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Thread: Convince Me: anarchy is a legitimate political position for a Christian

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    Child of the One True King Raphael's Avatar
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    Convince Me: anarchy is a legitimate political position for a Christian

    DISCLAIMER

    1. this is not to even remotely suggest Christians who hold to a political position of anarchy are not Christians
    2. This is not a discussion about Left/Right Liberal/Conservative Republican/Democrat. I'm really not interested in American politics, especially not in this thread. People dragging the conversation in those directions will be asked to leave.
    3. Although asking about Christians and Anarchy, this thread is open to non-Christians to participate in.



    Now to start with, I am a Monarchist. I support the type of government New Zealand currently enjoys, namely a constitutional monarchy. I am not asking you to convince me that Anarchy is a better/worse political position than mine (or better/worse system than democracy etc.).

    What I would like is for you to convince me that Anarchy is a legitimate political position for a Christian to take. (at least some of your reasoning needs to be tied to the Bible in some manner)
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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    I feel like 'anarchy' is one of the most misunderstood and ill-defined terms in politics. Can you explain what you are referring to by 'anarchy' here?

    e.g. Professor Noam Chomsky, one of today's most-famous self-described anarchists describes it as:
    "Anarchism is, in my view, basically a kind of tendency in human thought which shows up in different forms in different circumstances, and has some leading characteristics. Primarily it is a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy. It seeks structures of hierarchy and domination in human life over the whole range, extending from, say, patriarchal families to, say, imperial systems, and it asks whether those systems are justified. It assumes that the burden of proof for anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them. Their authority is not self-justifying. They have to give a reason for it, a justification. And if they can’t justify that authority and power and control, which is the usual case, then the authority ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just. And, as I understand it, anarchy is just that tendency. It takes different forms at different times."


    But the dictionary offers some definitions synonymous with chaos, e.g. "noun: anarchy 1. a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority".

    Wiki offers:
    Anarchy is the condition of a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. The word originally meant leaderlessness, but in 1840 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his treatise What Is Property? to refer to a new political philosophy: anarchism, which advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations


    I see some quite big differences in those definitions. For example, a democracy isn't 'stateless' but it is anarchic in the sense of non-hierarchical.

    I'm also a tad curious as to why you see the monarchy as being so relevant to New Zealand...? If the monarchy vanished tomorrow it would make a negligible difference to us - the monarchy has zero effect in practice on the operations of our democratic government. (I would describe the function of the monarchy in NZ as 'a convenient legal fiction' - we could equally make a giraffe at the zoo the head of state, and it could perform all the same functions.)

    In the bible as far as political structures go... In the OT God seems to prefer working through divinely appointed "judges" and the switch to monarchy only occurs because the populace demands it and God reluctantly goes along with it. In the NT there's tepid endorsement of Caesar. Jesus' description of the Kingdom of God involve a lot of hierarchy-reversals (e.g. "first shall be last and the last shall be first", "the greatest among you will be the servant of all") which looks pretty anarchic (in the sense of undoing hierarchies) on its face. In Acts the early Christians form a Commune, which seems to endorse that understanding of Jesus's language as being at least somewhat about political and economic equality. So overall, I would say the bible would seem to endorse human anarchic political structures, certainly as compared to monarchy which it's not always the biggest fan of.

  3. Amen Magenta amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Darth Executor's Avatar
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    chomsky's view is obviously incompatible with virtually all known forms of theism. God is (accurately) described as authoritarian by most atheists, Starlight's delusions that God was a liberal, built on whackjob liberal theology notwithstanding.
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

    There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

  5. Amen Mountain Man, Raphael amen'd this post.
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    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
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    I am a government skeptic. I believe most governments make choices that violate the spirit of Scripture, so I don't think it is possible to have a "Christian" government. Thus, anarchism would be no more or less permissible than any other form of government--so long as it doesn't violate key spiritual concepts. The problem I have with limited government (if we're using anarchism=some form of Libertarianism) is that fit more easily allows certain abuses to flourish that are anathema to God--abuse of the poor, violations of proper treatment of the land, etc. The problem I have with egalitarian schemes (if we're using anarchism=collectivism) is that they usually are egalitarian is name only, and again, depending on the most powerful and charismatic members of the collective for righteous conduct leads to abuse.

    The variety of political systems in the Bible indicates to me that God cares less about human governance than he does about proper human conduct. One can no doubt be a righteous anarchist, a righteous monarchist, a righteous citizen in an authoritarian society...whatever. The only system that I think the Bible would take issue with is Non-Biblical religious authoritarianism.

    fwiw,
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  8. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
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    tWebber TheWall's Avatar
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    I believe the role of government is to administer justice, enact laws, and provide defense fpr our rights. I do npt think we should or really can have government control everything in our lives, nor do I believe that humans have no use for society or heirarchy.

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    Child of the One True King Raphael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I feel like 'anarchy' is one of the most misunderstood and ill-defined terms in politics. Can you explain what you are referring to by 'anarchy' here?
    Probably the closest to the term I'm meaning is that used by former TWeb owner Dizzle who is a member of the Libertarian party in the US who is also an anarchist.

    for the purposes of this discussion we will go with the rather broad definition from here:
    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism

    Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions. These are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful.

    While opposition to the state is central, anarchism specifically entails opposing authority or hierarchical organisation in the conduct of all human relations. Anarchism is usually considered a far-left ideology and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflects anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism or participatory economics.

    Anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular world view, instead fluxing and flowing as a philosophy. Many types and traditions of anarchism exist, not all of which are mutually exclusive. Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    e.g. Professor Noam Chomsky, one of today's most-famous self-described anarchists describes it as:
    "Anarchism is, in my view, basically a kind of tendency in human thought which shows up in different forms in different circumstances, and has some leading characteristics. Primarily it is a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy. It seeks structures of hierarchy and domination in human life over the whole range, extending from, say, patriarchal families to, say, imperial systems, and it asks whether those systems are justified. It assumes that the burden of proof for anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them. Their authority is not self-justifying. They have to give a reason for it, a justification. And if they can’t justify that authority and power and control, which is the usual case, then the authority ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just. And, as I understand it, anarchy is just that tendency. It takes different forms at different times."


    But the dictionary offers some definitions synonymous with chaos, e.g. "noun: anarchy 1. a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority".

    Wiki offers:
    Anarchy is the condition of a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. The word originally meant leaderlessness, but in 1840 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his treatise What Is Property? to refer to a new political philosophy: anarchism, which advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations


    I see some quite big differences in those definitions.
    Anarchism is a "broad church" and I do find it amusing that the wind ranging definitions are somewhat anarchic in themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    For example, a democracy isn't 'stateless' but it is anarchic in the sense of non-hierarchical.
    I think that often democracy is a term used to the point where it looses a lot of meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I'm also a tad curious as to why you see the monarchy as being so relevant to New Zealand...? If the monarchy vanished tomorrow it would make a negligible difference to us - the monarchy has zero effect in practice on the operations of our democratic government. (I would describe the function of the monarchy in NZ as 'a convenient legal fiction' - we could equally make a giraffe at the zoo the head of state, and it could perform all the same functions.)
    I will start a new thread discussing that at some point in the future (don't have time at the moment for a separate topic, and I don't want this thread cluttered with it)

    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    In the bible as far as political structures go... In the OT God seems to prefer working through divinely appointed "judges" and the switch to monarchy only occurs because the populace demands it and God reluctantly goes along with it. In the NT there's tepid endorsement of Caesar. Jesus' description of the Kingdom of God involve a lot of hierarchy-reversals (e.g. "first shall be last and the last shall be first", "the greatest among you will be the servant of all") which looks pretty anarchic (in the sense of undoing hierarchies) on its face. In Acts the early Christians form a Commune, which seems to endorse that understanding of Jesus's language as being at least somewhat about political and economic equality. So overall, I would say the bible would seem to endorse human anarchic political structures, certainly as compared to monarchy which it's not always the biggest fan of.
    thank-you for this, I will work on my reply to it.
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    "...he [Doherty] is no historian and he is not even conversant with the historical discussions of the very matters he wants to pontificate on."
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raphael View Post
    I think that often democracy is a term used to the point where it looses a lot of meaning
    Especially when it is used to refer to a representative Republic.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post
    chomsky's view is obviously incompatible with virtually all known forms of theism. God is (accurately) described as authoritarian by most atheists,
    Chomsky's view is accepting of any authority that can be rationally justified. He simply views hierarchies and authorities as needing to be justified and as not self justifying. Are you asserting God's authority is unjustifiable?

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    tWebber firstfloor's Avatar
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    Government of the people by the people is a popular myth. First, you have to notice when you are being taken advantage of. The governing classes through ownership of the media and other institutions control your thoughts – to make you think all is well, or at least, the politicians are on the case to fix things. In fact, it’s not all well, and they're not on the case. What they are doing is stuffing their own pockets as fast as they can before they get kicked out. Public service is for wimps, they say.

    The only answer is rebellion on a grand scale. Take your country back. Nationalise everything. Pay no compensation.

    If Jesus were alive now, he would lead the charge against the White House and cut off Trump’s ridiculous hairdo.

    Is that convincing enough?
    “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
    “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott
    “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell

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