I have written elsewhere about the fundamental principles of self-organized societies (i.e., ordered anarchies) resting on each member's power to follow their own conscience, subject to respecting reciprocal rights of others. This is easily extended to imagining a self-organized society in which each person adheres to the most moral rules they can perceive, subject to treating fellow members as they themselves would like to be treated under similar circumstances.
In other words, orderly anarchy can be achieved by each member single-heartedly esteeming the highest morality they can perceive that is consistent with loving their neighbors as themselves. The moral principles of at least one form of anarchy can be equated to the two highest laws articulated by Jesus of Nazareth: Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself. Religion is inescapably involved in this discussion. Is this equation of ideal self-organizing society to the Gospel blasphemous? If you believe it might be, I beg your forgiveness. As for me, it is self-evident that self-organizing society based on principled reciprocity in love is a manifestation of the gospel of Christ. It is consistent with it. It is not the exclusive manifestation, nor is it a denial of faith in other matters.
It is hard to see how this conclusion could be wrong. Is not the second rule - love your neighbor as yourself - framed in exactly the same words as used by Jesus of Nazareth? As he said: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." How could those who follow his highest rules be considered as other than his disciples? The difference is in the first rule - follow your highest lights not Yahweh your God. But could these be different? If your highest lights lead you astray from your God, then you are not a believer. You would be breaking the commandment by following what you do not believe. If you do not believe in God, but agree on the proper moral order of society with those who do, then what really is the difference, in the social sense? An anarchy that fulfills natural law consistent with reciprocity is also consistent with the Gospel, insofar as social life goes.
What if all the members of a self-organizing society were atheists or other non-believers, but otherwise followed the greatest two commandments? Could such a society be Christian? In a sense, yes, because it is following Christ's highest laws. As he said, if you love me, keep my commandments. Such a society might contain a mixture of believers and non-believers, without doctrinal litmus tests beyond the first two commandments. Those of different faiths would get along peacefully, following natural law with love and passion, and loving each other. On matters of faith that cannot be scientifically tested or debated, they would be as children, without power to aggressively enforce any doctrine on another.
What about believe in me, and have eternal life? Or abide in me? Eat my body and blood? Such words are matters for faith or disbelief, concerning the message and meaning of the Christ, and of life itself. The words are not debased by being but some of the colorful threads in a social tapestry bound by adoration of objective morality. Far from it. It is in such a society that the threads would be free to fulfill their highest destiny on Earth: the unwavering manifestation of transcendent love in a society of equal persons.
* * *
Photo credit to Jonathan "iceninejon"
Some rights reserved under Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)