CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

You Can’t Be a Christian Marxist (Though Plenty Have Tried)

Feb 27, 2019

In an age where reason and logic are not exactly the flavour of the month, sloppy thinking abounds. Public discourse has taken a big hit with plenty of talking heads offering us just plain nonsense. They can throw out utterly illogical and contradictory statements and think they are giving us great contributions to a discussion or debate.

Among other things we will encounter plenty of oxymorons from these folks. These contradictions in terms abound, such as ‘Arab unity,’ or ‘leftist logic’. But one obvious candidate which will just not go away is ‘Christian Marxism’. There have long been those who have attempted to integrate and harmonise these two completely different and mutually exclusive worldviews.

The latest example of this foolishness came – no surprises here – on the ABC’s most recent Q&A. This was the only time in years that plenty of folks actually tuned in to this dreadful show – for the simple reason that Jordan Peterson was on it. I wrote about his sterling performance here: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/02/25/jordan-peterson-to-the-rescue/

But toward the end of the program we had yet another attempt to push the Christian/Marxist line. Guardian writer, feminist, and leftist Van Badham said she is a Christian, claiming “I’m very devout.” And she actually said that her Catholicism and Marxism get along quite nicely, and she can be “both at the same time.” She went on to say, “I absolutely believe in God… These positions are not irreconcilable”.

Um, no. The two are NOT reconcilable. I have written often on this. See for example these two articles on the issue:

billmuehlenberg.com/2018/08/14/actually-no-jesus-was-not-a-socialist/

billmuehlenberg.com/2015/05/05/liberation-theology-and-marxism/?fbclid=IwAR3wNskwoP0fDR9avFWPwoIcc3a_tDzImOmoYPspOH5Q34pGyM81a7GD6BQ

But since so many seem so ignorant of the massive differences, allow me to offer the briefest of lists showing the obvious contrasts and incompatibilities:

-Marxism is based on atheism and dialectical materialism; Christianity is based on theism and the reality of the spiritual realm.
-Marxism says sin is found in capitalism; Christianity says sin is found in the human heart.
-Marxism sees economic alienation as the main problem; Christianity sees man’s alienation from God as the main problem.
-Marxism enjoins the confiscation of private property and state ownership; Christianity enjoins private property and ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal.’
-Marxism claims redemption is found in the end of the class struggle and the eradication of capitalism, Christianity claims redemption is found via the death and resurrection of Christ at Calvary.
-Marx spoke of creating the New Man; Jesus spoke of the necessity of the new birth.
-Marxist man is identified with the collective; the Christian man is identified in union with Christ.
-Marxist ethics say you can murder your enemies; Christian ethics say we must love our enemies.
-Marx said that ‘religion is the opiate of the masses;’ Christ said that he came to the masses as a shepherd cares for his sheep.
-Marx expected religion to wither away; Jesus promised that one day all unbelief would be no more.
-Marxism has resulted in the external oppression of millions; Christianity has resulted in the internal liberation of millions.

The list could go on, but you get my drift. There is simply nothing compatible between the Gospel of Marx and the Gospel of Mark – or Matthew, Luke and John. But clueless Christians and manipulative Marxists keep trying to blend and conflate the two.

The history of this is about as old as the history of Marxism itself. Let me mention just a few of those who have tried to run with this. Perhaps one of the most famous examples from the headiest days of the Cold War was the “Red Dean of Canterbury”.

Reverend Hewlett Johnson (1874 –1966) was a Church of England priest and Dean of Canterbury. He was among the most avid supporters of the Soviet Union and one of the keenest apologists for all things Marxist. Here are just of few of the greatest hits of the Red Rev:

This is what he had to say about Communism in general: “Communism has recovered the essential form of a real belief in God which organised Christianity just now has largely lost.” And again, “While we’re waiting for God, Russia is doing it.”

The Soviet Union could do no wrong for Hewlett: “Nothing strikes the visitor to the Soviet Union more forcibly than the complete absence of fear.” Or as he said about one of the most horrific mass murderers in human history: “No man of mystery dominates the Kremlin. Stalin is the embodiment of good-humored common sense, as much a man of the people today.”

But there have been plenty of other useful idiots singing the praises of one of the most bloody and repressive political ideologies in human history, and plenty of crafty Communists who have sought to usurp the churches to promote the Red Faith.

As to the latter, the churches have always been targeted by the Marxists, and more recently, by the cultural Marxists. Consider just one such figure, Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), the Chicago-based communist and community organiser. He was a disciple of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci who had urged the left to replace external revolution with internal evolution via the “long march through the institutions”.

His enduring work was of course his 1971 manual for the leftist takeover of the West, Rules For Radicals. As might be recalled, in the dedication page of the book he acknowledges Lucifer as “the original radical”. And just before he died he said this: “Let’s say that if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.”

And he said this about the need to co-opt the churches for the sake of the revolution: “I recognized that if I could win the support of the Church, we’d be off and running. Conversely, without the Church, or at least some elements of it, it was unlikely that we’d be able to make much of a dent in the community.”

Plenty of duped believers have followed in the Red Dean’s footsteps. A more recent example, this time an American evangelical, is Rev Jim Wallis. He has been the editor of the religious left publication Sojourners. He was also the president of the radical Students for a Democratic Society while at Michigan State University. He gained even more fame and renown from the left when he served as the “spiritual adviser ” to President Obama.

He and Sojourners have continuously supported and promoted Marxist killers and dictators, whether the Vietcong, Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, or Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua. It is also worth noting that in 2004 Sojourners received $200,000 from billionaire George Soros, the major financier of leftist groups that push for atheism, abortion, drug legalisation, bigger government, and other hard left causes.

So many others could be cited here. Van Badham’s paltry attempts at baptising Marxism on Q&A is simply the latest in a long line of attempts to drag down the Christian church into the pigsty of godless and murderous Communism.

Sorry, but it has not worked in the past and it will not work now. Marx once said, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” A good Marxist today wants just the same. The Christian however wants to dethrone man and put God back where he belongs.

As to capitalism, the Christian faith is certainly compatible with the basic tenets of the free market. But even if there is some room to move in this area for Christians, there is no room to move with the unholy alliance of Marxist Christianity.

And forget all the vain talk about ‘Marxist humanism’. There is no such thing. As Fulton J. Sheen once put it, “Communism is the final logic of the dehumanization of man.” If you want the full flowering of humanity, forget the phony gospel of Karl Marx. If you want life in all its abundance, consider instead the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

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18 Responses to You Can’t Be a Christian Marxist (Though Plenty Have Tried)

  • Christian Marxists are the “useful idiots” Lenin talked about.

    In the mean time the War on Christianity continues, this time with His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal George Pell as the sacrificial lamb for the shrill Cultural Marxists and their fellow travellers, the progressive (fake) Christians.

    “People in court saw how flimsy the evidence was,” a source close to the cardinal told the Register after the verdict in December. “This is an act of outrageous malice by a prejudiced jury. The media convicted him long ago in the court of public opinion and he did not receive a fair trial.”

    Read the Truth here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/suppression-order-lifted-on-cardinal-pell-trial

  • The current Pope appears to be dragging the Catholic Church towards both Islam and Marxism.

    In an address delivered to the World Government Summit after signing a controversial agreement with a top Sunni Muslim imam, Pope Francis, a fervent advocate of UN Agenda 2030, offered his “best wishes” for the work of summit attendees. Urging cooperation to address the “problems of each person in the global village,” the pope called for more environmentalism while using leftist rhetoric to drive a wedge between “people” and “capital and economic interests.”

    https://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/asia/item/31542-at-world-government-summit-globalists-push-un-agenda-2030

  • Had never heard of that van person until this week. I’m a little surprised at this person being the best and most educated the extreme bigoted left could muster; perhaps no one else’s was prepared to put themselves into a no win position.

    I cringed for her every time she opened her mouth.

    I just think van should possibly be quiet while the adults talk.

    Cate was engaging. Loosing the other 3 would have made for a more intellectual and stimulating discussion.

  • We are aware of American cults operating in Australia. JWs, Mormons, Scientology, Christian Science etc. Another is Edgar Cayce’s, Association for Research and Enlightenment.

    Its theology relates to the Enlightened Master JC, Pyramids, Atlantis and reincarnation.

    Cayce’s healing and diet readings, which includes advice to dead people, have been denounced as quackery.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Cayce

    http://www.edgarcayceaustralia.org/

  • In Australia many people are attracted to Buddhism – particularly the Dalai Lama Tibetan form of Buddhism.

    Be aware there are deep divisions between “traditional” Buddhism and the Dalai Lama form of Buddhism, particularly related to the the Dalai Lama’s advocation of tantric-sex for Tibetan Monks.

    https://youtu.be/zXChQpmSBDA

  • The Sydney Mardi Gras is on this Saturday. I doubt many of the participants realise there is a “Christian” origin in the term ‘Mardi Gras’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mardi_Gras

  • Christians have always regarded Marxism as an ineffective and inglorious heresy : Chesterton post War calling his friend Shaw out for following such simple monomania -its consequences and cost benefits always predictable .
    Sloppy thinking and careless worship lead straight down to cul de sacs ,

    As a practical earth ecologist let me give you another mistaken adventure at our expense.
    The idea that we can save the earth by just pouring water back into the system . That we never have dying to live in the natural world of Savannah in which we live

    Murray Darling nonsense
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eSNQdLNCXNUfDXZ2baygNyS3xolbnhxE-VHufcmZV6Y/edit?usp=sharing

  • I presume we are talking about the ideologies and not the nations. Yes a Christian Marxist is an oxymoron just as is Christian communist or Christian Nazi but don’t forget that in many nations of that ilk in the past and today in communist nations there were/are a growing number of Christians. Russia for example had plenty of Christians during the Soviet days, in secret. After the fall of Soviet Russia modern Russia has opened up the churches and are booming. The Russian Orthodoxy does have some differences with Western Christianity but then again Western churches also quibble a lot about certain doctrines. One thing they do have in common though is the belief in Jesus for who He is, what He did and why. Western Christianity could learn (actually relearn) a thing or two from Eastern Orthodox, and vice versa.

  • 2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself forth, that he is God.
    (MKJV)

    Marxists can believe in a god – just not the God of the Bible, the God of Israel, who very clearly put capitalist concepts, e.g. the ownership of land (under God), fair taxes and things like doing fair and just deals, throughout His law. It should surprise no one that the ABC is pushing lies here as well.

    The big thing I am coming across lately is people claiming socialism gave us schools and hospitals etc. so I then have to point out the fact that we had these things a very long time before socialism was even invented. This is just more socialist lies and deceitful rewriting of history. The U.S. Constitution gave us the three separate arms of government that are designed to provide checks against each other because of the fundamental wickedness in man. Socialism combines all these under authoritarian, party rule which, I would have thought obviously, caters for the wickedness in man, especially since we have overwhelming evidence that this is exactly what has happen throughout modern history.

    Re Cardinal Pell: I am not a Catholic but as far as I am concerned a huge injustice has been done here and, exactly as with the injustice done to Lindy Chamberlain, the fault lies squarely with the ABC and SBS and much of the rest of the media who go along with their bigotry. Just as with Lindy Chamberlain’s case, what George Pell has been accused of makes no sense, but the ABC still pushes it relentlessly just as they did with Lindy and, again, apparently with no consequences. The accusations to me look much more like homosexual pornography than anything remotely based in reality (and I was aware of the actual problems with homosexuality in the Catholic church way back in the mid eighties.) The ABC clearly and obviously is completely bigoted and untruthful and will do anything they can to vilify people who oppose their agenda of promoting sexual dysfunction and Marxism. I get very angry when I see what they are constantly getting away with, and have got away with for decades, and now the consequences of what they do. Something has to be done about the ABC and SBS and the lies and wickedness and propaganda they are constantly allowed to instill in people.

  • Further to what I said about Cardinal Pell we have a reasonable article here :-
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/why-the-case-against-cardinal-george-pell-doesnt-stand-up/

    To the ten very valid points raised I would add the huge unlikelihood that someone would be so quickly sexually aroused so as to do such things unless they had been previously viewing homosexual pornography, which clearly and obviously George Pell could not have been doing.

  • Mr M, my goodness, however hard I try, you just effortlessly flex your typing hand and turn out this masterpiece:-

    “But since so many seem so ignorant of the massive differences, allow me to offer the briefest of lists showing the obvious contrasts and incompatibilities:

    -Marxism is based on atheism and dialectical materialism; Christianity is based on theism and the reality of the spiritual realm.
    -Marxism says sin is found in capitalism; Christianity says sin is found in the human heart.
    -Marxism sees economic alienation as the main problem; Christianity sees man’s alienation from God as the main problem.
    -Marxism enjoins the confiscation of private property and state ownership; Christianity enjoins private property and ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal.’
    -Marxism claims redemption is found in the end of the class struggle and the eradication of capitalism, Christianity claims redemption is found via the death and resurrection of Christ at Calvary.
    -Marx spoke of creating the New Man; Jesus spoke of the necessity of the new birth.
    -Marxist man is identified with the collective; the Christian man is identified in union with Christ.
    -Marxist ethics say you can murder your enemies; Christian ethics say we must love our enemies.
    -Marx said that ‘religion is the opiate of the masses;’ Christ said that he came to the masses as a shepherd cares for his sheep.
    -Marx expected religion to wither away; Jesus promised that one day all unbelief would be no more.
    -Marxism has resulted in the external oppression of millions; Christianity has resulted in the internal liberation of millions”.

    You are like my dad, Mr M, I think of this great point. I rehearse it, then . ..
    Daddy, I have realised where your error is in xyz (something I want that my dad said no to). My dad puts his paper down I look deeply in his eyes and remember to flick my hair back, (apparently men find this irresistible, but no one has told my dad) then I deliver my lines, remembering to apply the sad eyes where appropriate and where not for good measure and then I nod to him for recognition and then he destroys my argument without needing thinking time, picks up his paper and says, make me a cup of tea sweetness! . . . Yes, daddy . . .

    Mr M, how am I supposed to improve my writing if I am already running to keep within a mile of you if you effortlessly, in the middle of your article write the above, as though its nothing to you. It would have taken me a week just to gather the information together and then I would have effortlessly put run on sentences in, used what my teacher hates (it, is, its, if ) if she didn’t hate them so much I wouldn’t have to keep using them!

    Ok, I’m going to steal what you have put here and hand it in as part of my homework, plainly I will have to add a liberal helping of, it, its is and if’s. Do not worry though Mr M, we would have got a “D” even without my distasteful additions since you should know by now negative comments about the for-runner to communism is just unacceptable.

  • Thanks again Sarah. Well, I do have a few years on you – an entire half century actually! But given the great gifts in thinking and writing that you already have, I give you about 18 months before you get the Nobel Prize for Literature. Keep it up champ – you are an inspiration to us all!

  • Dear Michael,

    Re: His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal George Pell

    This isn’t about facts because facts don’t matter to the gender bending leftists.

    First the Cultural Marxists weaponised so called “anti-discrimination” laws against Christians to silence us with the threat of long legal proceedings and possible bankruptcy.

    Now they have scaled up to putting us in jail.

    Cardinal Pell is the victim of the worst religious persecution this country has ever seen.

    If he is not freed on appeal Australia’s Christians must take to the streets to demand his release. Just imagine how what a million Christians in the streets in each major city can do. Man’s justice tremble’s before the Judgement of the Almighty!!

    No Christian should have to say on the Last Day: “And they came for Cardinal Pell, but I did not speak out—Because I was not a Catholic…”

  • Dear John,

    It is disgusting to see what depths of depravity Sydney has fallen to this week. You walk around the city (not just Sodom AKA Oxford St) and rainbow flags are everywhere! It’s like the movie the Sound of Music when the Nazi’s take over Austria and make everyone put swastika flags on their homes.

    Once decent businesses (like Woolworths which used to be run by a good Christian make named Roger Corbett) are all of a sudden showing off their “gay pride” — is this voluntary or under coersion?

    The whole of the Sydney retail and business community can’t have turned homosexual overnight so it must be coersion.

    What can we do to stop this?

  • Murray Campbell in his blog has good commentary on this question
    https://murraycampbell.net/

  • I now ashamedly admit that I went to hear Jim Wallis speak when he was in Melbourne a few years ago. I think it was either in 2006 or 2007. I’m not a fan, but I thought he’d be interesting to go hear.

    Has Van Badham read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago? Does she know about Richard Wurmbrand? is she ignorant about the persecution he suffered under a communist regime because of his Christian belief? Has she read any of Timothy Snyder’s recent work on the history of the Soviet Union?

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