Category: Religion
Religion and Libertarianism
| 5 October 2016 | 19:26 | Politics, Religion | No comments

There is antagonism between some religious people and some libertarians due to generalizations.  The religious people of this mindset see libertarians as immoral or at least amoral, and disrespectful (libertines who have the attitude that I will do what I want and you can’t stop me). The generalizing libertarians see religious people as wanting for force everyone to live according to their standards. The short answer to this is to not get into the fallacy of generalization. For those who think their generalization is reality, let me try to give a different point of view.

Libertarianism is a political philosophy about how people can get along with each other; it is not a philosophy of life like a religion. In a libertarian society, if someone were to violate the property right of another (some kind of assault or theft), then they would be held accountable to compensate the victim as far as possible. Holding someone accountable for violating a property right is for the protection of property rights, not to make the criminal moral. Libertarianism is amoral, but there is more to life than politics, so libertarians can have a life style that is moral and even religious. Also note that libertarianism requires that people have respect and consideration for the person and possessions of others.  People cannot just do whatever they want without considering the possible violation of someone’s property right. The politics of a peaceful and prosperous society requires no more and no less than law that protects property right.

In speaking to my fellow libertarians, I would note that the major religions of the world all have some form of the golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Most religious people try to abide by the golden rule in their personal interactions with others.  Granted, many of these same people do not understand that supporting government taxation and regulation is contrary to the golden rule, but then you could say the same for non-religious people too. Most religious people are committed to their values. Once they see the value of the libertarian position, they will be strong supporters. Something that libertarians do that might cause religious people to shy away, is to express support for certain special interest groups. This can give the impression that support of these special interests is the libertarian cause. Although this is not true, it can still be the perception that turns people away. It is better to promote the whole reality that the libertarian cause is beneficial for everyone.

For the religious side, I can only speak from a Christian perspective. Taking other people’s property (stealing, robbery, embezzlement, fraud, taxation, etc.) is immoral, is not Christian, and is not libertarian.  There is nothing in the teachings of Jesus nor in His treatment of other people that would justify trying to force Christianity on anyone which force is in itself immoral.  Faith in Jesus Christ, following His teachings, and choosing moral behaviour must come from within as a person’s own choice to be valid.  It is immoral to try to force someone to be moral.  So from a Christian perspective, taxes and regulation are immoral and libertarianism is the only political philosophy that is compatible with Christianity.

Now my particular Christian view is that of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And let me say to my fellow Latter-Day Saints that libertarianism is nothing more nor less than the principle of agency which we consider fundamental to the gospel of Christ. Agency means that everyone has the privilege and responsibility to choose for themselves what they will believe and how they will live. The section of Doctrine and Covenants on government, 134, verse 2 states: “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”  This is as good a succinct description of libertarianism as you will find anywhere.  The righteous Nephite kings and judges in the Book of Mormon did not tax their people nor force any beliefs on them.  Mosiah 2:14 “And even I (King Benjamin), myself, have laboured with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, ….”  Alma 1:17 “…..; and now the law could have no power on any man for his belief.”  Tax and regulate government goes against everything that Latter-Day Saints are taught about good government.  Libertarianism is the only political philosophy that is consistent with the principle of agency.

I believe libertarian groups can attract support from religious people by presenting their group in a professional manner.  Besides being courteous and considerate, this would mean avoiding the marketing error of appearing to cater to special interest groups.  I encourage religious people to look past the amorality of libertarianism to the fact that it is the only moral political choice.  Libertarians will protect religious liberty along with every other liberty.  Libertarianism will help those on the low end of the economic scale as opposed to the failed do-gooder policies of other political parties.   The libertarian philosophy is a subset of religious philosophy so the basic political philosophy is the same.  Libertarians and religious people should expect to share the same political views.


Why Is There Evil In The World?
| 15 June 2016 | 20:01 | Religion | No comments

This question is usually framed in relation to the God of love.  If God is good and loving, why would He allow evil in the world?

In order to understand the answer to this question, one has to understand the eternal nature of people, the universality of the principle of liberty, and the purpose of this world.

A person has an “essence” that has always existed.  This “essence” of you was not created and cannot be destroyed.  Your “essence” was embodied in a spirit in the celestial realm.  You are a child of God. You were then given the opportunity to be born on earth where your spiritual self was incorporated into a physical body. So here we are the “essence” of ourselves in a spirit body which is in a physical body.

God abides by the principle of liberty which is that everyone has the right to decide what to do with themselves and their possessions. This is referred to as agency in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Agency meaning that each person is an agent unto themselves. Now God created this earth and everything in it including our bodies, so He has a property right for all this.  God does not have a property right in that “essence” of each person which we manifest by our will or our ability to choose what we will do. God will not force a person to do something against their will.

God sends us into this world and disables our memory of our previous existence.  The purpose is to see what we will choose given our liberty and being on our own.  God only allows those who choose good to live where He lives.  God prepares other places for those who choose lessor degrees of goodness.  The choice between good and evil must be real.  Consequently, there is evil in the world.

God does everything in His power to invite, entice, and encourage people to choose the good, but He will not violate anyone’s agency.  God may exercise His property right and decide in His wisdom that it is better for all concerned if a person or a people are taken out of the world.  The most obvious example of this is the flood where everyone except Noah and his family were so corrupt that most people being born had little chance of learning to choose the good.

God abhors evil and ensures that it is contained.  God allows evil in this temporary abode so we can have the opportunity to show our willingness to choose the good and be able to live with God again.

How Do I Know?
| 21 December 2010 | 17:45 | Religion | No comments

I have stated that I know the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are true.  How do I know this?  The first thing to understand is that we are spirit beings.  We are the spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.  Our spirit body is made of a different matter than our physical body and in this mortal life our spirit is within our physical body.  The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit and can communicate with us spirit to spirit.  The process starts when a person wants to know a truth, and seeks to understand by listening to explanations, reading, and pondering, until they come to believe in this truth.  By humbly asking Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to confirm what they believe to be true, the answer will come according to the Lord’s timing and method by the Holy Ghost.  This confirmation by the Holy Ghost is usually described as a ‘feeling’ like peace or burning within or pure intelligence.  Trying to describe it has been characterized as like trying to explain how salt tastes.  It is not possible to explain it, one has to taste it to know.

I can imagine there are those who would say that a person can simply conjure this ‘feeling’ up and declare that they know.  Certainly a person could do this, but to what end?  They would only be fooling themselves.  One person’s testimony does not prove or disprove anything for another person.  Each person has to go into the laboratory of their own heart and do the experiment themselves.  Anyone who sincerely follows the process will know that the confirmation they receive through the Holy Ghost is not something they could conjure up.

The best way to test the truthfulness of what I am saying is to read the Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith.  Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and given the task of translating the Book of Mormon from ancient records written by prophets on the American continent.  The Lord has given us something tangible in the Book of Mormon to verify the restoration of His church through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I encourage you to make the experiment: read the Book of Mormon, and ask Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to verify that it came from Him.