Arguing with the Indoctrinated 2 (Voluntary)   6 comments

So, I have established that I believe taxation is nothing more than highway robbery conducted by the majority using government as their bully boy.

I subscribe to the 10 Commandments that say “Do not steal” and I follow Jesus (God incarnate) as my example. When you actually study the Bible, you begin to notice that God never forces anyone to do anything against their will. He sets standards and consequences for not meeting them, then He leaves us free to decide our own path … to obey or to disobey as we choose.

Take Adam for example. God gave him one rule — don’t eat of that fruit on that one particular tree in the garden. He didn’t put the fruit out of Adam’s reach. Why? Because God understands that obedience is not truly obedience if you have no choice. He made keeping the one rule voluntary for Adam to give Adam a choice in the matter. Adam could have chosen to not eat of the fruit. He had lots of others available to him, but he exercised his right of self-determination and paid the consequences.

When the rich young ruler wanted to know what he needed for eternal life, Jesus told him to give up everything he owned. It was completely voluntary. The guy went away without accepting eternal life. Jesus, being God, knew his heart and knew he loved his wealth more than he loved God. Jesus didn’t make him give up his wealth or accept eternal life. He offered an option, the consequences of which were to be left out of the Kingdom.

When his disciple James first became a disciple, James asked what he could do to make himself right with God. James was a tax collector, which could be done honorably, but mostly was not because the Romans allowed tax collectors to make huge profits off the collection by adding their own fees. Jesus knew James’ past habits and his newly acquired heart and told James to return what he had stolen from the people, plus interest. He did not tell James to give up everything he owned and become a beggar. That was not necessary for James to become right with God.

Jesus does the same thing with all of us. The vast majority of humankind will be left out of the Kingdom of Heaven not because God decided they are unfit, but because they love something else (called “the world” in the Bible) more than they love God. They might greatly desire to secure a future in Heaven, but they will not give up their own will, come to God on His terms and live according to God’s guidelines. They prefer to follow their own will rather than submit to God.

I know, we don’t like that word “submission” in the 21st century, but basically what it means is to VOLUNTARILY do what you know is right, even if it goes against your own personal interests.

Jesus voluntarily went to the cross for us, even though He had all the power in the world to stop it. He stands at the door and knocks, waiting for us to voluntarily let Him into our lives. There is no coercion with God. There is simply a choice to be made and the consequences of that choice.

Do we do it His way or ours? Christians are meant to be in submission to God’s way of doing things.

So, what does that have to do with my view of taxation?

Taxation is not voluntary. If I don’t pay my taxes, the federal government comes, confiscates everything I own, and puts me in jail (google Wesley Snipes)  So, clearly taxation is not a God thing. Yes, Jesus said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. Christians don’t have the option to not pay our taxes because God has better things for us to do than languish in prison for tax evasion. If we go to prison, it darn well better be for something Jesus would do.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t oppose taxation and do what we can to retrain thoughtful people away from the coercive nature of the government we live under.

God placed in my heart that when we are coerced into providing charity for others, we are not doing God’s work. Yes, Christians should give from our surplus to the poor and needy (who are not necessarily the financially destitute). Our family strives to give 10% of our net income to our church, which participates in charities that help people who actually need help (Food Bank, Rescue Mission, an agricultural mission in Tanzania, an English & citizenship school for the foreign born). Other Christians we know attend other churches that conduct other ministries from the tithes of the other Christians. I know some richer people who give a larger percentage of their income to the church. That is voluntary. Nobody is forcing any of us to give. We do it because we love God and He teaches us to show His love of people through giving a portion of what He gives us back to Him to be used to help folks who need help.

Opposition to taxation is not about a lack of generosity. I daresay if we were to compare my voluntary contributions to charity against the vast majority of population, I’d look a great deal more generous than any of the folks screaming for wealth redistribution. I’d like to give more, but the federal government takes 15% of my income, so I can’t afford it. I’ll be able to give even less when the State of Alaska institutes a proposed 30% tax on my income. That is fewer people who need actual help getting the help they need.

My opposition to taxation is based upon the understanding it is wrong for a portion of our society to force folks to be generous and then to waste that stolen money on buying votes for the political class.

Is it generosity if your “giving” is coerced? I submit that it is not.

And, yes, I will continue to hit this topic and you’re welcome to join in.

6 responses to “Arguing with the Indoctrinated 2 (Voluntary)

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  1. Matthew 22:15-22

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    • Taking Bible passages out of their cultural context carries risks. The Herodians were nationalists who wanted to get rid of Rome. The Jews in general found Roman occupation to be highly distasteful. These men hoped to catch Jesus in a political argument. If He publically said “Don’t pay taxes”, the Romans would imprison Him, maybe even execute Him as a revolutionary. But if He said “The Romans have the right to rule over you and exact taxes” the people would reject Him. His answer was beautifully subtle. “The money has Caesar’s image on it, so it belongs to him. Render to Caesar what is Caesar.” Jews would have further understood that the second part of the phrase referred to God’s image upon mankind (He is our creator). The Herodians were likely not men of faith, so they had no answer for what Jesus said, therefore, they went away “amazed”, which is better translated “confounded” (according to Bible.net’s translator notes.

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      • Okay, but wouldn’t Jesus say exactly the same thing today? The thing is, many Christians in the UK regard Jesus as a socialist. You may disagree with that assessment but they will also point to events and texts in the Bible to justify it.

        I understand the need to look at context (if one gives credence to what the Bible says) but I am too familiar with some Christians equally cherry-picking to condemn homosexuality and other practices they disagree with. It seems that ‘context’ is only important when the message in the text isn’t convenient to the believer.

        I conclude that people interpret Jesus’ message according to their pre-existing interests.

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      • Sorry to not get back to you sooner. I’m really trying to finish the rewrite of my next book. I can schedule blog posts, but comments …. Anyway ….

        When I talk about context, I really mean context. I read the whole Bible and I read whole books of the Bible. I rarely focus on a single verse, although I do sometimes do what are known as “word studies”, which is researching the meaning of the Greek or Hebrew word and its use throughout the Bible. That often leads to studies in archeology and history that add a deeper understanding of the Bible.

        I can say without doubt that British Christians who think Jesus was a socialist are interpreting the Bible based on their own social and political presuppositions. It isn’t supportable from the Bible or from history. Socialism is a political concept was created in 1840s (thereabout) France and then more fully intellectualized by a lazy son of the upper middle class who was pissed off that his wife’s “rich” family got tired of supporting him. Marx had ulterior motives for what he conceptualized and frankly, most socialists do. It may seem fair, but it still comes down to stealing from some people to give to other people and that flatout disagrees with everything in the Bible.

        Should rich people give more to the needy than those who make less money? Biblically, yes. But it only counts with God if the rich do it voluntarily. Otherwise, they’re victims of theft.

        The answers to dealing with wrongs in society is not to commit wrongs yourself.

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      • But taxation isn’t theft. At worst it’s a necessary correction to the distorted values of the market and at best it’s simply a repayment of services rendered by the state. Bear in mind I live in a society where healthcare and education and a functioning welfare state along with many other services are provided through taxation. Everyone has benefited from education, most have benefited from free healthcare and many have benefited from welfare at some point.
        Plus, your thinking only works if everyone accepts your view of God which they don’t and never will because a theocratic worldview is no longer tenable.
        As for socialism, it is much older than you suppose not least because it is found in non-European societies and even in some non-human animal societies.Marx created communism which is not and never has been socialism.

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    • It’s important to look at what Jesus had been doing just prior to this discussion. He was talking about people trying to get into the Kingdom of God (the wedding feast) who had not met God’s standards. The Pharisees heard the judgment upon themselves and were trying to trick Jesus into saying something they could attack Him with. They were not unlike the “journalists” asking gotcha questions at the GOP debate the other night, but Jesus was smarter than the GOP candidates.

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