Marx’s New Religion -- By: Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr.
JETS 62:4 (December 2019) p. 775
Marx’s New Religion
* Robert Schwarzwalder is Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences at Regent University, 1000 Regent University Drive, RH 324 H, Virginia Beach, VA 23464, and a candidate for the Ph.D. in history at the University of Aberdeen. He may be contacted at [email protected]
Abstract: Marxism has often been portrayed as a Christian heresy. Rather, this article proposes that Marxism is an entirely different faith, one containing theological, anthropological, and eschatological arguments. Its relevance is found in the appeal of elements of Marxist thought in current political trends. The failure of Marxism ever to attain its goals indicates the error of its concepts of man, last things, and God, as witnessed by the mass slaughter and dictatorial governments accompanying efforts to implement Marx’s program.
Key words: Karl Marx, Marxism, alienation, salvation, man, nature, atheism, politics.
Union with Christ is one of the NT’s most profound teachings. To quote a 19th-century writer, “through our union with Christ, when we feel our total unworthiness and at the same time exult over our salvation, then only can we love God, who formerly appeared to us as an offended lord but is now a forgiving father and a benevolent teacher.”1
This lovely, if anodyne, statement was drafted by a German boy named Karl Marx. He wrote those words at the age of 17 as part of a high school essay. That he denied the truths they assert, militantly, only a year or two later is not only tragic with respect to his own spiritual life but more than tragic, in fact devastating, for the life of the world he helped create.
Although some would dismiss Marx, given the collapse of the Soviet regime and its Eastern European empire, he remains relevant. His materialist philosophy forms the basis for the current governments of China, North Korea, and Cuba, among others. And given that we are much informed these days about the promise of socialism, it is worth considering how socialism is grounded in a worldview articulated most carefully by Karl Marx.
According to Marxist scholar Peter Hudis, “Marx used many terms to refer to a post-capitalist society—positive humanism, socialism, Communism, realm of free individuality, free association of producers, etc. He used these terms completely interchangeably. The notion that ‘socialism’ and ‘Communism’ are distinct historical stages is alien to his work and only entered the lexicon of Marxism after his death.”2
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