Jesus is libertarian.
“Jesus is libertarian,” I like to say and write. He’s libertarian in his life because he lived as a free man in a not very free world. He’s libertarian in his death because he chose to die to pay for his own program, instead of imposing his costs on the taxpayers as those who trust in government do. He’s libertarian in his resurrection because his rising from the dead reversed the verdict of the government, the only superpower of those days. Let us worship him, follow his example, and “proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10). Libertarian in his work, and libertarian in his influence: he frees people.
Jesus frees people…
Looking around the world, where does Jesus have the most influence? In the freest countries. Turn that around: where is there freedom? In “Christendom.”
Most Muslim countries lack freedom, and the more Muslim, the less free. (“Islam” means “submission.”) Saudi Arabia outlaws church buildings and Christian meetings, and beheads people for turning from Islam to Christianity; compare that to what Christendom lets Muslims do. (The Taliban would like to kill Presidents Bush and Obama alike for shaving their chins and sending their daughters to school.)
Atheism? Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Laos … The Soviet “Gulag Archipelago,” Pol Pot’s Cambodia. In some ways I admire Ayn Rand, and even Karl Marx (he wrote some snappy lines), and Isaac Asimov, but looking at the world, can atheism guarantee good government? Less so than Christendom. And looking at the U.S., “separation of church and state” mostly means censorship of Christian speech, and separation of Christians from our tax dollars instead of free choice in how to use what we’ve earned.
Jesus improves countries
What about Japan and the little tigers of Asia? Japan locked herself into a cocoon from about A.D. 1600 to A.D. 1853, and stagnated. Then she absorbed one dose of Victorian-age Christian culture during the Meiji era, and another dose from General Douglas McArthur, and prospered. Likewise, after Mao’s murderous wreckage China learned from Hong Kong, another Victorian enclave. Semi-Christian influence unleashed Asia’s potential.
Hinduism, Buddhism? No guarantees. Graham Starnes went to India to help lepers. Violent Hindus burned him and his two preteen sons to death. Extreme Hindus, like Muslims, write laws against conversion to Christianity. India siezed Hyderabad and Goa by force. But India’s Victorian heritage helps a lot. Gandhi read the (Christian) Gospels.
How does Jesus improve countries? I’d say his example and the teachings of the Bible (I hope to hit those in another article, in “Part 2”) influence his followers. No Christian and no Christian culture fully lives up to Jesus, but he does tug us in the right direction. God is like this, and to some extent we reflect this.
Relationship among members of Trinity reflects man’s interest in relationship
Furthermore, the Christian doctrine of “the Trinity” — God is three and one; God the Father, God the Son (= Jesus), and God the Holy Ghost are one God — however strange and however hard to grasp — sets a perfect example for government.
Government has to unify diverse people without squashing them. God, say Christians, is bigger than the whole universe (or bigger than all universes, if there’s more than one): He made the whole shebang. The Trinity shows diverse “persons” (people?) loving and cooperating with one another, eager to honor one another, working together, without this being forced upon them from outside themselves. The Trinity balances unity and diversity, balances “The One and the Many” (title of a worthwhile book by R. J. Rushdoony on this topic.) So the Trinity sets a good example for freedom-and-unity.
In contrast, the Muslim/Unitarian claim that Allah/God is simply one, all alone, is a claim from which dictatorship tends to flow. One God dictates to one prophet, one ayatollah obeys one prophet. No wonder Muslim countries tend to lack freedom. The glories of Muslim culture appeared where lots of non-Muslims could do the work: early Damascus, India, Spain… Nothing much has ever been discovered or created in the purely Muslim Mecca and Medina. Christendom eventually put down slavery; to find slavery within living memory, or even in the third millennium, check out Sudan and Mauretania (and the gulags).
Atheism and polytheism are dog-eat-dog theories. (Atheism is polytheism, since each atheist claims to be as supreme a being as there is. It’s also lazy Buddhism, since Buddhists claim you can attain nothingness by hard work through many reincarnations, while atheists say you attain it just by dying.) I like to say atheism is the theory that it’s OK to eat atheists. Atheists say being nice has evolutionary advantages, and I suppose it would, but if I choose to forfeit these advantages, or if I think my current situation is an exception to the general rule, so what? Jesus can order me to love people; evolution can only advise me–after all, I’m a supreme being, eh? Atheism lets me eat atheists, so any time an atheist objects to be being eaten, he’s standing on Christian ground.
So we need Jesus Christ, and we need the Trinity. He frees us; the Trinity frees us.
Freedom from slavery to sin
Another way Jesus frees people is more personal: he frees us from what’s inside us.
There are reports of this vis-à-vis drug addiction in the bestselling book The Cross and the Switchblade. I’m not going to lay down the law against smoking, but smoking does enslave people, and one lady I know said that when she became a Christian the desire to smoke left her. Jesus freed her. I struggle with reading too much the way (I suppose) drunkards struggle with drinking too much or gluttons with eating too much, and when I line up with Jesus, when I “put on Christ” or when “Christ is my life,” I win (or, He wins.) Self-control is freedom; self-indulgence is slavery. When I tell Jesus to wait a minute, I enslave myself to my sins and impulses. But “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).