From the earliest days of my activism way back in the 70's I realized that Christianity as it has been propagated and promoted has very little to do with the actual life and events of the one called Jesus and the followers who were called Christians. Jesus was a religious and political threat, both to the Jewish ruing class and the emerging Roman Empire. The crucifixion was the method used by the Romans to punish rebels and heretics (those who refused to worship Caesar as a god). The Romans effectively used rhetoric and propaganda to convince people of their rightness and also attempt to shift blame to someone else. So Pilate told the Jewish authority to try Jesus, and when this failed, he turned to the people and told them Roman Law permitted one offender to be released in exchange of another. Who did the people want executed, Jesus or Barabbas? Well obviously, on the surface then - the Jewish people and the the authority could now be blamed for the execution and death of Jesus, Rome was satisfied and their idea of justice was carried out. This man Jesus will not be threat, and his followers will scatter.
Well it didn't work out that way, as it did for other popular leaders before Jesus. There had been many, including Barabbas who a 'terrorist' belonging to a sect of assassins called the daggers. It is interesting to note that Barabbas, meant 'Son of the Rabbi', hinting at the fact that he was of the Rabbinical line, while Jesus was Nazarene, of whom was a minority and could be considered 'from Palestine, as Nazr was a part of then Palestine. Anyways, these people were looked down upon, mistrusted and generally considered inferior to the Jewish race. No doubt, this Jesus was Jewish in origin, and the writers of the Gospels made special note of his lineage through Mary and Joseph. The Jesus people or followers, they were not called Christians, except as a derogatory term and were outcasts and was forced to live underground, as they were considered rebels against Rome, and the Jewish authorities did not want to make trouble with Rome. But they continued to grow, and to spread beyond the borders of Israel through the Middle east, Greece, Rome and even as far as Africa and India.
So for me, being a Christian also means being a rebel against authority and the State. hence it is part of my belief to be an anarchist. So as to be consistent, I cannot support ideological any State, most especially impose a theory of theocracy upon the secular State. Fundamentalists of any religion, who believe in the primacy of God, also attempt to force theocracy upon the whole culture. I refuse to believe that Jesus advocated this idea. For he taught 'the kingdom of God is within, and the Kingdom of God is already in your midst. if there is to be any kind of theocracy, this between you and God, in your heart and in the relationship you have with this personal God, and it is insanity to think that this relationship can forcefully be imposed upon the State. Instead, it is to seek after the Kingdom, which is to have no State control or rule you. hence to be a Christian anarchist.
However it doesn't stop here. My faith is not passive, and it is not confined to what has been called praying in the navel sort of spirituality, whereby you seek God and forget about everything else. This passive type or religion is as dangerous as the ones which seek to establish a theocracy on Earth. We must live as a society, as a community. The question is one of governance and how thte society is to organize itself. The early underground 'Church' was communal and socialist, and being poor, defending the poor. as well. They were all workers as well. They had trade and vocations, not as we define the worker today, but they worked with their hands. However rather than having 'lords or masters, they all shard equally what they made. In this underground, no one was left needy and all supported each other. It was what todays Marxists call primitive communism. But another term that I prefer is Anarchic-Socialist or the term Mutualists (as it was called by Peter Kropotkin). It is not primitive, as Jesus calls us to love one another, and some historians like Josephus were astonished enough to make note that these Christians surely loved one another. Tis love is a radical way of life and does not really leave much room for an individualistic interpretation of loving others when it is convenient or as a one to one gesture, as evidenced of the way the community lived in the beginning, so should we if we claim to be a following of Jesus. Certainly there is th dimension of personal-ism, that is we give to each other as real living persons, and not as a principle or object, and it is best we do it as a community. The very word 'agape' implies community. Charity within the context of community implies also social justice. The teaching in Matthew 25, where whatsoever you do or not do the poor, the oppressed, the sick, the imprisoned, the naked and scorned is being done to Jesus himself implies a social context, for in it Jesus states the nations shall be gathered at Judgment and be divided base on whether they did or did not do justice.
Politically then then I support an ideology of the Democratic Socialist and do not attempt to impose a false theocracy . Any State under which I am to live will either be a just and compassionate one consistent with my Faith or it will be an unjust State that is inconsistent with my faith. If unjust, then I must oppose it, and support the ideals of one which is consistent with the Gospel values of justice, compassion and community. I cannot accept the notion that Capitalism is such a system. You cannot justify Capitalism with scripture or faith. Capitalism indulges in self gratification, personal gain and the idolatry of wealth, as such it encourages and promotes selfish behavior and is contrary to community and to justice. Hence I am a Democratic Socialist and within the commitment to revolutionary non-violence I will fight for and support this position. And it is my belief, that Democratic Socialism would support mutualist communities, whereas the Capitalists refuse to accept them and even fight wars to prevent them.
November 8 at 7:49am