Anarchy & Orthodoxy

For better or for worse, challenging authority is commonplace among epic moments in history.  At the genesis of this reality is Adam and Eve’s garden blunder that sent the world, its inhabitants and descendents into a fallen, vicious cycle of challenging authority.  It’s fascinating, and frustrating at the same time, that their challenging authority created the need for man-made authority as man was now separated from God – authority itself.  It was now man’s responsibility to do his best to emulate God’s authority – much like it is a child’s responsibility to emulate its parents. 

When thought about from the perspective of the child and parent analogy, it becomes apparent how important origin really is, as well as authority itself.  Think about it.  Does a baby really know any better?  Even several years after birth a child is still heavily if not completely reliant on its parents.  Of course, the hope is that parents subscribe to a worthy and hopefully the right authority.  In doing so, anarchy is put under the rule of orthodoxy. 

Apart from right, rightly ordered and righteous authority, which is God’s authority, it isn’t inherently bad that man challenges authority.  In fact, it can be very good and the very thing that moves man closer to right authority, as has been demonstrated throughout history.  Just because it’s man’s responsibility to emulate God’s authority, it doesn’t mean that he is indeed succeeding in doing so.  It also doesn’t mean that the baby should be thrown out with the bath water – namely, that man-made authority should be done away with altogether.  If man can cause such havoc under God’s supreme authority, even man-made authority, then how much more havoc can he cause under no man-made authority at all?  Do you really want to leave the definition and preservation of authority to the whim of each individual?  Wouldn’t that be somewhat analogous to a child determining and defending authority? 

I’ve heard it said time and time again in reaction to some tragedy… that’s just not right.  If it’s not right, isn’t there some rightly ordered authority we’re yielding to?  Often times, yielding to right authority isn’t even self-advantageous here on earth, or not even recognized as being righteous.  If we’re indeed yielding to some authority, then what is the origin of that authority’s authority?  Man-made authority is not always perfect, but it serves a great purpose when it seeks to emulate God’s authority.  Man-made authority ought to be man’s best attempt to balance the complex realities of the world in a righteous manner, to the best of his fallen ability.

– Terrence

*Origin of Discursion: Seeing a photograph of Anarchists at the G-20 Summit in the Wall Street Journal.

1 Comment

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One response to “Anarchy & Orthodoxy

  1. czfinke

    One issue with drawing the correlation between human authority and god’s, which I remember discussing in a long ago philosophy class, is that if we say something along the lines of ‘human authority is at least attempting to emulate god’s authority, and thus should be followed as long as it is right,’ it tends to remove the ethical from those who do not believe. It creates a population that is free from adherence.
    Athiests hold a moral code, whatever it is based in, often just as strictly as theists. The problem here is that anarchy is anarchy, and like it or not, many anarchists hold to their values just as whole-heartedly as any believer. The question then becomes, how does coexistence happen under a government which some do not view as any authority at all?
    And we don’t have to go to anarchists for this. This was the view many had of Bush after he was elected President by the Supreme Court, and similar language is present in this country regarding Obama.
    If we disagree about the simple issue of the ‘rightness’ to be in the position of authority, how can we agree about where that authority would originate, or what ‘the right authority’ even can mean?
    I’m rambling, but in my Kierkegaard & Existentialism class, this was an interesting topic.

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