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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16927/what-does-the-bible-say-about-money/

What Does the Bible Say about Money?

May 12, 2011 by

Lots of people are harassed routinely by ministers and other believers who imagine that the Bible favors inflationary schemes, bans the paying and receiving of interest, and requires a government monopoly on money to fund glorious government projects to help people. This book by Gary North answers those views with chapter, verse, and an impressive account of the historical context for the Bible’s teachings on money, banking, commerce, and trade. You can search libraries of books on this topic and not discover what he has found. The book is ideal for high-school classroom use — speaking here of private schools of course.

{ 80 comments }

Bruce Koerber May 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm

The scholarly work of Gary North is another firm foundation.

Freedom Fighter May 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I am sorry, but the Bible seems to be staunchly anti-money, anti-wealth, anticapitalist. I realize another thing, that by quoting Bible verses out of context, you can make them say anything you want, LOL :-D

Matthew 16:26
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Luke 18:25
Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 12:33-34
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

jeffrey A. May 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I partially disagree. I think I would instead argue that the Bible is neither anti-capitalistic, nor is it explicitly pro-capitalistic. I would argue though, that there is only one passage in the Bible that explicitly does make a political argument, and that is toward the beginning of 1 Samuel when the people come to Samuel asking for a king and he argues back about all the terrible consequences of that type of authority and argues to remain in a stateless society whose priests arbitrate conflicts and the people were free to live as they wanted. The rest of the Bible, when it comes to government takes either a negative or at best ambivalent tone.

So, if the Bible’s primary argument is for the pre-monarchical stateless society of ancient Israel, then that leaves how we take care of ourselves, up to ourselves. If the accumulation of capital resources and the expanding division of labor is how we choose to do that, that’s fine, if we choose to create agricultural communes, that is also fine.

The Bible encourages our actions to be voluntary, to give from the heart as we have been given, a charitable attitude is not counter to the principles of a free society.

Also, if you read early church history closely, (which you may have, I don’t know), you will find that as those teachings you cite were followed too strictly and the church realized the problem of everybody relying too heavily on everyone else, one of the basic problems of socialism. So even though this was a voluntary pursuit it was quickly recognized that people needed to continue plying their trades as well as contributing to the church so as to meet their own basic needs while also tending to the care of the sick and displaced.

Though your quoted verses are valid, I would argue that they are more about an attitude, than a strict command for a completely one-sided action.

Drigan May 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

Keep in mind that “The Needle’s Eye” was a term for the door to a city in biblical times. They would create a small opening in the wall with a door to make it more difficult for invading armies to overwhelm a city’s defenses. To get through this doorway, the camel would have to get down on its knees and inch through. This verse is to show that the rich needed to be humble about their wealth and remember to enter heaven on their knees.

Both the other verses are about low time preferences.

Freedom Fighter May 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm

There seems to be a culture of guilt towards earthly possessions and wealth in the Bible, especially in the new testament.

However, the Bible is also pro free market and promotes a high work ethics:

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard seem to promote free market capitalism and the necessity to enforce mutually agreed contracts.

1“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3“About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5So they went.

“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

There is also this proverb that exhorts people to work as hard as they can:

Proverbs 6
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.

So the Bible says that it’s okay to negotiate your salary or the price you’re willing to pay or to accept upfront but that once you have come to a terms of agreement you must work as hard as you can and honor your agreement.

nate-m May 13, 2011 at 4:26 am

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard seem to promote free market capitalism and the necessity to enforce mutually agreed contracts.

It’s not though. It’s a bit of a absurd situation were you pay the guys that got there in the last hour the same as ones that worked all day.

It’s meant to illustrate that the rewards you get from serving the Lord is the same regardless of long you’ve been doing it or what stage you started. A person working all their life is not ‘holier’ then somebody that realized this at age 90. It’s also worth noting that you actually do need to do work. It’s not just that you lay around all day and get rewards for it.

However if you want to look at something that is fairly relevant from a Libertarian perspective you can find numerous examples of contracts. That is promises of blessings and covenants. A significant example is ‘Brit bein HaBetarim’ and it had promises and several conditions that had to be met for the contract to come true. The ‘father of many nations’ and such things that formed a agreement between Abraham and God. Although it’s worth noting that blood rituals (example: circumcision) is done away with due to the ‘blood of Christ shed for us’ stuff.

But there are a lot of other examples. Many times the stipulation is as simple as ‘remember this promise and remind me of it’.

Drigan May 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

I don’t think his analysis of the relationship to contracts and personal choices of those who have wealth is unfair, but your analysis is certainly more thorough.

nate-m May 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Yeah. I suppose so. I don’t mean to belittle him or whatnot. I just disagree with the interpretation. There are multiple levels of how you can interpret parables and it’s quite possible that I am missing something.

Jonathan May 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm

What a waste of ressource.
We should put our energy in convincing the young.
The only person you will convince with this book is your 70 years old dying catholic.

Not to mention all the leftist spin that this will create.
Glenn Beck = LvMI
Libertarianism = religious dogma

jeffrey A. May 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I think this is more about addressing the issue that a lot of Christians have with libertarianism, which is that libertarianism is a cold, heartless, greedy system that leaves the weak and sick behind, therefore we supposedly need some govt. assistance to catch those who can’t keep up. I think a lot of Christians would be more likely adopt libertarian positions when they are taught to see that there is actually quite a lot of compatibility between them.

For me, as a young Christian, my faith is what actually pushed me to become an anarcho-capitalist/libertarian/private law society advocate. That is the only system compatible with the teachings of the bible in my opinion.

Gark May 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

“I think this is more about addressing the issue that a lot of Christians have with libertarianism”

And Gary North is the worst candidate for that position because he is not even a libertarian. He’s a Christian Reconstructionist who longs for America come under the rule of biblical law where harsh punitive measures would be dealt against apostates, homosexuals, and unruly children.

More on Gary North:
http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/23078.aspx

Kunsthausmann May 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

North’s entertaining book has a few eye-openers. For example, in the tenth chapter, “A Biblical Monetary System”, he concludes with a summary in twenty concepts. He wrote that “[t]he development of a Biblical monetary system is based on these concepts:”. Among them are

19. Banking can become a means of Christian dominion.
20. Christians extend credit; non-Christians borrow.

These seem almost mild in comparison to what he wrote in preceding pages. For example:

The Bible teaches that evil people should be under the authority of God’s law, as administered by God’s people. Extending loans to others was a means of dominion.

Shortly thereafter we have:

The pattern is clear: extending credit is a tool of oppression in the hands of evil men, but extending credit is a tool of dominion in the hands of God’s people. God’s kingdom is to be extended over ethical rebels. Ethical rebels are snared and brought under God’s authority by
means of debt.

After which one encounters:

Christians should be willing to deposit money in 100 percent reserve banks, thereby allowing non-Christians to learn service through debt bondage. Like apprentices, debt-burdened pagans can learn what it means to work hard for a demanding taskmaster.

We should thank Gary for being so honest about his Christian utopia. Lew Rockwell, too.

fundamentalist May 16, 2011 at 8:05 am

I would have some serious problems with those conclusions, too.

The Anti-Gnostic May 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Atheists have abysmal birthrates. The future will be, oddly enough, lots of Anabaptists. Amish/Mennonites are having to move westward to accomodate their population growth. Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Catholics are all quite fecund too.

Freedom Fighter May 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm

While religious people concentrate on their immediate family, Atheists can speak to large crowds and try to convince them to reneg their faith.

Drigan May 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

Really? You are trying to say that by not having as many kids the Atheists will influence more people? That’s pretty backwards.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Why should we have kids, please answer that question for me ?

Look at cattle and how it’s treated with sadistic torture, mutilation just so we can eat it’s flesh. It would serve cattle well if it’s species would be extinct.

I fail to see how it is a Darwinist success for cattle and other livestock to spread it’s genes if it’s to make suffering generations after suffering generations of tortured animals under the brutal command of mankind.

As a human being and seeing how the government and businesses exploit us, I really don’t see why the working class should breed. If there is one thing I hate about the working class, it’s the fact that they have kids. Stupid idiots who breed generations of bottom feeders after generations of bottom feeders.

Let the rich and the ruling elite have kids, at least they will have the power and money to offer them a life worth living, not a life of hard work for crumbs and indignities.

If you read Ecclesiastes, he says that everything is futile and the Bible constantly reminds us how God is a cruel and sadistic tyrant who loves to mutilate, torture and bleed his enemies and animals to death and how most of all the creation will burn in hell.

In that case, the last thing you want to do is to have kids.

By not having kids, Atheists will have more time on their hands to tell other people to not believe in God.

Anyways, I’m not an atheist, I would consider myself to be an anti-theist because I believe in God and I don’t approve of what he does. Just because God exists doesn’t mean we have to obey him and it doesn’t mean he’s right.

After all, the government and the state exists and we all know what libertarians think about the state.

What libertarians think about the state, they should also think about God … unnecessary tyranny and brutality.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I don’t know whether to take you seriously or not. Your comments are so over-the-top. If you intended to be funny you have succeeded!

For now I’ll assume you’re not creating a caricature of irreligious people.

Ecclesiastes does not say that everything is futile. Read the book again. It says that life without God is futile.

“I believe in God and I don’t approve of what he does.”

I’m sure he feels the same way about you.

Ryan May 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I think Jim Peron put it best below:

http://freestudents.blogspot.com/search?q=bible+economics

“The Bible is a tribalistic book and tribalism is another form of collectivism. I don’t deny there is a common good but that good is the protection of the equal rights of all. What the Left means is a redistributive state where some are penalized for the sake of others. By definition that is not the common good since some are sacrificed for the well-being of others. Telling the sacrificed, as they are economically raped by the state, that it is good for them is absurd. Big government always acts on behalf of some while the other are the “acted upon.”

This professor, David Gushee, says: “This kind of small government libertarianism, small taxes, leave-me-alone-to-live-my-life ideology has more in common with Ayn rand than it does with the Bible.” I would have to agree there. Biblical government doesn’t leave people alone. Ask the “heretics” who were executed by God-fearing biblicists! Ask gay people who are on the sharp end of the biblical sword when it comes to marriage equality and basic civil rights.

At all times in history the Bible has been mostly invoked to oppress not to liberate. The orthodox Christians in the South had plenty of Scripture to back up their slave-owning practices. Individuals who opposed equality of rights for women had no shortage of biblical references at that call. In his dissection of socialism Mises wrote that “no movement against private property which has arisen in the Christian world has failed to seek authority in Jesus, the Apostles, and the Christian Fathers, not to mention those who, like Tolstoy, made the Gospel resentment against the rich the very heart and soul of their teaching.” Mises said, and I concur, that the Christian church “has prepared the soil for the destructive resentment of modern socialist thought.” Mises claimed that: “Any would-be destroyers of the modern social order could count on finding a champion in Christianity.”

The Post does quote some Tea Party officials who claim “Jesus was not for socialism,” and these people are right as well. How can this be the case?

The point Mises makes is not that the New Testament advocated socialism because it didn’t. It didn’t advocate any kind of economic order at all. Certainly the church in The Book of Acts practiced a form of collective ownership where each contributed their worldly goods into a common pool for redistribution. But it was not a common ownership of the means of production, which is what socialism really is. Redistribution of wealth is just part of the socialist gospel, not the entire thing. Prof. Anthony Waterman wrote that early Christianity “had no recognizable body of social thought” whatsoever.

What it had, however, was utter contempt for material existence and wealth. These believers accepted the promise of Jesus that he would return to earth before the last of them died and establish his kingdom. He told them to not worry about production at all but to wait in anticipation for the end of the world. There was no emphasis on economics because there was no need for an economy—the world was coming to an end. Mises wrote:
It is only in this way that we can understand why, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus recommended his own people to take no thought for food, drink, and clothing; why he exhorts them not to sow or reap or gather in barns, not to labor or spin. It is the only explanation, too, of his and his disciples’ ‘communism.’ This ‘communism’ is not Socialism; it is not production with means of production belonging to the community. It is nothing more than a distribution of consumption goods among the members of the community—’unto each, according as any one had need.’ It is a communism of consumption goods, not of the means of production, a community of consumers, not of producers. The primitive Christians do not produce, labor, or gather anything at all. The newly converted realize their possessions and divide the proceeds with the brethren and sisters. Such a way of living is untenable in the long run. It can be looked upon only as a temporary order which is what it was in fact intended to be. Christ’s disciples lived in daily expectation of Salvation.

Church father Tertullian put it this way: “I have no concern in this life except to depart from it as speedily as possible.” Edward Gibbon, whose work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, showed the detrimental impact of Christianity, wrote:

The ancient Christians were animated by a contempt
for their present existence, and by a just confidence of
immortality, of which the doubtful and imperfect faith of
modern ages cannot give us any adequate notion. In the
primitive church, the influence of truth was very
powerfully motivated by an opinion which, however, it
may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity, has
not been found agreeable to experience. It was
universally believed that the end of the world and the
kingdom of Heaven were at hand.
What the socialists found useful in the New Testament was contempt it expressed for this world and material possessions, which often expresses itself in the oddest of places. When Mary is told that she is with child, supposedly through some miracle, she exalts God and denounces the rich, saying that God “hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.” Jesus said that it was the poor who were blessed. His brother James warned: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus we learn that poverty-stricken Lazarus dies to awake in Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man burns in hell. The only crime mentioned appears to be his wealth.

Paul, the real founder of Christianity, said that the poor aren’t tempted to abandon God but that the rich “fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil, which some coveted after, they have erred from the faith.” Jesus was more direct. He said that you “cannot serve God and mammon” and told his followers to avoid work, toil or wealth-building. He urged them to “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take things of itself.”

This contempt for wealth and the wealthy energizes much of the resentment behind socialism. As the pro-market theologian Michale Novak admits: “The gospel accounts amply supply the liberation (socialist) theologians of our day with a rhetoric to be employed against riches and the rich.” Barbara Ward, in her work Faith and Freedom, wrote: “Communism owes its immense vitality more to its biblical vision of the mighty put down and the poor raised up than to its theories of value or its interpretation of history.”

Conservative sociologist Peter Berger says that the roots of western socialism “are undoubtedly in the communitarian tradition of Western Christianity.” And pro-capitalist Catholic Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn said that “the ethical content of Christianity” fosters and promotes “the temptation toward socialism.” He wrote: “Along the path of the socialist utopia lies a day of judgement when the humble will be exalted and the rich and mighty brutally dispossessed. And from the Socialist-Communist utopia itself can be gleaned the picture of paradise lost—and regained; a new age of innocence, of peace and brotherly love, with envy, crime and hatred banished forever.”

So both the Christian Left and Christian Right are correct to a limited degree. Christianity, as the Right says, didn’t exactly preach socialism. But, as the Left notes, it was contemptuous of wealth and the wealthy. It had disdain for material existence and preached an apocalyptic judgement against the mighty and wealthy in favor of the poor and dispossessed. Marxism leaned on Christian mythology to make its points. After centuries of the Gospel, the soil was well prepared for Marx’s secular version of the same thing. Unlike Jesus, however, Marx didn’t promise revenge and paradise in the future, but in the here and now.

If one must pick which of these two odious arms of religious statism is more correct, as far as which way the New Testament leans politically, I would have to go with the Left-wing Christians. And that is how most Christianity, over the ages, has leaned.

Eventually the Christians realized that Jesus wasn’t coming back when he said he would. Eventually they needed a system of ethics in regards to production and distribution. And when that ethic was formed it was rooted in the envious attitudes of the New Testament with its contemptuous views of material existence and wealth. That pushed the Church in a statist direction economically.

The Religious Right is correct in that neither Jesus, nor the New Testament, had a particularly socialist economic policy. It had no policy whatsoever. But it did have the attitudes that the socialists have used for a couple of centuries now to inspire contempt for depoliticized markets, private property, and free exchange.”

***********
As a final note, I’d say that it’s both embarrasing and hilarious watching arch-religionists like Gary North, Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul try to parse scripture in an effort to square religion with Libertarianism, let alone Austrian economics. Give it up, you’re making fools of yourselves.

Jordan May 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I have to agree with your last statement, but this is no different than anything else. People, regardless of who they are, will try to get anything and everything important and well liked on their “side” instead of taking things for what they are.

Michael Richards May 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Then should all Christians just quit being libertarian? Austrian Economics is a science, not an ethical mandate. Libertarianism is an ethical principle centered in the axiom of non-aggression. Austrian Economics just explains how the libertarian system will work in the frame work of production and consumption of goods in an economy. Common Law (or a Private Law Society) is grounded in the idea that conflict will emerge in society and it should be handled by privately selected mediators. It is hard to see how Christianity which practices peace and love thy enemy is counter to these principles of non-violence. Capitalism is only around 300 years old and common law is even a more recent discovery. When the Bible was written, the only income which was received was that of the political class of Rome and those who sided with the Romans. Hence why Jesus’s first target for conversion were tax collectors like Matthew. Further, seeing who Jesus was targeted by, it was the religious and political leaders of the day. A libertarian going back in time would also throw tirades at the rich much like how we do now. Libertarianism is not wealth worshiping. Wanting to help the poor (such as Orphans and Widows) in society is not an evil which libertarians should look down upon. What I find more amazing is how libertarians, like Ayn Rand, praise Nietzsche who advocated violence in society as a way of life over Christ who rejected violence by claiming we should love our enemies and those who live by the sword shall die by it also. Further, the Jesus said “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit” not the “poor” in general (a difference in Luke and the rest of the Gospels). Lazarus was in Hell for not giving notice to the starving wretch outside his house, not because he was wealthy. Further, the parable was to show how the wealth of the world may blind one to living an ethical and good life. Jesus’s quotes on lilies and birds dealt with worry, not with unconcern for those things which keep them alive. After all, we are grateful to Mises for not giving up on the cause for liberty and sell out his principles for the worries of worldly wealth. After all it was Paul who wrote those that don’t work, neither shall they eat and not to be a burden on others. To say that Christianity has no place in the libertarian tradition is ignoring the work of those Christians which help to advance it, like Rockwell, Paul, Bastiat, Turgot, Acton etc.

Seattle May 13, 2011 at 12:00 am

No, they should quit being Christian.

Stephan Kinsella May 13, 2011 at 7:58 am
nate-m May 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I feel that the one of the strongest anti-state sentiment you can find in the Bible would be in old testament. It happens after the last Judge, Samuel.

The Judges, in this context, were savior-types. Sort of like precursors to JC. The Israel people went through a lot of cycles of piety and then success, then arrogance, then they end up being subjugated by their enemies. They would then cry for help and then God would endow a Judge with the power to free them or at least protect them. The most famous judge, in modern culture, is Samson.

The last Judge was Samuel. He was a good one, but his kids really sucked. The Hebrew nation got tired of their crap and then called onto God to appoint them a king to rule them and protect them. All other large nations had kings and they saw that it was a successful form of government That way they could raise and support professional armies to protect them and such things so that they don’t have to depend on these judges (I am supposing).

Naturally God doesn’t like this idea so much. He wants people to depend on hum instead of some man-King, but he will appoint them a King if they really want one. He had Samuel communicate to the tribes of Isreal on why getting a king was such a bad idea:

This is described in First Samuel Chapter 8. Anybody reading it should start from the beginning as it helps it make better sense. However the versus I am specifically talking about are 11-20:

10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint [them] for himself, for his chariots, and [to be] his horsemen; and [some] shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and [will set them] to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters [to be] confectionaries, and [to be] cooks, and [to be] bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, [even] the best [of them], and give [them] to his servants.

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put [them] to his work.

17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;

20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Good points, nate-m.

Interesting link, Stephan. Reford is right that Jesus was an anarchist, but for the wrong reasons. Jesus was an anarchist because as God he wrote the Torah. The Torah establishes an essentially anarchist society. There was no executive branch of government, no taxes, no police force and no standing army. Tithes were to be given to priests to help the poor and support the temple, but he provided no means of human enforcement; they were voluntary.

The only governmental institution were judges and they weren’t paid. They were rich guys who had earned the respect of the community and were heads of clans and tribes.

Ryan May 24, 2011 at 12:19 am

“As a final note, I’d say that it’s both embarrasing [sic] and hilarious watching arch-religionists like Gary North, Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul try to parse scripture in an effort to square religion with Libertarianism, let alone Austrian economics. Give it up, you’re making fools of yourselves.”

If only this were really your ‘final note’, but undoubtedly your contempt for religion stems and is perpetuated from a sort of psychological malady which gives rise to nothing short of intellectual suicide.

Drs. Paul and North have likely written more books than you’ve ever read and are certainly adept at answering these juvenile rants. But to appreciate that skill set, you’d actually have to read their works.

Gil May 24, 2011 at 12:52 am

Why not? Describe what is “true” Biblical money would only interest people who actually believe the Bible is literally true and such people are a minority. Alternatively, why should everyone care what the Bible defines as money?

Hanover May 12, 2011 at 6:44 pm

It’s indeed a bold endeavor to definitively interpret scripture on any subject, much less money & economics.
Billions of folks have been at it for many centuries without success.

Thus, we can quite safely ignore Gary North’s effort… and decline to inflict it upon innocent high-school students.

——–

According to von Mises (Human Action), classical Liberalism is based upon a purely rational and scientific theory of social cooperation. Its knowledge does not refer in any way to sentiments, intuitive creeds, mystical experiences, nor the personal awareness of superhuman phenomena.

In this sense, the {often misunderstood & erroneously interpreted} epithets ‘atheistic’ and ‘agnostic’ can be correctly attributed to classical Liberalism and libertarianism.

However, the sciences and policies of “human action”are not hostile to religion– but, are radically opposed to all systems of theocracy. They are entirely neutral with regard to religious beliefs which do not pretend to interfere with the conduct of social, political, and economic affairs.

Theology is an insight not open to examination by reason or demonstration by logical methods. Its ultimate standard is intuition providing the mind with subjective certainty about things which cannot be conceived by reason. If this intuition refers to one of the traditional teachings concerning existence of a Divine Creator and Ruler of the universe– we call it a religious belief. If it refers to another system we call it a metaphysical belief.

There is no room in Austrian Economics for theological economics.

Jenner May 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm

You may very well be right, Hanover. I would like point out, though, that materials like this might appeal to persons not yet accustomed to Austrian thought and prove to be a bridge to further investigation. Not everyone stumbles upon Human Action and suddenly becomes a libertarian paladin. So I would argue that it’d be imprudent for us to merely dismiss this work outright.

Kunsthausmann May 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm

“Theology is an insight not open to examination by reason or demonstration by logical methods.”

Not necessarily so, Hanover. Suppose that a theologian claims that his god exists if and only if it can do whatever it wants to do without any limit. Naturally, the theologian will suppose that his god exists. The following test may bring him to his senses if he is not too arrogant:

Can the god arrange the 114 chapters of the Koran in an infinite number of ways?

It so happens that the answer is that no, the god can’t, assuming for just a moment that it exists. There are only a finite number of ways to collate those 114 chapters, and this fact can be proven rigorously even if, for practical reasons, you can’t calculate the product of 114*113*112*…*3*2*1. (Perhaps you have no calculator with sufficient memory to handle the calculation and cannot do the arithmetic in your head.)

So, that theologian’s god does not exist. Unfortunately, many people will find very seductive nevertheless that fool’s doctrine of the primacy of the will.

augusto May 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm

to which the theologian’s reply will be: this is god’s limit to the number of ways in which the koran can be arranged. it’s not that god is limited by combinatorics, it’s god that imposes limits on combinatorics. ;-)

Kunsthausmann May 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Ah, yes. The old ad hoc rescue by wishful thought. Some theologians, but not necessarily all of them, find it irksome not to suppose that their god is lawless. In our case the theologian’s response betrays far more about the character of the theologian than about the attributes of any god, real or imagined, no? Perhaps what the world needs are two new fields of study: theologology and theologianlogy.

Ryan May 24, 2011 at 12:23 am

“It’s indeed a bold endeavor to definitively interpret scripture on any subject, much less money & economics.
Billions of folks have been at it for many centuries without success.
Thus, we can quite safely ignore Gary North’s effort… and decline to inflict it upon innocent high-school students.”

Wow, these are some stellar reasoning skills.

a] interpretation of scripture is a bold endeavor
b] folks have been doing it for centuries without success
thus
c] we can safely ignore North’s efforts

Premise [b] of course assumes your have some normative measure in which to evaluate prior interpretion. How [c] follows from [a] and [b] is certainly a mystery.

Yes. It would certainly be best for you to ignore North. He doesn’t write books for people like you.

Bedazzled Crone May 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm

The comments are fascinating. Not only is the context a problem – proof-texting has been the norm for as long as I have been in this field – you can argue anything from the Bible if you look hard enough

The real problem is that North is using some kind of “free translation” of the Hebrew, for example in Genesis 47:15. And the rest of the “translation” is rather his fanciful interpretation (& at some points really far-fetched interpretation) of the story of Joseph, the Pharoah and Joseph’s move to the land of Egypt.

I could write lots – but the above commenters have covered lots of the territory that I would cover anyway.

By the way, capitalism has been around for thousands of years – we even suspect that there were “logos” in the early Sumerian cultures – we definitely know that Greek potters put their names on things with advertising such as “I made this great thing; the potter down the road couldn’t make anything as good as this” – many of these early cultures had mixed economies – things needed for the greater good such as food was collected & redistributed – private property issues has been around for thousands of years as well

everything old is new again!

Dean May 13, 2011 at 12:08 am

If someone takes mud and shapes it into a pot, they have labored to produce something that they can use. If someone else takes the pot without giving anything in return, the potter has lost not only the pot but the labor it took to produce it. If the potter has no rights, the potter can keep making pots and others can keep taking them without giving anything in return.

The pots are not the property of a ruler nor of a diety. A ruler may claim a right to a pot because it was produced within the realm and is backed up by a holy man who also claims a pot in the name of a diety. The diety supposedly created everything in the universe and could certainly create a pot. Anyway, the potter is thus subservient to both the ruler and the holy man for the labor expended to make the pots. Without recognition of private property rights a person can become subservient to others and get nothing in return. The pots are private property. Is slavery simply an issue?

Grant May 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Who cares what the Bible says about money? There are more variations in the books that make up the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament. The books in the canonical bible contain the prejudices and bias of a wide variety of early Christianities and later scribes.

I have to echo Hanover: “There is no room in Austrian Economics for theological economics.”

Dean May 12, 2011 at 11:38 pm

When a holy man first approached a chief with the idea of mutual back scratching, it was maybe the first marriage of convenience between two men. The chief became chief by devine right, and the holy man could fleece the flock without interference from the chief. The chief may have even allowed the holy man a cut of up to 10%. Between the two of them they managed to keep the rest of the community at a subsistence level. It has come down to the present day with chiefs and holy men still claiming to provide for the flock. But since neither actually produces anything, they can only give what they have already taken from the flock, minus operating expenses of course.

Weimar May 12, 2011 at 11:38 pm

14 For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it.

19 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’

22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’

24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 29 For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 25:13-30).

Tim May 13, 2011 at 1:24 am

Oh good grief. Reading some of the above comments, it’s almost as if some of you have convinced yourself that the best way to establish libertarianism is to tear down the Christian church.

The Bible, whether or not you personally adhere to it, is of tremendous importance to the foundations of ethics in western civilization. If it is possible to read it in a way that does not preclude libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism, would it not be a good thing to make that point so as to avoid needless dispute over things which, it turns out, are not actually relevant to the discussion?

Artisan May 13, 2011 at 3:17 am

You have to consider some writings by CG Young on the subject. Actually I m even surprised he’s not mentioned more often on Mises.org though he s not an economist: Young shows great philosophical insights about the opposition between State and individual.

CG Young’s late opinion, that he wrote just before the demise of the soviet empire, does put much hope on religion (as opposed to confession) to allow the individual to resist the power of the collective (which is catalyzed by the State) and to resist the idea of the “statistical man” in the West.

It’s not absurd to say he foresaw in a way John Paul II s role in Poland… John Paul II had a much deeper understanding of economy (and human freedom) obviously as the actual pope in general.

Drigan May 13, 2011 at 9:38 am

I’m going to have to research this guy, he sounds fascinating.

Drigan May 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

Ummm . . . can you give a bit more information on this guy? When I searched for him i just came up with some artist born in 1971.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 9:47 am

In Fatal Conceit and in other writings Hayek defended the role of religions in general as a tool for persuading people to follow general principles for which they couldn’t find any immediate rationale, such as respect for other’s property.

Kasper Kyndsberg May 13, 2011 at 5:00 am

I think it is odd trying to find out what God think money and banking should be all about by reading and interpreting the Bible. The Bible is a mishmash of text from a lot of different authors written over more than 1.000 years (counting both the New and the Old Testament). How could they collectively have something to say about money and banking – especially in a modern and complex society like the one we have today?

The Bible is about morality. You cannot use the descriptions in the Bible of the world to make a map to navigate by. You cannot use the Bibles descriptions of ethnic groups as basis of studying sociology. And, you cannot use the Bible for monetary guidance.

You can use the Bible for morale guidance. I wouldn’t recommend it because our society is nothing like the Iron Age society, but that is what the Bible can be used for.

J. Murray May 13, 2011 at 6:14 am

I’m confused why an entity that can literally create resources out of nothing would concern itself over the use of a specific commodity among those varying resources as a common trade commodity. What is money today can turn into a common item few people care about (salt for instance), and money is a relatively recent development over a direct-barter system, so for there to be some kind of morality guiding it seems strange since what money is, how its used, and who provides it is never static.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 8:22 am

The FED seems to be the earthly entity closest to God, the FED can create money out of nothing up to the point of destroying the dollar and inducing hyper inflation.

The FED wants you to use it’s dollars to the bitter end. The FED wants to rob you of your wealth by destroying the purchasing power of your savings. In that case, the FED is concerned with legal tender laws and how to stop the growing popularity of Gold, Silver and other competing currencies and monetary instruments.

I suppose that the Bible and the Christian faith is concerned with money only because they don’t want to see money replace the faith. People attracted to money might want to ditch the faith all together. It was this real power of money as opposed to the vagueness of the christian faith that prompted the apostles to decry money and to instead place your heart in the kingdom of God, because they knew all to well that material concerns could divert followers away from the faith.

As for me, I would give all the Gold in the world just to have the privilege of ending this faith and kicking God down Jacob’s ladder. The Christian faith has offended me beyond repair and obtaining reparation is for me much more important than making money, in this sense the Christian faith has successfully diverted my heart away from money.

I consider Christianity to be a threat to libertarian ideals and to be a threat to civilization as a whole and I’m scratching my head as to how we could make Christianity disappear all together. Coercive methods don’t work, they create an underground church and you then have even less control on the faith.

I suppose that the best way to end Christianity would be to develop a better alternative and mass produce and mass market it to the point where Christianity would fall into obsolescence never to be reborn again, that is what I want.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 8:25 am

Suppose we developed some sort of artificial intelligence life form that could accommodate the needs of civilization and lead the world into victories after victories over the constraints imposed by nature, I’m sure that this would prove itself to be superior to the Christian faith and mark the end of this barbarous littering of the human mind.

mpolzkill May 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

Thank you, FF. You’re about the only guy I read on here anymore. Watching you tackle all these heavy issues is as entertaining as imagining Barney Fife in the ring with Mike Tyson.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Barney Fife vs Mike Tyson ?

I imagine that Barney would spend the entire fight just dodging Mike Tyson’s punches and run away from him, never capable of hitting Mike Tyson just once. Given that Barney is a lightweight and Tyson is a heavyweight, I would tend to think that Barney has an advantage over Mike Tyson in running around the ring avoiding to get hit.

Either the fight will be a long one, Barney running around all night long, or the fight will be an extremely short one, Mike Tyson KO’s Barney after just one second. In that case, it would not be very entertaining.

So which is it, the long tap dance-running avoiding “fight” or the extremely short one punch KO one ?

Please be clear.

nate-m May 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I suppose that the best way to end Christianity would be to develop a better alternative and mass produce and mass market it to the point where Christianity would fall into obsolescence never to be reborn again, that is what I want.

The most successful attempts to destroy Christianity come from a multiple prong attack. Stuff like:

* Create churches who owners/pastors/priests care more about how to financially exploit gullible members then to actually teach Bible.
* Misrepresent what is taught in the Bible with the knowledge that the vast majority of the population will never check it out for themselves and will just believe popularist notions, what is spoon fed to them by the media, and what is preached by exploitative people trying to deceive gullible ‘Christians’ for personal profit. Be especially deceitful about events in Genesis and Revelations.
* Create false dichotomies between things like Science vs Christianity and give fools face time on television and radio when they fall for it and behave poorly (ie. sue the state to stop teaching evolution in schools, monkey trials, etc).
* Create false dogma, false religion to further confuse and cloud people’s understandings. Let it be especially useful for exploiting people. Stuff like Easter bunny or Rapture doctrine.

etc etc.

All sorts of fun stuff like that. That way intelligent people will shy away and stupid people will end up worshiping false gods and being victims of swindlers.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

Actually, in studying the history of money I have not been able to find a time in recorded history when humans had no money. The earliest money was wheat or barley grains and cattle. In fact, all weights for silver and gold had barley or wheat grains as their base. Silver and gold were measured in barley grains. For example, the shekel used in the OT in Abram’s day, long before the nation of Israel, was the weight of 220 barley grains if I remember correctly.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 8:05 am

@Michael Richards,

“Libertarianism is an ethical principle centered in the axiom of non-aggression. ”

I consider life as we know it, packaged in the form of a limited and fragile flesh embodiment exposed to all sorts of dangers, to be an aggression against the soul. Therefore Christianity cannot be compatible with the concept of non-aggression because God has already committed an aggression against all life in this universe and has proven himself to be the enemy of the soul.

If you don’t own the water, you don’t own the dust.
If you don’t own your soul, you don’t own your house, you don’t own your paycheck, you don’t own your car, your freedom, your dignity, your clothes, your land etc. For the one who owns your soul, God, owns it all. In a context where God owns everything and we own nothing but are just temporary serfs that must rent our existence through hard work there can be no private property rights.

I understand that libertarianism is concerned only with temporary earthly material issues, but I look further than that, I want to own my own soul. I don’t want to be nature’s property to be made into what it wants and when it wants it. I want to exist by myself. Life as we know it is a crime against the soul as far as I’m concerned.

Worries about money and how to handle it fall way below my concern for my soul.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

Can’t always have what you want. We all have to bow to reality once in a while.

Besides, when did your person desires and disgusts become the standard for right and wrong?

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I bow to no one, especially not to God.
There is a way I can have what I want and I’m actually working hard on it and ironically, the Bible’s sentences are giving me hints on how to obtain what I want.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm

So you consider it to be right that life is forced into limited flesh embodiments exposed to all sorts of dangers and mistreatments and that such a thing might actually be repeated over and over again non-stop with no hope or means of defending yourself ?

Good for you.

I personally think that this universe would be better off without God and that life should have the right to be what it wants and to be nothing if that’s what it wants.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm

You’re really funny! And some day God will grant you your wish. In the next life God will put all of the people together who hated him and wanted nothing to do with him and give them exactly what they always wanted – eternity without him.

The primary judgment of God against rebellious people in this life is to leave them alone and let them have their way. But in this life he limits the evil they can do to each other. In eternity he will remove those restraints. In eternity, there will be no limit to the evil that people can commit against each other for those who want no part of God.

Drigan May 13, 2011 at 9:50 am

Oddly, you *do* own your soul in Christianity. According to Christianity, if you educate yourself on theology, and you reject God, you can choose to banish God from your soul. (Granted, you can’t banish God on your own power, He must accept this banishment, but that is the essence of being in Hell: separation from God.) Similarly, if you are given the help you need to reach out to God, but choose not to, you have chosen not to seek God and He will respect that. If you choose instead to seek out truth, you will be led to God. It’s *your* choice because you *do* own your soul.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Here’s what I chose, I chose to climb Jacob’s ladder and kick your God’s ugly butt so hard he will fall down the ladder for good ! >:)

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

It always amazes me how many posters are so anxious to advertise their ignorance. Anyone who followed the posts on the Scholars of the School of Salamanca knows well that western ideas of liberty came from that school’s study of money and the Bible.

Irreligious libertarians can argue that those same principles would have surfaced eventually without the Bible, but you can’t escape the historical fact that in the west they came from the Bible first. You can’t rewrite history, unless you’re a socialist. Secular liberalism came much later and only in the west. Liberalism has never appeared in the philosophy of any other society in the world.

The Dutch Republic, a very religious nation, was the first liberal nation, founded in the late 16th century. Adam Smith came 200 years later.

The scholars of Salamanca derived their liberal principles from the Bible through hard work and sound hermeneutics. The Bible is not an economics book. It’s not even a book of theology. For the most part the Bible is history and poetry. Distilling economics from the Bible requires understanding the cultural and historical context of each book, the rules of each literary genre, the original languages and the rules of logic.

In other words, you need the discipline of hermeneutics. Unless a person has absorbed the principles of hermeneutics, he is unqualified to interpret a blog post, let alone something as complex as the Bible. Gary North understands hermeneutics.

Stephan Kinsella May 13, 2011 at 9:46 am

As libertarianism is basically the science of peace, it is not implausible that the religion of the Prince of Peace is compatible therewith.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 9:51 am

Good point. For example, Christ never made charity compulsory. (Don’t bring up the case of Annanias and Saphira. That was about maintaining the integrity of the early church and the couple’s lie.)

Paul even instructs people to not give if they are going to do it grudgingly.

And the OT Torah never provided for human enforcement of the poor laws.

Charity is not charity if it is forced. The Bible only promotes charity.

Grant May 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

Prince of Peace? Depends on who inserted what into which gospel, most of which were written decades or centuries later after being passed down and altered orally.

“I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword…” Matthew 10:34

Mises is not going to have my support if it is going to combine religion and politics. Using Jesus for political purposes is not cool.

Drigan May 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

It’s an understandable mistake in a world that wants to classify every part of your life, but nonetheless, it *is* a mistake to think that religion and politics can be separated. Religious attitudes, philosophies, economics, and politics do not develop in bubbles. If Mises fails to discuss how its philosophy interacts with the world, they would be doing a major disservice to all their readers.

Peace,
Drigan

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm

“most of which were written decades or centuries later after being passed down and altered orally.”

There is no truth to that. The best evidence for the manuscripts are that they were written within before 70 AD by decades and by eye witnesses or close associates of eye-witnesses.

Grant May 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm

That you frame this in terms of “truth” rather than “fact” exposes your bias.

Textual analysis shows that the texts were written long after the fact, especially Revelations, which has been shown to have been written in the fourth century.

There are so many contradictions in the bible (did Judas hang himself or did he fall headfirst in a field and his guts fell out?) that anyone who believes they are literal is sipping the special Koolaid.

The FACT remains that the disciples of Jesus spoke Aramaic and the gospels are written in GREEK. The literacy rate during this era has been shown to be less than 10%. Anyone who thinks that the disciples of Jesus, who as “fishermen” were likely illiterate and who most definitely didn’t write Greek, actually wrote the books of the bible attributed to them is delusional or in serious denial.

It also remains a fact that Jesus was a JEWISH apocalyptic profit. Any attempts to squeeze out modern political meanings are erroneous at best and propaganda at worst.

fundamentalist May 16, 2011 at 8:04 am

“Textual analysis shows that the texts were written long after the fact, especially Revelations, which has been shown to have been written in the fourth century.”

That’s ridiculous and nothing but wishful thinking. I have read textual analyses for 30 years and the best place the writings under 70 AD. Some will put Revelation as late as 90, but no later.

Tiny minds see contradictions everywhere. Because the Bible is not a systematic theology textbook but history from eyewitnesses, there will be many apparent inconsistencies, just as you would find in a trial. But a little thought can resolve all but the minor ones.

The literacy rate of the Roman Empire might have been 10%, but not in Israel where the ability to read the Torah was highly valued.

Still, you are correct that we shouldn’t read modern political thought into the Bible.

Grant May 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

I stand corrected on the dates of the authorship of the gospels, but it is fact that the earliest surviving manuscripts of the gospels date to many decades after the first century. I will again reiterate that the gospels were written in Greek, and that the disciples chosen by Jesus were poor and spoke Aramaic and it is highly doubtful they wrote the gospels themselves.

I am glad we can agree that we shouldn’t read modern political thought into the Bible. It is a dubious notion at best and a dangerous proposition at worst.

nate-m May 16, 2011 at 10:48 am

I will again reiterate that the gospels were written in Greek, and that the disciples chosen by Jesus were poor and spoke Aramaic and it is highly doubtful they wrote the gospels themselves.

Sorry, but that’s another bunch of crap.

Whoever/wherever your getting your information has not only no clue about anything in the Bible, but grossly misunderstood the era and languages used.

People of that era were well traveled and it was very common to know multiple languages. Much like India of today were the average person knows a minimum of 3 languages. Greek was a common language and necessary for commerce and communication with people you would meet in that area and surrounding countries.

fundamentalist May 16, 2011 at 11:26 am

Nate-m, the scribes and Pharisees considered them uneducated, so I don’t think it’s “bunch of crap.” But you’re right that Galilee was a major crossroads for international trade with a lot of foreigners living there and a lot passing through. So knowing several languages, especially the trade language of the day, koine Greek, would have been a great advantage.

fundamentalist May 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

The point about the apostles being uneducated is a good one. But it brings up an odd thing about the NT: it shows a wide variety in the quality of the Greek. John, Peter and Mark use simple Greek, which is why students of Biblical Greek study them first. That’s odd because had they dictated to a scribe the Greek would be much more polished. Paul and Luke use much more sophisticated Greek. Matthew, having been a wealthy tax collector, is in between. Also, we know that in one instance Paul used dictated to a scribe because of his failing health in spite of his excellent command of Greek.

Supposing that the apostles dictated to a scribe, I don’t see that harms their credibility any.

Grant May 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

@nate-m
Knowing another language and being literate in another language are two different concepts. The information about literacy rates is well established among historians and New Testament scholars, and this tidbit came from Bart Ehrman, Ph.D., a “James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill”.

Mass literacy, he shows, occurred only through the Industrial Revolution. Until the modern period, only a small minority could read and write. He uses “the best and most influential study of literacy in ancient times, by Columbia University professor William Harris” to show that 85-90% of people during the height of the Classical Era were illiterate. He cites evidence that literacy rates may have been even lower in the Roman Empire during the “first Christian century”.

He shows that in Acts, Peter and John are “explicitly said to be illiterate”.See page 37 onward from “Misquoting Jesus” for more detailed analysis of the evidence that the disciples of Jesus were likely illiterate, especially in Greek.

Stephan Kinsella May 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

To be clear–I’m a non-believer. but a goodly fraction–maybe most?–of my Austro-libertarian friends and those I admire most are believers, so there is no conflict between the two, apparently.

J. Murray May 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

The only ones it would be incompatible with would be those “grapevine Christians”. Those who get all their information about their faith from someone else, not directly from the source. Little in the Bible (or Torah, or Koran for that matter) justifies anything outside of a libertarian attitude. This is why those that profess the belief and still think government is the end-all, be-all are armed with little but out of context quotations. Individual passages in religious books don’t stand alone, they’re part of a larger whole that requires basically EVERYTHING written within to grasp what it means.

Nothing Biblical refers to forced use of state run money, that it’s inherently evil (just the love of it). However, it’s still a staple belief of the Biblically-illiterate.

I’m no follower of the faith (I take a stand that since I don’t outright now the answer, I refuse to take a stand on the subject of religion), but if I can Google the correct answer, it should be an outright embarrassment to anyone that finds Christianity (or Islam or Judaeism, for that matter) incompatible.

Kunsthausmann May 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Recall, Stephan, that many, perhaps all, of your Christian friends believe also that the “Prince of Peace” was and is “one in being” with the first person of their trinity of supreme personalities. (Sometimes Christians use the formulation “consubstantial with”, instead. The important ideas, however, are that the soul of the first person and of the second person of the alleged trinity are the same soul, and that neither soul is a created one.) Now recall also which god is alleged to have sanctioned the smash and grab carried out at Jericho by Joshua of Nun. You know the one. It took place not long after the priesthood sanctioned transfer of command from Moses to Joshua.

When judging the prince by the Christians’ own faith and under the assumption that the prince was indeed his own god, it must be true that your prince of peace, long before his incarnation as a human, commanded the execution of a wide variety of people. On the other hand, while his body was dying, his mouth did utter a bitter complaint about being abandoned by the god. It should make one wonder what soul had possession of the body at the time of the protest.

At any rate, do you have knowledge about the most likely trajectory of Austro-libertarianism should it be successful in rolling back progressivism, socialism, etc.? It’s no secret, of course, that Christians are prominent in AL. Better speak up, or you will be tagged as an apologist for the homicidal despotism which Christian, ahem, libertarians are struggling to bring about.

fundamentalist May 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

North isn’t using religion to influence politics. He is merely correcting the nonsense that some Christians have drunk at the fount of folk-Marxism.

As for dragging religion into politics/economics, it always happens at some point because it’s natural for people to wonder about the morality of things like private property and profit. Other than the Rothbard/Hoppe ethic, Christianity provides the only moral support for both.

G8R HED May 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm

“I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword…” Matthew 10:34 is an entreaty to the proper distinction between law an gospel.

Jesus does not call Christians to convert people – by sword or otherwise – that is the work of his Holy Spirit. Joh 16:8-11 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. ”

It is of man’s sinful nature that we often respond to His message of salvation and peace with a sword both inwardly and outwardly. This is the sword of which Jesus speaks.

Christians resorting to the political means demonstrates a decided lack of trust in His work and word. Joh 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Mises addresses logic, not faith.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm

But,

The religion of the “prince of peace” is littered with hell threats and mass murders and catastrophes, floods, executions and wars.

Plus, if you look at nature, which was created by the prince of peace’s daddy, you will see that animals, insects and reptiles all have special weapons, special tactics and are all following the predator – prey scheme where it’s eat or be eaten and where all ends in blood and gore.

I’m sorry, as far as I am concerned, Libertarianism and Christianity don’t mix. It’s one or the other and I chose libertarianism.

Freedom Fighter May 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm

@Mpolzkill,

“Barney is often overly analytical and alarmist about benign situations, such as the modest Mayberry crime scene. He takes a minor infraction, blows it out of proportion, and then concocts an elaborate solution (sometimes involving inept civilians, like Otis Campbell or Gomer Pyle) to resolve it. ”

Okay, now I understand the Barney Fife analogy a lot better.

Grant May 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I am down with Jesus’s use of cannabis, though. Please pass the bong.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2633187.stm

fromtheswamp May 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Coming late to this party, I guess. Maybe I missed it, but did anyone use the small text from the middle of the Bible, Ecclesiastes 10:19?

“A feast is made of laughter,
And wine makes merry,
But money answers everything.”

Here I make a plea for peace and understanding amongst us libertarians/anarcho-capitalists, who have differing beliefs about the cosmos; how it was made, why we are here, where we are going, etc. Yes, all of us have differing “beliefs.” Religion is an inescapable concept. And all of us believe in “miracles” of some sort or another. Having just recently witnessed the Christian celebration of resurrection, observe that the atheist also believes in resurrection; he believes life came from dead matter.

In the interest of peace and harmony, I’m

fromtheswamp

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