Subject: Re: Libertarianism vs. Christianity Date: 11 Aug 90 07:31:20 GMT References:

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Path: ncsuvm!ncsuvx!mephisto!bloom-beacon!daemon From: wdstarr@athena.mit.edu (William December Starr) Newsgroups: misc.legal Subject: Re: Libertarianism vs. Christianity Message-ID: <1990Aug11.073120.23308@athena.mit.edu> Date: 11 Aug 90 07:31:20 GMT References: <1390006@wdl1.wdl.fac.com> Sender: daemon@athena.mit.edu (Mr Background) Organization: Northeastern Law, Class of '93 Lines: 78 In-Reply-To: jwm@wdl1.wdl.fac.com (Jon W Meyer) In article <1390006@wdl1.wdl.fac.com>, jwm@wdl1.wdl.fac.com (Jon W Meyer) said: > Perhaps Mr. Starr would have been better served by quoting: > > We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created > equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable > rights,... > > Of course, the reference to "their Creator" might have seemed a tad > hypocritical in the context of the rest of his argument. Which was why I didn't quote good old TJ in that context. Interestingly, his original draft of that section read: "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from equal creation they derive rights inherent and in alienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." (source: "The Great Quotations," ed. by George Seldes) Although he did say that the *truths* were "sacred," there isn't any reference to these rights having been divinely granted... I kind of prefer that version myself, but I guess Jefferson or somebody decided to be more explicit. Oh well. > As one who spent over twenty five years not merely scratching > my head but actively scoffing and debunking, I can tell you > that it is unlikely that you will ever understand Christianity > by taking an intellectual approach. A religious experience, a > revelation, is not something that you can understand unless you > experience it. Once you do, if you do, you are unlikely to > ever seriously doubt again. That's scary. You make it sound like a sudden attack of insanity, or like having your mind reprogrammed by an outside power. "You lock the door, and throw away the key -- there's someone in my head but it's not me..." I'd rather not have my identity tampered with, thank you. > A final word on faith, we all accept things on faith, simply > because to do so simplifies (or at least helps us define) our > lifes. Many of us accept "that all men are created equal" in > the face of objective evidence that might seem to indicate > otherwise. Can you prove that this basic tenet of american and > libertarian philosophy is true? Or do you, as I, merely accept > it as a matter of faith? I accept that principle (rewritten to be "all men are created with equal rights") as axiomatic, and I freely admit that I cannot prove or demonstrate it. However, I do *not* accept on faith any "facts," such as the existence of God. There's a vital difference between supporting a position and believing a given data point to be true. I have no problem with the Christian who says "You shouldn't arbitrarily hurt anyone because, well, because I think it's wrong," but I have a lot of trouble with the Christian who says "...because God said so." The former is presenting an opinion, the latter is expressing a piece of hard alleged data as fact, with no supporting evidence. > I find it interesting that some believe that libertarianism and > Christianity are incompatible. I am a Christian and, to a > great degree, a libertarian. Being an outsider to it all, I must admit that I don't know the degree to which their religion requires "true Christians" (if that term has any agreed-upon meaning) to impose the morals and opinions of that religion on other people, especially opinions having to do with the private activities of consenting adults. To the extent that they are required to do so, their religion is incompatible with libertarianism. -- William December Starr

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