“A warm welcome to Zingcreed, the Christian/anarchist blog written by a retired science teacher in North London. One of Zingcreed’s themes is the convergence of Christianity and socialism in its various manifestations. This piece comes from one of the nineteenth century founders of the anarchist movement : Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon is probably best known for the saying “Property is theft”, and while he had no time for the church, he had plenty of positive things to say about Jesus. It’s a pity that more Christians don’t understand Jesus’ teachings as well as he did! This quote came my way at the European Christian Anarchist Conference in Hertfordshire in June 2016.
Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.”
“… [a man] calling himself the Word of God … went proclaiming everywhere that the end of society was at hand, that the world was going to be renewed; that the priests were vipers, the lawyers ignorant, and the philosophers hypocrites and liars; that the master and slave were equals, that usury and everything that resembled it was theft, that proprietors and idlers would one day burn, while the poor and pure in heart would find a haven for peace. And he added many other things no less extraordinary. This man — the Word of God — was denounced and arrested as a public enemy by the priests and lawyers, who well understood how to induce the people to demand his death. But this judicial murder, while it put the finishing stroke to their crimes, did not destroy the doctrinal seed which the Word of God had sown. After him, his original disciples traveled in all directions, preaching what they called the “good news”, creating in their turn millions of missionaries and, when their task seemed to be accomplished, dying by the sword of Roman justice. This persistent propaganda, a war between executioners and martyrs, lasted nearly three centuries, ending in the conversion of the world. Idolatry was destroyed, slavery abolished, dissolution replaced by a more austere morality, and the contempt for wealth was sometimes pushed almost to deprivation. Society was saved by the negation of its own principles, by a revolution of religion, and by violation of it’s most sacred rights … The idea of justice acquired in this revolution spread to an extent that had not before been dreamed of, never to return to its original limits. Before, justice had existed only for the masters, afterwards it began to exist for the slaves as well. Nevertheless this new religion had not yet produced all of its fruits. There was certain improvement in the public morals and relaxing of oppression, but otherwise the seeds sown by the Son of Man, having fallen into idolatrous hearts, had yielded only a quasi-poetical mythology and innumerable conflicts. Instead of applying themselves to the practical consequences of the principles of morality and government taught by the Word of God, his followers concerned themselves with speculations about his birth, his origin, his person, and his actions; they discussed his parables; and from the conflict of the most extravagant opinions upon unanswerable questions and texts which no one understood was born theology.” Joseph Pierre Proudhon
Source: Thanks to Martin King of Hull who passed this quote on to me at the European Christian Anarchist Conference in June 2016. He says “Sadly I don’t have a source for this other than I saw it on a Christian Anarchist Facebook group a while ago.”