Dealing with Prejudice: Progressive Religion and Anti-Religious Leftists


Sometimes, it’s difficult being a religious leftist and progressive. Despite identifying as an anarchist and feminist, there’s one thing that makes it very difficult for me to get my attitudes taken seriously or even seen as anarchist or feminist and it’s often my religion. Usually, it’s not a big problem, most people are open minded and have a sort of morbid curiosity with religion and alternative religion. They’ll let you believe what you believe and it’s all good. I can live with that. I have issues with people that seem to exclude others for their beliefs on the nature of the universe. This is a problematic attitude. There is a lot of fertile ground between serious religious progressive types and anarchists on principle. Anarchists believe in simultaneously anti-oppression and freedom as the basis for their philosophy, and has at times spoken against religion as a deeply inhuman ideology. Looking at my own religious attitudes about things like communal duty and frith, I have a lot in common with anarchists who are all about the community, even if I didn’t identify as an anarchist.

So what gives? Well things are not that simple. Not all religious people are revolutionary in their actions or attitudes, and in accepting this to be a fact, I can turn to modern strains of right wing religious people and point out the bigoted and un-progressive attitudes promoted by these people. I can reject those attitudes. Simply put, a person’s views about the nature of the universe should not imply how they feel about social issues. There can be feminist and anarchist religious people, just as there can be reactionary anti-religious people. Religion is not a factor, unless someone justifies bigotry or oppressive attitudes/systems through their religion. Dealing and coping with the prejudice can be difficult. However, I am who I am regardless of what others might think of my beliefs. I would not be Heathen in the genuine sense of the word if I did not openly admit to raising a horn to the gods and goddesses of my religion.

There is a difference between ideology and politics too. My politics are anarchist and focus on practical ways to promote my politics. Ideology is stickier, no one in reality is ideologically pure. Ideological purism is also the same thing I am against. There are nuances to the theory that everyone interprets differently. I like libertarian Marxism and incorporate some of it’s ideas to my overarching ideology, the same goes with my personal beliefs/faith, different things I’m an activist for, and my moral positions and how I incorporate these various ideas into my overarching anarchism and my personal ideology. Difference of opinion and religious views – important as it is from a philosophical point of view – should in no way prevent us from uniting in the struggle against earthly oppression and injustice. Do I believe that religion will shrivel up and die after a socialist revolution? No. I think it will flourish in healthier ways, but that is besides the point. It is critical that we criticize and attack oppressive beliefs (sexist, racist, classist, and so forth) while recognizing that Bob might believe in the Cheese Sandwich God. Telling him that his belief is “filth” or irrational is a good way to alienate Bob. In fact, I think revolutionary organizations should be agnostic about these issues, and make no definitive statement on them except religious institutions and the negative effects they have on laws and the society in which we live. It is incredibly important that we work with non-communist or anarchist religious people(especially for our religious comrades to do this) and try to get them to see politics our way.

In short: I am willing to work with anyone regardless of religious differences. The enemy is oppression not religion itself. Capitalism, organized religion, the state; these are blights that cause many oppressive things to persist but not faith itself.

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~ by ladycat123 on December 13, 2011.

2 Responses to “Dealing with Prejudice: Progressive Religion and Anti-Religious Leftists”

  1. I totally agree. Leftists need to get over the idea that religion is something to be eradicated like cockroaches.

    Religion that is used to discriminate is always wrong and bad, and I fight against everyone who uses religion as a means to hate other people.

    But in my view, if you accept leftist politics and you are religious too, what’s the problem? It is an outdated view that religion is all bad.

  2. It is a bit disturbing how some tend to wield Materialism like a religion. Many take it too far, in my opinion, and use Materialism in a meta physical sense, which is something that it was never intended for. In addition, it’s important to note that quantum physics have kind of disproven the idea that the world is just a bunch of atoms spinning around.

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