Over at Say Anything, blog-buddy (and Guest Wizbanger Emeritus) Rob Port posted an interesting theory: is God a libertarian? I read his notion, and found myself nodding along. I think Rob might be on to something.
Of course, let’s get a few disclaimers out of the way. Rob’s an atheist, and I’m an agnostic, no we have no “skin” in the game. (Conversely, we could both be considered to be a tad more objective on the matter.) However, neither of us are hostile to religion, and are pretty familiar with Christian doctrine, so we have no axes to grind.
Further, we both have pretty hefty “small-l” libertarians, so there’s the whole “man creates God in his own image” fallacy we have to watch out for. Most everyone tends to see God through their own beliefs and biases, even those of us who don’t acknowledge His existence.
All that aside, Rob’s theory appeals to me. And not because it confirms my own beliefs, but because it tends to fit the available facts.
God doesn’t directly control us. He has told us what is right and wrong, but leaves it up to us to decide which to choose. He gave us free will, and allows us to exercise that — it’s been a very long time since He’s directly intervened and rewarded or punished people for their choices. No, He’s pretty much hands-off in the day-to-day operations of the world, explicitly refusing to prove His existence by intervening.
No, God says that the true judgment for our deeds will be in the hereafter, when it’s a bit too late to warn others of what you’ve reaped. God’s MO is to let us make our own choices, and face the consequences of those choices. He doesn’t want us to choose poorly, and He goes to great lengths to make us fully aware of what is right and wrong, but He lets us make our own choices.
The cynic in me also finds this theory appealing, as it explains some of the seeming paradoxes of religion: an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God who refuses to prove His existence; the reconciliation of predestination and free will; and a justification for faith in the explicit absence of proof. It resolves them in an exceptionally convenient and tidy manner.
As far as Rob’s discussion of how this bears on the differences between the social conservatives and the libertarians, currently united on the issue of fiscal responsibility and rejection of the Pelosi/Reid/Obama four-year Reign Of Error, I dunno. That’s a future concern, and one that will have to be hashed out later — if ever. Hell, on the left, they have both the labor unions and the illegal alien lobby, and if ever there were two groups that ought to be natural enemies, it’s them. If they can coexist, maybe the libertarians and the social conservatives can find a modus vivendi.
But back to the topic at hand: is God a libertarian? No. Earthly political labels don’t really apply to divinities. But libertarian philosophies certainly seem pretty solidly in line with how Christianity (and Judaism, to a lesser extent) describe God and His mysterious ways.