I go to a dentist to get my cavities filled. I suppose I could check out a few books at the library and try it at home, but I prefer the services of an expert.
If I owned a gold mine, I wouldn't try to get all the gold myself. I would hire some miners -- experts in the extraction of ore from the earth -- to help me maximize my profits.
The Bible is the motherlode. I rely on experts to help me extract the riches I own in Christ. (These experts don't have to be "ordained" by any particular ecclesiastical denomination. I fact, some people who don't believe the Bible and have no faith in Christ know more about what the Bible actually says than some who go to church every Sunday, claim to believe the Bible "from cover to cover," but have never read it from cover to cover, and allow it to accumulate dust on the shelf.)
I want to challenge you. I want to engage you in a competition to see who can extract more riches from the Scriptures. I want to pit my experts against yours. If I win, you're in luck, because you can fire your experts and hire mine, and you'll increase your profits. I'm issuing a challenge for a public debate.
The spirit of this debate is that of the Bereans, who "searched
This is not a confrontational debate, but a cordial exchange of ideas, educational and provocative:
And let us consider how
to provoke one another to love and good deeds,
This will be the most remarkable exchange of ideas you have ever participated in.
A "virtual" debate conducted through email can be converted into a webpage so that more can benefit from the interaction. A "live" public debate can be recorded on video and audio so that those outside the live audience can hear the exchange.
You and your group will begin an intensive study of the Bible such as you have never experienced.
I believe it does. But I also believe most Christians aren't asking the right questions. I'd like you to take just a couple of minutes and ask the kind of questions that made America the greatest nation in history.
America's Founding Fathers asked if "taxation without representation" was Biblical, and America's pulpits blazed forth with the answer, and the "War for Independence" began. Britain didn't dare take more than 5% of the colonists' income, but the Founding Fathers called this a "tyranny." What would they say about our government taking nearly ten times more from us today? What would they say about us for allowing this?
Is it Christian to take up arms against government tax collectors? I say NO. Is "taxation WITH representation" Biblical? Few are asking this question. Two wolves and one lamb "voting" on what to have for lunch is still a "tyranny."
Last year in America there were around 16,000 "illegal" murders. Is murder unBiblical? Obviously. But what about "legal" murders? What if "the government" approves, subsidizes, or orders the murder of an innocent person? It's "legal" -- is it moral? Yesterday in America 4,000 mothers murdered their unborn children. In the "former" Soviet Union several times more babies were "legally" murdered, and in China even more were murdered under a government policy of compulsory baby-killing ("population planning"). But some people say a baby is not really human until after it's born. A few moments before: not human. So what about the legal murder of adults and post-born children. The United States has given foreign aid to dictatorships that have murdered hundreds of millions of their own people. It's legal; is it moral? Wars have taken a hundred million more. They were "legal" -- were they moral? Governments often pay for all these legal murders through a process called "fractional reserve banking," which takes purchasing power away from the weakest and most vulnerable segment of society: those on fixed incomes. Is this economic policy moral?
Most Christians don't think about these things. Most Christians listen to sermons on "How You Can Feel Good About Yourself," or "How You Can Escape the Coming Tribulation."
America's Founding Fathers appealed to God for support of their struggle against government tyranny. Even today, many are thankful that the Founding Fathers asked the right questions, and attempted to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
But what will our posterity think about us, living 200 years after the Founders? Will your grandchildren be proud of you? Will they tell their children about you to encourage them to be better Christians, even better Americans? Will there still be an America at all?
Do you ever ask questions about "tyranny," "justice," "the Blessings of Liberty," and your "posterity?" Or are you more concerned about "feeling good about yourself?"
Let me narrow the focus.
Which system is more Biblical: socialism or capitalism? Which Bible verses prove this?
If capitalism is better than socialism, why do you support socialism?
Does the Bible say we must have these government programs? Does the Bible prohibit entrusting these social functions to "the Free Market?" How do you decide which social function is better taken care of under socialism? Who are your experts?
Consider this question:
Does the Bible prohibit human beings
from abolishing ALL government programs?
I mean all of them. There are many scholars and think tanks that do more than expose government waste in each of these areas; they say all government programs and departments should be abolished and "The Free Market" should take care of every facet of human action. The Free Market has given us a wide selection of automobiles, computers, microwave ovens, etc., while consumers in socialistic nations where the government runs the automobile company have a limited supply of a few dreary choices of look-alike goods of inferior quality. What area of human activity would not function better under capitalism than under socialism?
"But if it weren't for the government,
greedy businessmen would rip us all off!"
This is wrong-headed thinking on a number of levels.
The more powerful the government becomes, the more dangerous it is.
Both businessmen and politicians are human beings. Why are politicians a more noble species of human beings than businessmen? Both can be corrupt. But as a rule, businesses only succeed when they compete against other businesses by providing consumers with better quality at a lower price. When the government wants more money, it takes it by force. A "price war" between businesses benefits everyone. A real war between rival politicians usually benefits no one but the politicians (and the bankers who loaned them money for their weapons).
It's also wrong-headed because politicians are usually businessmen who have decided to run for office! While in office they pass laws to protect their industry, then return to the "private sector" to earn increased profits.
If consumers are smart enough to vote with their ballot for politicians, they're smart enough to vote with their wallet for quality products and services.
So why can't we just get rid of all politicians?
"But isn't the government ordained by God?"
Sure, everything -- even evil -- is controlled by the Providence of God.
But where does the Bible say we must have politicians?
I'll come back to Romans 13 in a minute. But if you think about the Bible as a whole, you will conclude as I have that the world would be a much better place if we could persuade all politicians in every nation to resign.
The government shall be upon HIS shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6)
Call this "anarchy" if you want (and I'll talk about that loaded word in a minute!) I believe this is the view of the Bible from cover to cover. Government is good, "THE government" -- "the State" is bad.
It was rebels and unbelievers who left the farm to become rulers over others (Cain, Nimrod, Lamech), and it was the faithless and disbelieving who imported the idea of "the State" into Israel (1 Samuel 8). Economic prosperity and social harmony are the result of freedom, cooperation, and capitalism undertaken in the presence of God, in obedience to "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."
But you believe we need "the State" because you've been brainwashed to believe The Big Lie. You can't name the verse in the Bible where God says to man, "You disobey Me because you want Me to be your King instead of a mere man." You assume there are "experts" who know where in the Bible God commands human beings to institute socialism, and there are socialist experts who know best what our society needs.
I want to debate your experts.
I, as a Christian
you, as a Christian defender of the concept of "the State"
to a public debate.
If you will not debate me, bring your experts.
If your exerts will not debate me,
I will present these ideas to your men's group, Sunday School, or fellowship gathering
which can then ask questions and receive challenging answers.
You are surely asking one of two groups of questions:
Why should I invest my time debating you or listening to your presentation?
Why should my men's group, Sunday School, or fellowship gathering listen to your ideas?
What exactly is your position, anyway?
These are fair questions.
What are you, some kind of a nut?
What are you talking about - "Christian Anarchism?"
What are you, some kind of a nut?!?
These are also fair questions.
Who I Am
My name is Kevin Craig. I am the founder and webmaster for Vine & Fig Tree, Inc., a non-profit educational organization that has been promoting Christian laissez-faire capitalism for over 20 years. Vine & Fig Tree has nearly 1500 webpages on the Internet. The name "Vine & Fig Tree" comes from the Old Testament prophet Micah, and is described here. I am a:
|Left-wing Radical||Right-wing Extremist|
|For nearly 10
years my home was a
shelter for the needy. I invited the homeless into my
home for lunch, serving thousands, and in appropriate
circumstances, gave them a room, sometimes for a night,
sometimes for the rest of their lives. I was a part of the Catholic
You can call me a pacifist.
graduated from USC, I was a Chalcedon
Scholar, and had a regular column in the Chalcedon
Report. My first article is here.
Chalcedon was identified as the "think-tank" of
the Religious Right (Newsweek, 1981).
I support pure Laissez-Faire Capitalism.
My Argument Against the State
I will lay out my position so there will be no surprises. Here are the 5 subjects I would like to cover. The links below will take you to pages which are linked to hundreds of studies. It would take you months of conscientious and prayerful study to go through them all. I can distill them into a presentation of almost any size -- 10 minutes, 40 minutes, or several hours -- and the ensuing questions will open up one of the most exciting Bible studies you've ever participated in.
|1.||The origin of "the State":
An invention of evil men for evil purposes.
"The State" is not "ordained" (approved) by God.
|2.||"The State" violates the Commandments of God in the Hebrew-Christian Bible.|
|3.||"The State" is the most dangerous, most violent criminal organization on the planet.|
|4.||"Anarcho-Theocracy" best represents the genius of America's Founding Fathers.|
|5.||The "Depravity of Man" and the "Kingdom of God."|
These links should help you anticipate how I will respond to the counter-arguments of your experts.
Or, why would your experts ever want to debate me?
Here's what I would say to your experts:
I have to admit, I'm desperate to find someone who'll debate me. I love discussing these issues, and I believe abolishing "the State" is one of the most important tasks of our day. But if you defend the State, you won't consider exposing the myths that support it a good thing. Giving people an invitation to re-think the legitimacy of "the government" is not high on your list of priorities. And since the Vine & Fig Tree website is a radical call for personal responsibility, self-sacrifice, and a denunciation of the statist principle of living at the expense of others, it is too radical to ever be wildly popular. You can safely ignore these ideas. Without your help, my influence will be limited. But I'm going to keep working at it, and I'll be targeting YOUR readers, so you might as well debate me now. If you're optimistic and think you can convert me, you might be saving us both a lot of time.
But your optimism probably does not exceed mine. I believe that eventually this position is going to win out and become the dominant paradigm.
Already "anarcho-capitalism" is a growing ideological movement on the Internet.
If you have never heard of Vine & Fig Tree or its vision of "Anarcho-Theocracy," you're in for a roller-coaster ride. If your first impression is that it's a "10" on the nut-scale of 1-10, if you peruse the links above you'll eventually conclude it's a "10" on the really-interesting-and-probably-beneficial-new-ideas scale. Perhaps before the debate even begins, you'll have switched from debating me as an adversary to joining me as an advocate.
The Vine & Fig Tree vision is the only answer to both questions. "Anarcho-Theocracy" is the maximization of the ideal that made America the greatest, most admired nation on earth: "Liberty Under God."
"Liberty Under God" means compassion, not indifference, nurtured by persuasion, not coercion. The Vine & Fig Tree vision motivated America's Founding Fathers, though not in as consistent an expression as ours.
I recognize that you have more status than I do, you have a captive audience, and your participation in this debate will make these new ideas a success. I will be personally grateful for your participation, and a courteous and gracious debater.
Truth and understanding are advanced through the clash of competing ideas. You have never faced competition like this.
The Character of a Christian Anarchist