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Libertarianism Finds Its Roots in Christianity

AP Photo/Matias Delacroix

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

I’m a Christian before I’m anything else. While I’d hardly say I’m a choir boy, I take my faith pretty seriously. Every major thing I have in my life I hold up for approval and guidance through Jesus Christ. I do it out of loyalty to my creator, but also out of necessity. I’m not the smartest, cleverest, or even the most driven guy in the room. Without Him, I get pretty lost in the proverbial woods. Every mistake I make, I made because I stopped listening to what Christ had said or is saying.

It’s my Christianity that informs my politics. While I like to look behind the curtain at any given thing I talk about, I can trace pretty much everything back to a denial and/or active rebellion against God’s plan. Moreover, it’s my belief in God that lead me to my political ideology of choice, libertarianism.

This can be confusing to some. People identify libertarianism as a free-for-all kind of ideology that involves abortions, drugs, and sexual promiscuity. I won’t lie and tell you that this isn’t the case, but that’s like seeing a dog and only identifying it by its fleas. If you get rid of the fleas, you have an amazing creature that proves to be your best friend. Besides, I think some people see libertarianism through a blurry lens that gives them the wrong idea about what it is.

Let’s start with what libertarianism isn’t. It’s not anarchy. I feel like a lot of people confuse the two due to libertarianism’s minarchist beliefs, but rest assured, libertarians believe in laws. Murder, thievery, rape, trespass, and uncalled-for violence are all something that libertarians generally agree are something that should be illegal and punishable by law. You’ll notice a lot of libertarian beliefs line up with laws presented in the Bible, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

What libertarianism is, is individualism. This doesn’t necessarily mean a service purely to the self, but freedom from the chains others might try to put on you. Christ valued individual thinking, and he often warned that if you were to follow him there would be times when you would be walking alone. Rejection of the world’s popular culture can often make you an outcast from the larger society, but it does offer you a clarity that others won’t have as they buy into the lens given to them by worldly influences.

Christ puts it in no uncertain terms in John 15:18-19 when he said “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

Libertarians often find themselves at odds with the world because it refuses to buy into the collectivist claptrap it tries to force on people. The largest example of this is how a libertarian may recognize levels of government and the authority it holds, but he or she doesn’t hold the government as the ultimate authority. That obligation belongs to the individual in the mind of the libertarian.

While some would then conclude that libertarianism is an obedience to the self, if we go a bit deeper we’ll start to see the teachings of Christ.

Christ made it clear that while you may live under a government, it’s not a god to give yourself to and worship. There is only one God, and you can either serve Him or serve that false god that is, at the end of the day, a fallible group of people who ultimately don’t care about you. You’ll often find that socialism and communism are two ideologies that treat government as infallible entities you should give your trust to, but ultimately falters and fails, ruining or ending the lives of millions along the way.

(READ: Jesus Wasn’t a Socialist and Here’s Proof)

While the government may create an abundance of laws, the laws that make up the base of all Western civilization were written long ago in Biblical times. Many of these laws and ideas found in the Bible were used to create the system we have now, especially here in America. It’s these base laws and rights that were God-given that libertarians base their political beliefs on.

If you were to zoom out on libertarianism, the principles that guide the belief system look an awful lot like what Christ intended for humanity. Personal freedom, a rejection of the various tyrannies of the world, and a focus on practicing individual virtue.

“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32

I’m not trying to pass off the idea that Christ was a libertarian. Christ is Christ, but it’s hard to not see the libertarian idea which bases its beliefs on the laws and ideas that base itself on the ideal of Western culture, a culture based on the teachings of Christ, and not make the connection. Conservatives readily admit to their belief being based on Judeo-Christian philosophy, but as Reagan once said, “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”

Even if you are a libertarian who doesn’t believe in Christ, it’s hard not to admit that Christ had an impact on your beliefs or lifestyle.

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