Jesus Christ on Taxes

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Truth-Bringer, May 26, 2007.

  1. Jesus on Taxes: Nothing is (Rightly) Caesar's!

    The story of Jesus commanding us to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's (Matt. 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26) is commonly misrepresented as His commanding us to give to Caesar the denari which he asks for (i.e., to pay taxes to government) as--it is assumed--the denari are Caesar's, being that they have Caesar's image and name on them. But Jesus never said that this was so! What Jesus did say though was an ingenious case of rhetorical misdirection to avoid being immediately arrested, which would have interfered with Old Testament prophecy of His betrayal as well as His own previous predictions of betrayal.

    When the Pharisees asked Him whether or not it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar they did so as a ruse in the hopes of being able to either have Him arrested as a rebel by the Roman authorities or to have Him discredited in the eyes of His followers. At this time in Israel's history it was an occupied territory of the Roman Empire, and taxes--which were being used to support this occupation--were much hated by the mass of the common Jews. Thus, this question was a clever Catch-22 posed to Jesus by the Pharisees: if Jesus answered that it is not lawful then the Pharisees would have Him put away, but if He answered that it is lawful then He would appear to be supporting the subjection of the Jewish people by a foreign power. Luke 20:20 makes the Pharisees' intent in asking this question quite clear:

    So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

    Thus, Jesus was not free to answer in just any casual manner. Of the Scripture prophecies which would have gone unfulfilled had He answered that it was fine to decline paying taxes and been arrested because of it are the betrayal by Judas (Psalm 41:9; Zech. 11:12,13), and His betrayer replaced (Psalm 109:8--see Acts 1:20); see also Acts 1:15-26 and Psalm 69:25. Here is a quote from Peter on this matter from Acts 1:16:

    "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus."

    In Matt. 26:54,56 and Mark 14:49 Jesus testifies to this exact same thing after He was betrayed by Judas. As well, Jesus Himself twice foretold of His betrayal before He was asked the question on taxes--see Matt. 17:22; 20:18; Mark 9:31; 10:33; and Luke 9:44; 19:31. See also John 13:18-30, which testifies to the necessity of the fulfillment of Psalm 41:9, as Jesus here foretells of His betrayal by Judas.

    In addition, it appears that the only reason Jesus paid the temple tax (and by supernatural means at that) as told in Matt. 17:24-27 was so as not to stir up trouble which would have interfered with the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture and Jesus's previous prediction of His betrayal as told in Matt. 17:22--neither of which would have been fulfilled had Jesus not paid the tax and been arrested because of it. Jesus Himself supports this view when He said of it "Nevertheless, lest we offend them . . ." (NKJV), which can also be translated "But we don't want to cause trouble" (CEV). He said this after in effect saying that those who pay customs and taxes are not free (v. 25,26)--yet one reason Jesus came was to call us to liberty (Luke 4:18; Gal. 4:7; 5:1,13,14; 1 Cor. 7:23; 2 Cor. 3:17; James 1:25; 2:12).

    It should be remembered in all of this that it was Jesus Himself who told us "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Matt. 10:16). Jesus was being wise as a serpent as He never told us to pay taxes to Caesar, of which He could have done and still fulfilled Scripture and His previous predictions of betrayal. But the one thing He couldn't have told people was that it was okay not to pay taxes as He would have been arrested on the spot, and Scripture and His predictions of betrayal would have gone unfulfilled. Yet the most important thing in all this is what Jesus did not say. Jesus never said that all or any of the denari were Caesar's! Jesus simply said "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's." But this just begs the question, What is Caesar's? Simply because the denari have Caesar's name and image on them no more make them his than one carving their name into the back of a stolen TV set makes it theirs. Yet everything Caesar has has been taken by theft and extortion, therefore nothing is rightly his.

    Tax Collectors are Sinners!

    A further demonstration that Jesus considered the institution of taxation to be unjust is given in the below story:

    Matthew 9:9-13: As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (See also Mark 2:14-17; Luke 5:27-32.)

    It's important to point out here that Jesus actually made a stronger case against the unrighteousness of tax collectors than the Pharisees originally had in questioning Jesus's disciples about it: the Pharisees actually separated the tax collectors from the sinners when they asked "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" Yet when Jesus heard this He answered the Pharisees by lumping the two groups together under the category of sinners--thus: "For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

    Yet since this is the story of Matthew the tax collector being called to repentance by Jesus we will do well to ask how it was that Matthew obtained repentance. The answer: By first giving up tax collecting! And from this beginning Matthew would thus go on to become one of Jesus's twelve disciples.

  2. pikatore

    pikatore Registered Member

    Taxation is good, and in moderation and a decent government, helps the community as a whole.

    Next time you use a public toilet, or drive your car on a nice smooth concrete road, or see a social worker cleaning the streets or something, you can thank taxation for it.
  3. Well, that's a nice Straw Man, but that's about all it is.

    Taxation is theft. Taxation is not a contribution.

    If you refuse to pay, you will receive threatening letters demanding payment. If you ignore them, eventually a case will be filed in court. If you ignore the summons and fail to appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and men with guns will come to your home to take you to jail. If you tell them you're not going and demand that they leave your property, they will forcibly try to take you in. If you physically resist and fight back, they can and will legally kill you.

    That is how statutory laws are enforced - there is always the threat of force.

    The only time government force is warranted is if one individual has violated the inalienable rights to life, liberty of property of another individual. Otherwise, it's illegitimate and immoral.

    All of these things could be just as easily accomplished without taxation.
  4. pikatore

    pikatore Registered Member

    Taxation is an obligation that all citizens have of contributing to thier society. Without it, civilisation wouldn't be nearly as developed as it is now.

    Yeah I can see this happening... donation boxes at macdonalds or the supermarket for public toilets. lol.
  5. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑


    So you advocate that power be taken out of the hands of a government by, for, and of the people; and placed into the hands of those with an economic advantage? Imagine if a fella who owns a particular resturaunt chain in your town bought all the roads. He would then be utterly free, under the parameters you've established, to destroy whatever roads led to the establishments of his competitors. Maybe he would simply charge them a fee to not do so. Either way, I think you can see how wealth and power would quickly concentrate into the hands of a few under such conditions.
  6. Mare Tranquillity

    Mare Tranquillity Elite Intellectual

    This thread is a perfect example of how the Bible is a rubber yardstick that can be twisted and stretched to prove damn near anything. Look at the dumb stuff it's been used for: to prove that slavery is acceptable, that blacks are supposed to be slaves, women are property, children are property, children can be sold, killing is prohibited, killing is required, gay people are bad, and (my personal favorite) that transgendered people are bad as well (since there is not a single word about trans-people in the whole ridiculous book), and the list just goes on and on.

    It's time for the human race to mature and stop killing each other over tribal god images and obscure, contradictory, badly translated, ancient myths that have little or no relevance to society today--and may have NEVER had any relevance to any society.
  7. pitcrawler

    pitcrawler New Member

    Firstly, in the UK and many other countries, the people who come to your house will not have guns. They will not attempt to and are not legally able to kill a person for resisting arrest and/or fighting back. If they kill that person and claim it as legitimate defence of their own life then it will probably be decided in a court whether it's true or not. There is no threat of force, but a certain amount of force is authorised in order to restrain the person if necessary, and what is not authorised is to cause deliberate injury or use actions that are likely to cause injury. This being said, your argument is well and truly debunked, as it does not apply to all countries.

    If you mean to say that we could have the same level of public services and the same reliability and fairness just as easily without taxation then I'd like to see at least one scrap of evidence or explanation that supports this theory. If it was true then surely there'd be at least one place in all of history that has achieved such a feat. The fact is, without taxation no-one would have the incentive to help his fellow man or the community. They would keep all of their money for themselves and only use it for things that benefit themselves, their relatives, their friends or their interests. Even people who give to charity are gaining something for themselves; even if it's only subconsciously (e.g. it makes them feel better, usually because they have some personal interest in the particular charity.)

    Why would a person freely give their money to pay for a road which they may never use? Perhaps they are disabled and cannot drive. Would they freely give their money to pay for something that they know is unlikely to personally benefit them? Even though the road will most probably help them at some point in the future, maybe just indirectly, people generally can't or don't want to think that far ahead and therefore would not see the benefit of parting with their hard-earned cash.
  8. Again, a complete and total Straw Man.

    Or another method you never considered:

    Kid, every argument I've seen you put forward on this board is a fallacy. You need to PUT DOWN THE KOOL-AID.

    Wrong, because it doesn't take into account the very nature of the state and the new laws that would be passed if people actually started resisting the theft made against them and refused to pay. The government would authorize more force at that point to keep their money coming in. The argument stands.

    The U.S. was tax free for several years after Jefferson's administration (per the link above), and we became the most prosperous country on the face of the earth.

    Many people falsely attribute our condition today to more government involvement - but what gives us our feeling of prosperity today is simply technological innovation - which we would have more of if their were less taxes being wasted by the government.

    They might not freely give it - but they might pay a lower price for a privatized road.

    What are you clowns going to come up with when flying cars become the normal form of transportation and we don't need roads anymore?
  9. pikatore

    pikatore Registered Member

    Firstly, cool it. No need to flame.

    ... how the hell is it a straw man? You haven't shown why it is irrelevant to the issue. Don't think throwing logical fallacies at my arguments will render them illogical. I'm thoroughly convinced it isn't a straw man. Educate me.

    I don't care about what Thomas Jefferson did. A succesfull and prosperous country requires a well-funded government, and that is a government supplemented by it's citizens. Not to mention one with a half decent defense budget, seeing how Jefferson wanted to cut spending on that. The U.S was heading in the right direction well before he came to office. And there aren't any large scale military conflicts today that will help boost America's economic power like it did back then. This isn't the 1800s.

    You honestly think that all the government funded things that the US has can survive without tax? What about social security? You've got to be kidding me.
  10. There's no need for me to "cool it" since I'm not "flam(e-ing)"

    You have assumed an emotional reaction where none exists.

    It's a Straw Man because you're ignoring the use of force by the government in the issue. There is no voluntary "obligation" and consent cannot be implied:

    [FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica] "To lay, with one hand, the power of the government on the property of the citizen, and with the other to bestow it upon favored individuals to aid private enterprises and build up private fortunes, is none the less robbery because it is done under the form of law and is called taxation. This is not legislation. It is a decree under legislative forms." - Citizen's Savings & Loan Assn v. Topeka, 87 U.S. 655, 664

    "To take a man's property without his consent is robbery; and to assume his consent where no consent is given, makes the taking none the less robbery. If it did not, the highwayman has the same right to assume a man's consent to part with his purse, that any other man, or body of men, can have. And his assumption would afford as much moral justification for his robbery as does a like assumption, on the part of the government, for taking a man's property without his consent. The government's pretense of protecting him, as an equivalent for the taxation, affords no justification. It is for himself to decide whether he desires such protection as the government offers him. If he does not desire it, or does not bargain for it, the government has no more right, than any other insurance company to impose it upon him, or make him pay for it." - Lysander Spooner, "Trial by Jury"

    Also, there is no "society" - that's the reification fallacy.

    Government or society do not exist beyond the individuals that comprise them. If you believe government is a separate entity, you're falling for the reification fallacy. If every individual in any nation, government or society dies, then that nation, government, or society no longer exists. As no rights can supercede the inalienable rights of the individual, a government cannot claim to necessitate force in the name of the collective if in the process it impedes or injures the rights of individuals:

    "The notion of "collective rights" ( the notion that rights belong to group, not to individuals ) means that "rights" belong to some men, but not to others - that some men have a "right" to dispose of others in any manner they please - and that the criterion of such privileged position consists of numerical superiority...

    Individual rights are not subject to public vote. A majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities ( and the smallest minority on earth is the individual ).

    Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right. No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty or an involuntary sertvitude on another man. There can be no such thing as 'the right to enslave.'

    ...there is no such entity as "society", since society is only a number of individual men.

    - SOME men ( the majority or any gang that claims to be its spokesman ) have falsely believed they are ethically entitled to pursue any whims (or any atrocities) they desire to pursue, while OTHER men are ethically obliged to spend their lives in the service of that gang's desires." - Ayn Rand

    I know you don't - because it refutes your "argument."

    Refuted by Jefferson's example. A government could be easily funded by tariffs or user fees.

    But Jefferson had no need to cut any portion of government, since revenues to the Treasury more than tripled during his term. And if Jefferson was perceived as taking America "off course" why was he re-elected in a landslide? Why did his party, espousing the same principles, win the next several Presidential elections?

    If you're saying that was the sole reason for the tariff revenue increase, that might be debatable, but again, it wasn't necessary to maintain the government. It's a moot point.

    Fallacy - Inverse of Appeal to Tradition

    No, but the government shouldn't be doing many of those things. The government never had any right to do those things under the original intent of the Constitution:
    "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions." - James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792 _Madison_ 1865, I, page 546
    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constitutents." - James Madison, regarding an appropriations bill for French refugees, 1794
    "With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." - James Madison, Letter to James Robertson, April 20, 1831 _Madison_ 1865, IV, pages 171-172
    "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated." - Thomas Jefferson

    Full article at:

    The goverment is also negligently losing and wasting trillions of dollars. It must stop:

    "According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions." - Donald Rumsfeld, 2002

    Trillions of dollars are missing from the US government. What's going on? Where is the money? How could this happen? Where are the checks and balances? How much more has gone missing? What would happen if a corporation failed to pass an audit like this? Or a taxpayer? Who is responsible for this? Would your banks continue to handle your bank account if you behaved like this? Would your investors continue to buy your securities if you behaved like this? Learn more in the articles below.

    For numerous listings of government waste on a state by state basis, check out:

    And let's not forget fraud - in which the people we pay to enforce the law are either too lazy or too corrupt to enforce it, costing us billions in losses:

    County fraud explodes

    $2 billion annual tab for worker, public abuse

    BY TROY ANDERSON, Staff Writer

    After downplaying the scope for years, Los Angeles County officials have started to quietly acknowledge that scams by county employees and recipients of county services may be costing taxpayers nearly $2billion a year.

    While there are no exact figures, the county Grand Jury last summer estimated welfare recipients are defrauding taxpayers of $500million a year. Prosecutors have estimated fraud in the food stamp, in-home care and health care programs costs more than $200million.

    "It's as though in all the public assistance programs - be it welfare, food stamps, child care or Section8 housing - someone put a pot of gold in the middle of the street and walked away from it with very little integrity controls," said James Cosper, head deputy in the District Attorney's Office Welfare Fraud Division.

    "It's bad throughout the entire county. ... We do two or three major sweeps a year where we go out and arrest people. In case after case, they are driving Beemers, Lexus and Mercedes automobiles, or we have evidence they are taking expensive vacations, going on very nice cruises or living in expensive homes."

    And it's not just service recipients who are defrauding the county.

    Rest of article at:

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