And it creates an artificial system which "eliminates or subordinates the natural world. As people begin to question the value of learning ancient languages and history, they question those things which, on the surface, do little to advance their financial and technical state. According to Ellul, this misplaced emphasis is one of the problems with modern education, as it produces a situation in which immense stress is placed on information in our schools. The focus in those schools is to prepare young people to enter the world of information, to be able to work with computers but knowing only their reasoning, their language, their combinations, and the connections between them.
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He discusses nonviolence and nonvoting and devotes quite a bit of time toward demonstrating that Jesus and the early Christians did not support political powers and hierarchies.
His intent is not to convert anarchists to Christianity or Christians to anarchy, but just to demonstrate that the two beliefs can be held simultaneously without self-contradiction. The faith handed to me in my youth was closely associated with the political right. I could not comprehend how a professing Christian could be anything but Republican. As a young adult in Chicago, I grew uncomfortable with Republican hypocrisies, and because of my involvement with the right as a publicist, I lost my faith.
Disinterested in legislating morality and skeptical of politics in general, I shifted to Libertarianism. But ten years ago, I followed my renewed Sabbath Book 13 for But ten years ago, I followed my renewed faith into lives that are oppressed and dehumanized by the right and by market forces, and although my past mistakes kept me from adopting any firm ideology, I began leaning toward liberalism in its contemporary sense. In the meantime, I developed significant friendships with anarchists, and often found myself in agreement with their perspectives.
In the latest election, I was disgusted by the manipulations and appeals aimed at Christians by the Democratic party. I also felt a deep unease at corruptions within the party and its inevitably deep ties with the kinds of power it purports to resist or control. Despite my activity on local and national issues I demonstrate and I interview people I admire for a podcast and I have the numbers of all my local and national officials in my phone , I am deeply unsatisfied with my own understanding of politics.
Which I found a powerful and promising suggestion, regardless of my many disagreements with the steps Ellul takes to get there. Of course, the primary problem, outside of deep-set and unquestioned antipathy between anarchists and Christians, is the fact that both terms are large umbrellas with numerous offshoots, deep internal disagreements, and varying dogmas.
So Ellul does what he can. He defines the sort of anarchy he finds relevant to the conversation the non-violent kind, which I find non-negotiable in light of the Gospels and appropriately explores the Christian scriptures to discern the views of Christ and his early followers. He states that his aim is just to show that of the available political positions, anarchism best aligns with Christianity.
Ellul avoids many difficulties by limiting his scope. He does not hope to make anarchists into Christians or Christians into anarchists. He does not play out the conversation, but merely suggests that one should take place. His case, especially from the Hebrew Scriptures and the life of Jesus, is compelling. He demonstrates, however briefly, how the early church followed this example until it was corrupted by alliances with those powers.
His work with other New Testament writers is more challenging for me. I find his interpretation of Romans 13 a chapter I find very difficult in view of what surrounds it unsatisfying.
I look forward to further explorations. I give it high praise because of the lines of thinking it provokes for me.
Anarchy and Christianity