The greatest threat to peace, justice and freedom in the word today comes, not from Christianity as the Left would have you believe, but from the heretical offshoot of Christianity known as Marxism.
When I speak of “the Left” I am using a deliberately vague word whose meaning expands and contracts depending upon the context. It is an umbrella term that includes a number of different categories of people, publications and organizations, all of which trace their intellectual heritage back to Karl Marx (just as groups as different as the Roman Catholic Church, Baptists and Messianic Jews all trace their heritage back to Jesus Christ.) Let me list some of them:
1. Communists – or Marxist/Leninists or Stalinists – unreconstructed cold warriors; many European countries still have Communist parties capable of winning seats in the legislature.
2. Social Democrats – Marxists who renounce violence to achieve their collectivist goals; often believe in a highly taxed, tightly regulated and state monitored “free” market to generate wealth.
3. Progressives – an American movement originating in the early 20th century and dominant in today’s Democratic Party that seeks to head off full-blown Communism by transforming America into a European-style, social democratic state.
4. Big Government Liberals -or Welfare State Liberals are liberals in the process of losing their faith in liberalism and becoming socialists in all but name. There is a controversy whether people who self-identify in this way are cynically using a more palatable political label or whether they are honestly trying to prevent Communism by moving in a social democratic or welfare state direction. (The same goes for Progressives.)
5. Liberation Theologians – attempt to combine Marxist analysis with a secularized, politicized, immanentized version of Christian eschatology
6. Anti-Globalization Protesters – also known as Anti-Capitalists; you see this show on TV every time there is a G20 or G8 Summit. These people simplistically identify Capitalism as the source of all evil in the world, but some will not admit to being socialists or communists. The hard core of the movement, however, is definitely Marxist of some kind and the rest are fellow-travelers.
7. Anarchists -claim to believe that no government would be better than imperfect government; it is difficult to believe that they believe in what they claim to believe. Underneath the anarchist exterior is usually a Utopian core. They feel free to tear down without proposing an alternative order because they naively believe that whatever arises after the destruction of the current political order would necessarily be better than the status quo. If you didn’t believe that, then you would be no better than a common criminal.
8. Environmentalists – not all those concerned with pollution, but those with a Utopian, anti-industrialist society streak; the latter often make common cause with Marxists.
9. Feminists – second wave Feminists originating in the 1960s use Marxist analysis instead of appealing to Christian humanism and Enlightenment rationalism as earlier Feminists did.
While these nine distinct groups differ over tactics and although some are more extreme than others, all share a common hatred of:
1. Natural law – the belief in objective moral rules and principles that are based in the way reality is; may be specifically Christian or may be rooted in other religions or worldviews.
2. Free enterprise and Private Property – even though many of the movements mentioned above claim to respect private property and the market mechanism, the fact is that doing so makes them inconsistent Marxists. For Marx, private property is equivalent to the disobedience of God’s command in Gen. 3 as the cause of original sin.
3. Individual Freedom under the Rule of Law – The state is superior to the individual in all forms of Marxism, which is to say that “Social Justice” (or equality) trumps “Individual Freedom” (or liberty).
4. Judeo-Christian Religion – The Ten Commandments is the basis of Western law and natural law is understood as being congruent with natural law.
Some of these groups claim merely to use Marxist analysis to diagnose the nature of the problems of the world (eg. Latin American Liberation Theology), while others believe that Marxism provides the positive solution as well as the diagnosis of the problem. It is not easy to tell what an individual person believes because in some cases it would make no sense to diagnose capitalism as the problem if socialism is not the solution. In such a case what would the solution be?
All believe that America and Israel are evil and must be severely weakened, if not destroyed. (Anti-Colonialism is often code for Anti-Americanism). They all believe that after a purging of capitalism and liberal democracy from the world there will emerge, somehow, a new world that will be better. All the ideological descendants of Marxism are essentially Utopian. This is the new religion that has come to dominate the Western academy and academic freedom is a tool it uses to eradicate all traces of the Judeo-Christian and Greek philosophical heritage that undergirds the West from the academy.
It is no stretch to call this multi-faceted movement, which traces its roots back to all or aspects of the thought of Karl Marx, a new religion. It is actually a Christian heresy, however, which means that it is a corruption of and a departure from Christianity. A new religion that has its origins in Christianity is a heresy and one that does not have its roots in Christianity is simply another religion, but not a heresy.
1. Eschatology – the Christian idea of the Kingdom of God, which is heaven come to earth after the return of Christ, the final judgment and the resurrection of the dead, is transformed into an earthly political kingdom founded through revolution (or, in the progressive version, through continuous socio-political progress).
2. Redemption – the Christian teaching that God becomes incarnate in Jesus and sheds his blood to propitiate his own justice so that sinful humanity can be redeemed is transformed into the doctrine that bloody revolution and mass murder are the prerequisites for the coming of Utopia and therefore all Marxist-inspired revolutions from Lenin to Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot to Castro and so on have all been bloody and the blood is seen as redemptive.
3. Sin – the Christian teaching that human beings are born in sin by virtue of being descendants of Adam and Eve and then go on to actualize this evil tendency by their own free will is changed into the idea that individuals are born innocent but suffer evil because a corrupt socio-economic system (Capitalism) dominates the world. (Where evil came from before the invention of Capitalism is not explained, but if you go back far enough in history, they believe, you find matriarchal, socialist, free-sex Utopias all over the place. When somebody invented private property – that was the beginning of evil in the world.)
So Marxism is a Christian heresy and Modernity is the period of Western civilization in which this heresy gradually replaces and drives out orthodox Christianity. We are living in the period after Christendom in the sense that we live in the declining phase of Western culture during which time time the heresy predominates, although orthodox Christianity is far from dead. Yet the center of the Christian world is moving south as the Marxist heresy spreads throughout the West. Whether or not some form of Marxism will triumph in the West is not yet known, nor do we know which form it will take if it does. But this we know: if it does triumph Christianity will be eradicated.
Originally posted at The Politics of the Cross Resurrected on July 14, 2010l.