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Cab's theology thead

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cab21 Posted: Mon, Aug 6 2012 10:26 PM

http://www.garynorth.com/public/508.cfm gary north says the bible has all the answers

the market does not have the answers

god has the answers

following gods answers for the market is the answer

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Against my better judgment I'll continue to engage you.

Speaking as somebody who as long considered the relationship between libertarianism and the belief in God, I can assure you that there is no reason to assume a lack of intelligence or an inconsistency in christian anarchism. Many anarchists I respect a great deal are also Christians, and if you talked to me a few months ago I would probably also self identify that way.

However, I have yet to hear of a single libertarian or anarchist christian who simply says "whatever god says" as that clearly is open to a wide range of mutually exclusive interpretations. Its fine if you think God talks to you directly and you think he has told you the perfect system of government/nongovernment, but don't pretend that that means anything to anybody else. You may as well say "it's clearly written in the clouds. Can't you read?" 

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William replied on Mon, Aug 6 2012 11:38 PM

In this thead, and only in this thread, Cab gets to tell us all about his thoughts religion.

"I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique" Max Stirner
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Neodoxy replied on Mon, Aug 6 2012 11:42 PM

Am I allowed to question the existence of god here so long as I am not directly insulting?

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William replied on Mon, Aug 6 2012 11:47 PM

crap, this pobably means I'm over-modding.

You can question whatever anywhere and not be polite - so long as you aren't abusive.

Cab is either obviously trolling and being a dick (which I think is true), or in F4me territory, that's why I made this thead

"I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique" Max Stirner
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Wheylous replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 12:00 AM

Actually, this is an interesting thread because I get to ask a question I had been wondering about.

I've seen a quote on Reddit's atheism subreddit by North which said something like "America must be a Christian nation and there is no space for any other blah blah." You get the idea. Highly Christian-nationalist. What's up with that? Ever since I read that quote I've been hesitant to send people Gary North articles from Mises lest they respond with "isn't that some crazed Christian wacko" and ignore any logic ge might be presenting.

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cab21 replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 12:32 AM

why is talking about religion, trolling or being a dick?

calling gary north a crazed christian wacko does not seem so nice to gary north and work to give us blueprints.

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Clayton replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 1:33 AM

Gary North is a Reconstructionist (he son-in-law to R.J. Rushdoony). Reconstructionists seek to "usher in" a theocracy which is a thousand-year reign of the literal, physical Jesus Christ on Earth. North is a fair-weather friend of the libertarian movement merely as a tactical maneuver against the Estabilshment. The long-term goal is theocracy.

So, yeah. I am puzzled by Lew Rockwell's choice to prominently feature Gary North articles.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Bert replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 2:25 AM

Well, I'm a Heathen reconstructionist (different use of the term reconstruction) and I think this entire thread is going to be filled with lol r u srs? and various facepalms.

 

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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cab21 replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 2:36 AM

http://lewrockwell.com/block/block206.html walter block on christians

And again, it doesn't matter if these stories are true or not. I of course don't think they are, but I can't understand for the life of me how person can be any sort of libertarian at the same time he not only believes, but praises, someone (God) like that. That God doesn't exist actually makes it worse, because that means the believers at least hope these stories are true. I'm rather interested in understanding how the same person can abhor human violence and tyranny while praising godly violence and tyranny.

 

http://www.humblelibertarian.com/2009/12/religious-libertarian.html

Re: Theonomy --- Think of it: Christians by definition believe in God. God by definition is omniscient and omnipotent, and therefore sovereign. God's law therefore reigns supreme over all. Theonomy is by definition the state of being governed by God. Therefore, all humans are theonomists in fact, even if they don't admit it, and all true Christians admit it.

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Someone can believe 1 + 1= 2 AND C comes after F in the English alphabet.  Who gives a rats ass about  "C after F" when we are talking about "1 and 1"? Or if that isn'ta good anaology I can "seriously" believe that vanilla is better than chocolate,even when my own logic I enspouse puts it in the "who gives a shit" category.

Most who citique such romantic sentimentality are just as much, or worse of a romantic, Platonist, mystic, and useless fool as the person they citique.  

 

disregard this post.  I misread you

REDO:

You seem to have an obsseive "one track mind"nature that is condusive to derailing threads

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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why is talking about religion, trolling or being a dick?

Because from what I have noticed no one knows if you are serious or offering a legit (sacastic?) citicism of something.  Perhaps there is al anguage barrier or something, but your posts are less than clear if you are offering legit, on topic dissent from the threads at hand.

 

If you show me to be wrong, or say English is not your 1st languange, I owe you an apology

 

 

PS:  This is William the Mod.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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cab21 replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 5:07 AM

i think the belief is f comes after c teaches us  1+1=2

i think the connection is methodology to moral authority.

it creates different ways to get to 1+1=2

the axioms of god vs no god seem to make a difference

it would take more than just repeating some conclusions, but going into the whole methodology behind those conclusions, which takes a lot more time.

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cab21:

http://www.humblelibertarian.com/2009/12/religious-libertarian.html

Re: Theonomy --- Think of it: Christians by definition believe in God. God by definition is omniscient and omnipotent, and therefore sovereign. God's law therefore reigns supreme over all. Theonomy is by definition the state of being governed by God. Therefore, all humans are theonomists in fact, even if they don't admit it, and all true Christians admit it.

First, this humble Libertarian article is a little old. Wes Messamore is a very dear personal friend of mine (like we drink beer together on the weekends kind of friend). I can tell you that he is now a full fledged AnCap; a characteristic not evident in this article.
 
Second, you are half right that (some) Christians (myself included) believe that God governs the Earth. But so irrelevant is this idea when talking about praxeology and libertarianism. I've lightly touched this idea recently in a couple of other threads, and I've tried to made it perfectly clear that if you reject my faith I totally honor and respect that. The reason I bring this up is because it seems like it has become more and more common for people on these forums to post questions asking how Christians can be libertarians or AnCaps. One's faith is totally irrelevant.
 
I think it is also important to note that it is true that Libertarian Christians are a minority in the faith. 99.999999% of American Christians are Neo-conservative war-mongers in my opinion. I think the bible has fallen into the hands of some evil people, many claiming to be Christians, and they have perverted it by means of misleading translation, poor contextual insight, poorer interpretation, and obviously even the selection of the books in the canon differ from denomination to denomination. My kind of theology is hardly recognizable to the mainstream Christian, and not just because of my politics.
 
Basically, I do not see any reason why Christians cannot be libertarians (as many others on these forums have also noted) and I would be happy to entertain an opposing position on this assertion in friendly debate. I think it would actually be rather fun and insightful for both parties.  

 

"If men are not angels, then who shall run the state?" 

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cab21 replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 6:32 AM

i think i have just seen so much of the argument that god is the only moral authority from Christians that i'm having some wonder about the interpretations and dontrine of the Christian ancap side. my experience with Christians has been all kinds from left to right, and it seems like i find passages and interpretations that are used for most any position. i think one separation could be people that call the bible infallible vs more liberal interpretations.

probably what would help is reading about some Christian ancap theology and what doctrines are there. from translation, to context, to interpretation, i think that would give me a clearer picture.

right now, probably because of the Christianity versions i am more familiar with, it seems hard to understand why gods authority would not be relevant to a libertarian discussion. ethics seems tied to authority that would either come from rational thought, god, the minds of men. i see these Christians in debates always turn to without god there would be nihilism and no moral ground or authority for anyone to stand on.

http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2011/03/can-a-christian-be-an-anarchist.html here is a example of gods authority vs atheist nihilism from Robert p Murphy

Indeed it’s precisely because of my Christian worldview that I can level such a strong charge against the State. I can say, “This organization facilitates widespread injustices that are offensive to God, and therefore I cannot in good conscience support it.” In contrast, an atheist libertarian is going to have a much harder time to distinguish his objections from merely claiming, “Hey, I personally don’t like how this is going, so stop it.”

 

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Bert replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 9:17 AM

Even though you did not write this statement you are using it to justify your argument:

Indeed it’s precisely because of my Christian worldview that I can level such a strong charge against the State. [...] In contrast, an atheist libertarian is going to have a much harder time to distinguish his objections from merely claiming, “Hey, I personally don’t like how this is going, so stop it.”

Elaborate how an atheist cannot distinguish one's objections making a claim about what he may or may not support.  Does an atheist not have a worldview?

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Neodoxy replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 10:40 AM

Cab, how do you know that god exists?

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cab21 replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 1:15 PM

my argument is " there are  Christians that say moral authority comes from god, and not from man". with robert murphys statement, it appears he is using that argument. my argument is also " morality is important to the foundation of anarchy capitalism".  it looks like some say " because of gods moral authority, i can make a argument for anarchy capitalism".  this makes the question of gods existence a important one, if people are going to base their moral authority on it and say atheists would not have the moral authority when supporting anarchy capitalism.

the elaboration is something that i am curios to hear from  the Christian anarchy capitalist, as the necessity  of god's moral authority claim seems to be their claim.

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Neodoxy replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 4:42 PM

"this makes the question of gods existence a important one"

So what is the answer to this question?

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cab21 replied on Tue, Aug 7 2012 8:25 PM

the three answers i have seen so far are yes, no, and maybe with variants of yes, but not that one, or yes, but not interpreted that way. so far i'm at god is made in the mind of man as a tool and  defence mechanism

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Bert replied on Wed, Aug 8 2012 1:09 PM

You didn't answer the question at all, if anything you simply reworded the previous statement I'm asking you to answer for, and then answered the question with "answers I've seen" that are all conflicting without explanation.

The question's are now; do atheist not have a worldview and moral authority?  Is Christian moral authority absolute?

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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what's the new avatar neo?  I miss Fritz!

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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His new avatar makes him seem like a superhero. It fits.

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But Freddy made him seem like Übermensch...so that's even more fitting

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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How about we compromise? Maybe he should make this his avatar?

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cab21 replied on Wed, Aug 8 2012 2:37 PM

i think the Christians say atheists do have a worldview and moral authority, but gods moral authority is absolute and the moral authority of atheists is man made, rather than god made, and therefor weak. i think they say once it's manmade, there is nothing to make it superior to any other mans worldview and thought on moral's or even if morals exist at at. the Christian seem to say god or nihilism, and that no one man would be more justified than another man in whatever worldview each may hold.

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perfect

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 12:34 AM

Lol I like the discussion above. Anyway Vive, I decided to change it up a little bit and after having every single face picture I tried to upload over pixilated on the wonderful small avatars they give us here, I decided upon a cool symbol, and what better symbol than the symbol of the Terran dominion from Starcraft II?

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Is anyone else rather unclear exactly what cab21 is advocating or asking in this thread?

That said, I DO have an interest in the Christian libertarian thought process.  As an outsider, I'm bound to have some things wrong, but:

Christianity in general teaches that God's authority is higher than Man's, yes?  So for Christians, a libertarian ethic must be, if acceptable at all, acceptable as the best working model of how humans should interact because there really isn't any other rational one; but essentially a Christian would believe that God is the ultimate owner of the self, not the individual?  Thus, too, implementation of libertarian concepts must be tempered if need be to accomodate God's various laws as stated in scripture, to the extent that the Christian accepts scripture as absolutely reliable?

Just curious how others approach this dilemna -if it's really a dilemna.  I can see how libertarianism might be a tough sell to a fundamentalist of any Abrahamic religion, and wonder what that means for the future of our political efforts, at least in the West.

 

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cab21 replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 1:32 PM

I think the bible has fallen into the hands of some evil people, many claiming to be Christians, and they have perverted it by means of misleading translation, poor contextual insight, poorer interpretation, and obviously even the selection of the books in the canon differ from denomination to denomination. My kind of theology is hardly recognizable to the mainstream Christian, and not just because of my politics.

this quote could be part of where the question is at

for the libertarian christian, as in anarcho capitalist christian

what are the correctly translated books?

what is the correct context for insight

what is the correct interpretation.

what is the correct selection of books

what is the correct doctrine?

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I'll try to answer even though I can't really speak for "Christians", any more than I can speak for "Americans".

The correct translation is the one that takes both the spirit and the letter of the original Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic and somehow translates it without losing any of the cultural significance that the original held. This can be extremely difficult, given that the Bible is translated into dozens if not hundreds of languages. Here are two examples of what I mean.

In the gospel of John, Jesus refers to himself as "the bread of life," which had a specific and universally understood significance to those who heard him say that (or those who would read it in the original manuscript). However, not every culture is the same. Translators found that many Koreans were unfamiliar with "bread", and so the metaphor was confusing. Therefore they translated that verse into "the rice cake of life."

Secondly, some christian missionaries went to a small isolated island in the south pacific (don't know which one) in order to proselytize the locals. They wanted to give them a bible they could read, but they were running into problems. In one famous verse, for example, Jesus refers to himself as "The Good Shepherd." The problem was that these people had no idea what a sheep was, so that parable, too, would be lost on them. What the missionaries decided to do was to actually ship some sheep to this island (local ecology be damned, this is the gospel!) so the people would understand what Jesus was calling himself.

These two cases illustrate a struggle that translators have: do we stay true to the literal word at the risk of being unclear, or do we make it more clear in the local vernacular (pretty sure there's an "Ebonics Bible") at the risk of translating smuggling in (*edited to make my point more clear*) our own, faulty interpretation? 

One such example of the faulty translation/faulty interpretation comes from the King James Version of John 14:2, which says, "in my father's house there are many mansions." This verse is a major source of many Christians' fanciful views of what "heaven will be like". The only problem is that the word "mansion" means something different today than it did at the time King James commissioned the translation of the Bible. At that time, mansion was a more general word that was closer to the word "abode." Anyway the point is that many people today, simply drawing on the preconceived notion of "what the verse is basically saying", assume that that verse is about heaven, and I don't think it is.

So all that is to say that the best or correct translation is that which avoids the pitfall of translating one's own interpretation, as opposed to the word itself, while at the same time providing a Bible that people are able to understand. The fact is that throughout history, many people have misused the Bible and corruptly interpreted it (did not "cut straight the word" as Paul said). They basically used people's reverence of the Bible for their own political power.

Whether such a "correct" interpretation and translation has ever been made into any language, let alone English, is another question, and one I am not qualified to answer definitively. I think many Christians own many translations and read them to compare, seeing them as the perfect word of God, filtered through the imperfect lens of human language.

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Great post Steven. I'd like to add to what you've posted.

I can also point out some other errors then I will get to Cab's questions as best I can. 

Minor errors in Interpretation and translation:

The entire story of Mary's travels to Bethlehem while pregnant with Jesus is basically all wrong. I won't go into too much detail as Kenneth E. Bailey was written scores on this subject but his best summary can be found in ​Jesus Through Middle Eastern-Eyes. Bailey was both raised in the area and educated deeply in middle-eastern culture, learning the language, which gives him an interesting perspective on the subject. I will paraphrase his argument: There was a written account of Mary's travels and Jesus birth written by an anonymous Christian some 200 years after Jesus birth. This book was meant only to be an expanded account of the story, and a work of fiction and poetry as I understand it. It was called ​The Protevangelium of James ​if you feel like looking into it, but I will warn you that James (of the bible) did not write it (it was rather common at the time for books to appear claiming to be written by famous authors). Bailey makes a good case that the author of the book was not a Jew and seriously lacked both an understanding of Palestinian geography as well as Jewish tradition.  

Another commonly held fallacy stems from The Protevangelium's account of Jesus actual birth which gets Luke 2:1-7 all wrong. Popular belief holds that Mary and Joseph got to "the inn" and the "no vacancy" sign was blaring in a dreadful neon red, or something equally nonsensical. The facts are (as according to the Gospels at least): David was returning to his home village of Bethlehem where he could easily find shelter. Add to this that Joseph was of the lineage of David and it becomes evident that nearly all doors in the city would be open to him. Jewish tradition also holds that commoners were extremely welcoming to guests, so even if none of the former were true, it is still unlikely a Jew would turn away a poor, teenage, mother-to-be, because to do so would bring about much dishonor to the family. 

So, what is all this business about "no room in the inn"? I will clarify this little mistake. The greek word in Luke 2:7 that is commonly translated as "inn" is katalyma and this is not the ordinary word used to describe a commercial inn as we know it today. In the tale of the Good Samaritan, the samaritan takes the wounded man to "the inn" and in this instance the word used is pandocheion. Pan ​literally means "all" and ​docheion ​mean to receive or a place that "receives all", in other words a hotel. This Greek term for "inn" was so widely known across the middle-eastern world, in fact, that it was absorbed as a Greek loan word into Armenian, Coptic, Arabic, and Turkish.  Katalyma​, on the other hand, literally meant "a place to stay", and could refer to many types of shelters. What is more likely is that Mary and Joseph came to home of a family he knew, asked for their spare room atop the home (the rich of Bethlehem had these), and was probably informed that it was in use by another guest, however they were likely welcomed into the main home. 

So, "where does the manger come into play?" you might ask. Well, in that time, the family cattle would come into the living room (basically the one room of the home) at night. This was for two reasons. First, being a desert, Bethlehem was quite cold at night, and the cattle would provide valuable warmth to the family as they slept. Second, leaving the cattle out at night left them vulnerable to thieves, and loosing cattle was a death sentence to the family means. Thus, the infamous manger was simply a feeding trough at the bottom of an incline in the home where the cattle fed and slept at night. Jesus was wrapped up and placed there after his birth.   

Interestingly, Bailey makes a good case for his assertion that Mary was most likely alone during the birth (as in Joseph was not there) with the exception of some commoner women and a midwife. The men would leave the room for a birth.

Another common, and more obvious example of bad interpretation comes from laziness I think, or perhaps the general inclination to make things easier for people to get. For instance, it is widely believed by most Christians that on Noah's arc there were two of every kind of animal. This misconception leads me to believe that the average Christian does not even so much as open their bible as it is written plain as day that there were seven of every clean animal and two of every unclean (according to Jewish standards of sacrifice). I guess telling a Christian this would mean you would have to explain the difference between clean and unclean...boo hoo.   

There are more pervading problems in translation. These can affect both the things the Christian believes and puts his faith in but, perhaps more importantly, how Christianity is regarded among non-believers. 
 
One such instance can be found in the oft-cited Genesis 19, used to place judgment on homosexuals and their lifestyle. It states, "5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge!We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door."
 
This passage is the major scripture (among a couple others) used to denounce homosexuality.
It is interesting that this passage is not used to illustrate Lot's cowardice in offering up his virgin daughters for rape...No, that's not that important it seems. It's also apparently not evident that what God found disfavor in with the people of Sodom and Gomorra was their desire to RAPE ANGELS. Was it not wrong for the many women in the crowd who also wished to rape the angels? Is it not presumptuous to assume that angels have a sex in the first place? They are super-natural beings, after all. These are probably the same pig-headed baffoons who believe that God is, without question, a man and that women are incapable of fending for themselves or being useful members of society...sorry for the straw-man.
 
Anyway, the real question is this: why was the Greek word Arsenokyte translated to mean homosexual offender when the term literally means "male prostitute". In the Greek, there are several words that literally mean homosexual or homosexual offender, yet the term "male prostitute" is used in the original Greek. Interesting facts to ponder.
 
 
I'll be brief here, but another failed interpretation is the entire book of Revelation to be literal. Not only is it not meant literally, but even if it were, there is no reason to believe: 1) that there is only one anti-christ, and 2) that all of the Christians will be taken form the Earth during the Tribulation. These beliefs are largely the result of a dazed loon named John Darby; a man who fell off of his horse and claimed to have had a revelation form God on the true meaning of "the Revelation". No Christian who believes that Mormonism is a sham should belief in this bull-shit either. There is no definite revelation. We are living in it and have been since Jesus death. It is poetry consisting of a slew of metaphors. The anti-christ is simply a personification of all non-believers...literally referring to those who are "Not of Christ".
 
 
Hope this helped a little  

 

"If men are not angels, then who shall run the state?" 

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cab21 replied on Tue, Aug 14 2012 6:32 AM

the literal or metaphorical aspect of different sections is interesting

i found the some core beleifs of different churches, that would perhaps be something it would be interesting to hear a ancap christan go over some of the core beleifs

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7063/

http://coolbaptist.org/id3.html

http://192.220.96.202/html/christian_beliefs.html

http://www.wesleyan.org/beliefs/

http://www.beginningcatholic.com/tenets-of-catholicism.html

 

probaly the most important aspect could be about the beleif of gods authority over individuals. the church, and/ or the  the government. i think there seem to be disagreements of what god ordains

 

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excel replied on Tue, Aug 14 2012 7:05 AM

Werl if the atheists are right how come god isn't an atheist? QED.

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Lady Saiga:

Christianity in general teaches that God's authority is higher than Man's, yes?  So for Christians, a libertarian ethic must be, if acceptable at all, acceptable as the best working model of how humans should interact because there really isn't any other rational one; but essentially a Christian would believe that God is the ultimate owner of the self, not the individual?  Thus, too, implementation of libertarian concepts must be tempered if need be to accomodate God's various laws as stated in scripture, to the extent that the Christian accepts scripture as absolutely reliable?

Just curious how others approach this dilemna -if it's really a dilemna.  I can see how libertarianism might be a tough sell to a fundamentalist of any Abrahamic religion, and wonder what that means for the future of our political efforts, at least in the West.

I wrote an essay few months ago that somewhat relates to this topic. I will post the excerpt that speaks to these questions most directly. I haven't published it anywhere yet, but this seems like the appropriate time, and it may answer some of your questions.
 
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This essay is an exhaustive side thought to my previous essay The False Dichotomy, the State, and Gay Marriage. Too long for a foot note, and too much of a stretch of topic to be included in the original work, I am here now laying the foundations out for what I call the first count of guilt that Christians must be prepared to accept the consequences of when facing the gay marriage issue. One additional reason for this essay’s being a stand-alone read was for entertainment and PR considerations posed by friends who read the first draft. While both essays contain elements of Christian theology, this essay is purely theological and philosophical. This particular essay will likely hold no interest for the non-curious non-Christian, but certainly none for the non-curious atheist. The False Dichotomy, the State, and Gay Marriage certainly will hold that audience’s interest. However, for the non-Christians and the atheists who are interested, please feel free to read, critique, and hopefully be entertained.

As I discussed comprehensively in my essay The False Dichotomy, the State, and Gay Marriage, I will again discuss gay marriage in this essay as well. However, more broadly, I want to frame this entire set of essays around the false dichotomy of marriage licenses, and in hopes of achieving this goal, I have chosen to discuss the topic and issue of gay marriage as it stands in the American forums. Having said that, I want to Intellectually distance the reader’s thought patterns away from any feelings, positive or negative, towards the subject of gay marriage. This is because this essay, as well as The False Dichotomy, the State, and Gay Marriage both share one main focus, and at the core of these papers’ focus is not merely the issue of gay marriage, per se, though the title’s of these works may inadvertently imply otherwise.

Instead the core topics of this pair of essays are marriage licenses, and, even deeper to the work’s roots, the State’s use of the false dichotomy to usurp power from its people. The topic of gay marriage is used for two reasons. First, it served as a popular and highly divisive issue that I saw as an extremely useful illustrative tool though which I could spring board onto my deeper topic: the false dichotomy. The second reason I chose to employ such a topic is because the gay marriage issue is not merely political or economic; it is also inherently spiritual in nature. The issue of gay marriage thus proved to be an especially interesting opportunity of intellectual exploration because the issue does two things perfectly: it constitutes all of the parts necessary to produce the ideal false dichotomy, and, the issue being both political and spiritual in nature, exemplified a topic that speaks to me so personally. As both a libertarian and a Christian, the issue seeks to put me at odds with myself. For obvious reasons then, an analysis of this idea needed to be conducted.

I began The False Dichotomy, the State, and Gay Marriage by introducing to the reader what a false dichotomy is; it is a trick wherein two choices are presented when one or more alternative choices are actually existent, and, in some cases, may actually be better than the two choices presented. I explained Hoppe’s true dichotomy of choice as that between what he dubbed “pure capitalism” and “socialism”. I then set out to persuade the reader that the State has presented such a false dichotomy to the people in the following question: do we grant homosexuals the right to marry or do we not? Finally, from that point and onward to the conclusion of the essay, I explained the second count of guilt that we as a people must be prepared to accept the consequences of. I achieve this by driving home the point that any questions like the one of gay marriage as presented by the State ignore the more fundamental question: does the state possess the right to define marriage in the first place? Even more crucial is the question of whether or not the state even has the right to exist in a free society? In that analysis, I did my best to include only the arguments that would persuade the most ardent of atheists that the answers to both of these questions must be ‘No’.

 

In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to employ theological and philosophical arguments to persuade Christians who oppose government sponsored gay marriage, and I will start by expounding on the “first count of guilt” that I originally mentioned in The False Dichotomy, the State, and Gay Marriage. The first count of guilt I am speaking of relates in no way to political and economic considerations or the consequences of those considerations that will be felt on this world or this life. Rather this count of guilt communicates spiritual consequences felt by believers (specifically Christian believers) in the next life.

 

To begin, when I speak of “Christians” in the following paragraphs, I use the term in the general sense; I base the following on my experience of the way the average American Christian probably views this topic. I am, of course, aware that not all Christians feel about this issue the way that I am about to describe Christians as a whole. If you are such an exception, you will probably know what I am talking about so I ask that you bear with me. One more note I would like to add: when I use the term “we” or “Christians” I include myself in that Group only by designation, but the opinions I express as those of Christians on the whole, I myself do not necessarily agree with them. I personally do not find homosexuality to be a sin.

 

When we, as Christians, adamantly oppose the right of homosexuals to marry, what do we really mean by this opposition? We mean that we do not recognize gay marriage as marriage at all. It only seems proper then that we oppose the right of homosexuals to obtain and possess marriage licenses in the same way that straight couples obtain and posses them. We engage in “proper” marriages, “between a man and a woman”, we say. And, like good citizens, we attain marriage licenses. We find a disconnect then, when all of a sudden we hear of gay couples demanding the right to obtain marriage licenses because from our perspective, these couples cannot get married. “How, then”, we wonder, “can that which cannot be married obtain a marriage license?” To us, it would be no different if a man incapable of driving a vehicle demanded a driver’s license.

Following this line of logic, we do what we have been taught to do when we don’t like something that someone else is doing: we go to the state to prevent it. We say to the state,  “Oh, most wise overlord, we insist that you consider prohibiting this group of willing-wedders from obtaining a license of marriage.” Now, this license is, essentially, merely a piece of paper that says “We, the state, recognize this contract between this person and that one as a proper contract of wedding vows and obligations agreed upon by each of the parties to the contract. “Prohibiting this piece of paper seems harmless enough,” you might think, “marriage between two people of the same sex is, after all, not really a marriage.”

However, when we really start to delve into what the issue really is, we find that the results of our opposition become something quite contrary to our original intentions? So while our intentions, at least at face value, seek to prohibit the state from granting marriage licenses to homosexuals, the results of that opposition produce many unforeseen negative externalities. Perhaps the most important idea to keep in mind when thinking through this scenario is not what you are asking the State in actuality, but instead, what it is exactly that the State sees you asking for. The State views you (Christians) as requesting the temporary use of their coercive hand to prohibit a specific group of people (homosexuals) the right of freedom of contract. If your position is the politically advantageous one, then to this request the State is all too willing to oblige. If, however, you do not represent the politically advantageous position, you are out of luck.

Now, thinking even more deeply on this topic, what are the religious implications of our opposition to such a license? We might at first think, “God does not condone same sex marriage, so when we oppose such a license, we are acting as forces of his will on this otherwise evil Earth.” At first glance, it may appear that you are right. However on closer inspection, I think you will discover that it would serve us well to look at this issue another way; I would say the implications of our actions will soon prove themselves to be quite contrary to the assertion you’ve just proposed. I believe that we, as Christians, are implicitly suggesting that, in some cases, our faith in man outweighs our faith in God; at least in regard to our belief that God will administer justice in a way that is, well, just. It is God, after all, whom we profess to be the ultimate designer of the idea of justice and thus its opposite, the idea of the unjust. If God is not the original designer of these ideas, then man, by default, must be. If this is true, man is now placed in an unfortunate position because he is left with the task of solving an apparently unsolvable conundrum between two givens that are at odds with each other.

 

Before I begin the next thought, let me clarify something. For the following paragraph detailing the first given I have just mentioned, when I speak of  “rule”, I am neither referring to rule in the sense of a physical law, like gravity, nor am I meaning a government or state proper instituting some form of a “rule of law”. I am merely referring to the guiding principles of ethics that any man may or may not choose to live by, endowed to man by a creator or higher being of some kind. This characterization, however, will change to mean a state or kind of “rule of law” in the second paragraph, when I detail the second given.

 

Moving on, the first given is that with no rule or consistency of any kind to have faith in or live by, man is lost.  He is paralyzed in his inability to rationally plan. He is incapable of properly organizing his life. Like a competitor in a game of ever-changing rules, no strategy formulated by the competitor can be tested for efficacy, which makes participation ultimately meaningless, for no clear goal is really achievable. Fortunately for the competitor in the game, he may drop out of it, if and when he wishes. However, man, barring suicide, lacks this luxury, as his very being, for one reason or another, begs his continuation in this game of life. So, in efforts to remedy this problem, man feels compelled to institute some measure of rule or some concept of justice in this world, or else life, as man knows it, must necessarily fall into utterly dreadful and chaotic misery.

 

So, the second given, of course, is that man, or more properly, a man, must be designated to perform the act of defining and administering justice. It is at this point that the unstoppable force meets the immoveable object; where the first given must contradict the second. For without the existence of God or some originator of the idea of justice, man is left to wonder: by what authority does one man derive the right to dictate what is and is not just to another? If not by some concept of divine right, which is impossible absent a God, then the authority over such a power must be left to the singular man holding what resembles most divine might. However, this conclusion too leaves us with the same bitter taste in our mouths that the chaos did. So, we are left with the realization that singular rule is nothing but utterly dreadful and chaotic misery.  

 

Having explored this idea to a length I deem necessary, what does it mean for the Christian in the context of the marriage license issue, with special attention to gay marriage? It means several things. First, I would not make the claim that given my statements, we must then conclude that all justice must be left to God, and God alone. We cannot, in laziness and idleness, expect God to swoop down from the heavens in chariots of fire and exude his wrath in every instance of evil doing in the world. We are created and endowed, after all, with the gift of Logic. He has equipped us with the tools to maintain peace on this Earth. God is the benefactor of our reason, and from this gift, he expects regular usage of it from us. This gift comes with many useful applications but I want to focus on one of these applications in particular.

 

I feel that God has placed in the care of human beings a certain responsibility in the administering of justice, but only a very unique and specific kind of justice. It is in this niche of justice only where our responsibility, as human beings employing logic, lay. I also believe that God has made the parameters of this particular niche abundantly clear to us. Interestingly, this niche is not unique to the Judeo-Christian God, but may be found in nearly every religion the world over.

 

So, what kind of justice has God charged man with the task of dealing? God has tasked us with the responsibility of dealing justice to those who have made a victim of another; a victim being defined as one who’s personal property rights have been breached by another. To put it more simply, the non-aggression principle states it nicely: “An individual may do all that he wishes, so long as in the practice of doing so, he does not infringe upon another’s ability to practice the same.” This extends even to the actions of another that you, I, or even God himself may find personally detestable and/or morally abhorrent.

 

Ironically then, God has instructed us to not only respect the choices of others but also, even more astounding, to protect these choices, even the choices that disobey God’s laws for the way in which he has instructed man to live. In this way, we find that God is truly the only ruler, truly the definition of a benevolent dictator, who is capable of relinquishing his power over us, and it is this trait of God that speaks most to his infinite wisdom. “Leave to me the judgment of all else,” he commands, “for man is incapable of just judgment on such matters outside of my confinements to him.” It’s as if God, intimately aware of the nature of man and his selfish lust for power, foresaw that a rule of tolerance, respect, equality, and mutual cooperation were the only means by which man could live in relatively peaceful coexistence with each other, while also ensuring that the healthiest environment for his word to be heard might also be realized. 

 

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This is entirely my interpretation of my religion. It provides one perspective of how libertarian concepts align with God's various laws.

"If men are not angels, then who shall run the state?" 

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