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Nathan Schneider, religion, radicalism, and anarchism

October 16th, 2013 · No Comments

I have examined with interest the anarchist strain of the OWS made clear in the wake of the movement. I have been critical of that strain, and may take up the issue with an Amazon review, with respect to Nathan Schneider’s and Mark Bray’s books on the subject …
But I was surprised to learn that Nathan Schneider, one of the hidden ‘non-leaders’ of the OWS movement, is apparently also a Jewish (?) convert to Xtianity who has also entered the genre of theistic demonstration: 10 Proofs That Will Change How You Think About God .

One reason I cavil the new atheism is the vastness of the theological terrain of theism, and the inability of narrow atheism to even pose the problem with theism. After Kant few philosophers have taken seriously the genre of proofs, but a genuine dialectic stalks the question, as an examination of Kantian antinomies will suggest: either there is a beginning in time, or there is no beginning in time…The inability to resolve this question, and physics seems to have not yet resolved it, makes proto-theism (and atheism) permanent, with a related antinomy. The physics issue has no inherent relationship to a theistic question, or is that false? Whatever the case, the question of existence versus ‘being’, which arises in relation to this antinomy (although the notion of being beyond space and time would be rejected by physicists), makes nonsense of much discussion of the existence of god, unless you allow a form of god in existence!
Schneider’s essay shows at once some of the diversity of the question, and also demonstrates the way that atheism can but wipe the slate clean for new thinking on the question. The legacy religions have left the whole question too burdened with confused thinking to be sustainable in their current form.

To me the strain of anarchism is a failure and suspiciously filled with some kind of self-contained means of self-defeat. At that point a radical theist must be sure his leaderless movement of anarchism is not being covertly ‘led’ by oppressive spiritual powers who wish to cripple radical lefts. Look at the legacy of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff in the Russian revolution!
The extremes of Bolshevism actually fed their power. But that power is malevolent, and we can see Ouspensky preaching the law of caste in the Hindu claptrap about the spirituality of class division, and Gurdjieff’s remarkable inability to grasp even the reality of the abolition movement.
A Catholic here must obviously make himself clearly understood. Caatholicism did not support the modern democratic revolutions, and has been consistenlty reactionary.
I wrote a long series of posts here about a ‘communist Xtianity’ with a reference even to the Catholic branch, on the grounds that Catholicism is at a precipice and could simply disappear. It was my thought that a super-radical new Catholicism could promoate a communist future. Not much chance of that, but the gesture on my part was illuminating to me, at least.
Such spiritual powers meddling in reactionary politics do exist, and as the case of Gurdjieff and reactionary sufism make clear and can adopt the appearance of Xtian injunctions, spurious, and not the possessors of that religion, unless it be demonic possession. That the real McCoy is uncomfortably ultra-radical is clear from the hints dropped by Jesus in his discourses. Moral: Jesus/
christ has no control over his own church! That revolutionary Quakers fought the bloody revolution of the English Civil War seems remote to us now in an age of Bible Belt idiocy claiming the name of Christ.
Not for nothing did the early left after 1848 enter the ranks of the new atheism of the positivist age. I think that narrow brand has equally crippled the left.
In any case, spiritual powers supporting the left, and I mean a revolutionary left, are very real, seen in retrospect, but we have no means of contacting such powers. We should be wary of both theistic and/or atheistic dogmas taken to support radical activism. You may as well as any conservative invoke the ‘Christ’ to support a revolutionary movement, even one without a Gandhian foundation. You had best know what you are doing if you do that. But you can at least free yourself from the theological junk religion so rife in the Protestant wasteland of modernity, and the American Bible Belt. But, you what? you might be better off skipping that, nonetheless free in you own mind of the conservative claptrap that haunts the captured Xtianity of the a reactionary social system.
In any case, the burden on radical theist is considerable, that of not placing a crypto-reactionary brake on change, something the suspicious ineffectual anarchism of the OWS seems to do. Fair or not.

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