Christianity used to have a long and respected history of defying government (and a less admirable history of being it’s tool). There are characters from the Bible and people after, that remained skeptical of government and government’s manipulation of currency. What happened?
Juan de Mariana took on the Spanish monarchy and even defended the concept of regicide (the killing of the king) for the sake of sound money and liberty.1 He would go one to write many treatises on economic thought and sound currency. Samuel warned (in 1 Samuel 8:10-18) the Hebrews of how a king would steal from them and oppress them. He encouraged the the ancient Hebrews to stay in their anarchic state.2 Leo Tolstoy was an anarchist himself who said: “Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.”3 How did the Christian religion, a religion who’s true believers and followers were always at odds with the State (and sometimes martyred by it), become the convoluted cauldron of hate and warmongering that it is today? It is actually very disgraceful to see “devout” men and women from both the left and the right act as instruments of, and play party to, “an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.”
As an anarchist and a Christian myself, I believe in agorism. What is agorism? Agorism is a political philosophy that advocates for a society where all exchanges are voluntary by counter-economics. What is meant by “counter-economics” is all of the human actions, that do not harm others, that are made illegal by the state. It is a form of peaceful protest. A way to bring about change without violence. There is nothing more in line with the teachings of Jesus than that I think. One point of contention with Christians is the idea that Jesus said they must pay taxes. Mark 12:13-17 is often cited by preachers as “proof” that Jesus commanded us to pay taxes.2 Now, I have tackled this in an old article already. Check it out here if you are interested. Not only that but episodes 3 and 4 of “The Fallacy Friday Podcast” will be about Christianity and Anarchism (which is why I am writing this).
For this argument though, I want to assume that these preachers are correct. There is still a way to avoid the instituted plunder of the state even if we assume that taxation is in line with Christian theology. How you may ask (or maybe you don’t care, either way, good for you)? Jesus says, in his famous line, “Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and give to God that which is God’s.” It seems pretty clear cut. But lets dissect this a bit. Prior to this line Jesus asks to see a coin. He asks “Who’s image is on this coin?” To which the people asking the question reply “Caesar’s”. It’s Caesar’s own minted coin so there for “it belongs to him” (or so the statist theologian would say). Again assuming this is true, what happens if you use a currency that does not have Caesar’s face plastered all over it? It no longer “bears his image” therefore does it belong to him? This is where bitcoin comes in.
Bitcoin can be a very confusing subject to navigate. The basics are relatively simple to understand though. The CoinDesk site explains it best: “Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.”4 The solving of these mathematical problems is called “mining”. CoinDesk goes on to say “bitcoin’s most important characteristic, and the thing that makes it different to conventional money, is that it is decentralized. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. This puts some people at ease, because it means that a large bank can’t control their money.”4
It is decentralized. Caesar had a mint. Our modern Caesar, the US government, has the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve controls and monopolizes our money and the government, under threat of force, “encourages” us to use their currency. This benefits them at the expense of us because inflation becomes a “hidden tax” we as citizens must pay. Bitcoin is a way out. It is not regulated by government and is a market answer to a problem we face everyday. That problem being that our money, the US dollar, sucks. Not only that, but it is the only form of currency we can pay our taxes in. But this is a blessing in disguise. Bitcoin is a currency, decentralized and without Caesar’s image on it, that we as citizens can use for many everyday transactions. This is agorism in action.
Through Bitcoin, which keeps anonymity, Christians (and everyone else) can earn money, pay bills and do a host of other economic activities without the government knowing. The government has no right to know either, it’s your business, your money and it doesn’t have Caesar’s face on it. It doesn’t belong to him. So even if we assume that Christ commanded his followers to pay taxes, we have a new monetary system unavailable to the Christians of Jesus’ time. This means we do not have to fall prey to the predatory banking currently propped up by the US government and it’s crony friends. Bitcoin can be used to at least protect part of your wealth that you worked hard to earn (and government did nothing to earn a percentage of).
If you would like to join the Bitcoin community, I would encourage you to try coinbase. You can use our link here to do so. Otherwise, do some research and figure out which wallet is best for you. I also believe that Dark Wallet has a lot potential as well.
1. Woods, Tom. “Ep. 493 Juan De Mariana: Defender of Regicide, Ferocious Foe of Inflation, and Great Economist | Tom Woods.” Tom Woods. Tom Woods18, 18 Sept. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-493-juan-de-mariana-defender-of-regicide-ferocious-foe-of-inflation-and-great-economist/>.
2. “Zondervan NIV Study Bible Hardcover – 1 Oct 2002.” Zondervan NIV Study Bible: Amazon.co.uk: Kenneth L. (Edt) Barker, Not Applicable (Na ), Donald W. (ed Burdick: 9780310929550: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.
3. Tolstoy, Leo. The Kingdom of God Is within You; Or, Christianity Not as a Mystical Doctrine but as a New Life Conception. London: Walter Scott, 1894. Print.
4. “What Is Bitcoin? – CoinDesk.” CoinDesk RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-bitcoin/>.
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