Theology and Lenin’s Theological Contributions to Marxism

QUESTION: Theology – Lenin’s Theological Contributions to Marxism

ANSWER:

Some years after the origins of Marxist theology, V.I. Lenin affirmed the conclusions of Marx and Engels: “The philosophical basis of Marxism, as Marx and Engels repeatedly declared, is...a materialism which is absolutely atheistic and positively hostile to all religion.”1 Elsewhere, Lenin made it clear that fighting religion was an essential ingredient in a materialistic reality. “We must combat religion;” he said, “that is the ABC of all materialism, and consequently of Marxism.”2

Marxist Theology – Socialism and Religion
In his “Socialism and Religion” address, Lenin insists that the communist program is based on a scientific, materialistic world outlook and therefore “our propaganda necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.”3 Lenin went on to urge his fellow communists to follow Engels’ advice and translate and widely disseminate the atheistic literature of the eighteenth-century French Enlightenment.

Lenin made it clear that any idea of God was taboo, claiming, “Every religious idea, every idea of God, even flirting with the idea of God, is unutterable vileness...vileness of the most dangerous kind, ‘contagion’ of the most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy deeds, acts of violence and physical contagions...are far less dangerous than the subtle, spiritual idea of a God decked out in the smartest ‘ideological’ costumes....Every defense or justification of the idea of God, even the most refined, the best intentioned, is a justification of reaction.”4 Clearly, Lenin’s theology unerringly corresponds with that of Marx and Engels. Together they established the foundations for future communist declarations of atheism.5

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 V.I. Lenin, Complete Collected Works, 45 vols. (Moscow, USSR: Progress Publishers, 1978), 15:402.
2 Ibid., 405.
3 Ibid., 10:86.
4 Ibid., 35:122.
5 See David B.T. Aikman’s Ph.D. dissertation entitled “The Role of Atheism in the Marxist tradition.” (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services, 1979). Aikman covers all aspects of Marxist atheism in his 500+ page dissertation. Aikman also has an in-depth look at Lenin’s atheism and its influence in the U.S.S.R.

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