We here continue our response to Jim Davies article “Christian Anarchist”: An Oxymoron?. Davies contrasts his idea that God has created a divine hierarchy with the idea that in contrast, nobody tells a real anarchist what to do, that the anarchist is his own self-owner.
Actually, God gives to all free choice; He will not force others to live according to His moral code. He sends rain and sunlight, gives air to breath, to the evil and to the righteous. In the end, yes, there is a judgment. And even before the end, bad behavior has its inevitable consequence, much of it in the here and now. Remember too, that as God is the Creator, He has “homesteaded” the earth, and added His labor to it (making it out of nothing). He is within His rights to determine what goes on here. And yet, at present He is permitting the two demonstrations, one of evil and one of righteousness, in order to persuade men that selflessness is superior to selfishness. He has granted time so that we may learn that this is the most just means of ordering the universe so that numerous beings having free will may live side-by-side in liberty in it for eternity.
While God shows us the best way, and even commands it in His Ten Commandment law, He does not loom above us sending instant fatal thunderbolts of wrath. Rather, He gives us space to try the different options and change direction as we grow. No Being is more gentle and gives more liberty than God.
In any case, Davies affirms that the anarchist is a self-owner. Here he is mistaken. From the perspective of the Christian worldview, he is not. Men come into being as an act of creation, and just as a human parent sees her children as her own, God sees the men He has made as His own. What’s more, we belong to God twice over, for not only has He made us, but He has bought us back from the result of our immoral behavior. Jesus not only offered a realistic example of how we are to live in this world, but He died on the cross in a broader-ranging plan to deal with human sin.
An anarchist-ordered world is not a world where immorality is not possible. Theft, violence, and other kinds of crime are just as possible in such a world as they are in the statist variety.
As a result of the Fall of man, each human being begins life with a distorted nature over which he finds it very difficult to exercise proper self-control. He develops in himself a bondage to the lower principles of his nature. God offers him true liberty, strength for self-mastery. God is the source of liberty for damaged man—if he will take Him up on it.
We recognize here that we are talking about CHRISTIAN anarchism, not mere anarchism. Christianity makes certain assertions about human nature which include a mixture of positive and negative elements. Anarchism as some conceive it is seen as naive, in that it takes a too-optimistic view of human nature.
While man is not a self-owner from the Christian perspective, God treats him much as if he were. As for no one telling me what to do, if I were about to eat a poisonous plant, and my neighbor saw what was happening and ran over onto my property yelling, “Don’t eat that!” I would be grateful rather than angry. He is not telling me what to do, he is warning me for my own benefit. Besides, he may appreciate the ordered and friendly, albeit imperfect life of his Christian anarchist neighbor, and would rather not see me replaced with a supporter of state coercion.
God gives excellent advice. There is a way that leads to life and one that leads to death. I am pleased that He loves me enough to tell me and to freely offer help. The Christian anarchist recognizes that it is as if he is free, but he also sees himself, not as an independent atom, but as one person within the broader community of humanity. He treasures the good will of others.
Next, in part 5 we consider Davies’ further argument, that God forces us to worship Him and that anarchism is based on reason while Christianity is based on faith.