Friday, June 03, 2005

Jesus and Marx: Brother Philosophers? Uh, No

Two days ago, both Ann Althouse and Richard Lawrence Cohen cited a Human Events list of the most harmful books of the nineteenth and twentieth century. One commenter on Cohen's blog objected to the list's inclusion of The Communist Manifesto, saying that both it and the Bible advocated the same philosophy.

I made this comment:
I don't think that Jesus had a philosophy. As far as I can see, he offered a way of life which consists of turning one's back on sin and selfishness and turning to Him. He taught that we can be made righteous as a gift conferred on those who entrust themselves and their lives to Him.

Marx's ideas are, as far as I can tell, more consistent with those of market capitalism. First of all, both Marx and the capitalist believe that human beings are, in essence, economic entities and that all life is driven by economics. Second, both believe in the perfectibility of human nature from within the human being. Indeed, both seem to believe in the inevitability of human progress, Marx borrowing from Hegel's notions of the dialectic.

Jesus would object to both of these ideas. "Man does not live by bread alone," Old Testament words Jesus quoted during the wilderness temptations must mean, in part, that worldly stuff--like money--is not all that human beings need to be human.

Jesus also reminds us, "Without Me, you can do nothing" and "With God, all things are possible." We improve as a race, Jesus would say, only insofar as we accept His charity (grace) by faith (belief or trust in Him).

What do you think?


Phyllis said...

It scares me to think of all the people that just don't believe. What a hollow heart they must have. And sad future.

Anonymous said...

Marx taught that human dignity and the autonomous man are fictions. Humans are nothing more than reactive bags of chemicals wrapped up in skin. In order to perfect man, all you have to do is to perfect his environment. Economic justice will produce the "new man."

But that flies in the face of everything the Bible teaches. Human beings are not perfectible, the require new birth. Many kind is released from slavery TO SIN by faith in Christ. Although the OT law is replete with ordinances that should have resulted in economic justice, Jesus was primarily concerned with accomplishing the atonement and ushering in the kingdom of God.

Mark Daniels said...

Phyllis and Bud: Thanks for dropping by the site and for your comments.

Like you, Phyllis, I feel for those who don't have that "fullness" that comes from a relationship with Christ! Having been one of those people myself, I know how hollow it is.

Thank you, Bud, for underscoring what I said in my post with your affirmation of our need of being made new by Christ. This is why Second Corinthians 5:17 is one of my favorite Bible passages!