God is an Anarchist
A Christian Government
Written by Darrell Anderson.
As a liberty loving individual, embracing various Christian wisdoms and ideas is easy to do because a plain reading of the Bible reveals no conflict with the fundamental rule of not trespassing. Thus, many people assume I would want to see a Christian government in place. Often I respond to such statements with a question.
Regarding a Christian government, my first response is to ask the individual to define the words Christian and government.
From experience, I already know what most people are thinking when the say they want a Christian government. They either mean a human political society based upon Judeo-Christian principles or a theocracy with God sitting on the throne.
I could handle the latter idea, but not the former. The former is only another centralized institution run by subjective and interpretive humans. Thus, people would end up with the same problems already experienced with the current parchment barriers otherwise known as constitutions. Who gets to do the interpreting of Biblical words with respect to regulating the actions of other people?
Seems to me this idea has been tried for hundreds of years and failed miserably. The experiment was called the Holy Roman Empire, and started when the Emperor Constantine declared Christianity to be the “official” religion of the Roman Empire. Let me add a few more words about that experiment: The Crusades, The Inquisition, the rack, burning at the stake, witch trials, cutting tongues, excommunication, conquest, indulgences, and wars, wars, wars. Oh, don’t forget taxes, the taking of property under the color of law known as tithing.
Thus, I want nothing to do with a Christian government if that is your idea for such a government.
However, let me provide my own definitions of Christian and government whereby I might then agree to the concept of a Christian government.
A Christian is an individual who follows the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, usually called by mainstream Christianity as the Christ or Messiah. Jesus’ teachings can be summarized into the well-known proverb to, “Love God and love your neighbor.” Expressed another way, “Do unto others as would have them do unto you.”
Many religions and philosophies acknowledge some form of this universal golden rule. My personal opinion why this wide-scale adoption exists is that the principle is a natural law that best encourages mutual survival. That law is do not trespass. I use the word trespass to mean any wrongful interference with life, property, or rights.
Trespass is not limited to the modern concept of traversing across a individual’s land. Rape is trespass. Cheating a restaurant owner of a lawfully owned bill is trespass. Involuntary taxation is trespass. Accidentally breaking a neighbor’s window is trespass. The motives or reasons for violating the quiet and peaceable boundaries of another individual are immaterial. Intentional or unintentional trespass is irrelevant. Trespass is any wrongful interference. The only distinction that can be made about trespass is whether an act was intentional or unintentional.
How a victim responds to trespass is a choice of the victim. During the act of rape, an individual has the right to self-defense, and has standing to kill the trespasser because rape is a form of violent trespass. With respect to an accidentally broken window, the victim might seek simple replacement costs, might be insured, or might choose to forgive the trespasser.
The message of Jesus was to love God and to love your neighbor. According to the teachings of the Bible an individual loves God by obeying God’s commandments, and an individual accomplishes that by not trespassing against other people, or if trespass occurs, by being willing to provide restitution and remedy. Minimally, an individual loves his or her neighbor by not trespassing. Of course, Jesus also taught that even criminals treat other criminals with some level of respect. To love means a willingness to go further than normal. However, at a minimal level, there can be no trespassing.
Therefore, a Christian is an individual who does not trespass against other people, and because all humans are creatures of limited knowledge living in a world that is not totally knowable, is willing to provide remedy whenever trespass occurs.
Throughout both the Jewish and Christian Bible I find only one type of human government being advocated — self-government. God is an anarchist. Thus, if people are to love God as Jesus instructed, then all people will want to see only self-government — anarchy. Anarchy does not mean chaos and bomb throwing, but no rulers.
Therefore a Christian government is a social system whereby every individual respects the property boundaries of other people and does not trespass. All people are willing to provide remedy when trespass occurs. Further, for those people who confess to be followers of Jesus, such people are willing to forgive trespassers, although possessing a right to restitution.
Notice in this model that no individual is truly required to confess Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Savior. This model of Christian government allows for all the various religious beliefs that currently exist. The difference in this model from the present world is that no individual is allowed to initiate the use of force and coercion. Do not trespass. People may only use persuasion and cooperation, except in unfortunate situations. Thus, the confessor of Jesus as Lord and Savior may easily live next door to a Muslim, Buddhist, Confucianist, or atheist. None of those neighbors may trespass against one another. If desired, they can try to convert a neighbor’s beliefs but only through persuasion, not force and coercion.
Is this the kind of world Jesus envisioned? I can’t put words into Jesus’ mouth, but I daresay that this model is a sight closer to what he taught than what many people today envision when they say they want a Christian government. Today when many people use that term mean they want to use force and coercion to force the religion of Christianity and certain Puritan doctrines upon all other people.
Long ago proponents Islam tried a similar approach. When invading a new territory, Muslims provided the conquered three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) pay a tax to live a quiet and peaceable life, or 3) death. Many Christians today envision the same force and coercion for their model of Christian government. Yet, nowhere in the stories of Jesus do I read of him teaching such a model.
If then, by Christian government you mean a world whereby people must obey only the one law of do not trespass — and there are no executive or legislative politicians using force and coercion and the threat of violence to regulate the behavior of people — then yes I am in favor of a Christian government.
With respect to all other models my answer is no. All other models merely replace the current form of tyranny with another form of tyranny. Any system whereby humans rule other humans is tyranny. I have another word for such systems.
Next: Turn the Other Cheek