Essay on Christianity, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Shelley’s Jesus

dsc_5247

Shelley is often thought of as an atheist, the author of the celebrated pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism, for which he was promptly expelled from Oxford. In fact, the pamphlet did not advocate atheism as such but rather argued for its decriminalisation – a philosophical nicety sadly lost on the Oxford authorities. Moreover, Shelley himself at the time was if anything a Deist, as were most progressive eighteenth-century radicals – his letters from this period are filled with arguments trying to find a rational basis for belief in God.

Read More

Advertisements

Anarchism and William Blake’s Idea of Jesus, by Christopher Z. Hobson

How to create and live in a free society

blake-A1

The English poet and painter William Blake (1757-1827) left a body of breathtaking art and stirring, sometimes obscure poetry, much of it concerned with religion and much with the revolutionary struggles of his time—the American and French revolutions, the British radical movement of the 1790s, and later, the growing British labour and constitutional movement in the years 1810-1820. Blake’s major poems—which are also beautiful artworks incorporating his own illustrations—include those collected in Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789-1794); short narrative works like The Book of Urizen, America a Prophecy, and Europe a Prophecy, all written in the 1790s; and three long, complex narrative poems, The Four Zoas (1797-1807), Milton (1804-1818), and Jerusalem (1804-1820). This article is about Blake’s idea of Jesus and its relation to revolutionary anarchism.

Read More

Jesus and Nonviolent Resistance (Mental Fight)

Love your Enemies

police-kiss_2765048b

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. [Matt v: 38-48]

Commentary by Marcus J. Borg

There is a habitual conventual way of reading this chapter of sayings as commending passive acceptance of wrongdoing: don’t resist somebody who beats you; go the extra mile; don’t insist on your own rights. Colloquially, be a doormat – let people walk all over you. Moreover, it has most commonly been understood to refer to personal relationships, not to the political realm. Most Christians have not thought of this passage as prohibiting participation in war or capital punishment. Official violence is okay. But all of this is a misunderstanding of the passage whose effect is to domesticate it politically. The powers that be are pleased with the doormat reading.

Read more ➵