anarchism

When Christians engage with the political arrangements of the world, be it communism, socialism, capitalist republics, they have often claimed that their political option is the Christian one, and demonized other arrangements. This is the nature of politics, to divide and conquer. Beyond this, when Christians engage in politics they often sell out the Gospels, particularly on the issue of violence. They claim that Jesus did not mean for politicians to love their enemies, only the average person, and even the average person does not have to do so under some circumstances. We believe this approach to politics gives too much to the nation-state and is not distinctively Christian. Following Jesus is not a vocation or something one does in one’s spare time. It is a total life commitment. If we are to engage in politics, we must do so as Christians, but without baptizing the political order or trying to make it Christian.

This is where anarchism may come in for Christians. Without claiming that anarchism is Christian or that one has to be an anarchist to be Christian, we claim that if Christians are to engage with the world, the best available option is anarchism because it opens up space for Christians to engage without selling out their primary allegiances and core commitments, especially to peacemaking and nonviolence. Yet violence is not the only issue at stake in politics. All governments operate on a model of ruling over people. But the Gospels claim that Christians should model Jesus’ suffering servanthood. These are fundamentally incompatible outlooks. Anarchism, at its best, is a commitment to systematically critiquing all structures that place one person or group in a position to dominate others or creation. So anarchism, as a political philosophy holds some promise for Christians because the two share a commitment to critiquing the power structures and working towards a more level playing field.

On this section of the Jesus Radicals website you can explore different issues that anarchism brings to fore. In each section is a brief description followed by some further reading. Many of the sections have video clips as well.

So if you are tired of Christians welding their faith and politics in such a way as to be unfaithful to the life and example of Jesus, yet feel that as a Christian you should care about your neighbor and find ways to address the pertinent issues of our time, we encourage you to explore this section and the resources here. We guarantee you will learn a lot.