“Why Are You Not Communist Like Jesus Was?”: Anarchists on Christianity

For some time now I have been thinking about how to open this blog up to allow voices other than my own to be heard.  Recently I ‘reblogged’ a piece from elsewhere for the first time, and soon a series of guest bloggers will be posting on issues close to them.  For this piece though, I asked anarchists what they would say if they could say one thing to Christians.  The following is a collection of comments I received on this from anarchists, many of whom preferred to remain anonymous.  As such, they are varied and some may find parts of this blog offensive.

I’d say go back to the roots of faith, especially Catholics. Everything seems to have gone to hell when the institution of Catholic Church was created and started exploiting people and hoarding wealth, becoming a religious dictatorship. Also, as an atheist, I would like to apologize for New Atheists.
-Mags, UK (originally from Poland)

The first followers of Christ, along with those who were forced to hide their religion by gathering in homes or in the catacombs, formed Christianity as a religion of the oppressed. Later this was co-opted by the higher classes as it became more popular. We must not forget why Jesus flipped the tables in the temple.
-Nina, USA

I would bring up Pascal’s wager. Pascal supposed that even if you didn’t believe in God, everyone should pray and go to church just in case God was real, to avoid the worst case scenario of burning in hell forever.  That’s obviously bogus because God is supposedly omnipotent and can see what’s in your heart and probably wouldn’t appreciate you being so self serving by hedging your bets.  Some Christians often think they don’t have to help make this world a better place because God will fix it all in the end. Please, just hypothetically, consider what happens if you’re wrong. You’ve just left the coming generations to a world worse than your own, if Armageddon never comes, then the consequences of your actions and inactions will leave a lasting impact on the world, indefinitely.  And honestly, God made the world and when Adam and Eve took that for granted he got fucking pissed and murdered them slowly and painfully via the curse of aging. So don’t take divine intervention for granted, don’t take nature for granted, don’t take people for granted.

I would just like that whoever consider themselves Christian would read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation trying to understand, absorb and make sense of it all. Only after doing that I would respect their faith and calling themselves Christians
-Emidio, 35, Italy

I would talk about the demonisation of indigenous faith and spirituality.

Jesus was a communist, plain and simple. He wasn’t exactly an anarchist because he seemed to be supportive of the state. But he absolutely denounced the acquisition of personal wealth on many occasions throughout scripture, and advocated for the poor tirelessly. This is evidenced by his own words, but also the words of his followers and early theologians, and in the economic structure of the early church. This is something contemporary mainstream Christianity largely ignores because it’s deeply entrenched in capitalist thought.

When I talk to Christians about communism, this is always where I start. There is usually a lot of kicking and screaming, but the evidence is overwhelming.  A few examples from scripture: Matthew 10:9-10; Acts 2:42-47; Mark 10:17-27; James 5:1-6; and then of course there’s Zacchaeus, and obviously the cleansing of the temple.
-Philip, 29, USA

Some of my main concerns involve the role of Christianity with capitalism and imperialism. Stay away from third world countries with that missionary fuckshit, don’t assume anything about a BIPOC[1] religion(s), and check each other for that particular Christian brand of doublethink that allows for rampant racism and/or dehumanization of the “Other.”
-JJ, 22, USA

[1] Black people, indigenous people, people of colour

Why are you not communist like Jesus was?
-Molly, 23, UK

I would probably have different words for different sects.  Evangelicals, go back where you came from… Mennonites, it’s a bloody shame you are so reactionary with your women, those cheeses are incredible though.  Maronites, Sabra and Shatila will not be forgotten… Orthodox Roman Catholics, the only thing that comes to mind when I think of you is how you make most of my country a falangist hellhole.  ‪Liberation Theologians, Keep doing what you are doing.
– “Chairman”

Christianity isn’t as threatened as the leaders in the church would like people to know.  I find (and I come from a Muslim home and I’m atheist myself) many Christians really believe they are the underdog and it leads them to do and say things that are really damaging to people outside of the faith.  I should definitely clarify that I’m talking about white American Christians specifically when I say this. I make no sweeping generalizations because when I lived outside the US it wasn’t so pronounced, though that is just my personal experience from earlier in this century, but a lot of the American “war on Christianity” has really become damaging.
-Sarah M, 34, American and Jordanian citizen

As far as I’m concerned all religions are just superstitious nonsense but for me just believe if you must!  Other than that keep it to yourselves and out of public life!  For Christians only, stop knocking on my fucking door!  Where do you get off trying to talk about shit to me?  At least none of the other bunch of religions have the arrogance to come and knock on my door and shove their superstitions in my face! Believe what you want but leave me out of it!
-Anonymous, UK

Don’t try to handwave the serious philosophical differences in different parts of the Bible. Don’t pretend there’s not substantial disagreements about just about every major tenet of orthodox Christianity. Become more comfortable with disagreements. Spend more time understanding how the church’s actions come across to society as a whole.
-Ender, 28, South Korea

The one thing I find most disturbing and worthy of criticism about Christianity is that Jesus of Nazareth is seen as the only incarnation of God – in one or the other way. To my point of view Jesus was a fallible human and not more or less God than any one of us – though he might have been more aware of it than most are.

The second point that annoys me is this theology of crucifixion that is present in almost all Christian denominations in alignment with apostle Paul: That Christ was crucified and resurrected so that everybody who believes in this story in a certain way will be resurrected like he was on the end of days. I cannot understand why believing a certain story should lead you to salvation – and I think by forcing people to believe in this way you only cause mental troubles in them.
-Fuppsi Flappermann, “former orthodox Christian and orthodox Anarchist, now also influenced by Marxism and Zen Buddhism, and I am completely insane”

So many Christians have this idea that they’re oppressed for their christianity.  Please recognize your privilege in relation to other religions.  Also please stop using the term “abrahamic religions” to encompass Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.  There are so many differences between these three religions.
-Anonymous, 17, USA

‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.’ (James 1:22) What does this verse mean to you?  How do we figure out how can become “doers of the word”?  Do we turn to the Bible, a minister, a dogma, or another form of religious authority?  Do you think that we have the capacity to ultimately know how to live accordingly to our faith – and the capacity to not only know it, but also do it?
-Antonia, 25, Germany

Regardless of your beliefs about the divine, there is no one path to it.  As someone who grew up conservative Christian and bounced from church to church: there is no infallible church institution.  Humans are imperfect.  So I’m more concerned with whether someone’s faith drives them to be compassionate and couragious in the face of injustice than I am in what or who they believe in.  I also absolutely disagree with Christians who believe that salvation is achieved through faith alone and NOT good works.  Good works are the hallmark of any sort of virtuous self.
-Anonymous, USA

Early Christians were nothing like contemporary Christianity. The Christianity of today is a marriage between the mystery cult of Jesus and temple worship practices neither of which originally believed Jesus to be an earthly being.

Just use the teachings of Yeshua as analogs to Anarchism.  You could make worksheets where you list the tenets of various political belief systems without labels and have people match an excerpt from the Gospels with the system they feel it best fits.  Then you hand them the same worksheet with the labels added.  Many will instantly backpeddle and retreat to the dark side of cognitive dissonance, but there’s a chance of getting through.
-Shiloh, 32, OKC, USA 

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