Marx on Christianity, Judaism, and Evolution/Race

Source: Yonkers Tribune.

There was a comment the other day in one of the discussion threads here that claimed Christianity and Communism have important similarities. Paul Kengor, a political science professor at Grove City College, begs to differ. His article, linked above, explains.

My own view is that we shouldn’t confuse Christian behavior with Christian doctrine. Jesus fed the hungry, for example, but that doesn’t mean feeding the hungry is the point of Christianity.

It might mean only that feeding the hungry is a “station,” of sorts, a practice intended to produce specific experiences in the student that in turn have teaching or enlightenment potential.

Put another way, Christianity and Communism don’t belong to the same category of things that can be directly compared.

8 thoughts on “Marx on Christianity, Judaism, and Evolution/Race

  1. Well, as the person who simply pointed out the marked similarities in what the “Communist” ideal is and what the “Christian” ideal is, I read this article and your comments with interest.

    Neither you nor the author even address the point – in fact the obvious truth – of what I said.

    Marx’s enmity toward Christianity was about the way that it is actually practiced and used to subject people – not its ideals. The Christian Church’s enmity towards “Communism” was about the way that it is actually practiced and used to subject people – not its ideals. The ideals of both are very, very similar.

    Again, I commend Judge Amy Barret for joining a “community” that strives to live by Christian ideals as practiced by early “communes” of Christians. I sincerely hope she keeps the actual teachings of Jesus in mind when she considers the issues before the Court.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “The ideals of both are very, very similar.”

      I don’t think they are. To use your example from the other day, the Communist ideal of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” has no counterpart in Christian philosophy, or at least none that I’ve ever seen. Even if the Communist ideal is sharing, the Christian practice need not be idealistic at all, but a means to an end, as I suggested today.

      As Kengor might put it, Christianity is not a branch of political economy.


      1. I suggest you re-read the manifesto of the People of Praise which triggered my original comments praising Judge Barret for her attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus. They do not use Marx’s words in their declaration of purpose, but their practical goals are exactly what those words describe. And it is they, not I, that say they are following Jesus’s earliest and truest teaching on how to live. Together.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “I suggest you re-read the manifesto of the People of Praise…”

        No need. My focus and my post concern the academic question, “Do Christianity and Communism have important similarities?”

        The People of Praise manifesto [?] may have inspired your comments the other day, but it is quite irrelevant to my focus. In fact, I wouldn’t even assume that it is credibly representative of Christian philosophy. It may be, but I’m not interested in that question.

        My interest is in showing that Christianity and Communism are NOT similar. Kengor’s essay does a nice job of supporting that view by showing that the theorist of Communism promoted beliefs that no Christian could accept. My contribution is to point out the “category error” inherent in comparing two dissimilar things.


        1. Well, I will be honest. I have no idea what you think you are talking about. I was talking about the Christian belief system of our next Justice, the “community” she adheres to and how close the ideals that they strive for match the IDEALS at the heart of communism. You must be talking about something else. And you seem to be over-reacting as if you are offended by my noting the obvious similarities between early Christian communes, the People of Praise community and the IDEALS that communists have paid lip service to but NEVER practiced.

          But, if we are going off on a philosophical word play, I would point out that the following sentence . . .

          “My contribution is to point out the “category error” inherent in comparing two dissimilar things.”

          could be a textbook example of begging the question. The “category error” only occurs IF the two things are dissimilar which is exactly what you seem intent on proving. And, BTW, they are not dissimilar things. Both are systems of belief about how society SHOULD be organized in an IDEAL world.

          But, hey, it’s all good. You do not see the similarities between the IDEALS that I do and countless others have written about. So what? No biggie.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “Both are systems of belief about how society SHOULD be organized in an IDEAL world.”

          That’s funny. That’s the very concept I am now refuting for the fourth time.

          Most Christian theorists I’m familiar with would argue that society is already organized as it should be. The challenge for the student is to learn how the world works as given and not be distracted by illusions or Satan’s lies, such as Communism.

          In other words, again, religion is not political economy.


  2. There is Communism with a “kapital C”. Then there is communism as a form of communal living.

    Marx and Lenin were espousing economic theories that ultimately just became another dictatorship with few actual communist ideals in play except as promises to the masses that things will improve once a vague goal has been attained.

    Atheism was preferred by the founders and subsequent leaders simply to avoid competition for the state through a belief in God.

    Liberation theologians were trying to better the lives of the poor in autocratic countries that were oligarchies. Spiritual sustenance did not feed the belly nor clothe the naked. So a redistribution of wealth and land was a goal to level the playing fields.

    Naturally, those supporters of the dictators would charge the theologians with trying to form a Marxist state. The US did our part in this propaganda.

    There are the Sunday Christians and those who actually live to help the poor, form charities and better the physical lives of the “least among us”. Jesus washing the feet of common criminals was an expression of both humility and community.

    So I would suggest that Christianity can be compatible with communism with a small “c”. Not necessarily in line with a political/economic dictum, but rather the ideal of a social community working for the common good rather than Mammon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “Then there is communism as a form of communal living.”

      OK, but is “communal living” a form of communism? Should we call the Vikings communists because they had long houses in which multiple families ate and slept? Should we call the Romans communists because they had public baths?

      I’m suggesting that the comunalism of the early Christians is overrated. It may have been a fact of life to some extent, but it wasn’t an expression of Christian philosophy and it certainly wasn’t an expression of anything approaching Marxian philosophy.


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