“Christian Anarchism“

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ajjohnstone
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Jun 5 2021 03:50
“Christian Anarchism“

https://dissidentvoice.org/2021/06/christian-anarchism-for-absolute-begi...

As we all know, religious scripture can be cherry-picked to present practically any political position.

Quote:
LS: Does the Book of Revelation talk in certain ways about politics which are of interest to Christian anarchists?

AC: Yes. Christian anarchists point to the opposition between the majesty of God and the dominions of Earth throughout the book. They see in the two beasts and the four horsemen different facets of contemporary politics. They see the book as another stark reminder of the choice between loyalty to God and loyalty to earthly power. They understand Revelation as warning true Christians of the difficult path of persecution and suffering which comes with following Jesus, and so on. Of course, much of the book is vividly metaphorical, but for Christian anarchists what those metaphors signify reinforces what they read as the core message of the rest of the New Testament.

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sherbu-kteer
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Jun 5 2021 13:59

Whilst to an extent this is just a matter of an academic trying to flog his book, there are a growing number of anarchists who have abandoned the usual anarchist/communist stances of opposition to religion. The origins of this phenomenon are worth discussing – I think it's partially a backlash against the New Atheist movement of the 00s and the way it descended into right-wing politics, but also maybe the re-emergence of social-democrats as a notable force on the left and a corresponding rise in the idea that socialism is some kind of philanthropic exercise.

I've read a bunch of these "Christian Anarchist" texts and nearly all of them amount to people reading validations of their own beliefs into Christian scriptures, or the practices of pre-Pauline Christian communities. This goes for every kind of contemporary leftist belief, from the abolition of wage-labour to the acceptance of transgender people in society. I'm just left asking what the point of it is – why do we need religion to justify communism? What does religious anarchism offer that plain old atheist anarchism does not? And on that, I've never found an actual answer...

Black Badger
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Jun 5 2021 20:12
Black Badger
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Jun 5 2021 20:13

snooze

Rurkel
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Jun 8 2021 07:04
sherbu-kteer wrote:
I'm just left asking what the point of it is – why do we need religion to justify communism? What does religious anarchism offer that plain old atheist anarchism does not? And on that, I've never found an actual answer...

The usual answer is that Commie-Jesus or other religious figure, be it Indigenous deities, Commie-Muhammad etc provide aid and comfort in struggle, or inspire militants to be even more militant and intransigent.

ajjohnstone
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Jun 8 2021 12:15

I think that many revolutionary ideas in pre-capitalist times were expressed by religious terms as there was no other language. And the custom has prevailed.

There was a debate on Libcom about Early Christian Communism.

In England we had the Peasants Revolt led by a pauper preacher, the European rebellions of various heresies like the Taborites, and then with the German Peasants War and Muntzer, then again in England, the English Revolution couched in verses from scripture and all manner of weird cults.

We also have radical currents in other religions such as Dhammic Socialism. Although it is commonly perceived as reactionary, even Islam has socialist proponents overlapping with the welfare state 'socialists' (UBI was originally started by some Khalif)

adri
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Jun 11 2021 12:52
ajjohnstone wrote:
I think that many revolutionary ideas in pre-capitalist times were expressed by religious terms as there was no other language. And the custom has prevailed.

Even in the early American industrial era there was a religious component to workers' anti-capitalist activities. The Lowell textile operatives, mostly women, expressed their opposition to factory life in mostly religious terms. I'm surprised there's hardly any content on here about them considering their significance and contributions to magazines like the Voice of Industry (there's archives of that here). I'm kind of with Marx however about the whole religion thing, it being the opium of the people etc.

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R Totale
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Jun 11 2021 20:42

Yeah, I tend to think that it'd certainly be nice if religion disappeared tomorrow, but that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon, so if we have to have people still being Christians then I'd rather have them be Christian anarchists than any other kind. I suppose we could turn the question around and ask if religious anarchism is necessarily worse than other kinds of anarchism. And I think you probably could make a case that it is in some ways, like I think it's probably pretty rare to find a non-pacifist Christian anarchism.

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Lucky Black Cat
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Jun 15 2021 19:32
Quote:
I'm just left asking what the point of it is – why do we need religion to justify communism?

I don't think we do, but for many people, perhaps even the majority of people on Earth, religion is important to them. I agree with R Totale that it would be better if religion disappeared tomorrow, but since that's not happening any time soon, in the meantime, a religious take on anarchism or communism can make these politics accessible and attractive to people who otherwise would not have been interested.

Although I'm an atheist on religious interpretations of "God", and skeptically agnostic on the possibility of some sort of intelligent creative force behind life, there are certain things I appreciate about Christian anarchism/communism or Buddhist anarchism and so on, which is that they often highlight ethical values of love, care, compassion, and "brotherhood" of humanity. Personally I find this very appealing, although I would prefer a secular interpretation of this, and secular interpretations certainly are possible.

freemind
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Jun 16 2021 11:49

The malaise and confusion of today's so called Anarchist movement leaves it prone to these sad analogies.
What next?
Hippy Anarchism?
Buddhist Anarchism?
Quaker Anarchism?
Capitalist Anarchism?
Marshall-Demanding the Impossible makes the same error.
Until we have a definitive definition of our beliefs we will be prone to ideological misinterpretation and will go nowhere I fear.

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Lucky Black Cat
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Jun 17 2021 08:49

While we're on the topic...

Mikhail Bakunin in God and the State wrote:
A jealous lover of human liberty, deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.