Editor’s Note: This limited series is adapted from the 2021 Defender book by Lt. Col. Robert L. Maginnis, Give Me Liberty, Not Marxism.
Summit Ministries, a Christian organization, provided a thumbnail sketch of the Marxist worldview across major categories that are summarized and elaborated on below.[i]
First, Karl Marx was a devout atheist from the time he was in college. In 1844, he wrote:
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
He also said religion is a “spiritual booze” and that putting his atheism into practice meant a “forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions,” which included economic structures like capitalism, but Marx makes government his god—the provider, sustainer, protector, and lawgiver. Meanwhile, atheistic aspects of Marxism became a trademark of communist regimes like the old Soviet Union and the present-day Peoples Republic of China, which is known for the persecution of religious Muslims and Christians alike.
Second, Marxist philosophy is known as dialectical materialism, which is another name for naturalism. The concept says there are polar opposite states of being—one is the thesis and the other the antithesis, which inevitably clash. That struggle produces a new thesis (way things are), which eventually clashes with a new antithesis. This is an evolutionary process—a series of steps—not that different from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (spontaneous generation): inorganic substances evolve into life; single-celled life becomes animals and then humans.
Third, Marxist ethics or proletariat morality means that whatever advances the working class is good, and by association, whatever hinders that progress is morally evil. The logical extension of class morality is evidenced by communist China’s former leader Mao Zedong, who committed mass murder of perhaps forty million people who allegedly opposed the advances of the working class.
Fourth, Marxist psychology leaves no room for the spiritual dimension, because all behavior is purely based on the material. He argues that human behavior is the result of material reasons, physical makeup (genetics), and outside environmental influences. He asserts that the brain is programmed to react a certain way and our socialization (education, background, etc.) causes us, like Pavlov’s dog, to respond to outside stimuli.
Fifth, a classless society is Marx’s vision for sociology whereby everyone is the owner and employee—there are no class distinctions. That means there is no need for government or outside influencers, because the owner/employee will always act responsibly. Translation: The working class’ (proletariat) sovereignty is the rule in Marx’s world, a view traced to his concept of private property (Marxist law). The basis for this law is to protect social or state property that advances socialism and evolution. Once socialism is victorious, explains Marx, then the working class will realize its communist paradise and law is no longer needed.
Sixth, a communist world government is Marx’s ultimate political vision. He believed the working class will rise up, overthrow the bourgeois oppression to seize power, and establish a worldwide “dictatorship.” That is the next evolutionary step to world government, and once bourgeois ideology is vanquished and all traces of capitalism are history, then a communist society exists—a utopia on earth.
Seventh, Marx believes that economics determines the nature of all legal, social, and political institutions. He blames social problems on imperfections in the modes of production and over time, evolution makes things better—slavery became feudalism, which gave way to capitalism, which will become socialism and eventually communism. The final step in his economic determinism view is a socialist society where there is no private property whereby man is oppressed by his fellow being, which leads to a classless society, communism (the highest economic state).
Marxism the Religion
It is important to put Marx’s rejection of the existence of God into proper perspective. Marxism seeks to replace all religions with itself, and a major fault with his theory is that Marx believed in the perfectibility of man while rejecting the perfect God.
Although Marxism rejects the existence of God and labels religion as an opium, Marxism is a true religion to its followers. Consider Marx’s background and perhaps come to appreciate how he came about to substitute his Marxist religion for Christianity.
Karl Marx was born to a Prussian attorney who converted to Christianity in order to practice law. Marx’s father introduced Karl to the greats—gods at the time—Frederick the Great and the Prussian state and Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke, who saw human nature as a blank page, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who wrote, “We do not know what our nature permits us to be.”[ii]
Marx’s Christian background was thanks to religious training in the Prussian school system, which he abandoned once at the University of Bonn and then after that at the University of Berlin, where he joined the “Young Hegelians (German: Junghegelianer),” a group of German intellectuals who reacted to the writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the father of progressivism.
Marx wrote in his PhD dissertation at the University of Jena (Thuringia, Germany) his view of the deities: “In truth, I hate all gods.” He continued, “I shall never exchange my fetters for slavish servility.” Marx spent his life arguing against the existence of the God of the Bible, and in fact he sought in his work to create an entirely new religion based circumspectly on a mirror image of Christianity.[iii]
Boston college philosopher Peter Kreeft wrote:
Marxism retains all the major structural and emotional factors of biblical religion in a secularized form. Marx, like Moses, is the prophet who leads the new Chosen People, the proletariat, out of the slavery of capitalism into the Promised Land of communism across the Red Sea of bloody worldwide revolution and through the wilderness of temporary, dedicated suffering for the party, the new priesthood.[iv]
Ulster University economist Esmond Birnie shared that view:
The deep structure of Marxism parallels that of Christianity. It has a “fall” event—the concentration of ownership of property in the hands of the capitalists—and a “chosen people,” the proletarians—as well as a coming “day of judgment,” when capitalism is replaced by the classless society.[v]
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Marx essentially displaced Christianity with an alternative faith, Marxism, which at its core rejects God but is very much a religion. As one author states, it replaces monotheism with monostatism, whereby all authority rests with state government. In fact, Pavel Hanes, an associate theology professor at the University of Matej Bel in Slovakia, wrote:
Marx himself insisted that an atheistic state predicted in his philosophy would be a perfect realization of the essence of Christianity.[vi]
Professor Hanes’ “essence of Christianity” view is shared by German philosopher Karl Löwith who believed that “Marx’s historical materialism is a secularized version of Christian teleology” (the explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes), according to Bryan S. Turner, a British and Australian sociologist. Löwith, wrote Turner, “treats Marx’s philosophy of history as a global vision that depends fundamentally on the Christian scheme of eschatology, the doctrine of the Last Days and the Restoration of man to Grace.”[vii]
Marxism and Christianity do not mix, however. Marxism never works. The Marxist-inspired brutality realized in communist governance is a human tragedy. Even the late Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the issue in a 1953 sermon:
Communism and Christianity are at the bottom incompatible. One cannot be a true Christian and a true Communist simultaneously.… They represent diametrically opposed ways of looking at the world and transforming the world. We must try to understand Communism, but never can we accept it and be true Christians.[viii]
Marxist-inspired communism has a documented history of failure with many anecdotal testimonies. Laura M. Nicolae, who fled communist Romania, wrote about communism in her former homeland:
Communism cannot be separated from oppression; in fact, it depends upon it. In the communist society, the collective is supreme. Personal autonomy is nonexistent. Human beings are simply cogs in a machine tasked with producing utopia; they have no value of their own. Thankfully, we serve a God whose valuation of those he has made in his own image led him to send his Son to take the penalty for our sins as he hung on a cross. The God-man Jesus of Nazareth came gladly to save us and sent his Spirit to live within us. This is transformation. This is the beginning of a whole new humanity and a whole new world.[ix]
Differences between Marxism and Christianity
The Bible doesn’t use guilt as a weapon. Marxism and especially the neo-Marxists use collective guilt as a weapon, a significant contradiction with Christianity. Neo-Marxists like BLM claim all white people bear the guilt of past slave owners, and if Caucasians remain silent, they are accused of violence.
Marxism uses a broad brush to accuse large segments of society with guilt such as Marxist BLM followers who say that white people bear the guilt of sins committed by former slave owners. Yet Christianity holds that we are accountable to God alone for our sins.
No verses of Scripture tell Christians to cast guilt on entire people groups; rather, the sins of a nation are God’s, not fellow humans’, to address. This view is expressed in Ezekiel 18:20 (NIV):
The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
God deals with humans on a personal level. We become Christians by asking Jesus to save us, forgive us of our sin, and become Lord of our lives. Issues of guilt were addressed at Calvary, and no ideology or group can replace the ultimate forgiveness Christ grants believers.
The Bible endorses the ownership of private property. Earlier, I established that Marxists embrace a materialistic worldview. Simply, the concept is that when a society shares everything in common, life becomes a utopia, according to Marx. However, the abolishing of private property runs contrary to the teachings of Bible, such as the injunction in Deuteronomy 5:19 (ESV), which commands, “And you shall not steal.” Stealing presumes private property ownership. Further, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 states that people must be willing to work to eat; once again, there is no entitlement to another’s property without labor in exchange. Even Jesus’ parable of the bags of gold (Matthew 25:14–30) becomes nonsense as an application where there is no private property.
Marxism claims that people will reach the point at which they are solely satisfied with possessions, and God becomes irrelevant. However, common sense and decades of observing human behavior demonstrates that wealth in itself breeds sin, not satisfaction. The fact is that numerous passages of Scripture illustrate the spiritual nature of mankind (e.g., Job 32:8; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Proverbs 20:27; Romans 8:16).
Marxism is the source of much sin. After all, classical and especially neo-Marxists like the BLM movement are filled with anger and resentment. Instead of demonstrating the virtues of peace and thankfulness, they tend to be violent and coveters, sins that are specifically condemned in the Scriptures. For example, Exodus 20:17 says we must not covet our neighbor’s possessions, and the New Testament encourages us to be content “in every situation” (Philippians 4:11–13).
The Bible focuses on spiritual matters. A major distinction between Marxism and Christianity are the different views of material and spiritual things. Marxism focuses on physical (material) needs while Christianity, as Jesus explained in Matthew 6:26, 33 (NIV) focuses on the spiritual: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? ….Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness.”
Marxism promotes division, not equality. Marxism is divisive. For example, “group identity” is everything to neo-Marxists like BLM. By contrast, America’s founders fought the British to create a level ground that promoted the first principle of equality. Further, for the Christian, Christ erased all cultural and ethnic, race barriers to God, and the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28–29 (NLT):
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
Karl Marx, as explained earlier, discriminated against all people of faith. He called for the abolition of religion and compared it to opium (an intoxicating drug). He also claimed, “My object in life is to dethrone God.” And that view of religion is evident even today; where Marxism prevails, Christians are oppressed.
In conclusion, Marxism is an anti-Christian theory that rejects biblical freedom and personal responsibility. Besides, it sets itself up as a religion exclusively focused on the unrealistic vision of an earthly utopia and the perfectibility of mankind. It has nor ever will attain its utopian goal because of its view of man. Efforts to follow Marx’s prescription in places like the old Soviet Union always will result in massive suffering at the hands of dictatorial governments.
UP NEXT: Marxism, Socialism, Evil Supernaturalism