Is Religion Anti-Anarchist?

Continuing from the themes of this post in which I demand religious liberty as essential to anarchism, I wish to to attack the idea that religion is somehow anti-anarchist in this post.

The current system actually creates the negative aspects of religion, and in my opinion is much more to blame than religious beliefs themselves. Pick any war, any conflict, and any dispute and you can see that these conflicts have religion as a justification but not as the reason for something that is really about greed. Your average worshipper is unlikely to be an ideologue completely devoted to protecting the faith, but l would argue that if a person feels that their freedom to worship is being attacked they are inspired to religious violence. This has been the pattern for any religious based war or conflict based on religion.

I also reject the idea that religious faith is superstition , it cannot be disproved just as it can’t be proven, which means it is something taken in faith. A superstition is something that is demonstrably false like “step on a crack and break your mothers back” or throwing salt over your left shoulder for good luck… religious faith is not the same. I can accept that to the atheistic and the agnostics that this is misguided to place faith in something, but reasons for faith have a wide variety of reasons attached to them and is beyond the scope of this essay.

Another concept that I reject is the idea of god as being an illegitimate authority. For starters, most arguments of this sort are straw man arguments that are rooted at the oppressive nature of authoritarian monotheistic faiths. The problem with this, is that this is a rather simplistic way of looking at the conceptions of what a god is. Asatru does not consider its gods and goddesses authorities, but rather more friends and family that are older and wiser. I am also certain that Christian, Muslim, and Jewish anarchists see their god differently than the mainstream versions of their faiths. Also consider that there are those who have pantheistic, deistic, or some other conceptions of what their god or gods is really like.

In this article, Wayne Price argues against militant atheism and despite disagreeing with him about the existence of gods I feel that the general message is good. In an anarchist society the ultimate separation of church and state would be the logical outcome and people would have the freedom to associate with said religious institutions, cultural groupings, and other related things. I also think it is a requirement for real liberty to not become as dogmatic and rigid as the things we oppose.

Do you oppose capitalism, statism, and authoritarian dogmas? You are my comrade regardless of your religious belief. Are you opposed to sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of injustice? You are my comrade regardless of your religious belief. If your religious belief(or lack of it) supports bigotry or authoritarian structures, then you are not my comrade. Do you see the pattern here? Good.

Peter Wilson in this essay also notices that rejecting the religious anarchists as not anarchists is crypto-authoritarian and should be undesirable. I am obviously inclined to agree with that analysis. My attitudes about religion are much more libertarian and open minded than say Goldman or Bakunin but this doesn’t mean I think they were wrong about everything. I still think women’s liberation is important just as much as I think ending capitalism is good for people. When I look at religious influences at my anarchy I am not afraid to say that I am influenced by my religious values to be anti-state and anti-capitalist. I’m even influenced by Christian anarchism and Leo Tolstoy and while I don’t agree with pacifism I certainly respect non-violence as a tactic for anarchists.

Finally… I am ultimately for freedom and freedom requires more than some rigid dogma or strict guidelines to be considered free. I have strong religious beliefs and my ancestors and their ways influence how I approach anarchism and activism. I have an entire worldview that leads me to anarchist conclusions  about how society should be. I do believe strongly that people have responsibilities to their communities and are bound by forces greater than themselves. I also believe that people are basically good. I know we can have a world where religious differences aren’t the cause for ostracism or violence. We, as anarchists, don’t need to repeat mistakes.

Thank you all for your time. In frith.


~ by ladycat123 on September 27, 2011.

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