Karl Marx was born in Trier, in the German Confederation, on May 5, 1818. His was not a “working-class” family, as both his mother and father were descended from scholars, professionals and rabbis. While Marx is certainly a central figure in the history of communism, he was by no means the lone originator of communism. And his background demonstrates that communism did not spring from the toiling masses of the working class. The reality is that Marx, like almost all socialist revolutionaries, was a product of academia and self-proclaimed intellectual secret societies, not the grim factories found in the early days of the Industrial Revolution.
His father, Heinrich, defected from the Jewish faith, and joined the Lutherans, largely to maintain his lucrative law practice. When Karl was placed in a university-preparatory school in 1830, it was a privilege open only to about a quarter of the town’s population. Marx was sent off to the University of Bonn to follow in his father’s profession of law, but he spent far too much time in local taverns, drinking too much and getting into fights.
The next year, Marx went to the University of Berlin, switched from law to philosophy, and became a much more serious student. It was here that he became immersed in a host of radical leftist ideas. He soon became a devotee of Georg Wilhelm Hegel’s philosophy of “dialectics.” Simply put, this theory postulated that repeated interaction with a new framework of perception would lead to a new framework, and that the process would repeat itself over and over.
It was not the only radical influence upon Marx. His professor of legal history, Edward Gans, was an advocate of the Saint Simonians, early French socialists. Another Hegel disciple, Bruno Bauer, was a lecturer at Berlin who became a mentor to young Marx. He wrote Historical Criticism of the Synoptic Gospels. Bauer argued that the gospel accounts were pious forgeries, and that Jesus had not even existed.
While Marx obtained a doctorate in 1841, his hopes of becoming a university professor were dashed, largely because of his association with Bauer. Marx dabbled in journalism off and on for the next several years — never earning a great amount for his articles, though he did raise his name identification throughout Europe, and even in America.
Probably the only real friend Marx ever had was Friedrich Engels, the son of a textile manufacturer. Engels was a convert to atheism and radicalism, and the two traveled to England in 1845 to research English political economists at the Manchester Public Library. On their way back to Brussels, where he was now living, they stopped in London to meet some English and German radicals that Engels had met the previous year — a secret society known as The League of the Just.
The group’s goal was to unite all the socialist movements across Europe. By 1847, Marx had become increasingly involved with the League. With its emergence from a host of secret societies in Europe, the exact origins of “communism,” a variant of revolutionary socialism, will probably never be known. However, it should be quite clear that communism did not originate in the mind of one frustrated academic named Marx.
His importance in the history of communism is that the League of the Just decided to change its name to the Communist League, and they hired Marx and Engels to write the platform — The Communist Manifesto — of the new political party they were forming. Marx’s sources for this work were many, including the French radicals such Jean-Paul Marat, a prominent atheist and Jacobin, who wrote, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.”
Among the planks found in the Manifesto are abolition of private property, a heavy and graduated progressive income tax, abolition of the rights of inheritance, centralization of credit in the hands of the state, and free education for all children in public schools. Even a cursory reading of these planks reveals that Marxism is not just an abstract 19th century philosophy.
Perhaps the greatest fallacy of communism is its atheism. Marx called religion “the opiate of the people,” a phrase he borrowed from Bauer. He believed that religion kept the workers sedated, causing them to not rise up and throw off their chains. The rejection of private property is another fallacy, rooted in the rejection of biblical morality. And so is his rejection of the family.
“The closing years for Karl Marx were sterile, lonely ones,” Cleon Skousen wrote in The Naked Communist. Two daughters committed suicide. His own health declined rapidly, particularly after his long-suffering wife died in 1881. That was followed by the unexpected death of another daughter, then two months later his own death on March 18, 1883. He was just 64 years old.
Marx was buried at Highgate Cemetery in London, where his friend Engels read a funeral oration. At the time of his death, it appeared the socialist tide had ebbed. Yet, within a generation, the first communist state was established in Russia. Other coummunist states followed, and by the end of the 20th century communist rulers had killed some 100 million people.
It is uncertain how the world would be different today had Marx never been born, or if his life had taken a different path. But we can safely say that the world is much different today because of him, and that this difference was not for the good.
Socialistic and Communistic principles are the doctrines of devils masquerading as hope and help for the proletariat – the marginalized or working class people. It is an evil system to be feared, deeply rooted in deception, promising a “people’s government,” but delivering despotism. It has been responsible for the death and impoverishment of millions throughout the course of history.
A recent World Net Daily article rightly noted that there is a place in America, however, that despite the despicable nature of Communism, it “enjoys unbridled popularity.” It is a place where Marx’s book, “The Communist Manifesto,” is the most popular book today.
Where? you ask. The answer: “[O]n American college campuses.”
The WND Exclusive says, “That’s according to data from Open Syllabus Project, which tracks books and other works assigned to students in more than 1 million syllabi. The database is assembled using computer algorithms that scrape the data from publicly available sites… Many notable works, including the Bible and the U.S. Constitution, don’t appear in the data set”
WND adds, “But it’s not just Marx you’ll find on American Campuses. You’ll also find his followers. Decades ago, U.S. News and World Report reported there were 10,000 Marxist professors. No one is keeping track today.”
Alarmed? We should be. Is there any wonder we’re seeing so much unrest on college campuses? Is there any wonder we’re seeing an unprecedented assault on free speech and gun rights emanating from these institutions? Is there any wonder that colleges and so many of their graduates are constantly touting the redistribution of wealth? Is there any wonder atheism and humanism thrive, while orthodox Christianity is disparaged and despised among intellectual elites?
Speaking of Christianity, although many Progressive Christian churches often applaud and commend socialist principles (there is only a sliver of difference between socialism and communism), the church has traditionally, and rightly condemned this system of thought.
The church condemns it because the Scriptures teach that private property is a God-given right. Economic systems perpetuating or constructing dependence, while also rewarding sloth, strike at the very heart of what it means to be a human being. Both socialism and communism suppress the image of God in man, his creativity and productivity, punishing individuals when they succeed, even when their success is attained by a legitimate means. Class warfare is certainly wrong, but it’s not inevitable. Moreover, the Scriptures reject earthly utopian visions as untenable, declaring that Christ is the Savior of the world and not government.
Progressive churches are riddled with socialist and communist influences today. They see Jesus as a revolutionary and not as someone who deals with sin in the traditional way, but in a material way. As George Elerick says in a HuffPost article, “Jesus was a strict materialist (both philosophically and in everyday life).” He argues individualism is to be rejected because it “creates the gap between the individual and the collective.” For example he says, “In the story of the rich man, we have two characters: a rich guy and the bourgeois; and the poor man and the proletariat. We have the 99 percent and the 1 percent.”
Elerick’s interpretation is not a pure form of Christianity but one corrupted and shaped by Marxism. It’s a belief that essentially ignores the Bible’s clear teaching about personal sin and the individual’s desperate need for redemption in Jesus Christ. It’s a theology which claims that if man’s environment is changed, he will change. He’ll love and treat his brother as he ought.
This is a damnable and devilish heresy amidst Christian ranks, which as J. Wallace Hamilton once said, profoundly threatens God’s blessed bequest of freedom: freedom to choose our own way, freedom to make or mar our destiny, freedom to climb the heights or sink in the depths. It is to turn the gift of liberty over to the strong man, and ultimately lose our personalities in the mass mind and the mass will.
Truly frightening stuff!
But I suggest there may be an even greater facilitator of socialism and communism than that of the colleges and liberal churches. It is when conservative evangelicals treat their faith as an opiate. Marx contended that “religion…is the opium of the people.”
Bishop Gerald Kennedy in 1960 touched on this in a sermon titled, “Communism in the Churches.” He declared the church was using the Christian faith like a drug with morphine-like effects.
“What is the message of the church in America? Very often it is a message of adjustment. We are supposed to use our religion merely as a technique of getting along with other people and accepting the conditions of our existence without protest. We do not talk very much about being converted to a new life,” argued Kennedy.
“From many a pulpit, the voice of the preacher has become a lullaby accompanied by violins…The Christian message when it is not contaminated with this communist poison is prophetic and often fierce,” Kennedy said. “The Christian word is to repent and be saved…It is a word of judgment as well as righteousness…Our examples are the apostles and the martyrs rather than well-meaning, harmless people whose good intentions have all the toughness of a marshmallow.”
According to the American Action Network, in 2016, polling revealed nearly six-in-ten Democratic primary voters believed that socialism has ‘a positive impact on society.” Furthermore, who would have ever believed an avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, would be a major contender for the Presidency.
Exceedingly nefarious forces are working to destroy America, and they’ve had profound success. Behind them is the devil himself.
Christ’s followers need to purify themselves, clean up before a holy God, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They also need to boldly bring the principles of the Word of God to bear on sin and the social evils of our day, one of which is socialist and communist influences.
If the church doesn’t catch on to what’s happening and recommit to its holy mission of being light in darkness, then before long the World Worker’s Party might be celebrating more than Marx’s birthday. They just might be celebrating a socialist or communist America.