.

    There is no reason to think that the difference in mental capacity between humans and mice is any different than that of between God and man.
    Therefore one cannot assume that in thinking about the God-man relationship anarchism must also apply. This would reduce God to man and therefore would cease being God.

    One would need to first ascertain that God is very much on par with man in terms of mental capacity. As this is an impossible task and that in advocating the Christian God (either to attack or defend) we must also advocate creation ex nihilo (otherwise we are setting up a strawman God), then it is more plausible for us to lean towards God being a far greater mind than our own therefore:
    1. worthy of totalitarian respect.
    2. not under anarchism.

    So a Christian who has a King (God) and is an anarchist is a completely plausible and fine position to stand in. I would say also the best position to stand in.

    Yay Murphy, excellent blog post 🙂 I like!

    I wish someone could re word my comment more eloquently, put it in a blog and repost it for me to see.

  17. Addison Quale says:

    great post Bob. True freedom is not economic or political but ultimately spiritual – and comes thru the Godpel of Jesus Christ,

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