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Ep 3: Pacifism and Self-Defense in Christian Ethics

Welcome to the third episode of The Libertarian Christian Podcast. Today, we explore another volatile topic: violence, self-defense, and pacifism. The overwhelming majority of both Christians (at least in the West) and libertarians are not pacifists, and would at minimum favor a right of retaliatory or defensive force against aggressors. In fact, most libertarians tend to be even stronger advocates of gun ownership and self-defense than the typical conservative. At the same time, many professed pacifists are advocates of gun control, high taxes, and other leftist public policies (which, of course, are always enforced by the state with violence). Despite copious examples from earlier in church history, finding consistent Christian pacifists in the West today is exceedingly rare.

The Non-Aggression Principle — the baseline of all libertarianism — holds that it is unethical to initiate force against anyone, except in response to an attack on person or property by an aggressor. The Non-Aggression Principle leaves open the door for violent self-defense, so long as one does not initiate an attack. However, libertarianism is not a comprehensive worldview that addresses every ethical situation, and it’s possible that the Bible calls Christians to an even higher standard of behavior than what baseline libertarianism would permit.

Are Christians ever permitted to use violence, even in self-defense or the defense of others? Should we encourage gun ownership? What about Christians serving in the military or as police officers? Tune in to Episode 3 of The Libertarian Christian Podcast! We’ll even cover the type of cliché hypothetical scenarios that anyone involved in this debate can expect to hear in every conversation on the subject; maybe we’ll even succeed in ‘blowing away’ a few of them…

Ep 3: Pacifism and Self-Defense in Christian Ethics



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Doug Stuart

Doug Stuart holds a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Seminary and is a regular contributor to LibertarianChristians.com. He currently lives with his wife and three children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he enjoys home brewing, coffee roasting, reading, and aviation. He is a life group leader and deacon at an evangelical church, where he has also taught classes on film and culture, evangelism, faith and economics, and non-violence.

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