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14

LostYonder wrote

The fact that you qualify religion with "organized" expresses something very different than just religion. Organized implies some type of institutional structure. For me the "organized" part is inherently contradictory to my anarchist beliefs and aspirations. But religion, implying religious beliefs and acts of piety, are not necessarily counter to being anarchist.

I personally reject the priestly class and those who transform religions into political ideologies, who employ religion to reproduce their power or make claims to power, and who impose religious ideas on others in order to try and pacify them.

Religions are inherently dialogical discursive fields - they are multiple, they evolve and change, they borrow from different religious traditions, they can be differently interpreted. Though many internal to a religious tradition tend to assert fixity and boundaries around their interpretation, they ultimately are only one of many different paths that make similar Truth claims.

Recognizing the inherently multiplicity of any religion (and thus also why "organized religion" is so problematic as it is predicated on an attempt to assert a singular vision of religion) allows for one to find both that which should be rejected as well as that which can be celebrated in supporting true, anarchist, aspirations of justice, equity, and dignity.

If one really looked theologically at the early teachings of Jesus (and try to see beyond the biases of his interpreters that are enshrined in the Bible - that were all selected to be in the Bible several hundred years after Jesus by the rulers of an empire) as well as with Muhammad (whose values and aspirations for the early Muslims were similarly corrupted by the rise of an Arab empire soon after his death) and those of Buddha (again, prior to their corruption by the dictates of state/empire and the institutionalization of a special priestly class) one will find values of communitarianism, equal justice for all, respect and dignity despite differences, and other worthy, anarchist, values.

Do we require religion to have those values? Absolutely not. But it does mean that they are not necessarily contradictory, nor that one cannot find strength and guidance in religious beliefs to strengthen one's own anarchist convictions.

It would be very easy to trace out anarchist values and practices among religious believers in their everyday lives as well as in extraordinary events throughout history. Some people do draw upon religious ideas to guide and inform anarchist practices.

But as soon as they become "organized" it implies some are the holders of those values while others must be taught and policed and then religion becomes corrupted and devoid of its humanistic possibilities.

1

amongstclouds wrote

Yes, you said pretty much everything I was going to say.

1

amongstclouds wrote (edited )

I hope the person downvoting actually says something. I would enjoy a discussion of these ideas. <3

6

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Can we get a bit of clarity on what 'organised' means?

If it means rigid and/or hierarchical, then no.

But anarchists can organise fluidly and horizontally, so I assume they can do the same with their spiritual beliefs.

4

chaos wrote

I think the current usage of 'organized religion' is very top-down in nature. If the nature of organized religion can be changed, then that's certainly worth talking about.

5

DissidentRage wrote (edited )

It's not at all, because at the very least it has a very shoddy historical track record with abuse of people and acting as an organ of bourgeois interests (i.e. the FIrst Estate). Principally, any hierarchically organized religion is either going to stymie or counteract any revolutionary actions, because the power structure will try to memetically spread to other aspects of life.

2

selver wrote

Yes. Death of God theology and occultism are cool, and I think they can be practiced in a way consistent with anarchism.

2

Cosmicsloth42 wrote

Yeah sure, as long as they are voluntary and don't do anything directly immoral I'm all for it.

1

marx wrote

The vast majority of traditional religions are ridiculously problematic in an innumerable amount of ways. Anybody trying to reconcile them with radical politics is just deluding themselves.

1

Somewhat_marxist_leninist wrote

Not essentially with my politics, but with my beliefs. I'm an Atheist, and while I can think what I want, I don't believe at all in God or religion. I believe in science as a principle for life and our development.

-2

[deleted] wrote

9

LostYonder wrote

You are reproducing a very stereotypical depiction of a god that is anthropomorphized in order to critique the idea. God is variably understood and not always as an entity that stands above, but many see ideas of god as a force within us, that opens up our hearts to the humanity in others. Yes, some do reduce god to an object, a thing, then place "Him" on a pedestal above human kind, but that is not the sole understanding of god, at least not in the three Abrahamic faiths.

3

jadedctrl wrote

I'm not an anarchist, but I thought anarchism was about fighting unjust hierarchy, not all hierarchy. If you were religious, the hierarchy wouldn't seem very unjust.
(I'm probably wrong, though-- I need to read up more on anarchism!)

3

Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

That's a thing more liberal 'anarchists' generally say, or a rhetorical move to appeal to liberals, afaik.

If you were religious, the hierarchy wouldn't seem very unjust.

replace key terms and you get
"if you were statist, the state wouldn't seem very unjust"
"if you were capitalist, capitalism wouldn't seem very unjust"
Which should hopefully make it clear that this approach does not apply.

Anarchists are against all systemic/structural hierarchy. With regards to religion, this usually amounts at least to an anti-clericalism (as part of the same move against political mediation that is found in the critique of politicians and mediation by any 'experts'), and a rejection of any transcendent spiritual entity's ability to determine our lives or ethics.