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How critical is a Christian Worldview to Libertarianism?

Today I received an email from the Christian Post to comment on a recent speech by Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics scholar Jay Richards. Apparently, Mr. Richards argues that Libertarians need a theistic framework to make sense of their free-market, small government worldview. I was asked the following questions:

Does LibertarianChristians.com know how many libertarians are Christian, versus how many are not? Also, would you agree with Mr. Richards’ assertion that libertarianism does not make sense from a materialistic worldview?

Unfortunately, I did not view this message until after the writer needed a response (his article is now posted here), but I did have a nice conversation with him over the phone and I sent him the following short response:

It is very hard to say exactly what percentage of libertarians are Christians, but it is significant that even though there are clearly very diverse personal beliefs within the movement that we often work together for the mutual goal of promoting liberty. Very few atheist libertarians are of the “militant atheist” variety (in my experience).

Although I have not listened to the specifics of Jay Richards’s speech, I would generally argue that you don’t HAVE to be a Christian for libertarianism to make sense. Part of the beauty of libertarianism is that it conforms to natural law, and scholars have long argued that natural law has an objective truth to it that requires no appeal to a religious source. Now, as Christians, we have a revelation from the one who created all things, and this revelation shows us not only natural law but also the person of God through Jesus Christ.

Thus, we find that we can cooperate and work together and thrive even when there are elements of our worldviews that differ (i.e. theist vs. atheist) because natural law does not require us to have all identical worldviews in order to function. From our distinctly Christian point of view we can recognize this as a facet of God’s beautiful created order.

Anyway, there’s something to ponder for the weekend. Thanks for listening.

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So, LCC readers, what do you have to add? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to share this post around with your friends. I hope we will have a good set of responses here for the writer to consider in the future.

LCI posts articles representing a broad range of views from authors who identify as both Christian and libertarian. Of course, not everyone will agree with every article, and not every article represents an official position from LCI. Please direct any inquiries regarding the specifics of the article to the author. 

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