Tag: Christian

Christians Have No Moral Obligation to Pay Taxes

Ryan Lau | @agorisms

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”, says Jesus in Matthew 22:21. For centuries, many Christians have used this famous verse as an argument to dutifully pay taxes. At first glance, it is quite compelling. After all, Jesus is answering the trick question of whether or not the Pharisees and Herodians should pay taxes. If he answers yes, he loses the support of the radical Pharisees, but if he says no, the more moderate Herodians would be wary and he may face arrest.

Luckily, he is able to avoid both of these instances, calling out the Pharisees for their trap before answering. So, it already is clear that the line is much more ambiguous than many people claim. Had it been a simple yes, Jesus would have stated such, rather than blatantly refusing to do so and calling the questioners hypocrites.

What Does It Mean to Be Caesar’s?

Looking more closely at the verse and its context reveals an interesting question; how does one define what it means to be Caesar’s? Of course, anything that Caesar genuinely owned is his, but this is not the case of the Pharisees’ denarii.

Before speaking the famous line, Jesus identifies Caesar’s face on a denarius. Clearly, though, someone’s face on an object does not necessarily denote the owner of that object. A sculptor can create a statue of Martin Luther King to place in Washington, but doing so does not suddenly void ownership of the statue to his living descendants. Similarly, a coinmaker pressing the face of Donald Trump onto a coin does not mean that the coin belongs to him. Ownership rests in the voluntary trade of money for a good or a service, not in an arbitrary face.

In fact, Jesus is entirely correct in stating that everyone should give Caesar what is Caesar’s. The issue comes down to the fact that a subject’s money is not Caesar’s; it is the subject’s. Jesus frequently teaches to hold on loosely to earthly possessions, but this applies to all human beings and does not have a special exception for Caesar or any other figurehead.

Obeying the Governing Authorities

Though the above argument appears not to favor paying taxes, Christians often use Romans 13:1-7 as further evidence. These verses state that all should “be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”. It later states that because of this, those who do good have nothing to fear, and all should pay tributes when they are due. Once more, the argument of whether or not tributes are legitimate calls into question the latter segment. But in particular, the first verse clearly does not apply to all governments.

Throughout history, our world has been the home to some truly oppressive states. Nazi Germany killed over 11 million people in less than a decade during the Holocaust. The regime of Stalin was responsible for even more. Dictators throughout the world have brutally slaughtered a countless number of people; this is an indubitable fact.

What would these Christians say about these repressive regimes? Do they act in the name of God, despite violating one of the Ten Commandments? The obvious answer to this question is a firm, resounding no. One cannot claim to be following the will of God while also following the will of an imperfect man who is making an order entirely contrary to God’s teachings.

Lack of Support for Immoralities

It’s a safe assumption to make that when the government directly tells you to violate one of the Ten Commandments, it is morally sound for a Christian to disobey that order. But just how often do these instances occur? Well, by virtue of what it means to be a government, more often than most may think. Even allegedly liberal democracies such as the United States kill civilians on a regular basis. The fact that these people are foreign, rather than citizens, makes no difference.

Immediately, the government appears to violate three of the commandments. First of all, it kills both soldiers and civilians abroad. The Ten Commandments do not make the distinction of “Thou shall not kill, save in self-defense or war”. Rather, murder is recognized, as it should be, as a wicked act to avoid in all circumstances. Similarly, there is no clause in the commandments that allows the government to steal from you or covet your goods, even for seemingly good purposes.

As a counterpoint, some may argue that Christians not paying taxes contradicts the idea of turning the other cheek. This point carries a great deal of weight but ultimately fails. It is true that Christians should not violently resist a tax collector or any other, as doing so would clearly not be turning the other cheek. However, peaceful disobedience does not fall into the same category; in fact, turning the other cheek itself is a form of this. Rather than being meek, Jesus suggests a tone of defiance when he turns his cheek. Likewise, it makes sense for Christians not to pay taxes to a government that will violate the commandments. Rather, they should turn the other cheek in defiance, neither violently protesting nor passively submitting.

The Law of God

It is also worth mentioning that Romans 13:1-7 does not paint the whole picture of the law. Immediately after, Romans 13:8 reads: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law”. Clearly, this suggests that anyone who loves other people will fulfill the law.

This stands in striking contradiction to the actions of most governments today. Though it is conceptually possible for one to operate entirely on the principles of love, this has never been the case and very well may never be. Currently, the United States is militarily involved in a number of other countries, imprisons hundreds of thousands of nonviolent people, and extorts the rest of the citizens to pay for these things. It appears that this is a clear violation of the law of God to love one another, and thus, any legitimacy to follow the government as an extension of God vanishes.

A Contradiction of Free Will

An additional section of the Romans verse suggests that God instituted all of the governing authorities. From a moral standpoint, this already appears shaky, but it also denies the very existence of free will.

Why does evil in the world exist, when God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent? The problem of evil has tormented theologists and philosophers alike for centuries, but Thomas Aquinas, among others, believed to have found a solution to this dilemma: free will. As the point goes, though God is perfect, he also instills free will in each person. The Bible also contains evidence to support this claim; Deuteronomy 30:19 teaches to “choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”. Therefore, there is no way to guarantee that people will choose to act with goodness.

Christians Have No Obligation to Pay Taxes

Let’s now apply this to the concept of the state. How can people with free will always choose the right person that will follow the will of God? And, in a nondemocratic society, what is to prevent an evil ruler from forcibly taking power? Simply put, there is no guarantee here due to the idea of free will. Thus, it appears that a government may or may not follow God’s teachings.

Without a doubt, Christians do not have a moral obligation to pay taxes to a state that defies their religion. Though a couple of Bible verses weakly attempt to suggest this, they either fail to present the whole story or rely on faulty assumptions. Ultimately, no government that defies what Jesus teaches is worthy of the respect or obedience of Christians, and in the course of history, not a single one has managed to do so.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

The Importance of the Individual in Life

By Nickolas Roberson | United States

The individual has been prominent throughout the entirety of human history, both in reality and mythology. In almost every instance of ancient culture, and even modern culture, there is the story of the hero facing the dragon. The hero isn’t represented by any group or collective, he represents Himself, the Individual. He is the culmination of domination and human will, the innate force to strive for achievement. This achievement could be happiness, freedom, or any other personal means. This hero’s goal is to slay the dragon and retrieve the lost gold or save the princess and kingdom. The dragon obviously represents evil, but what kind of evil? The answer is incredibly subjective. The abomination that is said dragon could be the collective that wishes to extinguish the flame of individuality, and it could very well be the flaws of human nature; in the Christian world, the dragon represents Satan, wickedness, or sin.

Ancient, archetypal stories that provide symbols and guidelines to living life beg the question: why is the individual important? Why should I, an ordinary human being, care about individuality? Without individuality, the core foundations of your life fall apart and your life loses its meaning. You become a lost soul without any personal guiding force in your life. Unfortunately, this has happened to quite a number of people in society today. They begin to lose their individuality and sense of Self, and adopt disgusting and weak, yet tantalizing, views of nihilism—they deem that life is meaningless, the void will consume all, and the wild, passionate flame of the Individual has been extinguished with no hope of coming to light again. In their eyes life is only, and will ever be, suffering.

Indeed, life is suffering. It’s full of poverty, sickness, sorrow, tyranny, and death. Yet we, the human race, prevail; we’ve been doing so for over a millennium. How? Through determination, willpower, and individuality. We steeled and fortified ourselves against the howling winds of extreme chaos and suffering. Through innovation, order, and freedom we established a foothold and prosperous society in the world. That is what these followers of nihilistic principles need to realize: yes, life is suffering, but it is your responsibility to find meaning in life. That meaning is found in being an individual, being determined, having willpower and by allowing human nature to run its course.

Discover and establish a balance of chaos and order in your life; be innovative, free, and find happiness. Allow your individuality to burn bright and run free, like a stallion running through a dew-filled prairie in the early morn. Fight against the endless suffering of life and defeat the dragons of evil.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

California Legislation Goes After “Fundamentalist Christian” Views of Sexuality

By Jason Patterson | California

Does freedom mean freedom to speak, or does it mean freedom to censor speech that you don’t like?

In the state of California, left-wing lawmakers are attempting to pass a bill that would ban the sale of books that includes “fundamentalist” Christian views on sexuality and marriage.

Assembly Bill 2943 would make it an ‘unlawful business practice’ to engage in ‘a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer’ that advertise, offer to engage in, or to engage in ‘sexual orientation change efforts with an individual,’” according to the National Review.

That’s a lot to be taking in. So let’s break it down, looking at both sides without bias.

• Some Christians threat it could lead to also banning bibles due to verses that could be considered anti-homosexual.

• California is one of the most “queerest” states in the country and San Francisco has more LGBT civilians than any other city in the country.

• This isn’t a simple ban in “public libraries,” but rather a ban on a book being allowed to be sold in any form, private and public.

The bill is sure to spark further controversy. Whether or not it will pass has yet to be determined.


Featured image source.

Our Intellectuals Aren’t Ready For Jordan Peterson

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote For Chaos, clinical psychologist, and king of archetypes has been across the internet and back again. Doctor Peterson seems to be on a new podcast, interview show, or news station every single week, if not every day. The man is reportedly very busy, which is expected as you become the rock star of modern academia.

The Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto was the most recent organization to host such an event. They allowed Jordan Peterson, atheist philosopher Rebecca Goldstein, and Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, to all sit-down and have a discussion on the existence of meaning, God, and the like of abstract concepts that pertain to the actions of everyone looking for truth. The but that pertains most to me is the one that follows:

Starting off, Craig discusses Peterson’s view about objective morality. This stems from the Piagetian ideas of moral development and an equilibrated state of cooperation. Craig urges Peterson to accept that there is inherently a transcendent being behind this and then repeats it a couple of more times. His argument does not have a warrant, but Dr. Peterson responds anyway.

He explains that yes, we discover morality and that it is very possible that the moral truth we discover through action has transcendent properties.

Goldstein then chimes in, explaining why she rejects Craig’s argument and posing various religious questions on him. In response to Peterson, she heavily implies that he should not bring it up, and that is the extent of her “argument” against Jordan. The viewer is now forced to sit through an atheist and a Christian rehash the exact same talking points of religious debate we have all heard time and time again. The strange new psychological view of Peterson is not much taken into account.

The moderator then decides to intrude, and thank goodness. She asks why we “struggle with the meaning of life?”

Dr. Peterson explains the same thing he is so listened-to for. We live a finite existence, and it is pretty hard. Bad things can happen to us and we are capable of doing some pretty bad things, so the option we have is to aim for a nobility.

After explaining, the Jungian moves on to respond to one of Goldstein’s comments, and with a dream. Within his dream, kings of the past fight one another, yet all end up bowing to the figure of Christ. Many times throughout the Bible Christ is referred to as “The King of Kings,” and Dr. Peterson explains what this actually means. If we took the best qualities of each of the kings and put them in one, we have Christ. Whether or not Christ is a real historical figure within the situation matters not, because this is what is above the rulers of the earth. Christ provides an ideal for them to strive to get close to and remain humble in comparison.

When tyrannical kings rule the earth, who will rule the kings?

Peterson explains that “you inevitably do [have to speak of such things at a religious level].” There is no other way for our minds to make sense of anything like this.

“It’s a psychological necessity. It’s a sociological necessity.”

Goldstein seems to realize that the atheist position will be lagging behind when it comes to this psychological argument, so she goes off for a little bit, showing her body of barely related knowledge. She makes sure to tell everyone that “as a woman, as a Jew,” she has reaped benefits from the enlightenment. After a bit of a rabbit hole, she finally comes back around to the argument and compares the idea that kings should have an ideal that keeps them in check to the Nazis wanting to genocide those who are not “perfect” in their eyes.

She thinks that just because Peterson’s idea of a Christ supersedes the individual, it will allow for another Holocaust. We should try to transcend to art in her eyes, and not get caught up in larger symbolism and going past mere humanity.

These modern intellectuals represent roughly the two most prominent views in western society: religion and no religion. We all fell into this sort of dichotomy, even if there is some grey area in the middle. A modern intellectual espousing Jungian psychology, Biblical archetypes, and its connection to cleaning your room is very far from this base societal view. The two in discussion within this video do not know how to react to Peterson’s view, which is clear because of their poor responses (or no responses, in the case of Craig who seems somewhat satisfied), and because of their focus on one another.

The Austrian economic Ludwig von Mises discussed the role of ideas in society and history. If we want to see change, we need idea creators. Something new, refreshing, and out of place, that will be so disruptive the present intellectual arena will burn to the ground. This, in Mises’ view, is what brings about revolutionary progress.

From these ashes, we may build from the ground up. It allows us to embody the Phoenix archetype, and that of dying and being born again, better and new. Modern intellectuals are not ready for Peterson’s broad worldview. In the left media Op-Eds, it is always a bad strawman. Face-to-face, the opposition will always beat around the bush. People are incapable of telling Doctor Jordan Peterson why he is wrong. That is why I believe Peterson’s views will cause a large shift in the way our society is organized. They already are.


Featured image source.