Lisle’s Incoherent Ideas About Religion and Government

Jason Lisle of Answers in Genesis offers an introduction to “God’s law” on his blog. It’s mostly gibberish, but I find one of his comments in response to a reader to be absurdly inconsistent. To begin with, he insists that because the Bible says you have to tithe 10%, any government that taxes anyone over 10% is “apostate.”

The government may rightfully tax people for the purpose of funding police and military to protect its citizens from evil-doers. However, when the government taxes its citizens excessively and/or for purposes that God has not authorized, such as redistributing wealth, this is wicked and amounts to theft. And the people who put such practices in place will have to answer to God for their actions…

First, a Christian should pay his or her taxes fairly and honestly from the start. Second, if a Christian sinfully withheld tax and was dishonest, then he or she should repent, own up to the mistake and be willing to pay a punitive fine in addition to back taxes. Third, governmental authorities should stop excessively taxing their citizens to fund programs that God has not authorized. It is a sign of apostasy when a government takes more in taxes than God has us tithe (e.g. 10%)]

Okay, so when the Bible says that you have to give 10% to the religious authorities, this totally applies to government and it is apostasy for any government not to comply with that command. But the Bible commands that we take care of the poor and needy dozens and dozens of times, more than it says almost anything else, yet the government that follows that command is also apostate. Just more evidence that people usually read the Bible to find ways to support their pre-existing beliefs, not as a source of those beliefs. And there is enough contradiction in it that one can find anything they want in it as long as they’re willing to be intellectually dishonest.

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  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    It’s all in the Book of Jedediah The Accountant, which is usually left out of most Bible printings due to it being nothing more than 1500 pages of God-approved tax law.

  • raven

    It is gibberish.

    Studies show that 10% in taxes is a bare minimum for a functioning nation. (Why Nations Fail, a recent book by two economists.)

    If you look at countries below that, they are failed states. Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, and much of the third world including the countries currently battling the Ebola epidemic in Africa. Poverty and weak government services are an ambitious emerging viruses best friends.

    If you look at high taxes countries, they are mostly the happiest and most successful societies on the planet, Western Europe, the USA, Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.

    Jason Lisle never, ever lets reality get in the way of his many delusions.

  • abb3w

    His use of “apostasy” seems to be more for phatic messaging than semantic signals of precisely defined concepts — like having someone waving the American flag at a parade, and trying to read the semaphore, you’re lucky to even get gibberish.

  • raven

    For those who need to wash their brains after contemplating Jason Lisle:

    Wikipedia Why Nations Fail

    Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty is a non-fiction book by Turkish-American economist, Daron Acemoglu from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and political scientist James A. Robinson from Harvard University. The book applies insights from institutional economics, development economics and economic history to answer why nations develop differently, with some succeeding in the accumulation of power and prosperity, while others fail. The authors also maintain a website (with an active blog) about the themes of the book.[1]

    TL,DR version Successful nations:

    1. Taxes above 10%

    2. Strong central government

    3. Inclusive rather than extractive society. This means rule of law rather than rule of economic elites.

    The earth is a laboratory with 220 experiments running. Some work, some don’t.

  • dugglebogey

    It’s very difficult because they need wealthy members to donate so they can make their money, but when the bible says things like it’s impossible for wealthy people to enter heaven, they have to lie about it otherwise those wealthy people might feel alienated.

    Of course the bible forbids lying as well. But once your lying, all you have to do is lie about the lying thing. Problem solved!

  • raven

    wikipedia:

    In linguistics, a phatic expression /ˈfætɨk/ is one whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information.[1]

    You got me on that one. LOL

    These days we call those “dog whistles”.

    Kenyan, Moslem Terrorist president, Moochers, heretics, liberals, apostates, satanic, commies, Benghazi, redistrubing wealth, wicked, theft, god

  • Sastra

    But the Bible commands that we take care of the poor and needy dozens and dozens of times, more than it says almost anything else, yet the government that follows that command is also apostate.

    Of course. The point of taking care of the poor and needy is to convert them to Christianity or get brownie points with God by demonstrating your faith in the next world. Government shouldn’t be doing the work of the churches.

    You want poor people crawling up in rags and kissing crosses in humble gratitude for a crust of bread.

  • Abby Normal

    When Jesus was asked by his fellow Jews whether or not they should pay the Roman taxes, in addition to the 10% tithe they paid at the Temple, he famously commanded that they should indeed pay their taxes saying, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” It’s not exactly an obscure passage. The story appears in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Does Lisle actually read the book he claims to revere or just skim it for quote mining?

  • eric

    The government may rightfully tax people for the purpose of funding police and military to protect its citizens from evil-doers.

    So, he’s throwing out ‘turn the other cheek’ right from the get-go. Good to know he starts on such solid Christian theological footing.

    But that’s the way of it in modernAmericanfundieworld. Their OrwellJesusBible preaches that federal spending on clubs and guns to beat and shoot people with is good, but federal spending to prevent people from starving is unmitigated evil.

  • Childermass

    Speaking of creationism. Check out the Geek tab of Fark.com.

  • raven

    “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

    Says something similar in Romans. Christians should:

    1. Obey the rulers because they are appointed by god. These days in the USA that is…Obama.

    2. Pay your taxes.

    Hypocrisy is one of their three main sacraments along with hate and lies.

  • eric

    Okay, so when the Bible says that you have to give 10% to the religious authorities, this totally applies to government

    Well, to be fair, Lisle probably thinks that the religious authorities and the government should be the same thing…

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    “Man who takes tax advice from one who totals age of universe at 6,000 years receives audit.” ~ Confucius

  • Loqi

    He seems to think that the 10% thing means “at most” rather than “at least.”

  • eric

    It is a sign of apostasy when a government takes more in taxes than God has us tithe (e.g. 10%)]

    Ah, but what if the IRS adopts your Anisotropic Synchrony Convention for taxes, Jason? You pay 20% to them. They pay nothing back. It averages out to 10% both ways.

  • colnago80

    For those who are unfamiliar with Dr. Lisle (he has a legitimate degree in astrophysics from the Un. of Colorado), he is a YEC who has proposed a preposterous “solution” to the distant starlight problem which is evidence that the universe is 13.9 billion years old, not 6000. As I understand it, his proposal asserts that light which is approaching an observer is traveling at infinite speed and that light that is receding from an observer is traveling at 1/2 c. Mathematically, this works out to agree with the result of measuring the speed of light with an interferometer, which is a two way path. Thus, light from distance galaxies need not take 13.9 billion years to get here under this assumption.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @Raven

    Ahem…

    The preferred form is BENGHAZI!!11eleventy!!!

  • Childermass

    If the distant universe experienced 13.8 billion years while we experienced under 10 thousand years, it should be easily possible to see galaxies rotate fully, etc. I wonder why we never see that?

  • eric

    Reading over some of his later responses to other posters on the same thread, Lisle seems to think that religious moral proclamations exist in a hierarchy (some are more important than others), and that saving a life seems to rank up towards the top. So if there are two biblical principles in conflict, and a life is on the line, you generally follow the principle that saves the life.

    There’s nothing particularly wrong with that…except it seems to run smack dab into his vehement rejection of the government’s role in feeding, clothing, and housing the poor. If ‘government has no theological right to redistribute wealth’ is a principle, but some governmental redistibution of wealth is going to save lives, it seems to me he should happily set the former principle aside.

  • Doc Bill

    Jason is no longer with AIG. He moved down to Dallas and joined the “other” group of cretins, the Institute for Creation Research where he’s Chief Wanker or something like that.

    Still, Jason earned his piled higher and deeper at the Hambo School of Tax Perks, Grifting and Astrology. Glad to see he’s applying his finely tuned brain to the tax code.

  • eric

    @18: its not, strictly speaking, a time dilation. AIUI, Lisle’s universe is YEC-young and the instantaneous c thing is used to explain why we can see things created only 6k years ago when they are 13B light-years away. But there are still problems with it; see the last portion of this page for a discussion of them.

  • riandouglas

    It’s not just starlight which is effected by Lisles ASC – he’s stated that other particles also experience changes in velocity relative to the observer (and unrelated to the motion of the observer).

  • themadtapper

    I may be mistaken, but if I remember my Bible right there isn’t a command in there to tithe 10% at all. That tradition was started by Jacob in the OT, and it was a pretty stupid verse anyway because Jacob basically says “hey God, give me everything I want and I’ll give a tenth of it back to you”. That guy in the NT that always talks in red letters, on the other hand, says you’re supposed to give 100% of what you have to those in need. Not that most Christians ever listen to him anyway.

  • matty1

    @8 To be fair the Romans most likely spent the majority of taxes on the military and keeping the elite in luxury. Things Lisle probably considers legitimate

  • U Frood

    When I pay my taxes, I get a whole host of benefits in return. When I give money to a church, I get nothing. Obviously, taxes should be more than tithing.

  • theignored

    Ah yes. Jason Lisle has a bunch of quotes on the “Fundies Say the Darndest Things” site:

    http://www.fstdt.com/Search.aspx?Fundie=Jason+Lisle

    A few friends of mine have had a long series of arguments with Lisle on his own blog, the details of which you can read about here

  • http://www.aquaticape.org anthrosciguy

    Lisle doesn’t even follow the logic of his premise: it would mean that no government should let anyone get away with being taxed at least 10% of their wealth.

  • grumpyoldfart

    I just throw a fishing line in the water and the fish pay my taxes for me. It’s an old trick that Jesus taught me.

    Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours. (Matthew 17:27)

  • pixiedust

    Isn’t the whole Jubilee thing (every seventh year) pretty much deity mandated redistribution of wealth? Why don’t these guys ever read their own damn scriptures.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.jiang.37 tonyjiang

    @Eric did you also see Lisle’s claim that whatever god does is rational even though he doesnt owe anyone an expliation for what he is doing?

  • theignored

    Jason Lisle is messed up in more than just his views on taxation:

    When I brought this up to Lisle (http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=95965) guess what his response was?

    He backed that guy up!

    –http://www.jasonlisle.com/2012/11/09/deep-time-the-god-of-our-age/comment-page-2/#comment-7376

    Lisle says, quoting me at first:

    Remember Joseph saying that it would be immoral to NOT kill a baby if god commanded it?

    [Dr. Lisle: Joseph is right. What God commands is necessarily right. Any other definition of morality is ultimately arbitrary and therefore logically unjustified.]

  • theignored

    Lisle the slavery apologist (or at least an “indentured servitude” apologist):

    http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=94863

    I’ll let you read the quote for yourself. Afterwards, take time to ponder Jason talking about “financially irresponsible” people and then remember just how well Ken Ham’s “museum” and “ark park” are doing…

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.jiang.37 tonyjiang

    Jason Lisle needs alot to learn about basic choerency let alone ideas about money and finances