Early Christians

From Anarchy In Action

See also Early Israelites.

Among the early Christians, according to Erich Fromm, "there was not even a clearly defined external authority" and there existed protection of "the independence and freedom of the individual Christian with respect to matters of faith." The first Christians, Fromm argues, "were imbued with hatred and contempt for the educated rich and rulers, in short for all authority." It was only by the second century CE that the Christians committed to several centralizing and authoritarian directions:

"This fundamental transformation of Christianity from the religion of the oppressed to the religion of the rulers and of the masses manipulated by them, from the expectation of the imminent approach of judgment day and the new age to a faith in the already consummated redemption; from the postulate of a pure, moral life to satisfaction of conscience through eccleastical means of grace; from hostility to the state to cordial agreement with it--all this is closely conected with the final great change [...] Christianity, which had been the religion of a community of equal brothers, without hierarchy or bureaucracy, became 'the Church,' the reflected image of the absolute monarchy of the Roman Empire."[1]

As a corresponding theological change, according to Fromm, Christians went from believing Jesus was a man who became God to believing Jesus was the Son of God all along. The former interpretation, by saying a human can become divine, contained a radical interpretation of God's permanent authority.[2]

The influence of the early Christians on anti-authoritarians has been extremely vast, including on the Diggers and John Brown's raids.

  1. Erich Fromm, The Dogma of Christ and Other Essays on Religion, Psychology, and Culture (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1963), 60, 61.
  2. Fromm, The Dogma of Christ.