Marxist Worldview

Marxist Worldview – An Integrated Framework
The Marxist worldview is grounded in Karl Marx and The Communist Manifesto,1 Das Kapital,2 and On Religion (with Friedrich Engels).3 Our friends at Summit Ministries have helped us explain the basics of the Marxist Worldview across ten major categories. For comprehensive coverage of each concept, please click on READ MORE at the end of each paragraph.

Marxist Worldview – The Individual Elements
For purposes of this article (and the others referenced), the Marxist worldview is presented as a comprehensive ideology from the philosophical lineage of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin:

    Marxist Theology – Atheism
    Marx was an atheist before he became a socialist. Engels and Lenin agreed that religion was a drug or “spiritual booze” and must be combated. To them, atheism put into practice meant a “forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions,” which would include the economy, government, law, etc. The Communist Party has not deviated from its founding fathers’ attitude toward God or religion. This explains the persecution of the church in countries with a communist government. READ MORE

    Marxist Philosophy – Dialectical Materialism
    In the Marxist worldview, materialism is another name for naturalism. The dialectic says that in everything there is a thesis (the way things are) and an antithesis (an opposition to the way things are), which must inevitably clash. The result of the struggle and merging that comes from the clash is the synthesis, which becomes the new thesis. This new thesis will eventually attract another antithesis, and produce a new synthesis. For Marxists, Dialectical Materialism is the driving process that moved matter from inorganic state into life, then to animals, then humans, and finally organized social institutions like governments and nations. READ MORE

    Marxist Ethics – Proletariat Morality
    Marxist ethics don’t come from a sense of absolute rules, but from the cause of communism. Whatever advances the proletariat (the working class) is morally good. Whatever advances the cause of communism is morally good, whatever hinders its advance is social and human evolution is morally evil. The killing fields of Cambodia, the Soviet Union, and the Ukraine, as well as the mass murders in China were the practical results of proletariat, or class morality. READ MORE

    Marxism and Science – Punctuated Evolution
    The Marxist worldview also depends on the theories of evolution and spontaneous generation. Karl Marx made it very clear that the origin of the species contained the scientific basis for his views on the class struggle. However, Marxist dialectical materialism called for something more than just the gradual progress of natural selection. The dialectic needs a theory with clashes and leaps. This is satisfied with punctuated equilibrium, which says that each species stayed the same for long periods of time (equilibrium) and evolution happened through occasional ruptures or leaps (punctuations) from one species to another. READ MORE

    Marxist Psychology – Monism (Behaviorism)
    Behaviorism says that everything a person does is the result of two purely material reasons: the individual’s physical makeup and the influence of the environment on a person’s nervous system. The brain is just a collection of nerves and blood vessels and tissues that have been programmed to react a certain way. The programming is done by a person’s environment: his education, surroundings, family, background, etc. Just like Pavlov conditioned his dogs to salivate when they heard a bell, humans are conditioned to feel patriotic when they see a flag, or to rescue children from drowning. This conclusion follows logically from their materialist philosophy (only matter exists). READ MORE

    Marxist Sociology – Classless Society
    The Marxist worldview is grounded in a society in which everyone is both the owners of the means of production and their own employees. In this scenario, there is no need for government because every man can be trusted to act responsibly and rightly, which also negates the need for the church or family. READ MORE

    Marxist Law – Proletariat Law
    In the Marxist worldview, sovereignty is given to the proletariat. Marxists generally trace law back to the concept of private property. Law was devised by the propertied class to protect its property. Marxists refer to this as bourgeois law. The basis of proletariat law is to protect social or state property. Socialist law grants certain human rights but only such rights as assist the advancement of socialism and communism, or only such rights as advance evolution. Once the full socialist system is victorious, however, the proletariat class experiences its victory of communist paradise and law ceases (along with the state). READ MORE

    Marxist Politics – Statism (Communist World Government)
    Eventually, the proletariat throughout the world will rise up, throw off the chains of bourgeois oppression, and seize the means of production as well as political power, thereby establishing a worldwide “dictatorship of the proletariat.” When this occurs, mankind will be taking its next major evolutionary step toward the coming world government. Marxists are willing to call for a one-world dictatorship, or state, of the proletariat because they will control such a government through Marxist law. According to the Marxist worldview, once every trace of bourgeois ideology and all the remains of capitalistic tradition have been eradicated a fully communist society will exist. In such a society, government will become unnecessary and with away. READ MORE

    Marxist Economics – Communism
    Economics is central to the Marxist-Leninist worldview because Marx believed that the economic system of a society determines the nature of all legal, social, and political institutions. Because the Marxist believes that modes of production form the foundation for society, he concludes that anything wrong with society is the result of imperfect modes of production. Societies have been improving because the economic systems on which they have been founded are gradually improving: slavery gave way to feudalism, and feudalism to capitalism. Because of the flaws in capitalism, it will give way to socialism. In a socialist society, all private property will gradually be abolished and man will no longer oppress his fellow man in an effort to protect his private property. When all private property and consequently all class distinctions have withered away, the slow transition from socialism to the highest economic form, communism, will be complete. READ MORE

    Marxist History – Historical Materialism
    In the Marxist worldview, history is the result of the dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) at work through biological evolution, economics, and the social order. Marxist-Leninists begin with eternal matter and spontaneous generation, and view history as a progression of biological and economic evolution which will ultimately result in a society of communist man in a communist paradise. Man is merely the consequence of these impersonal happenings, but man is given a minor role to play, to nudge history along a little faster toward its predetermined end. READ MORE

Marxist Worldview – The Ultimate Critique of Marxism Leninism
George Weigel delivers the ultimate critique of the Marxist Leninist worldview:

    Marx...taught that God was a projection of man's radical alienation: from himself, from his labor, and from a human community cruelly divided by class barriers. Man's salvation, in Marx's view, thus lay within history, in the creation of a mundane utopia whose coming would be hastened when men were no longer bewitched by the false promises of a kingdom to come in the time beyond time.

    Lenin, in turn, believed that the advent of this radically secular version of the coming kingdom could be dramatically accelerated by revolutionary action: a conviction by which he justified the homicidal cruelties of the secret police, who became an omnipresent reality in all communist states. Whereas Marx simply treated religion contemptuously as a source of man's alienation, Lenin hated the church and saw in it a powerful rival for hearts and minds....

    The communist animus against religion—and especially Christianity—was no accident: It was an essential part of the Marxist-Leninist package. A communism that had a benign view of Christianity was no more possible than a communism that had a benign view of democracy, or of market economies. Something had to give.

    As things worked out, of course, it was communism that 'gave.' And the delicious irony was that it 'gave' because what generations of communists took to be mere fantasy the Christian faith of the people of central and eastern Europe – proved more attractive, more resilient, more revolutionary, and more accurate to human experience than the secular doctrine that proclaimed itself the ultimate expression of revolutionary consciousness....4

Marxism - Learn More!

NOTES

1 The Communist Manifesto. Oxford and New York, NY: Oxford University, 1998. Original Pub., 1848.

2 Marx, Karl. Das Kapital. Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, 2000. Original Pub., 1853.

3 Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. On Religion. New York, NY: Schocken, 1964. For detailed coverage of the Marxist Leninist worldview, please see McFadden, Charles. The Philosophy of Communism. New York, Ny; Boston, MA; [etc.]: Benziger Brothers, 1939.

4 George Weigel, "The Collapse of Communism" in The World & I vol. 8 (May 1993), pp. 372–73.


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