Ultimately, I am anti-totalitarian. For various reasons, I view both the Judeo-Christian God and the State as ultimately striving for totalitarianism. Therefore, I am both anti-theist and anti-statist. And I feel that those who are one and not the other to be fundamentally saying, “there is no good case for an all-powerful state/god, but there is a good case for an all-powerful god/state.”
Murphy responds by saying (1) God owns everything, and since God is creator and we’re created, that’s not unjust; and (2) whether or not a god is totalitarian is not proof for or against said god’s existence.
Commenters on the post respond with everything from defending Murphy to assuming to disprove the legitimacy of libertarian philosophy, which is heavily based in the notion of private property. Though as somebody pointed out, the very notion of private property means that somebody totally owns that property.
Since I claim to be a Christian and a libertarian, it simply begs the question for me: If I’m so anti-totalitarian, why do I believe in a Judeo-Christain Creator-god?
If there is no god, one can still be a libertarian or anarchist. But if there is a god, and if that god is the Creator-god of the universe, it is important to ask, “What is our relationship to God?” Now by “relationship” I don’t mean a personal intimate relationship, though that is part of the Christian theology. I mean, if you believe in a Creator, what is the status of humans in relationship to this Creator? Are we mere slaves to God? Or is there something more to it?
My Christian friends tell me that God owns everything, therefore we evil libertarians don’t really own what we believe is “ours.” Not only is this a statement of power-play for control, it avoids the real truth of the matter that most, if not all, Christians agree on: we are stewards of God’s creation. The Bible is very clear that human beings are meant to be good stewards of the earth. Call it ownership. Call it stewardship. Whatever you call it, the distinction is a matter of perspective.
There are other passages that claim that human beings are made in the image of God; this is an allusion to statues of kings which were used in distant lands to remind the citizens of their loyalty and allegiance to a king they did not see every day. So in a small way, we are “little totalitarians” alongside God, regents over creation in order to make full use of it without abusing it. The difference is that when we “do things” God isn’t exactly pleased with, there is no totalitarian consequence. Even God allows us to abuse it, as is evident in many areas of the world. It’s not a given that God makes us behave in the sort of way a totalitarian human being would choose to do. Nor does it mean that all decisions we make will be fruitful and wholesome. This is where sound economics comes into play, but that’s for another day.
(A side note for anti-theists and atheists: even if you don’t agree that we are stewards over that which is truly own by god, you must admit that even if human beings were true owners of their property, we are not mortal, and thus cannot perpetually own that which we cannot hold on to.)
It is also very clear early on in the Scriptures that God has given human beings in incredible amount of freedom of the will. Not only are we free to commit suicide, we are free to kill others, rape, murder, pillage, plunder, and conspire to do these things en masse. So much for a truly totalitarian god!
On the contrary, the Christian god is the God who not merely created the world and lets it run on its own (and very badly at that), but wants to restore it and has worked throughout history to remake and transform it. Since a supposedly omnipotent god could simply “wipe out” evil, but doesn’t, surely this stands up against arguments that God is truly totalitarian. Even those of us who believe in a historical resurrection scratch our heads every now and then and think, “If God can pull of a stunt like that, why not something more useful like ending poverty or curing all diseases?” The truth is, that’s the point of the atonement, and of the resurrection. It is the story of a God who aches when we ache, hurts when we hurt, and so became one of us in order to (among other things) take on the sin and ugliness of the world. And he overcame it with resurrection—but that’s for another post!