4 major religions with anarchist roots

Surprisingly, many of the world's most popular religions have a lot to do with anarchy.

  • Anarchists aren't typically portrayed as particularly religious; instead, we think of them as violent anti-authoritarians.
  • While many modern anarchists rankle at today's religious organizations, the elements of these faiths often express a lot of ideas that anarchists express as well.
  • Here are 4 major religions and how they connect back to anarchy.
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Islam spread through the Christian world via the bedroom

Unions between Muslims and non-Muslims played a huge part in the expansion of Islam.

A Pakistani Muslim prays at an illuminated mosque in connection with Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, in Karachi on November 20, 2018. Photo: ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

There are few transformations in world history more profound than the conversion of the peoples of the Middle East to Islam. Starting in the early Middle Ages, the process stretched across centuries and was influenced by factors as varied as conquest, diplomacy, conviction, self-interest and coercion. There is one factor, however, that is largely forgotten but which played a fundamental role in the emergence of a distinctively Islamic society: mixed unions between Muslims and non-Muslims.

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Valentine’s Day: A watered-down pagan Lupercalia

Romans didn't do festivals half-way.

Image source: Public Domain / Wikimedia
  • Modern Valentine's Day is a far more restrained version of the pagan holiday it replaced.
  • During Lupercalia, Romans got naked, drunk, and there was whipping involved.
  • Romantic cards? How about simulated penetration?
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Would Jesus have wanted Christianity?

Jesus wasn't about promoting divisiveness.

  • The reason it's hard to love our "neighbor" is because, from an evolutionary standpoint, people outside of our groups have always been suspected as possible threats.
  • The way to love "others" is by engaging with them long enough that we begin to see, in them, ourselves. That is, we see our own struggles and challenges reflected back.
  • Bell believes that the "last thing" Jesus wanted to do was found a religion that would divide humanity even more. Jesus would be "mortified," Bell says, that his followers started a religion in his name.

It's February and according to pagans, spring is upon us

Have we turned the corner of a cold winter?

A fire-cage swinging, Imbolc 2007, Marsden, England. Image source: Steven Earnshaw on Flickr
  • The ancient holiday of Imbolc celebrates the imminent return of the sun in spring.
  • The holiday also commemorates either goddess Bhrigid or St. Brigid, who may or may not be the same person.
  • Good weather on Imbolc means more winter to come.
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