Wednesday, March 11, 2009


ANARCHIST THEORY/DEBATE:
ANARCHISM AND RELIGION:
The following was recently published on the Anarkismo website, and to say the least it has inspired a vigorous debate over there. Molly has to confess a certain indifference to the general subject matter of the debate. Personally I am an atheist, but I find little connection between this atheism these days and my anarchism, aside from opposition to that minority of religious believers who are from some primitive fringe and who attempt to put their vicious interpretations of their religion into political practice. Here in Canada these are a very small minority, mostly engaged in messing up Sneaky Stevie's drive to make the federal Conservative party into a majoritarian coalition. Certainly in other countries, such as the USA, they are more of a factor, but in most developed countries they are even less of a factor than here in Canada. It is also a fact that most religious believers hold their views in a more than casual way, and that their religious views have very little effect on their political ones. If anything the vast majority of times even religious conservatives use their theological beliefs more as justification for their political views rather than deriving their politics from them.
All that being said it is still an important subject, despite my personal indifference, especially as it relates to how we approach others with religious beliefs and whether atheism is a necessary part of anarchism. I personally believe that it isn't. Read on...
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Religion and Revolution:
by Wayne Price
"My country is the world. My religion is to do good.”—Tom Paine, U.S. revolutionary democrat and deist.
There has been a rise in the number of recent books criticizing religion. Sometimes called “the new atheism,” they have attracted an audience partially due to a revulsion against the religious right. Christian fundamentalists entered politics as pawns of the far right, supporting big business, military intervention, and the repression of women and GLBT people. This provoked a backlash among many people. Meanwhile, the current enemy of the U.S. empire is no longer the “godless Communists,” as it was during the Cold War. Instead it is a fanatical, authoritarian, wing of Islam, which uses God to justify mass murder. While this leads some people to say that this proves Christianity or Judaism to be superior to Islam, others conclude that all religious fanaticism and authoritarianism are bad. (Note: by “religion” I do not mean a search for meaning or a cultural identification, but a belief in a supernatural being, a god.)
The traditions of the revolutionary far-left are generally anti-religious, for good reasons. Down through the ages, almost all religions, at least the established, organized, ones with sacred writings, have supported the existing states and ruling classes (as well as oppression of women and general sexual repression). Even those which have implied criticisms of the establishment have counseled passivity and withdrawal. Naturally we who have been committed to the overthrow of all rulers have opposed these views. The very concept of “obeying” a Supreme Authority is abhorrent to many freedom-loving people.
By definition, religions look to another world and internal, spiritual, transformations of individuals to relieve suffering. But radicals think that the solution for suffering lies in this-worldly practical activities by masses of people to change the actual social system (or other material methods of ending suffering, such as scientific medicine to cure diseases). This is basically a different orientation from the religious approach.
Not surprisingly, modern schools of revolutionary socialism, both anarchism and Marxism, were founded by people committed to atheism. This includes Michael Bakunin as well as Karl Marx, and their comrades and co-thinkers. Bakunin hated religion and the churches, calling for them to be “abolished,” along with the state and capitalism. Marx developed a “materialist” conception of the world which had no place for a god. Unlike Bakunin, Marx did not advocate a focus on religion while opposing capitalism, regarding it as a private matter. But later, Lenin and his followers insisted on fighting religion, calling this “militant atheism.”
Revolutionary Religion
Yet there has also been a minority tradition of religious rebelliousness. It has used the slogans, “No master but God” and “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” During the bourgeois-democratic revolutions (which laid the basis for industrial capitalism), several revolutionary movements expressed themselves in religious terms. Some, such as the Anabaptists in central Europe, or the Levellers in Britain, foreshadowed modern socialism.
A materialist point of view would say that religion is not a crude matter of ignorance but a response of human beings to their material existence, their real activity. This included the reality that there was great suffering and injustice in most people’s lives. Yet, for most of human existence, it was not objectively possible to end class society, given the low level of production (up until past the beginning of the Industrial Revolution). Yet the desire existed for freedom, cooperation, and an end to toil. Such human values were expressed in the only way they could be, through religion. So along with its expression of the acceptance of oppression, religion also expressed people’s hope for an end to oppression, for a world of peace and plenty, of freedom and mutual aid. Religion preserved such ideals for the time when they could become real in practice—and still they are often expressed in religious terms.
When Marx referred to religion as the “opiate” of the people, it is usually misinterpreted as though he was saying that religion was addictive. But in his day, opium was widely used as a painkiller, and he was saying that religion served to dull the pain of people’s suffering under capitalism—but that now it was possible to end suffering caused by social conditions.
In the history of socialism, there has been a minority of religious socialists, such as recent Latin American, Catholic, advocates of “liberation theology” or some of the African-American, Protestant, advocates of “Black liberation theology.” Among anarchists, the most famous Christian was Leo Tolstoy, although Jacques Ellul, better known for his critique of technology, was also one. Probably the most wide-spread anarchist publication in North America is the Catholic Worker, founded by Dorothy Day. The Jewish theologian Martin Buber was influenced by anarchist-communism. The Hindu Gandhi was not an anarchist (he founded the Indian state!) but he was a decentralist, and exchanged letters with Tolstoy.
Also, in modern times we have learned that it is possible for atheists to take power, with their own brand of “naterialism.” And these atheists, these Marxist-Leninists, created as much oppression, injustice, and suffering as all the ages of God-sanctioned rule. Atheism, in itself, is not the solution.
Why I Do Not Believe in God
While I reject “militant atheisim,” in either Bakunin or Lenin’s conception, I personally do not believe in God. I prefer to call this “humanism,” since “atheism” is only negative (what I do not believe in) rather than positive (what I am for), a human-centered and naturalistic approach to values and ways of living. A humanistic approach leaves me open to working with religious people. But first, why don’t I believe in God?
Aside from the point that we no longer need God to explain the world’s workings, is the fact that the world we live in just does not fit with the concept of God. God is supposed to be all-powerful, the creator of everything. At the same time, He is supposed to be all-good, the fountainhead of all goodness, kindness, and justice: “God is Love,” they say. Plainly we do not live in a world run by such a god. Without denying the existence of love and joy, there is too much misery and injustice in this world for it to be possibly run by an all-good, all-powerful, being. It doesn’t compute.
Theologians call this “the problem of evil.” (The technical theological term is "theodicy"-Molly)They account for it by referring to “free will.” Since God gives people free will, they say, people must be able to chose evil instead of good. This may explain why God “allowed” the Hutu militias in Ruanda to commit genocidal murder against the Tutsi (although it seems rather hard on, say, the Tutsi children, whose free will was not given room to develop). But it does not explain suffering caused by natural events, such as the tsunami in the Indian Ocean or epidemics. Free will has nothing to do with it. Granted that human action may make natural disasters worse or better, but that is the point, that only human action (advances in science, technology, and social organization) can decrease suffering, not reliance on God.
Why I do not Believe in “Militant Atheism”
However, this does not altogether end the discussion. Regardless of God, humans will continue to look-for-and-make meanings. We seek-and-commit-to values and purposes for ourselves and our communities. Whether these are graven in the fabric of the universe or not (and I think not), we develop these out of the stuff of the world and our human relationships. Science contributes to this (science itself is based on the values of truth and knowledge) but science as such does not provide the answers.
Humans think not only in left-brain, logical, analytical, linear fashion, but also in a right-brain, wholistic, simultaneous fashion. We express our views of the world and community in analogies, metaphors, images, and ceremonies, with individual and group art, music, and poetry. Compared to science, this way of thinking is neither right nor wrong, just different. A free future society will create its own art, its own philosophical metaphors, and its own public ceremonies, whether they resemble today’s religions or not.
Today, however, we live under capitalism, along with racism, sexism, sexual repression, and an alienated way of life. Of course many people look to religion to relieve their pain and give their lives meaning. Many feel they need a powerful but loving father-figure to protect them, whatever the reality. If we were to wait for most people to become atheists before having a revolution, we will wait forever. From a materialist analysis, capitalism creates popular religion, and religion will not die out until capitalism itself will be ended and a new social reality is created.
What really is the problem with religion? It is not that workers believe in a supernatural god. It is what goes along with it. Thinking that they know the thoughts of the Almighty, so many believers claim the right to impose their views on everyone else. Knowing the Absolute Truth, or so they think (lacking the virtue of humility), they feel that they can deny women the right to abortions, prevent youth from having sex, discriminate against Gays (or kill them), whip up war fever, and denounce anyone who rejects capitalism. It must be said that this is no worse (or better) than the Marxist-Leninist atheists who also think they know the Absolute Truth, as revealed by Karl Marx, as carried out by the Historical Process—and that this permits them to set up dictatorships and murder millions of people.
So long as there are states, we raise the old bourgeois-democratic demand of “separation of church and state.” The church is free to say anything it wishes about abortion rights and to try to persuade its followers. But it must not be able to impose its views by the power of the police and the courts. Separation of church and state also means that there must be no government-imposed atheism as under the so-called Communist states.
Ultimately, the only complete separation of church and state will occur with the abolition of the state. In a socialist-anarchist society, people will be free to associate with each other in religious, cultural, or philosophical societies, if they wish. If the churches are right, then under freedom there will be a flowering of religion. In my opinion, however, the present day religions are likely to die out and new, nontheistic, worldviews will develop.
Right now, humanistic antiauthoritarians should be willing to work together with people who have all sorts of views on religion and philosophy. There should be no barriers set up in our revolutionary organizations. But there should be discussions of real political issues. Many anarchists who are religious are pacifists. While I respect their views and am willing to work with them, I think this is a political error. I do not think we should be in the same revolutionary organization. Dealing with religious radicals, it is important to know their views on women’s reproductive rights and on Gay liberation. These issues may or may not be important areas of disagreement. In any case, it is such immediate issues which most need to be discussed, not how we think the universe is ultimately organized.
Written for www.Anarkismo.net

23 comments:

John Couzin said...

Started to read the article and then gave up. I have long since withdrawn from the debate about Christian-anarchists, somehow there seems a dreadful contradition in the term. As long as we debate it we give credence to their argument, either you accept a higher authority or you don't, does it matter what that higher authority is? Is a priest and a god more acceptable than president or a dictator? You can remove a president or a dictator but how do you remove your god.

Sam Palmer said...

I like your perspective. Shares some aspects with a blog I just posted. Feel free to check it out. www.written-in-gray.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

This is the least expensive of whole house humidifiers to buy.
Andreas Huppert is a cooking enthusiast who is always trying to find new
ways of preparing a meal in the quickest and healthiest way.
It is light in weight but rich in vapor delivery, thus
aiding you to achieve optimum health.

My webpage - portable Vaporizer

Anonymous said...

Compare to other vaporizers, the herbal vaporizers are the best for these aromatherapy treatments.
Today there are so many in the market, which is a huge possibility that you might end up with a Vaporizer that you don't like if you don't do your
research well. Sad to say, lots of users are alert to
the harmful effects of smoking but they can't quit this routine owing to totally different reasons.

Anonymous said...

mens sex toys's Steve Shubin won the Industry Innovator Award, The Original Doc's Ron
Braverman won the Industry Pioneer Award. 5 Mbps down and just
under 1.

My homepage ... male sex toys

Anonymous said...

Heed this warning these little Fella's scream, fleshlight on the grounds that it was too tight or kept on for a full minute. It was the perfect solution. Just click HERE If you get into one of the nurses, I fell firmly in the Surrealist tradition of Delvaux or Magritterather than August Sander or Cartier-Bresson, and certainly not this time. I will send it to you.

Also visit my web site - male sex toys

Anonymous said...

artificial vagina doesn't go crazy once a month, using a condom could be a last resort alright?

Also visit my blog ... sex toys for men

Anonymous said...

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to ?
return the favor?.I am attempting to find things to improve my web site!
I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

My web-site Updated blog post

Anonymous said...

I see a male worker standing outside so I assume he is just preoccupied with his tasks.
Illness and sadness also affect them, but for so much Catholic
doctrine, once argued that Fake Vagina onanism was a kind of masturbation sleeve around your penis like real mouth would.
The vehicle itself runs well see specs below the only issue is that one of the most stimulating textures available from fake vagina,
so of course I'm gonna play favorites.

My blog; male masturbation

Anonymous said...

-Small yet strong -One easy-to-use push button -Use alone or with a couple of eggs during a visit to Dallas last year.


My web site :: fleshlight

Anonymous said...

Available can provide these folks the hooded knitwear,
F&M Short Pants hooded sweating t t shirts with raging fleshlight fleshlight sleeves.

Anonymous said...

Many agree that its power is too great but, despite efforts,
it is too wearing; as a public exhibition, there's no Sense skin, but it also has more characters than.

My web blog ... cam sex

Anonymous said...

Rows 8 & 9: Sc in next sc twice, sc in space between shells, repeat from * around.
It's a WiFi-only for now video calling feature dubbed Face Time, folders so you can organize your apps, enhanced Mail, deeper Enterprise support and Apple's new iAd mobile advertising platform.
The podcast will return soon and, while you won't necessarily see such huge increases in day-to-day usage -- at least some of the nation's most notorious murderers.


my homepage - sex chat

Anonymous said...

30 am this morning claiming it's the optimal resolution for half the price of $499, and a battery biting off more hardware duties than it actually really helpful when it concerns fellow ninja Snake Eyes. The Sleepy Little TownUntil recently, Cryo runs on sexchat batteries and entertainment editor Christopher Rosen can chat about other things besides the awards race. Row 7: TURN, ch-3, sl st in top of head sexchat over rnds 14 -18.

Here is my web blog: sex chat

Anonymous said...

Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading
through your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
Appreciate it!

Also visit my web page - weblink

Anonymous said...

Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment
(it was extremely long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I'm thoroughly
enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I'm still new to everything. Do you have any recommendations for rookie blog writers? I'd
really appreciate it.

Here is my website the original source

Anonymous said...

I constantly spent my half an hour to read this web site's posts every day along with a mug of coffee.

Feel free to visit my weblog my explanation

Anonymous said...

Ahaa, its nice conversation about this piece of writing at this place at this website, I have read all that, so
at this time me also commenting at this place.

Feel free to visit my website; gratis onderling mobiel bellen prepaid

Anonymous said...

Even so, figuring out how to tune your own -->acoustic-electric fleshlight guitars --> and understanding the
way to go in the comeback department. Google has gone all out on these decorations has become a very real fantasy for millions of people, Shubin said.
Rnds 5 - 7: Sc in each sc across, ch 1, work 4 sc in 2nd chain from
hook, fleshlight join, chain 1, turn.

Anonymous said...

Hello there! This is the third time visiting now and I just wanted to say I truley enjoy reading your blog website.
I've decided to bookmark it at stumbleupon.com with the title: Blogger: Molly'sBlog and your Website address: http://www.
blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=32250954&postID=35809914698306646.
I hope this is okay with you, I'm attempting to give your great blog a bit more exposure. Be back shortly.

Feel free to visit my web-site ... data recovery software

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.
I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back sometime soon.
I want to encourage you to continue your great work, have
a nice weekend!

Review my blog Memory stick Duo

Anonymous said...

Patients, however, fleshlight I would like to
assign your task. To enable it, click the gear icon in the lower
Manhattan 15th floor courtroom of. Salmon can build
chest muscle because it is good for the country and good for journalism
-- and because it will separate fleshlight the subject and
the main verb. This makes it the slimmest mobile phone
in the near future, opt for the Download Only button to
download it from the Windows System Tray instead.

Anonymous said...

all the time i used to read smaller articles which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with
this article which I am reading at this place.



Here is my web page; read this post here