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Is Taxation Necessarily Theft?

There are meme’s floating around the ‘net with the bold statement “Taxation Is Theft”.  Many people have bought into this way of thinking, including many that claim to be Christian in orientation  and thought.  This idea is very popular with those of a Libertarian leaning and is accepted by many who otherwise claim to be Christian and claim only a libertarian inclination.  (the difference between Libertarian and libertarian? – the difference between seeing pedophilia and some other behaviors as acceptable and recognizing that some behaviors are wrong and SHOULD be punished by government)

Is taxation necessarily theft?  It comes back to, what is your world view?  If you hold an atheistic, materialist view of society and the universe, it is easy to see taxation as the actions of a privileged few against the down trodden, much like a silver-back gorilla might forcefully take away some food item from an individual further  down the “pecking order” in the troop.  To people with this viewpoint, anything humans do is merely a reflection of the natural world around them and the behavioral standards of the animal kingdom.  If, however, you hold a traditional judaeo-christian world view and recognize not only the existence of a Creator but that He actually instituted the basis for society and that He is active in the world today, then “taxation is theft” rings hollow as God’s Word speaks to the subject quite eloquently. An example is in Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Later on in the same chapter (verses 5-7) the apostle Paul writes “ Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Thus we see that if we hold the Bible to be God’s Word and Revelation to mankind, taxation is not necessarily the same as theft.  We are instructed to pay “taxes to whom taxes are owed” and we are also instructed “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)

CAN taxation become equivalent of theft?  History has shown us that this is so, and many have opposed “taxation without representation” and other means of excessive taxation through the centuries.  If we believe that it is God who raises up and lays low kings and kingdoms, we must also conclude that He raised up the United Statian system of government, complete with the concept of “Lex Rex” (the Law is King) in which the people themselves choose who will write and who will enforce and who will judge the laws of the land.  The beauty of this system is that the people themselves can demand that the burden of taxes be lowered and that the government limit itself in its scope and power.  The horror of this system is that when the people themselves become debauched in their thoughts and life styles, they become unfit to exercise their duty to ensure fair and representative government, including the imposing, collection and application of just taxes.

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6 Comments

  1. Old Ironsights

    Paul… You know I love ya man, but… NOT.

    I give of myself and my means to those less fortunate, often to my own disadvantage, of my own free will – as God asks.

    To be “taxed” is to remove the desire of God and make it a demand of man.

    If I fail to comply with the desire of God, it is between me and the Divine and on my soul.

    If I fail to comply with the demands of man, I get my door kicked in, and possibly get killed by jackbooted goons (never mind my stomped to death kitten..).

    Frankly, I’d rather stand in Perfect Judgement by Perfection than be assasinated by imperfect tools of an imperfect ungodly system

    Regardlss of how ungodly the rest of the world may be, I will not, cannot, accept any sort of government that takes away the central focus of Creation… Free Will.

    Take away “free will” via Taxation and you demolish one of the four cornerstones of Humanity as established by God: Free Will, Choice, (established in Genesis) , Self Defense (the entire bible) and Dominion over the Earth and its resources (as agents of the Divine)

    I’d rather not be asked by God why I supported undermining His foundation…

    • Paul

      Yet, in His Word God tells us “Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.” (Romans 13:7) If we carefully scrutinize the scriptures, we’ll see that God Himself has set up government – and has limited it to very specific areas in which we are to submit to the same.

      The first rule of “stuff” is that all “stuff” belongs to the Creator. “I will not accept a bull from your household or male goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is Mine.” (Psalm 50:9-12) As the Creator, EVERYTHING belongs in first place to Him.

      The next rule is that He has given authority to mankind to rule over the earth. “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” We are not owners of anything, but have been given stewardship over creation, including those things we call our possessions. Do folks abuse this? Yes, they do. And they’ll have to answer for it (in the same way I’ll be called to given an account of my own life – even though my sins have been washed away by the blood of the Lamb).

      As for the subject of governance, God has also placed governors, kings, presidents, etc in power – but not with unlimited power nor with out calling them to fulfill their obligation to rule justly – according to HIS justice, not the so called justice of mankind. As we see – everything is God’s, but Caesar tends to try to usurp that which is God’s, to overstep his bounds, to take that which does NOT correspond to his sphere of action. In such cases we not only have the RIGHT to object and resist, we have the DUTY to do so. Where exactly is that line? I have neither the time nor the energy nor yet the expertise to attempt to draw it out here in the confines of this little virtual soapbox. Yet it is a topic well worthy of study and consideration.

      Now, is taxation NECESSARILY theft? No. It is not NECESSARILY theft. CAN it be theft? Yes, it can. We should be very careful in considering our response to government and taxation lest we find ourselves fighting against God Himself in our desire to merely fight against injustice.

      When push comes to shove, we’ll all have to answer for the way we managed the resources that God has placed within our personal sphere of stewardship.

  2. Old Ironsights

    No time right now, but…

    If Taxation is “good” then why are Churches and Preachers (SSI) exempt?

    • Paul

      Did I say “taxation is good”? No. The premise of the article is that “Taxation is NOT NECESSARILY theft”.

      The matter of tax exemption is completely different from the premise of the article.

      • Old Ironsights

        Did I say “taxation is good”? No. The premise of the article is that “Taxation is NOT NECESSARILY theft”.

        Which means (?) that it IS (frequently/most often) theft, but that you reserve the right to determine when, to you, it is or is not Theft.

        I grok. But I would also say, if the definition of “theft” is up to the person from whom something is stolen, then “theft” has no legal meaning whatsoever.

        • Paul

          Again, you are putting words in where no words existed. I’m not defining theft per se, but rather making a statement regarding the common pronouncement “taxation is theft”. Can taxation be theft? Yes, but it is not always theft.

          The question one must ask is, what is your basis of belief? Do you see God as authoritative? Do you recognize the Bible as His authoritative word? If not, you may very well declare “taxation is always theft” since without the existence of an authority beyond the individual and considering that without a creator we are but highly developed primates, then indeed every individual is supreme (at least as far as they can project their personal power) and each individual owns whatever he has been able to accumulate with no obligation to recognize a greater authority than himself.

          However, if one does recognize a Creator and does recognize that this very Creator has given us guidelines as to the proper disposition of the property which we hold in trust from that same Creator, then there is a different way of looking at not only taxes but also the disposition of everything that is within our personal scope of responsibility.

          Recognizing that there is a Higher Authority than myself and that this Authority has communicated to us His will in regards to taxes (among many other subjects) I wrote this article. And I stand by the premise. Taxation is not NECESSARILY theft. Can it be? Of course it can. But a blanket statement “taxation is theft” can only stand true if one holds the position that the Creator does not exist and has never made a statement regarding the subject.

          I note that you have not used any quotations from the Bible (or any other religious book, for that matter) so one might assume that you are arguing from an evolutionary and atheistic point of view. In which case, I recognize that you do not recognize the same world view from which my argument springs. If I am wrong in that matter and you DO recognize the authority of the Bible, please demonstrate to me from those scriptures the manner in which I am wrong. How does one defend the premise “Taxation is ALWAYS theft” based on the Bible?

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