You are on page 1of 8

Law & Liberty by R.J.

Rushdoony
Questions for Thought and Discussion
Chapter 1 Can We Legislate Morality?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Is it true that you cannot legislate morality? Why or why not? Why cant people be made moral by law? Why is a law system rooted in plurality an impossibility? What is the purpose of Biblical law? What is the purpose of humanistic law?

Chapter 2 Sanctity of Life


1. Pacifists believe that all living things are sacred and should receive equal treatment. This assumption often leads them to reject all action that leads to the destruction of life, especially warfare. At the same time, pacifists routinely consume both animal and plant life for food. How do they resolve this obvious conflict? 2. A popular objection often asserted by non-believers is that the Bible openly contradicts itself by sanctioning the Canaanite murders, in light of the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:6). Is the Bible inconsistent here? 3. Should Christians support the death penalty? Why or why not? 4. In Genesis 4, God forbids anyone from exacting retribution against Cain. How is this to be understood in light of Genesis 9:6? 5. According to Rushdoony, Schweitzer's basic religious principle was not Jesus Christ, but a humanistic reverence for life. Why is Schweitzers view an insufficient standard of morality?

Chapter 3 Liberty: Limited or Unlimited?


1. 2. How does unlimited liberty destroy liberty? How does the legal sanctioning of pornography by a society lead to the eventual destruction of moral order? 3. In any society, why must all forms of freedom necessarily operate within the context of restriction? 4. Can true liberty operate outside of law? Why or why not? 5. Many Evangelical Christians believe that obedience to the law of God leads to the loss of liberty in the life of the Christian. Is this true?

Chapter 4 The Politics of Pornography


1. 2. 3. Rushdoony points out that pornography is a hatred of morality. Do you agree? Explain your answer. What basic institution always suffers from viewing pornography? Currently the U. S. sanctions the production/distribution of pornography in the name of freedom. How does this form of legislation work to remove freedom rather than preserve it? How does the legalization of pornography lead to totalitarianism? What steps can Christians take to eradicate pornography as an abiding social evil?

4. 5.

Chapter 5 Law and Nature


1. According to Oriental philosophy, what is the highest truth? What are some of the implications of this belief? 2. What are some basic problems with positive (statist) law? 3. According to Rushdoony, Oliver Wendell Holmes was right to criticize natural law. Given the presuppositions of the Christian worldview, what is the basic problem with any theory of natural law? 4. Why do the presuppositions of Darwinism completely eradicate any notion of natural law? 5. According to Lenny Bruce, truth is what is. What does this statement mean and why is it so destructive if carried out consistently?

Chapter 6 Law and the Future


Rushdoony points out that law is the basic form of social planning. Why is this so, and what implication does this have on the type of society that results? 2. What is the major legal revolution that Rushdoony states is already under way? 3. Rushdoony notes that law is a plan for the future. Why must Christians stand resolutely against humanistic statist law and its plan for the future? 4. In Eugene Zamiatin's We, what sort of government system is envisioned? Name at least one country that implements this form of rule. 5. CHALLENGE QUESTION: Why is an ecclesiocracy (social governing through church leaders) not the solution to the modern problem of Hegelian statism? 1.

Chapter 7 Law and Authority


1. 2. 3. If all thinking appeals to authority, is it possible for the Christian to assume that his thought life is outside the jurisdiction of Gods law? Why or why not? Is Democracy a Christian form of government? Explain. Christians recognize conflicts between Biblical Christianity and the ever-evolving claims of modern science. What false assumption is rampant in most areas of modern science? How should a Christian respond? Does the state have legitimate authority over its subjects? If so, by what authority is the state to rule or govern its subjects? (See Rom. 13:1-4, 1 Pet.2.13-13) Why is government funded education so harmful? CHALLENGE QUESTION: What is the direct connection between the democratic thinking of Rousseau and Karl Marx's dictatorship of the proletariat?

4. 5. 6.

Chapter 8 Law and Chaos


Why is it important that Christians faithfully reject any notion of the universe evolving out of primeval chaos? (Think about the presuppositions involved in evolutionary thinking.) 2. Theistic versions of evolution teach that God progressively brought forth the universe in stages, over a long period. How does this conflict with the record as given in Genesis? (Hint: Think about the manner in which Scripture reports Gods creation of the world.) 3. Every evolutionary perspective emphasizes chaos as the ultimate power, and change as the constant factor. Within this framework, social change can only come by usurping an 1.

4.

existing social order (revolution) since social absolutes do not exist. In contrast to this, what is the Biblical way that God has planned to revitalize cultures and societies? The rebellion of man (sin) was the introduction of chaos into God's created order (as revealed in God's law). The finished work of Christ accomplishes the restoration of God's original created order by removing the elements of chaos (the curses of God's law incurred for rebellion). However, many Christians today have come to believe that in addition to this aspect of redemption, Christ's work has also made Gods law obsolete. What implications can you draw from this short analogy concerning the issues of law and grace?

Chapter 9 Law and Evolution


1. 2. 3. 4. What is the basic tension between the concept of law and the principle of evolution? (Consider the basic presuppositions of each.) Given the evolutionary worldview, can any action rightfully be considered criminal? How do social theories predicated upon evolution reduce man to being a creature of the state? August Comte believed that "man is no more than his biology." What implications does this idea have when it comes to crime and punishment?

Chapter 10 Law and Alchemy


1. 2. 3. 4. Define alchemy. According to Rushdoony, what is the basic aim or purpose of the alchemist? How is alchemy a form of autonomy? Drawing upon evolutionary thinking, modern socialists often see themselves as the principal agents of change and recreation. How does this idea relate to the satanic pronouncement of Genesis3:5? What other modern forms of alchemy are there?

5.

Chapter 11 Law and Academic Freedom


1. The Columbia Encyclopedia describes academic freedom: "An essential to the acceptance of the concept is the notion that truth is best discovered through the open investigation of all data " Given the modern doctrine of academic freedom, what is the irony of this definition? 2. What assumption is present on the part of those who feel that we should continually support schools that advocate this doctrine, even when it is hostile to our Christian faith? 3. How should Christians view the modern doctrine of academic freedom in Christian schools and other Christian venues? 4. Can Christians enjoy true academic freedom within the context of the government schools? Why or why not? (See 2 Cor.10:4-5, Matt.7:24-27, Isa.8:20, Ps.14:1)

Chapter 12 Law and Magic


1. Rushdoony points out that magic is basic to the modern mentality of both politics and science. He also states that magic has always been an enemy of Biblical faith and the Bible strictly forbids it. Give some examples of magic being a part of modern culture. How does magic fit into the Fall of man? How does it manifest itself in the arenas of politics, education, and science?

2.

3. 4.

Explain how modern art is infused with a theology of magic. Can the conflict between the competing worldviews of the Bible and magic ever reach a truce?

Chapter 13 Law and Government


List the seven different areas of government mentioned by Rushdoony. What does Rushdoony see as the most important area of government and why? 2. How does the modern federal government openly affront the sovereignty of God by functionally acting as the government? 3. Why is self-government under God a prerequisite for a free and prosperous society? 4. How does Christian spiritual delinquency contribute to modern statism? 5. Can Christians who embrace the government of God in their personal lives but reject it as a social standard of righteousness, rightfully, be called intellectually schizophrenic? 1.

Chapter 14 Law and Property


1. Why is the doctrine of property, especially private property, solely a Christian doctrine? 2. According to Webster's New College Dictionary (2001), eminent domain is, "a government's right to take private property for public use, usually with compensation." Why is this doctrine a Christian heresy? 3. How is Gods law violated by the modern states imposition of the property tax? 4. Explain the relationship of property to the tithe. 5. How does the attainment of private property empower the Christian man or woman in the accomplishment of their calling under God?

Chapter 15 The Family and Property


1. 2. 3. 4. Rushdoony identifies the primary cause for the breakdown of the family to be the decline of the freedom of private property. Explain his premise. Compare the 10 points of Karl Marxs law with the Gods 10 Commandments. Which 10 is more evident in our culture today? How does private property have a direct bearing on liberty? According to the Bible, what is the jurisdiction of the family? Cite examples of the state infringing on the familys God-given jurisdiction.

Chapter 16 The Family and Inheritance


1. Rushdoony says that when the state enters into the question of inheritance, property is gradually transferred from the family to the state. List some of the means by which the modern state accomplishes this. 2. According to Rushdoony, totalitarianism is, by its very nature, destructive of the family and seeks to destroy it. Cite particular manifestations of this in modern attitudes and thought. 3. How have the political movements to redefine marriage and the family worked to further this anti-family agenda by statists? 4. In what ways can this lost ground be reclaimed?

Chapter 17 The Functions of the Family


1. Which God-given functions of the family have the state seized? Which have been seized by the church? Be as specific as possible. (Rushdoony cites seven areas.) 2. If the family does not fulfill its function under God, what happens to the areas that it neglects? 3. Explain Rushdoonys perspective that despite the extensive interference by the state the future is bright for the Biblical family.

Chapter 18 The Foundations of the Family


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Why is romantic love a shallow basis for marriage? What are the Biblical foundations of a godly family? Explain the statement, Love cannot be separated from law. Why must the basis for marriage be Christian rather than merely personal? Explain the difference between collectivist solutions and family solutions. Why does contempt for the family go hand-in-hand with contempt for religion and morality? 7. Modern culture makes casual sex a natural and legitimate aspect of life. Rushdoony claims that, [F]or the Bible, sex is legitimately associated only with the family. What are the implications and consequences of each view?

Chapter 19 Justice and the Common Law


1. What was the legal revolution that took place concerning the American system of law and jurisprudence? 2. Compare and contrast common differences between common law and statute law. Identify the underlying presuppositions of each system. 3. Describe the basic remedy delivered by the common law and explain why it was effective in deterring mass violations of the established order. 4. According to Rushdoony, "Law perishes when the faith which undergirds that law dies." How does this statement expose the current worldview that governs the American legal system? 5. What difficulty does modern statute law now pose towards juries that was absent or scarce under common law?

Chapter 20 Lands Without Justice


1. According to St. Augustine, "A nation without justice is no different than a band of robbers. How is this statement an indictment against the modern social orders of the world that refuse to adopt and enact Biblical law and standards? (Think about the word "justice.") 2. How is justice actually denied by nations that operate under the social principle of democracy (or rule by majority)? 3. How would God's law serve as a defense against the theft of the modern state?

Chapter 21 The Death of God and the Law


1. The "God is dead Movement" proclaims "God is dead." What exactly does this statement mean? 2. How does this school of thought lead directly to statism?

3. Why is this school of thought so dangerous for interpersonal ethics? 4. In terms of man and the world, God operates in two basic ways. List the two ways and describe the standard or basis upon which these forms of operation proceed. 5. CHALLENGE QUESTION: If God is truly dead, what practical consequences must be drawn about man and his world? (Think about the areas of creation, ethics, knowledge, science, art, beauty, etc.)

Chapter 22 - Marxist Law


1. In terms of the Christian world and life view, why is Marxist law is atheistic? (What are the presuppositions or first principles of Marxist law?) 2. Marxist law supposedly represents the will of the proletariat. Who or what does proletariat refer to, and why is government by this form of representation unbiblical? 3. Why does Marxist law invariably lead to the breakdown of society rather than reconstruction and regeneration? 4. Marxist law claims to be the "expressive will of the people." What underlying assumption is made here and how is this assumption an exaggerated irony? 5. Why do countries operating under Marxist law fall under God's curse?

Chapter 23 The Absurdity of Parenthood Today


1. God calls on children to honor their parents, not love them. Explain how faithful observation of this commandment actually results in Biblical love over against the form of love contrived by modern man and humanism. 2. How has the rejection of the Biblical doctrine of personal responsibility, with respect to children, led to a state of perpetual immaturity? 3. What is the sinful irony of adolescent/ teen-aged children who increasingly cry out for independence from their parents? 4. Why can it accurately be said of children, in some societies, that they are "legally protected parasites." 5. When children are negligent in their responsibility of growth and maturation, who is the primary party offended in terms of humanism? In terms of the Christian worldview?

Chapter 24 Custom and Morality


1. What is the difference between custom and morality? Which has a stronger tug on the modern mind? 2. Why does morality require faith and courage when custom does not? 3. When concerns over custom dominate a culture, how are the people more prone to revolution? 4. How do the media (television, movies, and videos) push an agenda of social conformity? 5. How and why does substituting appearance for reality make it impossible to face reality? Cite some examples.

Chapter 25 The Anniversary of Communism


1. As a result of humanistic education, how do most people view communism today? 2. Were Lenin and others of the Communist revolution interested in equal rights? Cite some examples. 3. Explain total terror as a tool in the hands of dictators.

4. What are the three ingredients of revolution? Are they evident in our day? 5. What are the implications of Lenins view that the struggle between capitalism and communism is a total war? 6. Is the situation in our day beyond hope? What must the response of the Christian be to our current cultural situation?

Chapter 26 Nepotism and the Law


1. What is nepotism and is it a positive or negative practice? 2. How is the modern view a direct assault on the family? 3. What social order will inevitably replace a familistic order? How is the transition accomplished? 4. What does the humanist dream of equality for all fail to factor into its prescription for a better society?

Chapter 27 The Flight from Life


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Define escapism. How does it tie in to the sin of Genesis 3:5? How have the university and politics been an escape for many who hate reality? How does the Marxist dream represent a flight from reality? What faulty premise does liberalism build upon? Rushdoony states that every flight from reality is suicidal. Explore the manifestations of this reality in our day and the remedy from a Biblical point of view.

Chapter 28 The Flight from Knowledge


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What is legal positivism? What is pragmatism? Why does the flight from knowledge mean an anti-social movement? How is relativism the modern form of atheism? Why does progressive education produce academic ignorance?

Chapter 29 Socialism as Perpetual Civil War


1. How do the socialists and communists propose to remake man? 2. Why is socialisms answer to every problem civil war? 3. Why does socialism break down the will to work and the will to live of the subject peoples? 4. What does it mean that language becomes a superb weapon of the socialist state?

Chapter 30 Politics and Education


1. 2. 3. 4. Why does Rushdoony call for a separation of school and state? Why does subsidy destroy quality? What is the essence of totalitarianism? Why do statist educators express the opinion that independent and homeschools should be outlawed or taken over by the state?

Chapter 31 Planning for Famine


1. What are the major causes of famine? 2. Why is a major product of socialism agricultural chaos and famine? 3. Explain the myth of overpopulation.

Chapter 32 The Will to Death


1. Why are men without faith governed by an overpowering, although unconscious, will to death? 2. Why are the craving for individual power and the motive of revenge precursors of the urge to mass destruction? 3. Discuss the concept that it is more important for him to defeat others than to succeed. How does this tie in with the 10th Commandment?

End of Book Summary Questions:


1. 2. 3. 4. What is the connection between law and liberty? When we speak of Gods law, specifically what area(s) of the Bible are included? Discuss the idea of neutrality. Is it ever possible to have neutral laws? Does the current political, economic, educational, and media climate in our country reflect adherence to Biblical law? If not, what does it reflect? 5. What is the prescription for the dying patient? 6. What part must the Christian play in turning things around? Why is it a necessity?

(Prepared by Andrea Schwartz)