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The Contender
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Christian teachings support anarcho capitalism over social anarchism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/9/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,361 times Debate No: 24653
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)





Christian teachings: the doctrines and historical events claimed by the Bible, among them the crucifixion, the Sermon on the Mount, etc.

Anarcho capitalism is the view of anarchy which supports the existence of individual private propery rights rather then collective ownership of the means of production.

Social anarchism is the view of anarchy which supports collective ownership of the means of production. This school also generally opposes the wage system and most aspects of capitalism.


1. Drops will count as concessions.

2. Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.

3. New arguments brought in the last round will not be counted.

4. R1 is for acceptance. Argumentation begins in R2.

5. Primary BoP is on Pro.


I volunteer as tribute! I also accept the terms
Debate Round No. 1


Outline and Specification.

Before providing the evidence of my contention it will be necessary to outline specifically the anarcho capitalist position. Anarcho capitalists take four views in regards to property rights. (1) Previously unowned property may come to be acquired through homesteading.(2) Once this has occurred, the property may only transfer hands through trade, gift, or renouncement by the owner. (3) If someone takes without consent the property of the owner, then this is aggression against the owner. (4) The only excusable act of violence is in response to a previous act of aggression. And (5), the owner of property which is stolen has a legitimate claim against the thief which justifies the pursuit of restitution. The view can be more fully summarized here[1].

Contention. The Temple Scene and Property Rectification.

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers"[2].

Interpreting this passage will prove necessary in discerning any propertarian leanings expressed in the Bible because of the two main actions evident in the passage. (A) Jesus exacted violence against some people and (B) He claimed that they were at that point engaged in stealing. These two aspects of the passage are in accordance with (3), (4), and (5) of the outlining of anarcho capitalist property theory. It is in accordance with (3) in that private property is conceived as an extension of our self. Thus taking my property is aggressing against me. The passage is in accordance with (4) and (5) as well from the fact that Jesus committed violence against the thieves *because* they were stealing.

Sub-Contention. Commandment Against Theft.

“You shall not steal."[3]

If we are to take the social anarchist conception of property wherein everyone owns everything (or legitimate personal or private ownership is actually non-existent) then this verse doesn't make any coherent sense. Obviously if one of the respective contentions of property in Christian thought is to be maintained though, then it will be necessary to fit that into established Christian doctrine. I will assume for the sake of debate that the Commandment against stealing is an established Christian doctrine. Therefore it will be necessary to fit a given conception of property within that doctrine. If we substitute in private property rights then the verse actually makes a coherent prescription. We are to respect property rights just as we are to respect out fellow human being since property rights are an extension of one's self (from (3)).


Due to the comparative nature of this debate, the burden on both myself and Con will be to show why our own conception of anarchism is compatible with Christianity over the other's. Therefore it's not just enough for my opponent to point out flaws in my arguments for that would say nothing of Christianity's support for social anarchism. On my arguments themselves, I have shown two examples from the Bible showing that both a basic Christian doctrine (the Commandment not to steal) and an example of Christ's own behavior only make sense from within a privatist propertarian framework. Thus Christianity interpreted properly supports an anarcho capitalist conception of property. Now I'll pass the debate back to my opponent.


[1] Section: "Property in External Things"
[2] Matthew 21: 12-13 ( International Standard Version
[3] Exodus 20:15 ( NIV


As you quote "The temple scene and property rectification", the exact quote fails to mention whether it is actually Jesus' temple of worship. In reality, temples were public spaces back then as evidenced by the fact that there was a market there (I reference your first quote Matthew 21:12).

Jesus in reality had no right to drive them out of the "temple courts". In your terms (anarcho-capitalist's third view), Jesus did an act of aggression against the stall-owners, probably damaging their merchandise. While as he claimed they were stealing, is there any actual proof of that?
Jesus also did not have the proper authority to knock over the stalls as evidenced in Matthew 21:23 "Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you this authority?"".
Then, they go on a conversation about who gave him authority which culminates in Matthew 21:27 "So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.". The fact that Jesus is even asked this shows that it is not his temple.

This shows Jesus' gross disrespect for other people's property. While Jesus did claim that they were stealing, he did not claim who they were supposedly stealing from. If they had supposedly stolen from someone else, then your fifth view of anarcho-capitalism states that Jesus could not do that as he was not stolen from. In your second paragraph in your first contention you fail to substantiate Jesus' claim that they were stealing.

Metaphorically, you could argue that Jesus said that they were stealing because they were charging too high prices. Saying that, in fact, would not be an anarchist view as that would be regulation of the free market of Jerusalem.

In your "sub-contention", you quote the ten commandments as in "you shall not steal." Your rationalization that in a socialist anarchist society, everybody owns everything, therefore, you cannot steal, is flawed. As everything belongs to everyone, some people could take a lot without giving back. That would be stealing from the community as a whole.

For example, everybody takes what they need from the communal food area. Somebody takes a lot more than they need and let it waste in a corner. That would be stealing from the community.

As one of your quotes revolve around actions of dubious reasons by Jesus, as well as being able to be interpreted in favour of socialism, your contention is flawed.
My argument revolves around Ecclesiastes 3:13, Acts 4:34-35, Mark 10:21 and Mark 21:12-13. "that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them,
brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need." directly supports a conversion from anarcho-capitalism to socialist principles
(from Acts 4:34-35).

"That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God." is a direct support of socialist anarchism (from Ecclesiastes 3:13). Really, this advocates for the shared resources central to social anarchism.

"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." (from Mark 10:21 (original King James Version)) shows the social anarchism central to my argument. As the socialist part is very clear, I now must explain the anarchism part. As Jesus said, the man must sell his items, and give it to the poor under no governing body. Treasure would've been given back to him (he declined the offer) as what he gave will flow back to him. Jesus does not say who would give it to him because no one would give it to him. It would just appear.

"Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it 'a den of robbers'." (from Matthew 21:12-13) shows that Jesus is saying that it is a den of robbers because they are 'stealing' from the poor. The bible specifically quotes "selling doves" as an example of an animal. The poor need the animals for sustenance but the traders are quoted as robbers because they charge money for items. As the poor people cannot afford the items, Jesus overturned the tables as a statement that charging for items is wrong. This also supports socialism.
I conclude this argument by stating that the burden on Pro will be to rebut my four passages and create solid new arguments to prove that the bible supports anarcho-capitalism. I pass the debate to Pro.
Debate Round No. 2


===Pro Case===

Temple Scene and Property Rectification.

(A) In response to the contention that Jesus was not acting in defense of property since the temples were public space, it was specifically the existence of a market in the temple that was the issue. Just saying a market exists makes it legitimately public space doesn't legitimize the establishment of a market in the temple in the first place. And even the market was not a normal existence. At the time of the incident in question, crowds were gathered in anticipation of Passover. The merchants and sellers were buying sacrificial items for the event and selling them to worshippers who had mostly travelled from afar and thus were unable to bring their own. The money changers were there because only Tyrian money could be accepted whereas Roman money was the dominant currency in circulation. Therefore, money changing was necessary to buy sacrificial items. The temple was not a public space and the market that was there was only due to Passover coming soon[1].

(B) In response to proper authority, remember that the standard of this debate is in accordance with Christian doctrine and according to Christian doctrine Jesus is synonymous with God. This is the view supported also by even the words of God who claimed "the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple"[2] in anticipation for the birth of Christ in the New Testament. In fact, even in the verse in question, Jesus claims the temple to be his house[3]. So to claim lack of authority in acting is simply wrong. Jesus clearly conceived of the temple and places of worship as his own property, hence explaining his disgust at non-temple related activities going on in his property.

(C) On whether Jesus is actually right about theft occurring and whether he actually made a claim as to who they were stealing from, I refer my opponent to both point A regarding the Temple being Jesus' property in the first place (which is substantiated in verses like Matthew 21:13) and will also point out that Jesus made it very clear who he believed was being wronged in the theft. He claimed that “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers" (Mat. 21:13). Clearly he believed that he was the one who was being stolen from. On another note, I have made no claim on whether charging unfair prices was Jesus' point and do not believe that to be the proper explanation for his actions.

Ten Commandments and Theft.

I concede that this point may be taken to support either side being argued. All it shows is that some form of property is defended, whether collective or individual. I'll point out though that I maintain the proper standing of the temple scene contention and the falsity of my opponent's own contentions brought in the last round.

===Con Case===

(Acts 4: 34-35. Ecclesiastes 3:13) The verses here while supporting an ethics of providing for those in need does not say anything about property or in what forms it may be ethically justified. Referring to the definitions provided in R1, anarcho capitalism and social anarchism are defined only in relation to their views on what kinds of property ought to exist. But the problem here is that the two are separate concepts entirely. Charity and providing necessities for people out of ethical concern is not mutually exclusive from owning private property. For instance, John Rockefeller was an extremely charitable person and believed deeply in helping those with nothing[4], yet he did so from the foundation of private property rights. He owned what he owned, but he gave based on a sense of ethics, not a sense of duty.

Put more clearly, Con's point that these verses support socialist principles is misleading. There are different definitions of these principles. The version which may be legitimately derived from these verses would be support of charity and helping the poor. Organizing society around collective ownership is only one way to do that and my opponent has not sufficiently shown why the verse specifically supports collective ownership as a means to that end, especially seeing as the verse depicts enacting socialist principles based on the idea that people prior already owned privately what they gave. A society based on the principles of private property does not preclude people from choosing to act to help the poor and needy based on a sense of Christian duty. Thus, social anarchism is not the necessary conclusion to draw from these verses and their message.

(Matthew 21: 12-13) Con asserts that Jesus is making the claim that selling items to the poor is stealing based off of his reaction to their sale in the temple courts. Reference is made to the fact that Jesus called the money changers "robbers". But the mistake of Con's point is that he is mistaking the meaning behind calling the money changers thieves. This mistake is made evident by Jesus placing emphasis on where this was all occurring. Jesus never claims that the activities being performed are wrong per se, the wrongness of the actions are only mentioned in relation to where they are occurring. The emphasis put on the function of the temple shows that one cannot derive any explicit or implicit support for collective property rights since Jesus makes it clear he is angry at WHERE the trade is occurring, not THAT it is occurring.


[1] (Part I, Points A-D)
In full: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
[3] Matthew 21:13 (And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer...)
[4] (He donated to 165 different welfare organizations not including donations to schools, health care, emergency relief, the environment, etc.)


123chess456 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Extend arguments and refutations. Vote Pro.


He dropped Mark 10:21, which means he conceded the argument to me already, as my argument says that that passage proves that christian teachings support social anarchism. Since he dropped it, I've already won. Vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
Lol at your R4. The point was the same as in the verse, Acts 4: 34-35 and Ecclesiastes 3:13 and I responded to them already.
Posted by johnnyboy54 4 years ago
Liked. I will enjoy this :)
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Go, team!
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
This is team debate, right? 10,000 pages was a bit of hyperbole: the book is only 194 pages, available online:

Biblical Blueprint for Economics:
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Some guy wrote 10,000 pages about this. I'll try to find it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CiRrK 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF