To Those Who Think You Can’t Be An Anarchist & AChristian


Perhaps you just don’t know what Anarchy means.  Perhaps you’re one of those people who think Anarchy means “Chaos; disorder”, etc.  You’d be wrong.

An – a prefix meaning “without”, or “absence of”, as in Anonymous, the Anon, or An being without; and the last part being “name” or “title”, ergo – Without Name.  Anonymous.

Arch – being a suffix meaning headship, leader, as in MatriARCH, PatriARCH, MonARCH.

Therefore An-Arch is without a leader.  Anarchy is the state of being without a leader.  Anarchism is the belief in non-leadership.

Christ taught anarchy in his teachings, even though the word itself might not have been a word yet.  Christ never endorsed a church, a government, a state, or any leader.  If you go and re-read the Sermon On The Mount, those are the basic principles of Anarchy for Christians.  Anarchy is the same no matter your spiritual beliefs.  It’s purely voluntary, it’s non-violence (read Jacques Ellul’s Violence: Reflections From A Christian Perspective)*, it’s non-resistance to evil by force (Matthew 5:39; also read Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom Of God is Within You)*.

I was probably one of those people who shook their head and had a weird look on their face when I heard the term Anarchy.  Knowledge is power, and the more you learn about something, the more you don’t make dumb statements like “You can’t be a Christian and an Anarchist”.  See, I’ve done my homework.  I’m still doing it.  So before any fellow Christian sits up on their pompous highchair and tells me how I’m wrong, do your homework.  Humble yourself, & realize you don’t have some secret insight to all things God.  We all have the same capability.  Use your brain for learning, not judgment.

*Both of these books can be found online, and/or in PDF form.

You know I don’t really have a problem with Christians that associate with anarchism.  It’s definitely not something I view in the same way as the misnomer anarcho-capitalism.

HOWEVER if we’re going to claim that there isn’t an etymological problem with the nomenclature of the anarchist-christian can we please use proper Greek?

Anarchy comes from merging the prefix of an-, which does indeed mean to be without, and the word archon which means ruler or lord.  We must recognise the difference between that and simply leadership, where leadership is implicit of people willingly following because they’re drawn to the charisma or ideas of a person.  Indeed to imply that anarchy is a leaderless ideal would be exceptionally problematic, considering you recommend people’s books to read.  Are these people not leaders, do they not lead the way in which you construct your ideas?

Anarchy is about the absence of a hierarchal control system, an entrenched system which creates people as greater than others and creates unchallenged, or unchallengeable, power dynamics.  In this sense anarchy and christianity actually is antithetical but I don’t have a problem with people who see a differentiation between the worldly and the heavenly, and thus use that to separate and isolate these conflicting ideals (well, other than the fact that I’m a historical materialist and that approach is non-dialectical, but I’m not going to get new-atheist about it).

With that said I’m slightly surprised to see that amongst the recommended books was not St Augustine’s City of God, when the guy was an anarchist before anarchy was cool, and able to argue for Christian “anarchism”, as we’d understand it today, before such a term had come into use.  He argued that Christians should not participate in the matters of state because they were corrupting.  Which is an interesting perspective on anarchism, especially considering the extent to which he predates class-struggle anarchism and the society within which he lived.

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