Marxism as a secular form of Christianity

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Deckard
 
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 08:53 pm
Marxism as a secular form of Christianity.
Or rather Marxism and Christianity are two variations on some common theme.
Thoughts?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 09:06 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;152591 wrote:
Marxism as a secular form of Christianity.
Or rather Marxism and Christianity are two variations on some common theme.
Thoughts?
This thought occured to me when I first learned about Marx's themes. There are forms of Christianity where group unity is very important. It's more important for people to be spouting the same words than it is for them to understand the words.... they're Communists.

There's a form of Christianity called Jehovah's Witnesses that actually started out with socialist themes. They developed an apocolyptic outlook, which I think Marxism shares.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 09:07 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;152591 wrote:
Marxism as a secular form of Christianity.
Or rather Marxism and Christianity are two variations on some common theme.
Thoughts?


(P.S. I still don't see that Marx/Engles sub-forum I was hoping for unless I missed it. Admin? Was there not enough interest?)


I agree. Marxism is an intellectual's Christianity? "The opiate of the intellectuals?" And yet the ideals involved are great. I like the world Marx wants. They are so lovely indeed that we will wade in blood to arrive there?
 
Deckard
 
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 09:14 pm
@Reconstructo,
I remember a quote in the beginning of a book about Freud about how so many of the ambitious new theories of the Moderns were not as new as they seemed but rather it was like an explorer sailing off in search of the New World but somewhere in the journey they get turned around somehow and end up arriving at a different shore of the same continent from which they began without recognizing it.

"opiate of the intellectuals" is clever but I can think of better places to apply it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 10:49 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;152602 wrote:
I remember a quote in the beginning of a book about Freud about how so many of the ambitious new theories of the Moderns were not as new as they seemed but rather it was like an explorer sailing off in search of the New World but somewhere in the journey they get turned around somehow and end up arriving at a different shore of the same continent from which they began without recognizing it.

To get geometrical, this would be something like a spiral, which might be presented as ascending or descending according to taste. The cynic might suggest a circle, but technology clearly changes things.

---------- Post added 04-15-2010 at 11:58 PM ----------

Deckard;152602 wrote:

"opiate of the intellectuals" is clever but I can think of better places to apply it.

Perhaps..but as a twist on the Marx quote I always thought it was clever. I should note that I think Marx is quite fascinating. His line about philosophers changing the world drips with...machismo? Christ, fact or fiction, is quoted saying "my kingdom is not of this world." A strange brew. The artist who wanted reality as his canvas? Still quite Hegelian, in its way. And yet if I understand him, he claimed that capitalism would naturally evolve into his utopia. Was this contradiction ever resolved? Or do I misunderstand? Also, if philosophy is just the superstructure of money (crude rendering, sorry), why write books? Why not become a rich capitalist, to speed the process along?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:41 am
@Deckard,
It is obvious to me that many have made marxism an alternative to religious orthodoxy, but what can an alternative to religion be, but another religion? Marxism, scientism and various other forms of secular religion could not have developed without the historical process that was initiated by the religious cultures. But you could say, they take many of the bad aspects of institutional religiosity, such as ideology, authoritarianism, and so on, with none of the spirituality or other positive virtues, such as they were. And you end up with the worst of both worlds, I think. Pox on both houses.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 06:34 am
@Deckard,
It can be argued that while there is a general similarity about the goals of both (assuming one can agree on what these are), it seems that the major difference is in the means to reach them. One can view the teachings of Jesus as a call to individual and spiritual reform (render unto Caesar, etc.) and Marx's to economic and political reform (all power to the people, etc.).
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 07:03 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;152718 wrote:
It can be argued that while there is a general similarity about the goals of both (assuming one can agree on what these are), it seems that the major difference is in the means to reach them. One can view the teachings of Jesus as a call to individual and spiritual reform (render unto Caesar, etc.) to Marx's economic and political reform (all power to the people, etc.).
Maybe it's more the apocolyptic side of Christianity that applies here. Global proletariat revolution could be seen as a version of Armageddon, which in turn is another name for the Zoroastrian final battle between good and evil.

The common theme is that the world is now owned by evil. But soon the forces of good will erupt and destroy evil itself. Although with Ragna Rok, neither side wins... they destroy each other at the end of the world.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 08:04 am
@Deckard,
However, many Christian sects will subscribe to the position that history must inevitably lead to a "final days" conclusion in a way that the proletarian revolution does not. Another similarity, though, seems to be the role the future plays in regards to present actions and attitudes (e.g., about suffering).
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 08:41 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;152752 wrote:
However, many Christian sects will subscribe to the position that history must inevitably lead to a "final days" conclusion in a way that the proletarian revolution does not. Another similarity, though, seems to be the role the future plays in regards to present actions and attitudes (e.g., about suffering).
Maybe I'm conflating Russian Communism and Marxism, then. Communists believed the change happening in their world was profound... so profound that it would result in a radical change in language since the old languages wouldn't be able to describe the new world.

The course of apocolypticism is often that people set a date for the end of the world... it doesn't come, so they set a new date.

With Russian Communism people imagined the end had actually happened. Communists around the world put their hope in Russia. Years later Gorbachev would refer to the Soviet Union as a "mountain of lies."

As I anticipate the emergence of global government, I wonder: am I setting a new date? No utopias please. Whatever we create next will be flawed. There will be suffering.
 
Baal
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 12:52 pm
@Deckard,
I would need to see some more compelling similarities between Marxism and Christianity in order to see that the former is the secular form of the latter.

It should come as no surprise that a belief system (which is what Marxism - and pretty much any kind of -ism are, which claim for themselves an entirely ontological and teleological exposition) should be heavily influenced by the cultural and religious traditions prevalent in that period - (and despite Marx being Jewish by birth, was highly assimilated). Thus the claim of Marxism being similar to Christianity when placed in the historical-cultural context means that it has more significance to the latter than other -isms and other forms of thought with those criteria.

Thus the question essentially is, how does Marxism distinguish itself from other ideologies in its likening to Christianity, and conversely, how does Christianity differ from other religions which have the notion of social justice in their doctrines in respect to Marxism?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 12:58 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;152718 wrote:
It can be argued that while there is a general similarity about the goals of both (assuming one can agree on what these are), it seems that the major difference is in the means to reach them. One can view the teachings of Jesus as a call to individual and spiritual reform (render unto Caesar, etc.) to Marx's economic and political reform (all power to the people, etc.).


Yes, that seems the crucial difference. How do the crusades figure into this? I've heard cynics describe them as a scramble for loot, but that strikes me as too simple, too cynical. I confess I haven't studied them closely. We could also look at colonialism, bringing culture to the "savages"...Or the uglier parts of the French Revolution, heads on pikes. Are we better killers with the gleam of the ideal in our eyes?
 
Deckard
 
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 04:27 pm
@Reconstructo,
Christianity is idealistic whereas Marxism is materialistic? Hegelianism for example closer to Christianity than Marxism.

I'm not finding the quote handy right now but Engles reduces the question of creationism vs. evolution down to the question of idealism vs. materialism. I suppose creationism is like idealism because in the story God must have had the idea first and then made the world.

It struck me as an interesting approach to an otherwise dead-horse controversy. I'll try to find the quote later.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 08:49 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;152890 wrote:
Yes, that seems the crucial difference. How do the crusades figure into this? I've heard cynics describe them as a scramble for loot, but that strikes me as too simple, too cynical. I confess I haven't studied them closely. We could also look at colonialism, bringing culture to the "savages"...Or the uglier parts of the French Revolution, heads on pikes. Are we better killers with the gleam of the ideal in our eyes?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 09:52 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;153190 wrote:


Ah yes, single motives would be terrible oversimplifications. Even a single human is a collision of motives, let alone an entire society. Of course the mind wants essence, but we must resist the temptation to "cheat." To whatever degree we can...
I suppose in a discussion like this, it would be wise to focus on either the text/ideals or the historical implementation/consequences of such. I would choose the ideals in this case.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 09:36 am
@Deckard,
Lenin:Marx::St.Paul:Jesus

I have read something similar here and there in historical discussions, as well as parallels about the successors to the original thinkers taking the text as "gospel" and fragmenting based on different emphases (interpretations) they place on it.
 
spiltteeth
 
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 02:46 pm
@Deckard,
As a Marxist and an Orthodox Christian I can say their functions are different; however, liberation theology is a combination of the two and is practiced by the majority of Latin American Christians.
For a further discussion I suggest reading Camus's THE REBEL with compares the two in terms of eschatology - both demand sacrifices today for a utopian tomorrow.
 
 

 
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