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Christianity, Marxism and Love
Christian Love – Part 5
Social struggles that have become instituted, chiefly after the appearance of Socialism, have indeed contributed significantly to the raising of people’s standard of living, thus pressing societies to continuously struggle for a better way of life. Nevertheless, Christianity points out that at the same time, we must not cease to strive to cure the uneven distribution of wealth that is imposed by initiatives on the part of the “wealthy”.
The compulsory demand for the wealthy to contribute to the financial equalization (e.g., through taxation) has no ethical gravity in the eyes of Christianity, because, despite its practical results, it does not necessarily contribute towards the creation of free and moral Persons, whose actions confirm their personal freedom…
This article is the fifth part of the extract from an article by the University teacher V. Bakouros that was published in the magazine “TREETO MAHTI” (December 2004 edition No.128, pages 22-26, with the general title “Socialistic Social Solidarity and Christian Love”).
This article is being re-published, by kind courtesy of the magazine, and will be completed in a series of segmented articles.
The confusion between Marx’s social theory and the corresponding Christian theory was initially an intentional act for the misleading of the popular masses, so that they would support the political powers which aimed at materializing communist objectives. An attempt was made, to present the communist society as a structure resembling the first Christian societies. In other words, Communism was perceived as a social ideology of Christianity, while the Church represented a decadent realization of the Christian spirit, because of its functional associations with the authorities (i.e., the feudal or urban ones).
The correlation – or, more accurately, the extortionary coinciding - of Christianity and Communism had been prepared by the movement of utopian Socialism, which was more like a sermon of protest against the papist legalistic mentality, and less of a strictly political system. This is why it first appeared with its center in France, where the relations between the Church and the State were problematic from the period of the French Revolution onwards.
On examining matters from a philosophical standpoint, we would furthermore point out with sobriety that, as a system of positive thought, interpretation and guidance in the history of mankind, Marxism did not place Man at its center, and that is why it never formulated any anthropology equivalent to, or at least as complete as, Christianity. Love, therefore, as an emotional term, is absent from Marxism. There is a social solidarity of course; but, being something practical, it has no moral character, because quite simply, according to Marxism, History does not comprise a moral achievement, since it is not the product of the selections made by individual persons, but by the impersonal social powers.
The interest that K. Marx and the pursuant communist practice (political, administrative, economic) showed towards the socially weak is often highlighted, thus creating the fundamental misunderstanding that –apparently- Marxist thought is “humanistic”.
In reality, Marxism has no organic ideological association with “humanism” as an ideological current. This movement (Humanism) comprises an expression of the urban spirit and reflects the world-image and the people-image which, during the Renaissance, the upcoming bourgeois class counterpoised against the old, feudal order. In this counterpoising, it had utilized a warped notion of the Hellenic-Roman civilization, precisely for the purpose of serving the new correlated interests (which was correctly pointed out by K. Marx in his studies).
Himself a bourgeois, K. Marx made an attempt at class self-criticism, when formulating a new philosophical theory whose purpose was to overthrow the ideological edifice of the bourgeois society. In fact, through this same ideological subversion, he also strove for social change by abolishing the (unequal) bourgeois society and replacing it with a class-less society of communist equality.
As bearer of this change, Marxist thought selected the working class, because it was to be the recipient of the benefits of this change. With this new placement of purpose, his famous words that “the work of philosophy was until now the interpretation of the world; from now on, its work is to change it” are fully comprehended. So, the motive behind the favour that Marxism shows towards the working class is not philanthropy or a love for the oppressed workers; it is only because this social sub-stratum comprises the ultimate instrument for the realization of this Marxist, chiliastic goal.
This goal shifted the traditional philosophical center, from Man to Society. This philosophical system – dialectic materialism – after selectively assimilating a variety of elements from preceding philosophical schools, moved on to a subversive philosophical section that differentiates it and fences it off, against all others.
K. Marx apothegmatically introduced material as something of value in the realm of moral philosophy, by regarding that the “historical ‘being’ precedes human conscience”. This precedence does not have a chronological inference, only an inference of worth. In simpler words, it means that the laws that govern the course of history (positive, not moral laws) precede the laws governed by conscience. Therefore, the human person as the center of society is cancelled, and history as an act of humankind is rescinded. The end of history’s course is “social prosperity”, but to this, Marx gives a material hypostasis.
To Marxist thought, prosperity means a society that has utilized the productive powers of nature in the most beneficial (to nature) way, so that the equilibrium between them, which was upset by man, can be restored. We can therefore understand how - according to Marxist thought - the human person that is self-governed and self-defined offers negative services to history, since it –apparently- causes interference in the (natural) relationship that we described between society and Nature. It is in this radically negative view of the human person, that the huge difference lies, between Marxism and the preceding materialistic philosophical systems (for example Feuerbach’s). Pre-Marxist materialism regards man as a material value. K. Marx abolishes Man, and elevates Material as a value. Since the historical “being” precedes human conscience, then it has no need for existence, as the laws that govern this “being” are formulated in its absence, by society’s natural, historical necessity.
Undoubtedly, the social measures that this system of interpretation and world-changing involves, present exceptional similarities to those of many other systems. For example, social equality, the distribution of labour, etc., were also measures foreseen in Plato’s Republic and in Aristotelian political thought, as well as in Christian communities. This doesn’t mean however, that their sociology is analogous to Communism’s. In all of these systems, the social measures were dictated by the human person that selected them freely, in order to realize a goal much higher than material prosperity: VIRTUE, according to the meaning that every system gave to it. In Marxism, both the personal motive, as well as the goal, are absent.
Consequently, Communism “with a human face does not exist”. There is a Communism with a “human mask”, which we must remove, if our purpose is to select ideologies that are not only respectable, but also self-conscious ones. This point is of immense significance, because millions of people became passionately organized within the communist movement - but unfortunately not consciously – and many of them sacrificed their lives, thus promoting the Marxist principles into moral values superior to their lives, when in fact those very “values” were founded on the underestimation of the human person’s potential to choose and to set down moral values.
Excerpt from the magazine “TREETO MAHTI”, December 2004 edition No.128, pages 22-26. Article written by V. Bakouros, with the general title “Socialistic Social Solidarity and Christian Love”.
Continuation, with topic: “Marxist practice and Christian Love”
Translation by A. N.
Article published in English on: 12-10-2005.
Last update: 19-10-2005.