Chapter 12 Intersections of Christianity and Anarchism

There is no doubt that unimaginable suffering and division have been caused by the political organizations that formed around Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the other religions of the world. However, as we intend to explore in the following chapters, there is ample evidence suggesting that these religions all carry knowledge from similar ancient teachings, but sadly the hierarchies of these organized religions have perverted these teachings according to the politics of the time.

The biblical accounts of Jesus were not consolidated and printed until roughly 300 years after his death. At that time, his followers had caused a massive social upheaval which threatened the established religious institutions. Even in his own time, Jesus was an enemy of the state and an enemy of the church for his radical views of peace, freedom and equality. The established religious order of the time was the Roman church and they were so threatened by his philosophy that they had him silenced. However, his death did not silence his message and his ideas spread all over the empire. Fearful that this anti-establishment movement would break down their spiritual monopoly, the church developed a plan to corrupt the message of Christ and use his cult status as a banner for their religious institution.

The religious institution responsible for the death of Christ and the persecution of his followers was now planning to merge his popular image with their dogmatic tradition. In 325 AD the Roman Church held “The Council of Nicaea”, a meeting of ranking church figures. Here they discussed how they would deal with the explosion of the Christian philosophy in their society. The church knew that if they let things continue as they were, all of their subjects would convert to Christianity in a very short time. They had to find a way to subvert this trend and convert the Christians back to the traditional structure to maintain control. To achieve this goal, the establishment decided to merge Christian teachings with their own in such a way that the radical message of peace and freedom was replaced with the hierarchy of the existing church. The outcome of the Council of Nicaea stated that Jesus Christ was the son of god and that he was to be treated as a divine figure, even though during his life Jesus insisted that he was only a messenger and that people should only follow his message, not worship him. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the divinity of Christ and many say that he didn’t want organized churches in his name.

Christian followers, who mostly belonged to the working illiterate class, were deceived by the church and felt that this was a cause to celebrate, because the church had finally formally recognized their savior. Most Christians did not understand the true implications of the terms that their rulers laid out at the council of Nicaea. The church then used “the divinity of Christ” as supporting evidence for all of their philosophies, even though the issue of divinity had been decided at the conference.

With the image and following of Jesus now a part of their church, the establishment was able to neutralize the social movement of Christianity from within. Once the church molded the Christian ideologies to fit its own political agenda, it was also able to dictate an “official” but corrupted recording of history. The church focused only on their fabricated depictions of Christ’s birth and death and gave very little mention of what he actually stood for and what he did throughout his life. Many historical accounts of Jesus have been suppressed by the religious institutions, because the reality of his political struggle would expose many of the primary falsehoods of our authoritarian society.

This is the way the establishment has “watered down” and misdirected the revolutionary message of Jesus. This is the most successful strategy of silencing and corrupting revolutionary movements, which is used by the ruling class when they are backed up against a wall. They know that attempts to fully eradicate a social movement would only make that movement stronger and give it more credibility, so they simply corrupt the message and turn it into a tool of social control. Even in the accounts of Jesus that have not been destroyed by the church, we can see his extremely obvious opposition towards the oppressive systems of government, banking and organized religion. In all of the biblical depictions of Christ he has a peaceful state of mind, except when he is dealing with “the money changers”.

According to biblical writings, Jesus used physical force to throw the money changers out of a temple, which was the only account of his ever getting physical with anyone. The money changers were an ancient banking cartel that ruled the ancient world by lending money to governments and applying interest. Just like today, the money changers of biblical times were deeply embedded in the government.

Behind the fabricated image of Jesus that the church has been perpetuating for centuries, there is most likely a revolutionary who vehemently opposed the ruling class and fought for the rights of the oppressed throughout his life. His whole life was a struggle for peace, equality and human rights, yet the religions that have sprung up in his name have distorted his message, because it stands against blind obedience to authority. Whether or not Jesus Christ was a divine being, a human revolutionary or a character of astrotheology is not for the authors of this book to decide. That is a matter for people to decide based upon their own studies. Regardless, the message of compassion, non-aggression and antiauthoritarianism behind the story of Jesus Christ remains the same.

Since Jesus’s time, political organizations in the form of religions have carried on his image, but they have largely abandoned his message. That being said, there have been a number of Christian thinkers with very strong anti-authoritarian views and a number of Christian movements with very strong anarchist traits. Within just a few generations of the Council of Nicea, Saint Augustine was quick to point out that the teachings of Christ were in total opposition to the values of the Roman Empire and the Roman church. In present times there are Christian churches spread throughout the United States that have recognized the same thing. Sadly, there are still many war-mongering neo-conservative churches as well.

The Quakers are an entire sect of Christianity that is openly antiauthoritarian. The Quakers are also the group with the deepest history of both activism and anarchist philosophy. Sadly, in mainstream thought, Quakers are often confused with the Puritans, a sect of Christianity in colonial America that was known for being repressive and tyrannical. The Quakers and the Puritans had two totally different schools of thought– the Puritans believed the bible granted religious organizations authority over human beings, while the Quakers believed each individual was capable of forming his or her own connection with god and that there was no need for an external authority. The only reason these groups are often confused is because they are both Christian sects that escaped England for the new world, but in all other respects they could not be more different from one another. The Quakers do not recognize human authority. In fact, authority isn’t even a part of their vocabulary. For example, Quakers will not refer to a person by a title, such as judge, officer, president, your highness, your honor, your majesty or any of the terms that groveling peasants are coerced into repeating. The Quakers also played an essential role in the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad, and many of the civil rights struggles that followed.

By studying the history of the figure that is Jesus Christ and the traditions that arose following his death, it is clear that his message has become distorted and corrupted. Perhaps all that is needed is for followers of Christ to abandon the churches and leaders who claim to have the path to his teachings and instead cultivate their own personal conversation with him and individually interpret his message.

Chapter 13 – Intersections of Islam and Anarchism

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Chapter 12 Intersections of Christianity and Anarchism

  1. Pingback: Chapter 11 Intersections of Shamanism and Anarchism | Josey's Libertarian Page

  2. Pingback: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy & Spirituality | Josey's Libertarian Page

Comments are closed.