Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What do Christianity and Marxism have in common?

By Tom Kando

At the risk of offending some/many people, I would like to draw a comparison between two ideas/ideologies/"systems,"call it what you will, and point out some similarities:

2,000 years ago, one of the greatest men in history launched a new movement, based on admirable moral idea(l)s. Jesus Christ's revolution was incredibly necessary, as the Roman world had become increasingly cruel and unjust

Then, over a number of centuries, Christianity gradually took over control, and it became the new power system. It bred its own oppression, injustice and above all a stifling dogma which prevented intellectual and scientific progress for over a millennium. From a noble idealism, it turned into the number one cause of world retardation.

In the 19th century, a new thought emerged - Socialism. Its many spokesmen included Karl Marx. Today people throw around the epithet "Marxism" recklessly, even though Socialist thought is complex and varied enough to fill a library. But I'll follow suit and use the vulgar short-hand term "Marxism" myself.

Christianity was based on love. Jesus' aphorisms were brilliant and to the core: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven," "Turn the other cheek," "love thy enemy." Nevertheless, it is this magnificent idea which then produced the Inquisition, the Auto Da fe's and the Crusades, in sum the Dark Ages.

And what about Socialism/Marxism? How can anyone be against equality, justice, abolishing poverty, a government organized for the good of the people instead of the plutocracy? Lofty ideals too, no?
But this system also turned into a nightmare: Stalin, the Soviet Gulag, Mao's Cultural Revolution, etc.

It's clear, isn't it: Both systems began as a set of noble ideas and ideals, and then their implementation went haywire.

But wait, this is not the end of the story: Today, many Americans say about Socialism: "Bah, it may be a good theory, but it doesn't work in practice." But if we had said the same thing about Christianity, we would have junked it long ago. Yet, after Christianity's excesses of the past, it is now the faith of hundreds of millions, and viewed as benign even by non-Christians such as myself.

So the question is: Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater? We did not do this with Christianity, even though it was a bloodthirsty monstrosity when it had a monopoly on power. I believe that Socialism deserves a similar fate. Despite the horrors of Soviet Communism, Pol Pot and all the others, we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. leave comment here