Why I reject “Christian Anarchism”…

UPDATE: Also see my follow-up to this entry, Further clarification on “Christian Anarchism”…

***

There is a system of thought called “Christian Anarchism,” which I have always tried to confront, despite a lot of reticence from other Anarchists to do so. It seems that they have some reverence for Christianity which prohibits them from realizing how absurd the idea of “Christian Anarchism” is. I put it in the same hole as “anarcho-capitalism”: just pure conceptual nonsense mascarading as a coherent ideology.

Consider the following bits of comedy:

The man who obeys God needs no other authority.
Petr Chelčický

The Kingdom of God is freedom and the absence of such power [of man over man]… the Kingdom of God is anarchy.
Nicolas Berdyaev

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Acts 5:29

Just like how “anarcho-capitalism” is based on the refusal to acknowledge that a private individual holding property over land by force is no less damageable to freedom than a group of individuals holding property over land by force, “Christian Anarchism” is based on the refusal to acknowledge that a divine ruler is just as much a ruler as a human one. These bizarre mutants believe that by “obeying God” and living under the “Kingdom of God,” they are free and live in anarchy. Nothing could be farther from the truth… it does not matter to a man whether the ideology binding him is divine or earthly.

(I know you may argue that I don’t believe God exists, so why should I worry about an imaginary rulership? But that’s hardly the point. The problem in any rulership is not the existence of rulers itself but the obedience and value-arrogance they generate through their organization. Whether God exists or not is irrelevant to the fact that organized religion and fanatical religious belief are anti-society and anti-freedom.)

Like all Christian arguments, it is based on a Special Pleading fallacy. Why should we obey God, and not any other person? Why slavishly follow the Bible, and not any other book? What is the substantial difference between a man who obeys God and a man who obeys the State? In both cases, what we see is a man on his knees, not a free man.

In any case, Christianity is not even compatible with free will. To be fair, Christians redefine free will in a much, much more restricted sense. They define it as being solely the choice between God and Satan, between not sinning and sinning, between Heaven and Hell. That’s all they reduce the whole of human life to, that’s all their religion can comprehend.

But how does the Christian even have this breadcrumb of free will? If he is threatened by eternal damnation for making the “wrong choice,” then in no way can we say that there is the possibility of consent. His free will is the same free will as the victim of a brigand who can choose to either give up all his money or be shot, except that in the case of Christianity the brigand is omnipotent and throws you into eternal suffering instead of just shooting you. How can any ideology which denies even an extreme mutilated form of free will ever be compatible with Anarchism?

Here is a little analogy in the form of dialogue, which I wrote to illustrate the absurdity of the “Christian Anarchist”:

Zeusist: “Hi. I am an atheist too!”
Atheist: “Really. Huh.”
Z: “I also believe in the god Zeus, who created mankind and whom I worship.”
A: “Uh, you do know ‘atheist’ means no-gods right? You can’t be an atheist and believe in a god.”
Z: “Stop being so mean to me! I have the right to call myself an atheist as much as anyone else!”
A: “Yea, but to be an atheist, you can’t believe in any god. That’s what the term MEANS.”
Z: “Atheist, you are way over the top here. At least I don’t believe in any of the monotheistic gods! You should be glad I’m on your side.”
A: “But you’re not on my side. You said you believed in a god. So you are not an atheist, by the very meaning of the word, not to mention the meaning that all atheists thinkers have argued for. Furthermore, the corollaries of your belief in, and worship of, Zeus completely goes against the realist, humanist approach that most atheists adopt towards the world and each other.”
Z: “I am outraged that you’d call me out on such a juvenile thing as not fitting the definition of a group I profess to be part of! Just let me be, all right? I am an atheist, and that’s that! Stop persecuting me!!!”

In the case, the corollaries of belief for the Christian v the Anarchist are: man is innately evil/man is basically good, and ethics comes from obedience/ethics comes from freedom. These are major issues, which only prove that an actual Christian Anarchist would be a strange paradoxical beast indeed.

Of course, there are plenty of self-professed “Christian Anarchists.” It is entirely possible for someone who calls himself Christian to also be an Anarchist, as long as he is one of the nominal Christians or CINOs (Christians In Name Only), a person who derives absolutely no moral or ethical commitments from his religion. Then there is no contradiction, since the person is not a committed Christian.

Some people may say that I am being out of line. After all, there is a “Christian Anarchist” tradition. Certainly, but there is also an “anarcho-capitalist” tradition. Why should we respect one foolishness more than another simply because it’s older?

Is it possible to be a Christian without believing that God is one’s ruler? The Bible clearly argues against that notion. It is possible for some Christians to wave away these passages as not being literally true. But if they are not literally true, then what do they mean? If the Christian is not bound to obey God, even in believing in Jesus as his savior, then how can he be called a Christian at all? What defines a Christian if not that very belief in Jesus? Is it respect for the Bible, or the search for goodness? Certainly not, since many atheists have both, and yet they are not Christian by any standard. Neither is it belief in God, a belief which Jews and Islamists share.

It is impossible for the “Christian Anarchists” to come out of this dilemma without implicitly dropping either Christianity or Anarchism. Ideologically, it is a dead-end. It needs to be dropped and we must make clear that Anarchism is an ethical ideology with an ethical foundation which is diametrically opposite to that of Christianity. Whereas Christians believe in Original Sin and that force is necessary to make the individual moral, we believe that force only turns man into a slave. Whereas Christians believe that ethics comes from commands, we believe that ethics comes from cooperation. Whereas Christians routinely try to rationalize the genocide, rape, capital punishment, sexism, racism, slavery, and other atrocities in their Bible, we see no need to rationalize any such thing. Insofar as they believe, Christians reject reality; insofar as we believe, we Anarchists accept the facts of reality and deal with them.

With all due respect, then, to the metaphysicians and religious idealists, philosophers, politicians, or poets: The idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, both in theory and practice.

Unless, then, we desire the enslavement and degradation of mankind, as the Jesuits desire it, as the mômiers, pietists, or Protestant Methodists desire it, we may not, must not make the slightest concession either to the God of theology or to the God of metaphysics. He who, in this mystical alphabet, begins with A will inevitably end with Z; he who desires to worship God must harbor no childish illusions about the matter, but bravely renounce his liberty and humanity.

If God is, man is a slave; now, man can and must be free; then, God does not exist.

Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State

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126 thoughts on “Why I reject “Christian Anarchism”…

  1. Randolph Carter April 11 2011 at 22:08 Reply

    I would just like to point out that one could conceivably recognize Jesus as nothing more than a Euhemerism and hence be a follower of Christ’s philosophy with no supernatural baggage attached.

    Regardless, I agree with your conclusions.

    • Francois Tremblay April 12 2011 at 2:57 Reply

      A fair statement. In that case, I would take issue with that philosophy, but I wouldn’t take issue with a Jesus Anarchist.

  2. David Gendron April 12 2011 at 15:27 Reply

    I think it’s even worse than anarcho-capitalism.

    • David Gendron April 12 2011 at 15:32 Reply

      “Just like how “anarcho-capitalism” is based on the refusal to acknowledge that a private individual holding property over land by force is no less damageable to freedom than a group of individuals holding property over land by force, “Christian Anarchism” is based on the refusal to acknowledge that a divine ruler is just as much a ruler as a human one.”

      I agree. The foolishness of those retarded ideologies comes from the same type of source.

      • Francois Tremblay April 12 2011 at 15:37 Reply

        I just added a Bakunin quote at the end of the entry, which I think you will like also.

  3. simoncross April 13 2011 at 3:46 Reply

    At the risk of being roundly battered by all – I think you are limiting the definition of both Christianity and Anarchy to suit your thinking.

    As a Christian – or at any rate a Jesus follower, I would not describe my belief system as you do:

    “force is necessary to make the individual moral”

    I disagree, force is not necessary, morality if it is to be worth anything must come as a choice.

    “ethics comes from commands”

    No – ethics do not come from commands. You are taking a ‘Hebrew scriptures’ approach to understanding our faith.

    ‘Christians routinely try to rationalize the genocide, rape, capital punishment, sexism, racism, slavery, and other atrocities in their Bible’

    Some people try to rationalize these things, others of us do not – you are placing on to a wide spectrum of belief your own view of what it is to be a Christian.

    You are also rather sneering when it comes to the Christian view of free will – which is your right I suppose although does you no favours. It’s not simply a choice between ‘Jesus and Satan’ as you characterise it, you must recognise that in this too there is a huge variety of thought and belief.

    Christian Anarchists, a complicated term I will grant, are a group of people who choose in one way or another to deny the supreme authority of the state, and choose rather to submit themselves to another authority. That is a free choice, not a coerced one. There are many Christians who do not make such a choice.

    For me, I have no particular desire to be an anarchist, but by virtue of the fact that I am a Christian and thus a pacifist, and therefore can support no government or party which accepts the ‘state has a monopoly on legitimate violence’ basis of rule, I am also an anarchist – unless you can come up with a better name for my political standpoint?

    • Francois Tremblay April 13 2011 at 6:01 Reply

      “I disagree, force is not necessary, morality if it is to be worth anything must come as a choice.”

      Have you read the Bible at all? Seriously, how can you say this with a straight face? There is no moral choice in the Bible (except, as mentioned, the choice to believe or not to believe, which is no choice at all).

      “No – ethics do not come from commands. You are taking a ‘Hebrew scriptures’ approach to understanding our faith.”

      What? Half the Bible is Jewish. Are you denying that?

      “Some people try to rationalize these things, others of us do not – you are placing on to a wide spectrum of belief your own view of what it is to be a Christian.”

      If you do not even try to rationalize them, then that’s even worse! I would call you downright depraved! How do you fucking dare to come out in favour of a book that supports genocide, rape, capital punishment, sexism, racism, slavery, and not try to rationalize it?

      If you are going to post an answer to this comment, then you better give a really good answer to this one, or I’m not letting your comment through. It’s as simple as that. I am absolutely outraged that you would come on my blog, an atheist blog, and spout this hatred.

      “You are also rather sneering when it comes to the Christian view of free will – which is your right I suppose although does you no favours. It’s not simply a choice between ‘Jesus and Satan’ as you characterise it, you must recognise that in this too there is a huge variety of thought and belief.”

      This part simply doesn’t make any sense. What “variety of thought and belief” exists in the choice between choosing to believe in Jesus or not?

      “Christian Anarchists, a complicated term I will grant, are a group of people who choose in one way or another to deny the supreme authority of the state, and choose rather to submit themselves to another authority.”

      Utter nonsense. Anarchists do not “submit themselves” to anything. We recognize authority when it is justified- i.e. the authority of the gardener in how to plant seeds or how to fertilize properly- but we don’t recognize arbitrary authority, and we do not subvert our own values in its name. Please stop calling yourself an Anarchist, okay? You are a Christian, you submit to a higher ethical authority, you subvert your own values for the sake of that higher ethical authority. Period. The A word never has to enter into it.

      • David Gendron April 13 2011 at 11:20 Reply

        François, let him prove that you’re right on this post. And let him prove himself as a raving lunatic…

      • David Gendron April 13 2011 at 11:26 Reply

        “We recognize authority when it is justified- i.e. the authority of the gardener in how to plant seeds or how to fertilize properly- but we don’t recognize arbitrary authority, and we do not subvert our own values in its name.”

        Personally, I don’t see that as an “authority” but I agree your point, in essence. Or maybe I should distinguish “coerced authority” from “knowledge autorithy” or “expertise authority”.

      • Rhys Baker March 22 2012 at 9:38 Reply

        I liked this post, and I enjoyed your crucifixion of simoncross, although I noticed most of your reasons for him being wrong boiled down to assuming the bible is infallible. Could somebody not be a Christian Anarchist who believes that just about everything to do with christianity for the last 2000 years is a very long game of chinese whispers?

        • Francois Tremblay March 22 2012 at 13:07 Reply

          Well sure, one can believe just about anything. But does it make sense?

        • n8chz March 22 2012 at 15:01 Reply

          The central issue isn’t belief in the Bible, but belief in God. While it’s conceivable that one can believe in God without regarding God as an authority figure, such a belief would seem to me to be well outside even the most liberal or radical forms of Christianity.

    • David Gendron April 13 2011 at 11:18 Reply

      @simoncross

      “I think you are limiting the definition of both Christianity and Anarchy to suit your thinking.”

      Christianity, maybe. François talk more about “institutional ideology” than “personnal spirituality”. But Anarchy, I don’t get it. And your “Anarchy” is way more limited than Franc’s.

      “I disagree, force is not necessary, morality if it is to be worth anything must come as a choice. ”

      At least, Christian institutions want you to think that force is necessary, and they use it commonly. Moreover, to these institutions, anybody that don’t believes that cannot be a Christian.

      “No – ethics do not come from commands. You are taking a ‘Hebrew scriptures’ approach to understanding our faith. ”

      For you, what is “commands”?

      “Some people try to rationalize these things, others of us do not – you are placing on to a wide spectrum of belief your own view of what it is to be a Christian. ”

      Christian institutions rationalize these things (and that includes YOUR Bible), and you know it. To these institutions, anybody that don’t believes that these crimes are necessary for their cause cannot be a Christian.

      “You are also rather sneering when it comes to the Christian view of free will – which is your right I suppose although does you no favours.”

      No religion recognizes the existence of free will. Or if somebody expresses a form of free will, he’s an “infidel”.

      “It’s not simply a choice between ‘Jesus and Satan’ as you characterise it, you must recognise that in this too there is a huge variety of thought and belief. ”

      For you, Satan doesn’t exist? And how an Anarchist can believe in the unproven retarded concept of “Paradise after death”?

      “Christian Anarchists, a complicated term I will grant, are a group of people who choose in one way or another to deny the supreme authority of the state, and choose rather to submit themselves to another authority.”

      No Anarchist can submit himself to any authority. Your affirmation proves that François is right in this post. Thank you!

      And if you’re really thinking that you’re an Anarchist, you prove that you’re a raving lunatic idiot!

      “There are many Christians who do not make such a choice. ”

      At least you recognize that fact!

      “For me, I have no particular desire to be an anarchist, but by virtue of the fact that I am a Christian and thus a pacifist, and therefore can support no government or party which accepts the ‘state has a monopoly on legitimate violence’ basis of rule, I am also an anarchist – unless you can come up with a better name for my political standpoint?”

      Okay, I see… The State cannot have a monopoly on legitimate violence but religions can have this transferred monopoly on legitimate violence and became himself the State like in Québec (I live there) in the Duplessist Era. Call yourself a “Christian Minarchist”, not an Anarchist. Please don’t spout on the A word, hypocrite!

    • Amber Mackey May 18 2012 at 11:08 Reply

      Amen. I believe Jesus was an Anarchist. He was against the government, the church and all authority -other than God. Jesus wanted to give power and control to the people -regardless of wealth, ethnicity or status in society. It is our birthright to be self-governed by the spirit of Christ within.
      This spirit is felt and known through unconditional love, not a book written by people with various levels of understanding and agendas. So even though Christian Anarchism seems to not make sense, it’s actual aligned with nature and spirit created and yes…govern by God.

      • Francois Tremblay May 18 2012 at 12:47 Reply

        “So even though Christian Anarchism seems to not make sense, it’s actual aligned with nature and spirit created and yes…govern by God.”

        Thank you for making my point.

  4. simoncross April 13 2011 at 6:29 Reply

    “spout this hatred”? I hope I didn’t do that.

    I’m not going to spend a long time on this comment, as you probably wont allow it through.

    But really, I was merely trying to enter into a discussion with you, not hating you or even trying to look down on you. You have your opinions, I have mine – simple as that. In fact you chose to let the comment through, you could have just junked it, so let’s not pretend I muscled my way on here and started spouting hatred.

    If you actually do want to have a dialogue about this kind of thing, then let me know – if you just want a forum to propagandise then that’s fine and your right.

    In very brief answer to your question, yes I have of course read the Bible, I don’t try to rationalise it, I recognise and deplore many of the things which are recorded there, I also see much of it as history/hagiography, as nation building legend and so on. I do not support or condone much of what is recorded there. Nevertheless, if you read it thoroughly, you can see the way that Jesus expresses himself in the light of Jewish history and find a good -indeed wonderful way to live. You talk about the gardener, which is funny because Jesus talked in those kind of terms too.

    For me, the definition of anarchy is to do with a stateless society, for you it seems the definition is different – which in a small way may be a good example of anarchy in action.

    • David Gendron April 13 2011 at 14:01 Reply

      “For me, the definition of anarchy is to do with a stateless society, for you it seems the definition is different – ”

      Anarchy has to do with a stateless society and an non-hierarchical society. Christians want an hierarchical society.

      Abolishing the state is a necessary condition to Anarchy, not a sufficient one.

      • weickboys3 January 23 2013 at 11:11 Reply

        I understand I’m commenting on this nearly two years after the fact. My apologies. Interesting thoughts by all.

        Christianity is not about having a hierarchy of society, that is one of the things Christian ‘Anarchists’ fight against. Christianity (based in the Bible) is very egalitarian in nature, and condemns the structures of mind and practice which place the worth of one human being (or groups) over another.
        The classic example of this would be Galatians 3:28 in which Paul says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is pretty clear example of the abolition of classes within Christian communities. Granted that the Christian finds a different basis of human equality than the atheist, but its there nonetheless. Colossians 3:11 would be another example, and there are several verses which speak of God not showing partiality.

        However, it is certainly true that the Church hasn’t lived up to this basic tenet of the scripture. That is simple failure on their part, not a true system of hierarchy in true teachings of Christ.

  5. David Gendron April 13 2011 at 11:28 Reply

    “I also see much of it as history/hagiography, as nation building legend and so on.”

    You should read this:

    http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/he-was-a-man-of-his-times/

  6. Lori April 13 2011 at 13:21 Reply

    1. The whole “admiration of Jesus as a person” thing was pretty thoroughly savaged by Bertrand Russel in Why I am not a Christian. Sure, He’s not that reactionary Paul of Tarsus who wrote 80% of the New Testament by weight, but He’s no anarchist either.

    2. Even for someone who can somehow countenance the supernatural being part of the ultimate reality, I would think Satanic anarchism more plausible than Christian anarchism. At least there’s an element of rebellion against authority there.

    3. I will say that to me, Christian anarchism is a lesser evil than “anarcho”-capitalism. But that’s just the usual sectarianism. Everyone has that.

  7. David Gendron April 13 2011 at 14:12 Reply

    “He’s not that reactionary Paul of Tarsus who wrote 80% of the New Testament by weight, but He’s no anarchist either.”

    I agree. The “historical Jesus” was way more a “civil libertarian”-type of individual than the institutional Christianity (that includes the New Testament) portrays him.

    “I would think Satanic anarchism more plausible than Christian anarchism. At least there’s an element of rebellion against authority there.”

    Hell yeah!;)

    “I will say that to me, Christian anarchism is a lesser evil than “anarcho”-capitalism. But that’s just the usual sectarianism. Everyone has that”

    I disagree. At least, despite its flaws, “anarcho-capitalism” has some “market” tools than you can use in promoting free-market anti-capitalist ideas. But I see nothing interesting in Christian Anarchism. But that is technical, both ideologies are sectarist and contradictory!

    • Gabriel Erbs April 30 2012 at 0:37 Reply

      Thanks for this dialogue. Allow me to say–as a disclaimer–that I am a university researcher, not a polemist. If I advocate a polar position, it is simply to understand these concepts from an apologist.

      Isn’t satanic anarchism problematic for the same reason that satanism is internally problematic: to rebell against God is to recognize his dominion in some capacity?

      Thank you for your response.

  8. Francois Tremblay April 13 2011 at 15:13 Reply

    Actually, I’m pretty sure Jesus was a communist (not that I believe in Jesus, but that’s another matter). He asked his disciples to share everything in common, rebuked those who profited from religious activities (like the money-changers), and said personal relationships must go before profits.

    Satanic Anarchism, if we mean LaVeyan Satanism, makes perfect sense, although a lot of LaVeyan Satanists are communists. If we mean occult Satanism, then I wouldn’t hazard a guess, although I’ve read some things that sounded pretty positive.

  9. Francois Tremblay April 13 2011 at 15:15 Reply

    “For me, the definition of anarchy is to do with a stateless society, for you it seems the definition is different ”

    Even by that definition, you are still wrong. The definition of the State is a territorial monopoly on the use of force. By definition, God must be such a monopoly, if one believes that such a creature exists.

    “I have of course read the Bible, I don’t try to rationalise it”

    Then our discussion is over. Go away.

  10. Property April 13 2011 at 18:27 Reply

    It’s too bad that you’re so afraid of being wrong that you wouldn’t even post my comment. You call yourself an anarchist yet you can’t even dialogue with other members of your community? I’d call you a coward with no sense of solidarity.

    • Francois Tremblay April 14 2011 at 3:01 Reply

      You are not “a member of my community.” You are not an Anarchist.

  11. Jonas Lundström April 14 2011 at 2:28 Reply

    Francois. I call myself an anarchist, and also come from a christian background (afraid to say this, am I spouting out hatred now and being censored?), but have deliberately left the established church. I do stick with Jesus, though, at least so far. In fact it was through the christian tradition and people like Jaques Ellul, Dorothy Day and Leo Tolstoj that I found the anarchist tradition. In my view, there are important overlaps between the radical/original part of the christian tradition/faith and anarchism. A clear break with the system and the powers-that-be, community life/communism/community of goods, a tendency towards a simple life/self-sufficiency, consensus decision making/non-hierarchical ways of organising, solidarity with the oppressed and marginalised rather than the the powerful etc. These tendencies you can find in lots of christian radical/heretical groups throughout history.

    I agree, though, that the connection with christianity is problematic, because of the constantinian (state-church) heritage, AND because of the hierarchical practises and views of the scriptures. But I think that in principle these things can be “tamed”, for example I wouldn´t agree with a hierachical view of god, I think there are examples in the bible where god is views more as the power within us and creation than a god in heaven to be obeyed, and if Jesus is a true picture of god (which christians often believe?), he has shown us a god who is more a servant than a ruler.

    What surprises me somewhat in your text and responsens is the the incredibly intolerant tone and narrow views of religion. We all come from certain contexts and none of them, religious or not, is free from hierarchical dogmas or practices. For that matter it is not possible to make a total break with everything, we have to navigate this fucking mess and try to cope and press on towards anarchy, equality and freedom as much as we can. Some of us would use the internet even though it was the US military than invented it. And some of us that tend in the anarcho-primitivist direction would hope for it´s destruction even as we use it. And some of us try to maintain what is good in our religious traditions. I can´t see the usefulness of being intolerant in this regard.

    • Francois Tremblay April 14 2011 at 3:04 Reply

      How exactly am I being “intolerant”? I call a spade a spade. If that’s intolerance, then I am glad to be intolerant.

      You may call yourself whatever you want, but don’t tar me by association.

  12. Jonas Lundström April 14 2011 at 7:57 Reply

    Well, if you call it “tolerance” or not is not at all important to me, and I can see the liberal ghost in the concept. But I do value open discussion and trying to understand how other people think. To me, this is an anarchist value. I don´t consider censorship and prejudice a good thing if we are striving for anarchy.

    I respect your atheism, but if atheism is a precondition for anarchism, anarchism will be an extremely narrow western, modern/post-modern ideology for a long time still. And you would also have to exclude quite a few within the tradition (Tolstoj, Landauer, some of the syndicalists, the animists among the anarcho-primitivists, maybe even Kropotkin since he could cooperate with christian radicals and Emma Goldman since she sometimes used christian metaphors etc?), and you also have to disregard the historical roots or tendencies towards anarchism since they all have come from within a religious and/or spiritual context (Taoism, anabaptism, the Diggers, indigenous peoples and more). Even western anarchism itself would be suspect since it came out of a christian context, whether we think it was mainly a reaction or a development of christian theologies and practices.

    (By the way, I don´t like the concept of “christian anarchism” either, for some of the same reasons as you. But I call myself an anarchist, and I am inspired by Jesus and the radical christian tradition.)

    • Francois Tremblay April 14 2011 at 16:06 Reply

      What? I never said I was an atheist. And I also pointed out in my entry that the fact that there is a tradition does not make it right.

      • Jonas Lundström April 14 2011 at 17:05 Reply

        Sorry, I read the “I am absolutely outraged that you would come on my blog, an atheist blog, and spout this hatred.” – statement as a declaration of your atheism.

        The thing about tradition, well of course. I was just trying to point out that if you reject every anarchism that has a spiritual or religious component, you will end up with an extremely narrow definition of anarchism.

        I feel a bit sad that you seem to be so eager to “reject christian anarchism”, but at the same time so uninterested in trying to unpack or further explain that criticism.

        All of this you are free to do, of course. But since I thought you had a few good points in your article, it would have been nice if you took the conversation a bit more serious.

        • Francois Tremblay April 14 2011 at 17:13 Reply

          I say an atheist blog because I post entries about atheism, yes. I’ve posted entries about anthropology but I’m not an anthropologist. You get the idea.

          I never said I rejected every anarchism that has a spiritual component. In fact, you couldn’t be more wrong. Again, that’s what you get for assuming things about me. I reject CHRISTIAN Anarchism, but I fully accept spirituality in Anarchism. Christianity has nothing whatsoever to do with spirituality.

          I am “uninterested” in talking to Christians such as yourself because I consider Christianity to be hate speech, and I am not interested in bolstering hatred on this blog. I tolerate respectful comments, but I reserve the right to withdraw that tolerance at any time.

    • David Gendron April 15 2011 at 16:09 Reply

      Atheism (the belief of the non-existence of a supra-natural master: not necessarily the atheist militantism) is clearly a necessary condition for Anarchy, because there no Anarchy at all when you believe in a master!

  13. Jonas Lundström April 15 2011 at 7:30 Reply

    Sorry about misinterpreting you. I jumped to conclusions, but partly because I think your views on christianity are to some extent misguided and uninformed. I think you could find the problems you see in christianity in every religion and also within other types of spirituality, don´t you think?

    Being ignorant about the christianity you critique might not come as a big surprise if you reject even speaking to scum bags like christians. I guess you have your reasons and experiences to back this up, though, but there might be more to a world religion than what can be found out from your experiences and context.

    And by the way I didn´t say I was a christian.

    I wish you the best.

    • David Gendron April 15 2011 at 16:03 Reply

      And If you aren’t a Christian, what’s your problem about what François said?

  14. David Gendron April 15 2011 at 15:56 Reply

    Question for all Christian Anarchist freaks:

    Are you FOR or AGAINST some kind of hierarchy of power?

  15. Lori April 15 2011 at 16:49 Reply

    Is that the logo of a political party?

  16. Francois Tremblay April 15 2011 at 17:21 Reply

    Wow. No, the profound authoritarianism and imbecility of Christianity does not reflect on spiritual paths or even many other religions, like Buddhism. What an idiotic comment.

    Is that all the Christian Anarchist contingent can do?

    “Question for all Christian Anarchist freaks:

    Are you FOR or AGAINST some kind of hierarchy of power?”

    Anyone who answers AGAINST is a liar, by definition.

  17. Jonas Lundström April 15 2011 at 18:24 Reply

    Against.

    David. I reject christendom (the alliance of the church with the powers/hierarchy/the state), but I don´t reject Jesus from Nazareth and his teachings, because I find loads of anarchist tendencies in it. If this makes me a christian or not, is something I am struggling with. (How would you define me?) I reject a god that is a patriarch in heaven waiting to be obeyed, punishing all who opposes him, but I want to stay open to a god that is the living spirit within all creation, inviting us to participate in this spirit´s love and liberation.

    There have been a lot of “christians” with similar views as mine. To exclude them/us from the anarchist family is something I can understand but not support. After all, I guess at least some of you are american, and belongs to this evil, oppressive, violent, hierarchical, fucked-up and world-destroying empire, but still I don´t want to hate you all just because this has been your context and your upbringing, or because you have english as your first language (which I don´t). If you try to see things from another perspective.

    • Francois Tremblay April 15 2011 at 18:36 Reply

      Jonas, the difference is that we reject the evil empire we were born in (America, or Canada in the case of me and David). But you fail to reject the evil empire you were born in (Christianity). You are an enabler of Christian oppression.

      Just to take a recent example, Christian missionaries are encouraging the Uganda government to kill homosexuals. Whether you support it or not, YOU are enabling this by supporting Christianity. YOU have the blood of innocent people on your hands. YOU are aiding and abetting murderers.

      We are not the ones professing and supporting an ideology that kills innocent people.

      • Dave January 19 2012 at 17:19 Reply

        That’s just a stupid comment! Do you as an American have the blood of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis on your hands?!! What about the victims of Jeffrey Dahmer and other American serial killers??!! As a Christian anarchist I know I am an individual which makes me responsible for myself and to hold other individuals as responsible for their actions. In the end their ( our) actions are witnessed by God and he has chosen to forgive EVERYONE. It is man made rules to take revenge, not God’s way

        • Francois Tremblay January 19 2012 at 22:29 Reply

          “That’s just a stupid comment! Do you as an American have the blood of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis on your hands?!!”
          If I was an American, then yes, I most definitely would. It’s not “stupid” to hold the guilty responsible for their actions, despite what your juvenile religion has told you.

          “What about the victims of Jeffrey Dahmer and other American serial killers??!!”
          Do you seriously think serial killers arise from nothing, out of pure will? Come on.

          “As a Christian anarchist”
          No such thing.

          “I know I am an individual which makes me responsible for myself and to hold other individuals as responsible for their actions. In the end their ( our) actions are witnessed by God and he has chosen to forgive EVERYONE.”
          So essentially you’re saying you’re better than God. An interesting tack, to say the least…

  18. Scott F April 16 2011 at 13:57 Reply

    The problem is more the church not the religion.

    • Francois Tremblay April 16 2011 at 14:03 Reply

      Unless you are some very strange Christian, surely you don’t believe the Church existed before God did.

  19. Lori April 16 2011 at 15:17 Reply

    Even restricting oneself to the “red letter” text in the Gospels, there is much about Jesus that can be read as reactionary, such as mentions of punishment by fire in ‘Gehenna.’

    I read the Parable of the Talents as an explicit endorsement of capitalism. (Emphasis mine throughout the following.) First, his protagonist distributed the money to his servants “according to their ability” (Matthew 25:15). The servant (of most ability) to whom was given five talents “went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more” (25:16). The “conservative” investor who had received only one talent buried it for safe keeping, his reasoning being: “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow…” The punch line: “For to every one who has will more be given…but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

    Again, Bertrand Russel (p. 14, op. cit) expressed with more clarity than I can why “Jesus was a nice guy” doesn’t fly:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=pc0x2bxOSUgC&lpg=PP1&dq=why%20i%20am%20not%20a%20christian%20bertrand%20russell&pg=PA14#v=onepage

  20. Red Army April 17 2011 at 3:59 Reply
    • Francois Tremblay April 17 2011 at 4:08 Reply

      Thank you for this instructive look into the depths of human insanity.

  21. Azimuth April 21 2011 at 15:04 Reply

    This is totally only one individual’s preception or concept of a Christian Anarchist. A mix of apples and oranges. My preception of a Christian Anarchist is that I don’t believe in the “government” of the Christian Church. This “church government” came into being with the The Roman Emperor, Consantine, who could not keep up with the slaughter of the Christians. The movement of Christianty was so strong at the time that for every Christain Consantine killed a hundred more would join,and he was killing them by the thousands. Christians died a horrible death by curcification or eaten alive by lions. This went on for over 300 years. What would make so many join a movement that would end in a horrible death? I’ll let you the reader research that for yourself. There was no organized church before Constantine, just a strong movement which has not been seen since. These people were early anarchists (maybe the first). The Roman Empire became the Roman Catholic Church and Constantine the first pope, although it is recorded that Constanine never took Christ or Christianity as his belief but continued to worship Sun Gods and that is when the B.S.started. The polluting of Christianity. One has to question the rituals, and traditions of the Christian religions which are connected to the worship of sun gods (Zeus?). Now according to the Tremblay’s “preception” one can not be a Christian Anarchist, I ask why not? One has to look at everything differently because preception changes with the more one learns and experiences, even Mr Tremblay has to look and question his belief from various angles,,,,,, he might surprise himself.

    The top of the box is just above your head, take a peek outside.
    Why do atheists have to preach thier faith?

    Azimuth.

    • Francois Tremblay April 21 2011 at 15:24 Reply

      Actually, I do question my beliefs from various angles. That’s part of the reason why I have this blog.

      Also, I am technically not an atheist, so I’m not sure what faith you think I am preaching. I don’t even know what faith is (I don’t think anyone really knows). Do you know what faith is?

  22. Lori April 21 2011 at 16:24 Reply

    I must confess that I am technically not an anarchist. I will state for the record that I’m an anarchist sympathizer. Would doing so while under investigation by a (hypothetical?) House Un-Statist Activities Committee constitute an act of faith?

    • Francois Tremblay April 21 2011 at 16:42 Reply

      No idea. I don’t know what faith is. All I know is, Christians use it a whole lot but can’t really explain what it is. I think it’s just a code-word for thought-stopping, although I could be wrong.

      Why aren’t you an anarchist?

  23. Lori April 22 2011 at 0:04 Reply

    Too chickenshit. No direct action cred.

  24. [...] been a great deal of controversy (a lot of it manufactured by Christian fanatics) around my entry on the oxymoron of “Christian Anarchism.” My basic position is that Christianity and Anarchism are ideologies based on opposite premises. [...]

  25. Titanium Pen May 1 2011 at 0:43 Reply

    Christianity shouldn’t have survived so many years to start this argument at the first place. Christianity doesn’t make sense. And when aliens look at us form outer space, they’re gonna say, “They believe in some guy who got nailed on a cross!”. Really, we call ourselves the smartest species? Maybe bacteria are better. They don’t believe in anything.

    • Dave January 19 2012 at 17:11 Reply

      So who created the aliens? Or does everything just miraculously appear out of nothing! Quite convenient really and requires more faith than believing in a creator God

  26. Noor May 4 2011 at 3:33 Reply

    Question for Franc, you say you’re technically not an atheist… Do you mean that you find the question “does ‘god’ exist?” (which would be the defining question that makes one a theist or atheist) meaningless, and therefore you can’t deny the existence of something that can’t be defined in the first place? Or something else?

  27. Lori May 6 2011 at 14:20 Reply

    Some of my best friends are subgenii

  28. themuslimanarchist August 18 2011 at 9:06 Reply

    I think you miss the point completely. Religion is a belief system, and belief is choice. If i go to the bootmaker and get his advice, i do so through choice, no state coercion. Likewise if i choose to follow a way of life that i consider design then once again it is through choice.
    The issue is state coercion, and it matters not if it is a christian, islamic or secular humanist. But let us not confuse this with a mans choice in what he belives to be just rules.

    • Francois Tremblay August 18 2011 at 10:23 Reply

      I think you’ve just missed the point completely as well. The issue is hierarchy and coercion embodied in institutions, not just state coercion in the here and now. Read the fucking Qur’an instead of blathering about things you don’t know on someone else’s blog.

  29. Kevin Piper October 16 2011 at 7:22 Reply

    As an Anarchist you have no right to judge…..

  30. Dave January 14 2012 at 1:30 Reply

    Christians do not see a choice between God and Satan. They do not EARN their way to heaven by obedience, but by faith in Jesus and being forgiven by his death and resurrection. I. E the bible says ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so whoever BELIEVES in him will not perish but inherit eternal life’ it is about faith not obedience, therefore Christians are entirely free to live as they wish, choosing their life. Don’t mistake institutionalised religious teaching, this has nothing to do with Jesus teaching to love all and live that way. Christians are free from being ruled, they know the truth has set them free. God asks for nothing in return but to love. A Christian is not threatened with eternal damnation for a wrong choice, they accept they will live making both wrong and right choices, but Jesus died to forgive everyone should they make wrong choices. I think you are confused by the media’s portrayal of God only loving ‘good’ people. Check out Jesus sermon on the mount and see that it is the basis for a free society, truly anarchic.

    • Francois Tremblay January 14 2012 at 1:34 Reply

      Well Dave, you apparently are a special snowflake free from the dogmatic nature of Christianity. Wonderful, but nothing to do with the reality that we are facing.

    • Francois Tremblay January 14 2012 at 3:38 Reply

      This is for you, you beautiful, special snowflake:
      http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxprggmNYH1qkw585o1_400.jpg

      • Dave January 14 2012 at 12:53 Reply

        Kind of funny! Ignorant but funny!!

    • n8chz January 14 2012 at 14:27 Reply

      …I. E the bible says ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so whoever BELIEVES in him will not perish but inherit eternal life’ it is about faith not obedience…

      The trouble with John 3:16 is John 3:17-18:

      17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

      18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      • Dave January 19 2012 at 17:07 Reply

        Really, you have a problem with john17&18!! Even though these verses give you free will? These verses say it is up to YOU to choose to believe or not! YOU have the power, YOU have the choice. What sort of anarchist are you if you don’t agree with freedom of the individual to choose? Would you rather God made you believe? To turn you into a drone with no free will or choice, is that what you want? Will that make you feel better when you are forced into submission!! I thought you were an anarchist, and so too was Jesus, so deal with it or go back to wanting others to tell you how to live and what to believe. I know God is real, and it is my freedom to choose to believe this (and reject institutionalised religion) God offers you the same freedom which you may use to reject him, that’s how much he loves his creation, it’s all about freedom. You can’t advocate for anarchy and then take away my freedom to believe in my creator God. That’s just hypocritical and bad for the anarchists cause. Sleep well my friend.

        • Francois Tremblay January 19 2012 at 22:32 Reply

          “Really, you have a problem with john17&18!! Even though these verses give you free will?”
          1. There is no such thing as free will.
          2. A piece of paper can’t give you free will, even if it did exist.

          “These verses say it is up to YOU to choose to believe or not! YOU have the power, YOU have the choice.”
          False.

          “What sort of anarchist are you if you don’t agree with freedom of the individual to choose?”
          So according to your definitions, not only can you be a Christian anarchist, but to be an anarchist you have to believe in “choice.” Sorry, but no. One impossible thing does not compensate for another impossible thing.

        • n8chz January 20 2012 at 4:51 Reply

          Sleep well?

          The verses say it’s up to YOU to choose to believe or not, and also that YOU will be “condemned” if YOU make the wrong choice. I suppose punishment is a lesser crime against freedom than prior restraint, but still…

  31. Chiggles February 1 2012 at 22:02 Reply

    Refusing State forms at times employs methods of re-appropriation – if not outright co-optation – of its possessions, turning a capitalist factory into a decentralized hub of radicalism, for example.
    That said, if indeed Christianity is at root a state force contrary to anarchism, who is to say that liberating branches cannot be grafted into it? If we are anarchists, who are we to say that a captive cannot be liberated?

    • Francois Tremblay February 2 2012 at 1:08 Reply

      Good luck with that. Maybe you can resurrect the resolve of the Quakers or something like that.

      • Chiggles February 2 2012 at 12:12 Reply

        Yeah right! and maybe dead old bodies along with said resolve.

        You well understand an anarchist not letting another define what anarchism means for them. I can only expect adherents to “Christian Anarchism” to likewise reject your definition which excludes them – then you to reject that. Ad infinitum/absurdum.

        You may not care (then again, who am I to know), but there is much scholarship that takes Yeshua/Jesus not as G-d or even messiah, but more simply as a Jewish radical resisting Roman impositions onto their cultural sovereignty. In studying the gospels chronologically (not as historical documents, but as texts unfolding at a certain time), it becomes apparent that A) the anti-Jewish element increases, and B) mentions of Romans decrease, to I believe a complete neglect of reference to them in the gospel of John, the text most taken as anti-Jewish. Add to this the fact that, for some strange reason, even though Jesus spoke Aramaic and/or Hebrew, the gospels and epistles are written in Greek – the language of their oppressors. Compound this with the other fact that Paul adds to and/or contradicts a number of Jesus’ notions (the nature of the law being a primary one), though, again, there are growing numbers of Christians that denounce such as human traditions/interpretations/contrivances, and appropriations of the Church.

        I don’t know about you, but I reject the definition of anarchism which the corporate and state and their medias propose, and likewise, it’s no surprise that any person of any tradition would resist and denounce appropriations of and impositions upon what they take to be the true grounds of liberatory forces, whether they be secular, spiritual or even religious.
        In that same vein, I would not be surprised if Christians took the true meaning of ekklesia (what is commonly translated as Church) to be more akin to a collective, affinity group, or maybe even a temporary autonomous zone. One thing is for sure, an ekklesia at root is a gathering of companions to not only resist the forces of imposition and life-denial (be they ‘Satanic’, Babylon, etc.), but further yet, an environment for cross-pollination of life-affirming forces. They may have strayed to a polar opposite of their origins, but just because I lend you a gun for self-defense, doesn’t prevent you from going out and becoming a crusader with it.

        That said, even if you disagree with all of the above, whether these Christians are anarchists or not, what is the common ground for resisting empire together – especially if they make no attempts at either judging or proselytism?

        • n8chz February 2 2012 at 16:10 Reply

          In studying the gospels chronologically (not as historical documents, but as texts unfolding at a certain time), it becomes apparent that A) the anti-Jewish element increases, and B) mentions of Romans decrease, to I believe a complete neglect of reference to them in the gospel of John, the text most taken as anti-Jewish.

          What this suggests to me is that one scapegoat has been replaced by another. I understand the temptation to think that scapegoating is OK if the scapegoat in question is hegemonic, or that nationalism is OK if the nation in question is a conquered people, but the anarchist movement has long been alerting people to the flawed logic of national liberation struggles. There are, of course, differences in anarchist thought on this. I myself am more anti-nationalist than pro-liberation, but I’d like to think I’m not into defining for another what anarchism means for them. Except the anarcho-capitalists, of course. Christian anarchists speak in a tone I relate to, and along with anarcha-feminists, seem to be the only flavors of anarchism (other than the anagorist “movement” of which I seem to be the “founder”) that spend a lot of time talking about the gift economy. The thing about Christian anarchists that to just a teensy extent gives me the creeps has nothing to do with Christian doctrine or orthodoxy (from which Christian anarchism is obviously far removed) but belief in God. It’s non-atheist anarchism I don’t get. Actually, non-atheist anarchism makes sense to me if God is someone to be rebelled against. Perhaps I’m hoping when the other shoe drops it turns out that Christian anarchism is to Christianity as Humanist Judaism is to Judaism or something—an almost purely cultural form of reverence. At any rate I think you’d attract more anarchist flies to your honey by telling us “God isn’t really an authority figure” rather than “Jesus isn’t God,” or even “contrary to what some believers have told you, yes, they are Ten Suggestions.”

  32. n8chz February 9 2012 at 20:50 Reply

    I’m guessing you’re aware of this call for papers.

    • Francois Tremblay February 9 2012 at 20:52 Reply

      No, and I’m not really interested in the academics. I don’t have a diploma or anything like that, I don’t write like an academic. I write to communicate to people like me…

  33. Joe from Ohio February 11 2012 at 11:03 Reply

    I would identify myself as a Republican because I believe in cutting spending, cutting taxes, and capitalism. I would say I am very libertarian leaning. Maybe even to the point that I would identify myself an anarchist. Government taxes us so much but we get our freedoms taken away, we get bad education, we get government monopolies which ruin competition in the free-market, we get these bailouts for corporations which should have gone bankrupt long ago, we get the federal reserve printing and printing, and our money gets cheaper and cheaper. I am a Christian, I live for Jesus. I believe my rights were God-given. Not given from any govt, but I was wondering would that make me a Christian anarchist? Are Christian anarchists anarcho-capitalists?

    • Francois Tremblay February 11 2012 at 13:15 Reply

      I’m sure Christianity is quite compatible with capitalism. After all, both are predicated on the exploitation of human beings and profound systemic injustice.

      • n8chz February 11 2012 at 20:54 Reply

        In capitalism, exploitation is an end. Christianity is a means to the end of exploitation. Put briefly: Pie in the Sky is a Lie.

  34. bizarre mutant March 9 2012 at 17:14 Reply

    Well, some from the “Christian anarchist” tradition probably wouldn’t be recognised by most Christians as a Christian at all, such as Leo Tolstoy, who dismissed much of the Bible, and did not believe in God as a judge. His idea of God seems very impersonal, and he seems to only believe in God as love within us all. His “Christianity” is far more compatible with anarchy.
    I think you largely misunderstand mainstream Christianity also. You wrote, “the corollaries of belief for the Christian v the Anarchist are: man is innately evil/man is basically good, and ethics comes from obedience/ethics comes from freedom.” when actually, Christianity believes that while man is innately evil, he is also made in God’s image and innately good, and Christian ethics don’t come from obedience, but from love (which leads to obedience). You wrote Christians believe “that force is necessary to make the individual moral, we believe that force only turns man into a slave. Whereas Christians believe that ethics comes from commands, we believe that ethics comes from cooperation.” On the contrary, the Old Testament has as a central theme the failure of forceful systems to make anyone moral, and the New Testament has as a major theme the rejection of being justified by obedience to commands. Christians actually believe that knowing and living by Jesus’ love is the source of all morality.
    I appreciated your dialogue between the Zeusist and the Atheist, and would agree that a Christian can only be called an anarchist in the same way he can be called an atheist. However, in the early days of Christianity, Christians were called atheists by the polytheistic Romans, and so in the same way, Christians may be called anarchists by statists, despite having one ruler. Once “real” anarchists become common, as real atheists have done, it will be time for all Christians to begin calling themselves monarchists (unless their country has a human monarchy).
    And of course, few unorganised groups ever chose there own name. As Christians that denounce the human state, a statist would call us anarchists, and no other word would rightly convey the opposition to the state.

    Do you wish for Christianity to be removed with the state?

    • Francois Tremblay March 9 2012 at 19:47 Reply

      “I think you largely misunderstand mainstream Christianity also.”

      Nope. Sorry.

      “Christianity believes that while man is innately evil, he is also made in God’s image and innately good”

      Thank you for proving you don’t understand basic logic.

      “and Christian ethics don’t come from obedience, but from love (which leads to obedience).”

      More nonsense. Christians love to say this sort of thing, but it’s always unproven.

      “On the contrary, the Old Testament has as a central theme the failure of forceful systems to make anyone moral, and the New Testament has as a major theme the rejection of being justified by obedience to commands. Christians actually believe that knowing and living by Jesus’ love is the source of all morality.”

      There are so many mistakes here that this is absolutely hopeless. You are a “personal relationship” Christian who has clearly never read the Bible or went to Church.

      “Do you wish for Christianity to be removed with the state?”

      Real Christianity, yes, not your funhouse version of Christianity, which is just inane.

  35. comrade p March 24 2012 at 18:19 Reply

    To be honest i have thought alot about this lately and personally i don’t see why not. Sure Christians have an authority figure within their lives which is god but other than that they can fit in fine. I believe they have more non hierarchical church groups like no priests etc. Also i think they are a much lesser evil than anarcho-capitalism, personally i think mainstream christians could learn from these anarcho-christians. Also there’s a long tradition of it that goes back to the 19th century Leo Tolstoy i believe is considered to be a very important thinker in Anarchist philosophy and he was Christian. Also after many many years of doing actions against the arms trade Christain anarchos and quakers turn out for everything. Sure they are pacifists but i believe in a diversity of tactics etc and they are dedicated. Regardless on my views on religion which are skeptical but i would sooner accept a Christian Anarchist as my comrade than an anarcho- capitalist which you lot would seem to which i find shocking to be honest. Christian radicals have actually done alot for people all over the world and i think you all should be more open and stop being so orthadox with your views. Plus many anarchists throughout have been just as bad as right wing Christians Proudhon was notoriously sexist and Mahkno had to deal with his anarchist army constantly killing Jews in Ukraine not cool. No one is perfect just except that. I think this topic is irrelevant to be honest

    • Francois Tremblay May 28 2012 at 3:54 Reply

      I wouldn’t accept a Christian Anarchist or an Anarcho-Capitalist as my friend. But in the trenches, that’s a different story. You gotta do what you gotta do, as they say. And no, no one is perfect.

  36. Gabriel Erbs June 1 2012 at 21:58 Reply

    I’m a researcher, not a practitioner. Currently, I’m writing an expository paper about parsing out the (seeming?) paradox of Christian Anarchism.

    I’ve found your critique to be extremely helpful in my research. I was wondering if you would not mind commenting on the writing of Jacques Elull, the 20th Century Christian Anarchist philosophe. Elul claimed that, although anarchy is not a direct manifetation of Christianity, that the absolute power of the nation-state required absolute negation (anarchy). Elull claims that is intention is not to create an anarchist society but instead a Christian society based on fraternity.

    You can say whatever you will about the substance of his later vision (a “Christian society based on fraternity” —-whatever that means), but I’m intrigued to hear your response to his “pragmatic” relationship with anarchy. Apparently, Elull sees God to be un-divorcible from the world (a tenet of theism, obv) so their is no danger in advocating absolute negation of hierarchy to address the State’s monopoly on force.

    Thank you again for your work–it has been a great boon to my studies.

    • Francois Tremblay June 1 2012 at 22:36 Reply

      “Elul claimed that, although anarchy is not a direct manifetation of Christianity, that the absolute power of the nation-state required absolute negation (anarchy). Elull claims that is intention is not to create an anarchist society but instead a Christian society based on fraternity.”
      Well, there’s the thing. To Anarchists, Anarchism is not just negation, it’s an alternative way of seeing society. What he’s talking about is anomie, if I understand the argument. I agree that “the absolute power of the nation-state required absolute negation,” if by that one means anomie. This is not exactly a new observation for Anarchists.

      “Apparently, Elull sees God to be un-divorcible from the world (a tenet of theism, obv) so their is no danger in advocating absolute negation of hierarchy to address the State’s monopoly on force.”
      Yea, I have no idea how that could possibly be logical. I would have to read more about his position, but I don’t get it.

      • Gabriel Erbs June 1 2012 at 23:47 Reply

        I am not surprised to read your inclusion of the anomie distinction–that seems to be the kernel of thought trotted out by most Christian Anarchist intellectuals in support of their synthesis. It comes across as “Anarchy-light,” if such a thing could be branded.

        Thank you for your insights.

        Would you consider doing a quick interview for my work? The end result will be a non-published, academic paper.

  37. I Think Not September 4 2012 at 20:28 Reply

    Sorry, bro. Nice article, good try, A for effort, but Tolstoy’s Christian Anarchist writings inspired Gandhi. You’re trying to discredit something that has already been proven successful

    • Francois Tremblay September 4 2012 at 20:29 Reply

      Gandhi wasn’t a Christian, you dolt. According to your own Bible, he went to Hell.

  38. Craig October 7 2012 at 4:54 Reply

    One potential counter-argument to this article is in the way that the concept of “God” is approached. Instead of viewing God as an actual person, or a “super wizard” (which I believe is theologically quite ridiculous), one could instead view God as something beyond understanding by virtue of existing outwith space and time. The difficulty in even beginning to comprehend this could account for the heavy personification found in the bible.

    Yes, there are bits of this argument that are quite ropey, but I can’t help but feel that within the aporia of the nature of God there is room for an argument for the legitimacy of the consistency of the concept “christian anarchism”.

    Free will is a bit trickier.

    • Francois Tremblay October 7 2012 at 12:17 Reply

      Yes, because I often want to worship and praise things that are beyond all understanding.

  39. Rev. Nemu October 17 2012 at 16:46 Reply

    This man’s critique of Christianity is fair, but many Christian anarchists make the same critique. The slavish tendency in Christianity is not based on the Bible, but on deliberate mistranslations forced upon the text in the service of empire.

    I’d like to see his response to this talk on the subject given at the 2012 anarchist conference at Loughborough Uni:
    http://wp.nemusend.co.uk/censored-scripture
    d

    • Francois Tremblay October 18 2012 at 0:08 Reply

      I will have to check that out.

    • Francois Tremblay October 30 2012 at 0:10 Reply

      I have checked the video you linked to me. I think Nemu makes it very clear from the get-go that he’s looking for any point of entry into the Bible, he’s not making a general or fundamental analysis of the Bible. So I’m not sure why you think this proves anything, or why you (or Nemu) think that this proves “real Christianity,” whatever that is, is not slavish or hierarchical. I think that’s a ridiculous claim that only shows you haven’t read the Bible or thought the fundamental principles of Christianity clearly.

      His points about the Bible being manipulated for political interests is not new… we know the Gospels were used in the same way by their authors, and by the following generations. We should expect translations to be politically motivated. What does that have to do with Anarchism?

      • Rev. Nemu October 31 2012 at 17:56 Reply

        The point I make is that the Bible is complex, and that your reading of it as simple is based upon how it has been fed to you, as an instrument of control. I don’t attempt to make a general analysis of the Bible. When people do, they mask its contradictions for political ends, whether the Christian right defending their nasty politics, or ideologically driven atheists.

        Nor do I make any claims about “real Christianity”, (your term, not mine). The fundamental principles of Christianity are two, and neither implies a hierarchy – love your neighbour as yourself explicitly denies one.

        Re: the Gospels – we don’t know who wrote them, much less how the authors used them. There were also tens or hundreds of them, with different, contradictory and often anti-authoritarian ideas. The four you are familiar with were selected centuries after they were written.

        The founder of philosophical anarchism, William Godwin, was no atheist – ‘no gods no masters’ came later. According to Godwin, the ideal man has “a certain confidence in the unseen hand that sustains the whole. He is glad that there is something greater than himself, in the presence of which he feels his soul penetrated with a sacred awe”.

        More in the Occupied Times here:
        http://theoccupiedtimes.co.uk/?p=2998

        • Francois Tremblay October 31 2012 at 18:22 Reply

          “Nor do I make any claims about “real Christianity”, (your term, not mine). The fundamental principles of Christianity are two, and neither implies a hierarchy – love your neighbour as yourself explicitly denies one.”
          Logic. Do you know of it? Do you understand you contradicted yourself in two sentences?
          Jesus Christ (no pun intended).

          • Rev. Nemu October 31 2012 at 19:19

            You argue like a bishop in a whorehouse, dodging the issue and discomfiting only the new girls, who are yet to discover the robust floppiness of what lurks beneath your cassock.

            The fundamental principles, i.e. the two most important Christian laws, which, according to you I don’t understand if I don’t see the hierarchy, are described clearly in Mark 12. Neither implies a hierarchy, Mr. Logic.

        • Francois Tremblay October 31 2012 at 19:25 Reply

          Sorry, but I’m not going to argue with someone who doesn’t get basic logic. Are there Christian principles we can identify and reject others by, or are there not? Since you like colorful nonsensical analogies, stop wigggling like a slippery eel.

          • Rev. Nemu October 31 2012 at 20:27

            Mr. Logic won’t argue and then asks a question.
            Enjoy your fiery lakes, heathen!

        • Francois Tremblay October 31 2012 at 21:30 Reply

          Yea, I’ve never heard THAT one before. Get outta here, Godboy. There are plenty of blogs out there who’ll cheer your passe, discredited beliefs, so no reason to stay here.

        • Francois Tremblay November 3 2012 at 22:02 Reply

          Can’t even admit you committed a basic contradiction? Sore loser. But what do you expect from a theologian? What a waste of a person you are.

          • Rev. Nemu November 4 2012 at 5:52

            This is an area of scholarship which merited a track at a three day anarchist conference a few months ago.

            If you want to engage with people who know something about it, I would enjoy the challenge, and we both might learn something in the free exchange of ideas. What you want to do is exert your authority, as the author of this website, and plug your ears to the opinions of others. Neither of those practices commends you as an anarchist. Your response to several people who know something about the field is to say “I’ve never heard of it, it must be bullshit”.

            Your humourless semantic quibble is based on your own understanding of the fundamental principles of Christianity, which I have challenged, based on the text – and you have not addressed this. It is compounded by your belief that I am a Christian, which I am not, your belief that Christians must be halfwits, though they may not be.

            What do I have to learn by continuing arguing with you, when you can’t even maintain a degree of respect for your oponent?

        • Francois Tremblay November 4 2012 at 11:33 Reply

          So you won’t admit to it? Very well then. You are nothing but a fool…

          And no, insofar as Christianity goes, I have no sense of humor. I think it has no place whatsoever in political discussions, and the idea of it being discussed in anarchist circles makes me shiver. The fact that it is represented by someone as unrigorous as you, however, gives me some hope that the lie will not spread.

  40. Some Christian Anarchist Guy October 30 2012 at 7:26 Reply

    This critique would gain a great deal of perspective on the actual position of Christian-Anarchy if the author would follow Lutheran 2 spheres ideology to it’s logical ends, give the book of Romans a read through, and look at various sundry atonement/nature of Christ models. Though that is a lot of leg work for a non-believer in God…don’t attempt to disect Christian Anarchy if you won’t even hypothetically work from the theological grounds the whole thing is built upon.

    • Francois Tremblay October 30 2012 at 14:56 Reply

      I don’t even know what any of this bullshit is. I can tell you it’s all bullshit, though.

      • Rev. Nemu October 31 2012 at 11:33 Reply

        Spoken like a true scholar!

  41. Don Vande Krol November 2 2012 at 15:52 Reply

    Your objections seem to be entirely based on a theology that understands “God” as the ultimate ruler – in theological terms, an “omnipotent God”. However, there is at least one strain of theology that rejects this as an attribute of God, namely Process/Relational Theology.

  42. Stephen November 4 2012 at 22:32 Reply

    If I may; a critique of definitions.

    I believe you misunderstand the definitions of ‘Christian’ and ‘Anarchist’ when they are used in concert by philosophers and thinkers who formed the base of ‘Christian Anarchy’.

    First off, Christianity is broadly based on the teaching of the biblical Jesus, and those not adhering to the full theology of the bible (Leo Tolstoy for example) could claim ‘Christian Anarchy’ without contradiction.

    Secondly, and I think the main problem exists here, is that Christian Anarchy (at least as found in such famous and fundamental thinkers as Tolstoy, Berdyaev, etc) is defined to mean that God alone is the legitimate authority to which man can answer, and AS FAR AS THE EARTH is concerned, there exists no legitimate authority. The importance is that they are differentiating between the metaphysical realm, and the realm of the earth (the physical). As anarchy is resistance to all governance of the earth, and is regarded as a POLITICAL ideal, there isn’t really an inherent contradiction in the terms ‘Christian’ and ‘Anarchist’.

    This does remove itself from the strict definition of ‘Anarchy’ to some degree as that ‘Anarchy’ classically defined as meaning “absolute freedom of the individual”. Perhaps there is a case to be made that those claiming the title ‘Christian Anarchist’ shouldn’t be using the term ‘anarchy’, but I don’t think that divergency of terms is much to sneeze at. At most its a debate of semantics.

    Furthermore, its slightly unfair to rip those first three quotes from the context in which they were written and proclaim them to be “comedy”. Placed within the Christian conceptions about the world, most importantly the belief that God is the ultimate authority (by which all other true authority comes), then they are quite consistent. After all, if one believes that one being is the ultimate authority, then of course its consistent to say all other sources are illegitimate.

    • Francois Tremblay November 4 2012 at 23:08 Reply

      Okay, I’ll bite. What DOES it mean for you to say that God is the only legitimate authority? And no self-contradiction, please.

      • chiggles November 5 2012 at 9:22 Reply

        Ah, God is good and God is love, thus, to be under the authority of God is to oppose injustice and to make the world a better place. Such servants of God are thus similar to living anarchists, only one is couched in religious and prophetic terms, the other in socio-political. Well, then there’s Christian Anarchists (for example), who overcome the authority of semantic preconceptions, according themselves politically and religiously, against all injustice, for the sake of good to all.

        • Francois Tremblay November 5 2012 at 12:56 Reply

          “Ah, God is good and God is love”
          If I didn’t read the Bible at all, and if I didn’t know any Christians or any Christian history, I might buy that.

  43. Amber Mackey November 13 2012 at 15:20 Reply

    God IS love and love is all there is. Forget knowing Christians or the bible….know your Self. Give yourself a hug. Jesus within loves you!

    • Francois Tremblay November 13 2012 at 15:30 Reply

      “God IS love”
      No it’s not.

      “Give yourself a hug.”
      I prefer to get hugs from other people.

      “Jesus within loves you!”
      There is no “Jesus within.” What I have within are organs. Get off the LSD before you write comments on other people’s blogs, you flake.

      • Justin Swackhamer January 17 2013 at 9:01 Reply

        Francois, I love the conversation on your blog. You are obviously really smart, so I am interested to know the answer to this question: If there is no creator, where did the universe come from? A better question is: What do you KNOW is true?

        • Francois Tremblay January 17 2013 at 15:03 Reply

          What do I know is true about what?

          • Justin Swackhamer January 17 2013 at 22:20

            Well, you say that there is no God. How do you KNOW that is true? Some of your points may be good. I just think it’s arrogant to state that you KNOW there is no God, just as it’s arrogant for Christians to say that the Bible is the infallible word of God.

            You have a right to your opinion and I love the debate. I just think being so judgmental of the other side and calling people “a waste of a person” and “a fool” makes you kind of sound like a whiny a-hole. If other anarchists are like you, I don’t think I want to be one.

        • Francois Tremblay January 18 2013 at 1:21 Reply

          “Well, you say that there is no God. How do you KNOW that is true?”

          There’s many reasons for that. For one thing, what god are we talking about here? The god of the Bible? There are many different conceptions of God.

          If you mean a Creator of the universe, then my answer would simply be that the universe came about through the Big Bang, not a divine act. Epistemically, it’s impossible to declare any effect to have come from a supernatural cause, making evidence for a God impossible to claim even in theory.

          “Some of your points may be good. I just think it’s arrogant to state that you KNOW there is no God”

          Do you think it’s also arrogant to state that we know there is no Santa Claus, leprechauns, Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, etc etc? This is a serious question. Are you agnostic towards Santa Claus? (I know some people who would actually say that, so don’t think I am mocking you here)

          “You have a right to your opinion and I love the debate. I just think being so judgmental of the other side and calling people “a waste of a person” and “a fool” makes you kind of sound like a whiny a-hole. If other anarchists are like you, I don’t think I want to be one.”

          I’m not sure why you think I should respect someone who not only directly contradicts himself but refuses to admit it. There is NO point in talking to such people- without logic, we really have no way of discussing.

          And logic, by the way, comes from evolutionary intuitions, not from God. If it did come from God, then it would be contingent. How can you even make sense of the concept of a contingent logic? The things Christians have to accept are incredible.

  44. Daniel December 18 2012 at 13:59 Reply

    A lot of Christian anarchists tend to be anarcho-primitivists which makes sense since spirituality plays such a large role in hunter-gatherer societies. I reject the notion that anarchism is inherently materialistic and atheistic and that spirituality is antithetical to anarchism. Christian anarchists believe in God and having a relationship with him through his Son Yeshua HaMashiach and because of this reject social hierarchy since social hierarchy involves exercising authority over others which is something that Yeshua denounced:
    Yeshua called them and he said to them, “You are aware that those who are considered rulers (archon) of the Gentiles are their lords and their great ones have authority over them.“But it will not be so among you, but whoever wants to be great among you will be a servant to you.” (Mark 10:42-43)

  45. [...] post anything until next year, but this was too good not to. I received this comment on my “Why I reject “Christian Anarchism”…” entry. While I spammed it for being amazingly stupid, I thought you would get a kick out of [...]

  46. Emma June 11 2013 at 15:39 Reply

    I think you are maybe being a little bit close-minded about the types of Christians that can exist. The bible claims that God is the great I am. I have taken this definition to heart, and have thereby defined God as all that is. God has obvious rules for us to live by, such as the laws of physics and nature. If there is such a thing as a good choice or a bad choice, he has also given us the ability to choose. This is self-evident. Jesus used his free will radically. He also never forced anyone around him to choose “right” from “wrong.” The message Jesus sent is not that God will arbitrarily force us to suffer when we choose “bad,”(that is what man does, and that is what Christian anarchists fight against) but that we DO suffer when we choose bad as a natural consequence of the forces of nature and humanity. If you can’t be an anarchist unless you have no God, then by the definition of God, you cannot exist at all. Since you exist, you are part of what is, and becuase all that is is not defined by you, but by a force much greater than you, you are subject to it whether you decide to be or not. You can submit to the forces of science and nature, or you can choose to perish. Christian anarchists recognize the powers of God can in no way in actuality be fought against. If you could fight against God, you are using power he granted you to do so. So with that definition in mind, with all of the natural restrictive forces of nature in place, we basically have the free will to do whatever we put our minds to. This is how any sane anarchist defines the word anarchy. Having free will to do whatever you want with what we have. How I see YOU defining anarchy is saying “I want to be able to hold my breath for 50 minutes, so fake gods be damned, I’m going to!!!” Christian anarchists believe in maintaining God’s order only, which seems to be anarchy. Believing that God is all that is, means that God can effectively act through anything and everything, that doesn’t mean ignoring all things not exclusively “Christian” either. It means only accepting beliefs and ideas
    in line with God (aka reality.) Christian anarchists basically believe they dont have the authority to punish those who go against God. In fact, their belief is that the forces of nature bring those people to understand how their actions bring them suffering more effectively than any human placed institution could ever hope to. To be a Christian anarchist is merely to believe that it is the truth that being good in nature as Jesus showed us how, is to be in line with nature, and to free ourselves from the binding societies we create for ourselves as a result of doing “wrong”. It also means not to restrict the free will of others, but to be patient and longsuffering. It is easier to have a positive change of heart when you have a group of people who have never judged you and have always loved you waiting to accept you upon your return. So either anarchy is impossible, or God is an anarchist.

  47. […] wrote an entry on the contradiction of Christian Anarchism, where I argued that Christianity is inherently hierarchical and therefore fundamentally […]

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