Monday, March 26, 2007

Marxist philosophy

I am taking a class at church on worldviews, and we've been focusing on Secular Humanism. We're moving into Marxist-style views. I received a message from the teacher that I thought included some interesting background that I thought I'd share on the blog...

As we move on from Secular Humanism to look at Post Modern Marxism, we'll actually look at a few different varieties of this worldview, all founded in the philosophies of Karl Marx. We talked tonight a bit about Jean Jacques Rousseau and his erroneous philosophy, pleasant as it is, that humans are basically good, society has corrupted man, and that by eliminating the corrupting influences of competition and pride from within social institutions, we could achieve a utopian society where everyone is free, and yet we all sacrifice our own wills for the "general will." This is somewhat contradictory, but Rousseau was and is pretty influential among philosophers and his work influenced Karl Marx as he developed a comprehensive ideology.

Marx agreed that humans are basically good, but the part of society that corrupts humankind is the exploitation of the working class by property owners. Marxism is grounded in atheism. As Paul Kurtz said in one of our earlier sessions, no god will save us, we must save our selves. For Marx, this meant that the proletariat needed to unite, overthrow the ruling class, do away with the private ownership of property, and achieve equality for all men. With God out of the picture, morals and ethics boil down to what is good for the group and what achieves the goals of the group. This is a pragmatic view of morality and basically it means if you have to kill a few million people to achieve your utopian dream (some utopia, huh?) then that is the right thing to do. Marx believed that Darwin had figured things out and since we are all just evolving animals, there is no immorality in sacrificing lives to achieve the greater good.

Marx was a lifelong student of history, but as with all other disciplines, there is a philosophy underlying the study of history. Marx's was one of materialism in the sense that all of history was driven by economic factors and the pursuit of material gain. In other words, greed and selfishness was what drove history. American history has been revised in this light as well so that the only reason we hear about as the cause for the revolutionary war and our break with England is "No Taxation Without Representation." However, there are about three reasons stated in the Declaration of Independence for our break with England that related to taxes. There were 27 reasons given all together. We never hear about the other 24, do we.? 17 of those had to do with worship and religious freedom. So, Marx's "Historical Materialism" has affected the way we look at history today in this country.

Marx's philosophy is based on the erroneous presumption that all men are basically good, but are corrupt by the exploitation of property owners. Man's redemption comes from giving all people economic parity and having the State own all property and the means of production. His is a history of class struggle and warfare. While his economic policies have failed, remember that Marxism is a full-blown worldview. The class struggle has now changed from the proletariat and the ruling class to different "oppressed" minority groups, but Marxism as a set of ideals is very much alive in Western culture today.

Also, keep in mind what the Biblical worldview would say in relation to all of this. In God's eyes, all humans are equal, and He loves us all equally. But because of the Fall, man is bent toward sin. As a result, man's pride and selfishness creates greed and a desire to elevate one's self above others resulting in injustice and inequality. Equality and social justice are things worth striving for, but if your foundational beliefs are erroneous, then the outcomes will never be achievable. As a Christian, I believe that we will never see a utopia in this fundamentally corrupt world. Instead, my hope lies in the perfect Kingdom of God as established by Christ. Of course, this kind of thinking is exactly the kind of thinking that the secular humanists and the Marxists want to eradicate.

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