Seven Reasons Why Americans Should Vote for Trump in 2016


by Dr. Norman L. Geisler

September 26, 2016


Basically, there are only two realistic alternatives in the coming presidential election. Either we stay on the same liberal path we have been on for years or else we try something new. But why Trump?

A Prolegomena [Introduction] to Any Future Politics

Trump is a Flawed Candidate

A common charge against Trump is that he is a flawed candidate. But in a Two Party system, such as we have, our choices are limited. We do not have perfect candidates with whom to replace imperfect ones. In fact, there are no perfect candidates on the ticket. Jesus is not running! We have only imperfect candidates from which to choose. However, some are more imperfect than others.

“The Lesser of Two Evils”

In politics, as in life, sometimes we must choose the so-called “lesser of two evils.” So when both presidential candidates have high negatives, we must choose the one with fewer. A friend once described his dilemma to me as a choice between “a known devil and a suspected witch.” If so, then we should choose the suspected witch!

A More Excellent Way

Actually, we are never really faced with a situation where all the alternatives are evil. One alternative is always the greater good. The doctor who amputates to save the patient’s life is not doing an evil by cutting off his leg. He is doing a greater good. We never have a moral duty to do a moral evil. So our choice in the presidential race is never between two evils, but it is of which one is the better candidate, the greater good. But before we decide this, we must avoid a tempting alternative, “the cop out option.”

Staying Home Does Not Help

Not voting is a cowardly way out. It gives away our God-given responsibility to do our best, even in bad situations. Sitting it out is like the doctor deciding not to amputate to save the patient because he does not want to cut off someone’s leg. If we don’t vote, then we have no voice in the outcome. Someone else will decide for us. Indeed, if we don’t vote, then there will be one less vote for the best candidate who may lose because of our failure to participate in the election. In this case, staying home is a morally bad decision

Power Corrupts….

Our Founders believed that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is why they built checks and balances into our system. We have a Two Party system, States can recall votes, and citizens can impeach bad candidates. The major check is “We the People.” The candidates have terms to their offices, and we get to vote for who will serve the next term. And it is our duty to choose the best one the next time.

 

Some Reasons to Vote for Trump

Given the foregoing reality, there are several reasons to believe that Donald Trump is a better moral choice. . .

[To read the rest of this article, please visit “The Exchange” at http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2016/september/why-trump-is-best-candidate-for-president.html]

 

Copyright 2016 – Norman L. Geisler –  All rights reserved


To read other articles by Dr. Geisler on voting, politics, and conservative principles, visit http://normangeisler.com/trump

An Evaluation of Marxist Humanism (Part 2 of 2)


[Click here to open this file as a PDF for easier reading.]

An Evaluation of Marxist Humanism, Neo-Marxism, and Cultural Marxism

Part 2 of 2

by Norman L. Geisler

and

Christopher T. Haun

 


Copyright 2017 – Norman L. Geisler –  All rights reserved


This essay is an early draft of a chapter from Norm’s forthcoming book Is Man the Measure: An Evaluation of Contemporary Humanism and Transhumanism (Bastion Books: 2017). Chapter 5 of the first edition of the book was written between 1982-1983 and this was written as a postscript to that chapter.


A SPECTRE is haunting Europe — the spectre of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre. … Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution.

Marx and Engels

The Communist Manifesto

 

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also it will be with this evil generation.

Jesus of Nazareth

Matthew 12:43-45

 

 

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the time that Marx’s ‘spectre’ possessed the Bolsheviks to bring bloody revolution to Russia. That same spirit proceeded to haunt most of Asia, much of Africa, and some of the Americas. Revolutionary Marxism still holds the record for having deceived, enslaved, terrorized, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered more millions of people than any other ideology. The Leninist and Maoist interpreters of Karl Marx sacrificed over 160 million civilians on the altar of global equality. And that’s the conservative estimate. But the Marxist attempts to create their vision of heaven on a godless earth produced such unsustainable conditions that every large experiment in Marxism collapsed toward the end of the 20th century. Contrary to the popular assumption, however, Marx’s spectre was never truly exorcised from the world. Borrowing one of Jesus’ analogies, if it departed at all, it did so only to return soon after to its old haunts with seven other spirits like it. Or, to use a more modern colloquialism, Marx’s spirit never died; it just went to Hell to regroup.

 

The Failures of “Eastern” Implementations of Marx

 

It is true that the hardline forms of Marxism in the East proved to be abject failures. They failed economically and morally. Throughout the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping made the reforms in China that allowed it to become an economic giant. He encouraged the practices that were anathema to Marx, Lenin, and Mao—foreign investment, global market capitalism, and private competition. When he said, “It doesn’t matter if the cat is white or black so long as it catches the mouse,” he was implying that China would embrace more capitalistic-styled freedoms if doing so would end the starvation and deprivation fostered by the Marx-inspired policies of his predecessor, Chairman Mao.

As soon as it was clear that Gorbachev was not going to enforce the terrible Brezhnev doctrine, Poland, Hungary, and Romania sloughed off their miserable Marxist yokes without hesitation. They set up free elections in 1989. Between 1990 and 1991 a dozen other Eastern European countries did the same. The Germans tore down the nasty Berlin Wall. In 1992 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dissolved and Russia turned away from their Marxist-Leninist Communism. All the big experiments in socio-politico-economic Marxism had failed. The smaller experiments in Marxism also failed. Every single one of the kibbutzim of Israel became at least partially privatized by 2012.[2]

Now that we can look back at a century of empirical testing among many people groups in many nations, it is clear that the Marx-inspired systems never ultimately delivered upon their promises of equality, justice, and better conditions for “the people.” When prosperity did occasionally flow to some it was either at the expense of thousands—sometimes millions—of others or it was when Marxist constrictions were relaxed. Lenin himself was forced by circumstances to return Russia to a limited form of capitalism in 1922. He also had to accept several tons of wheat from the USA to prevent mass starvation. Lenin tightened and loosened the economic tourniquet as needed. Stalin tightened it. Khrushchev loosened it and Brezhnev tightened it. Gorbachev loosened it until it untied itself.

The Marxist penchant for moral bankruptcy was even more terrible than their penchant for economic bankruptcy. They proved more oppressive to “the people” than the yokes of oppression they had “liberated” the people from. The toll in bloodshed finds no close parallels in all of human history. The number of victims murdered and purposefully starved in the Soviet Union by its Marxist-Leninist leaders is estimated to be over sixty million. They killed ten million Ukrainians in the year 1933 alone. The Marxist victim tally in Mao’s China is over eighty million people. Cambodian Marxists sacrificed ten million victims on the altar of Utopia. Marxism in Vietnam, North Korea, and Yugoslavia has put over four million people to death. These figures do not include the hundreds of thousands put to death in the other countries that had the misfortune of becoming victims to hardline Marxist revolutions,[3] the bloodshed in the nations where revolutions were attempted but failed,[4] the hardships experienced by the countries that dabbled with Marxism for years before rejecting it, the lives of soldiers spent by the freer nations to defend against the Marxist plans for world domination, or the millions of infants aborted by Marxist policies in the last 100 years.[5]

It is difficult to find other disasters and atrocities in human history that compare with the slaughters perpetrated by Marx’s interpreters. The bubonic plague that swept through Asia, Europe, and Africa in the 14th century ended the lives of an estimated 50 million humans. Genghis Khan’s soldiers slaughtered an estimated forty million people during the expansion of the Mongol empire of the 12th century. Four centuries of ugly European Colonialism cost the world an estimated 50 million lives. World War I killed nine million and wounded twenty-three million. World War II killed twenty-five million soldiers and thirty-five million civilians. As tragic as each of these empire expansions, wars, and plagues were, they still somehow pale in comparison to the billion or so lives that were ended in connection with the spectres unleashed by Marx. The implementation of Marx’s ideas and spirit has killed more people than the bubonic plague, the imperialism of Genghis Khan, European colonialism, and both world wars combined.

In hindsight, Marx was a misguided Messiah, a perjured prophet, an inhumane humanist, a pseudo-scientist, a revolutionary religionist, and a saboteur—not a savior. Not surprisingly then there are few leaders, intellectuals, and academics today who openly admit to being disciples of Marx. The university professors who are intoxicated by Marx’s vision and who repackage Marx for their students admit that Marx must have been wrong on at least one point. They may even argue that Lenin, Mao, Stalin, etc., were not faithful interpreters and consistent implementers of true Marxism. So when we define Marxism as a rigid economic theory that only applies to the long-gone age of the Industrial Revolution, it is true in a technical sense that Marxism is dead and that there are no real Marxists today. But when we consider Marxism as a family of several other “-isms” that were inspired by and heavily influenced by Marx’s writings, Marxism arguably remains the most dominant clan of philosophies at work in the world today. In no way does the death of Dictator Fidel Castro[6] in 2016 does not then mark the end of Marx’s progeny. Many of Marx’s followers in the Western nations—many of whom gave glowing eulogies for Castro—have come to occupy positions of prominence in the fields of education, entertainment, journalism, and government in the countries that blend socialism and capitalism in various ratios. While they may speak and act more mildly than their eastern brethren did, they too are still seeking a revolution that will replace the fabric of society. And they are at war with the faith and practice of the Christian churches that refuse to modernize.

 

 

The “Western” Marxist Approaches to Revolution

 

Marx was the sort of impatient fellow who much preferred the idea of bloody revolutions to bloodless reforms. But when faced with the challenge of the freedom-loving nations in the industrialized West, Marx and Engels made provision for a gradual strategy of reforms that lead to revolution:

 

The first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class … Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production. … These measures will of course be different in different countries. Nevertheless in the most advanced countries the following will be pretty generally applicable. . . [7]

 

They realized that the despotic measures of revolution that would be effective later in the war-torn, pre-industrialized countries (Russia, China, Korea, Vietnam, Angola, Afghanistan, etc.) would not be likely to work out as well in the “most advanced countries”—the countries that had already industrialized and were enjoying the prosperity that came from it. Professor Ebenstein suggested that Marx “occasionally referred to England and the United States as two possible exceptions to the principle of social change through communist revolution and dictatorship.”[8] Here it becomes helpful to divide Marxism roughly into eastern and western interpretations. For the “advanced countries” in the West, Marx-Engels recommends ten planks for revolutionaries to use as waypoints in a gradual revolution. The steps include the abolition of property, a heavy income tax, abolition of all right of inheritance, confiscation of the property, centralization of credit in a centralized bank, centralization of the means of communication and transport, factories and instruments of production to become owned by the State, equal liability of all to labor, forced labor, and free education (indoctrination) for all children in public schools.

 

The Reformed Marxism of Karl Kautsky

 

The first gradualist approach to Marxism was developed by Karl Kautsy. Kautsky met personally with Marx and Engels more than once and was one of their most ardent followers. On some matters he diverged from them and became the leading theoretician of what would later be called “evolutionary democratic socialism.” Lenin lambasted Kautsky for his rejection of some of Marxism’s nastier features—impatient and bloody revolution, unwillingness to compromise, and the dictatorship of the industrial working class.[9] Kautsky’s socialism has since influenced or dominated the policy of the majority of nations around the world. Whereas the countries that became victims of Leninist and Maoist implementations of Marxism have been hobbling away from Marxism, the nations of Western Europe, North America, and South America have become increasingly influenced by Marxism through this “third way” that synthesizes elements of capitalism, socialism, freedom, and controls together.

 

 

The Reformed Marxism of the Fabian Society

 

Soon after Marx died, another western interpretation of Marxism began to flourish in England and New England. The Fabian Society named themselves after Fabius Maximus, a Roman General whom military historians recognize as the father of guerilla warfare. In the Second Punic War, General Fabius prudently refused to send his soldiers to meet the Hannibal’s superior forces on the open battlefield in direct conflict. Instead, he practiced a patient and cautious strategy of hit-and-run warfare, ambushes, constant harassment, and a war of attrition. Inspired by this form of warfare, the motto of the Fabian Socialists was,

 

For the right moment you must wait, as Fabius did patiently, when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the right moment comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain, and fruitless.[10]

 

The historian Plutarch wrote that Fabius’ “tactics were slow, silent, and yet relentless in their steady pressure, [Hannibal’s] strength was gradually and imperceptibly undermined and drained away.”[11]

Although the Fabian Marxists remained revolutionaries in the spirit of Marx, they differed from Marx on at least three important points. First, they differed on the matter of by whom and to whom. Whereas Marx forecasted the proletariat (largely the factory workers) would and should be the class that should lead the revolt, the Fabians realized that revolution would only have a chance of success when led by a highly-educated class. George Bernard Shaw, one of the better-known Fabians, wrote,

 

Marx’s Kapital is not a treatise on socialism; it is a gerrymand against the bourgeoisie. It was supposed to be written for the working class, but the working man respects the bourgeoisie and wants to be a bourgeoisie. Marx never got a hold of him for a moment. It was the revolting sons of the bourgeoisie itself, like myself, that painted the flag red. The middle and upper classes are the revolutionary element in society. The proletariat is the conservative element.[12]

 

Shaw makes an interesting point: Neither Marx nor Engels were products of the working classes. Marx was the son of a lawyer. Engels’ father owned considerable amounts of property. Lenin came from a wealthy family. The working class rarely produces the intellectuals and poets whose pens are mighty enough to inflame hearts and unsheathe swords. Shaw was also prescient: it would be young and gullible students—boys and girls who never had to work with their hands to feed their families—who would be the most susceptible to believing revolutionary propaganda.

While the Fabians further developed the idea of a gradual revolution they added a dimension of deep deceptiveness to it. Whereas Marx and Engels stated that Communists are very transparent about what they want to take, who they want to take it from, and how they plan to take it,[13] the Fabian Marxists, knowing all too well that Marx was wrong about the revolutions happening naturally as if by scientific law, knew the revolutions had to be forced to occur artificially. They also knew that their agents of change could not succeed if they were honest and transparent about their ends and means. The Fabian strategy for the Western nations was, as the name Fabius implies, quite fabian—gradual, cautious, guerilla, covert, sneaky, unconventional, deceptive, indirect, and asymmetrical.

The Fabians would focus on university professors and students rather than factory workers. They would indoctrinate their agents of change through schooling and scholarship. In the words of one of its founders, the Fabian Society was “founded in 1884 as an educational and propagandist centre. . . It furnishes lecturers in considerable number to all meetings where Socialism, in any guise whatsoever, can possibly be introduced. . .”[14] As of 1885 their motto was, “EDUCATE, AGITATE, ORGANIZE.”[15] By starting with an intellectual revolution in the minds of academics the revolution would naturally bleed into all other arenas of public policy and public opinion. Unable at first to infiltrate the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the Fabians established the London School of Economics. They would also create the Labor Party in the United Kingdom, publish journals, and established beachheads in several influential American universities. Meanwhile some of its foremost members also continued to spread propaganda in favor of the Marxist-Leninist State in the 1930s.[16]

 

 

 

Reformed Marxism in the Humanist Manifestos

 

There are strong echoes of Kautskian-Fabian variants of Marxism in the manifestos and declarations produced by humanists. The pendulum tends to shift more towards the communist side of the Marxist spectrum in the early manifestos and then as the economic failure of communism becomes more undeniable, the later manifestos seek to balance their socialism with a little capitalism.

John Dewey, the co-author of the first Humanist Manifesto and reformer of the American public school system, was a member of several Marxist front organizations. He was also one of the leaders of the American branch of the Fabian Society. The fourteenth affirmation of his Humanist Manifesto I (1933) is unabashedly Marxist. It has nothing but condemnation for the “acquisitive and profit-motivated society.” Its insistence on the need for “radical change” and its hope of establishing a “socialized and cooperative economic order” that would forcibly distribute “the means of life” equitably are all hallmarks of economic Marxism. Western intellectuals still had the luxury of imagining that Marxism might work out well.

By the end of the twentieth century, however, the leading secular humanists in the West could see the need to steer away from the inhumane means and tragic ends of the Soviet Union, China, and the Warsaw Pact countries. They toned the Marxist jargon down in subsequent manifestos and redrew their vision of controlling all people as something that could somehow coexist with liberty for all people. Writing in 1999, Paul Kurtz, the framer of Humanist Manifesto II, explained:

 

Humanist Manifesto II was released in 1973 to deal with the issues that had emerged on the world scene since [1933]: the rise of fascism and its defeat in the Second World War, the growth in influence and power of Marxism-Leninism and Maoism, the Cold War … Many Marxist humanists in Eastern Europe had attacked totalitarian statism and welcomed a defense of democracy and human rights. Humanist Manifesto II no longer defended a planned economy, but left the question open to alternative economic systems. Thus, it was endorsed by both liberals and economic libertarians, who defended a free market, as well as by social democrats and democratic socialists, who believed that the government should have a substantial role to play in a welfare society. It sought to democratize economic systems and test them by whether or not they increased economic well-being for all individuals and groups.[17]

 

Kurtz then shows their Marxist stripes when he advocates the forcible redistribution of wealth through an irresistible global government:

 

We recommend an international system of taxation in order to assist the underdeveloped sectors of the human family and to fulfill social needs not fulfilled by market forces. We would begin with a tax levied on the Gross National Product (GNP) of all nations, the proceeds to be used for economic and social assistance and development. This would not be a voluntary contribution but an actual tax. … Extreme disparities between the affluent and the underdeveloped sectors of the planet can be overcome by encouraging self-help, but also by harnessing the wealth of the world to provide capital, technical aid, and educational assistance for economic and social development.[18]

 

The third humanist manifesto, titled Humanism and Its Aspirations, was adopted in 2003 by the American Humanist Association and supersedes the first two manifestos. It attempts to put some distance between itself and the classic economic Marxism. The Marxist jargon (“cooperatively,” “interdependence,” “global community,” “minimize the inequities,” “just distribution of resources”) was toned down such that Marxists would have no problem recognizing it and kind-hearted non-Marxists might also find its phrasing attractive. The Amsterdam Declaration of 1952, which was updated in 2002 and adopted by the World Humanist Congress, somewhat vaguely tries to recommend a balance between personal liberty and social responsibility. The Secular Humanist Declaration (1980) similarly seems to recommend a synthesis of Marxism and Capitalism where it says:

 

a free society should also encourage some measure of economic freedom, subject only to such restrictions as are necessary in the public interest. This means that individuals and groups should be able to compete in the marketplace, organize free trade unions, and carry on their occupations and careers without undue interference by centralized political control.[19]

 

 

 

The Cultural Marxism of Antonio Gramsci

 

By perceiving one of its greatest obstacles to adoption and devising strategies to overcome it, Antonio Gramsci may be the greatest interpreter of Marx. A member of the Italian Socialist Party in 1913 and founder of the Italian Communist Party in 1921, Gramsci fled to Lenin’s Soviet Socialist Republic under threat of the rise of Italian Fascism. Experiencing life in Russia made it obvious to him that the revolution Marx had predicted still hadn’t occurred naturally. Life there also made it clear to him that their “workers’ paradise” was maintained by propaganda, lies, secret police, and fear.

While he never became disillusioned with Marx’s vision of revolution of the workers followed by the rise of a utopia from the ashes, he became disillusioned with all the artificial attempts to create the revolution in Russia, China, and elsewhere. Afraid of the insanity and cruelty Stalin had a reputation for, Gramsci returned to Italy to take his chances among the less frightening Fascists. During nine years in an Italian prison he managed to cobble together nine volumes of writings that could help achieve a Marxist world. Roman Catholic historian Malachi Martin summarizes:

 

Gramsci—intellectually a product of the Roman Catholic society of Italy—was far more advanced than either Hegel or Marx in his understanding of Christian metaphysics in general, of Thomism in particular, and of the richness of the Roman Catholic heritage.  … What was essential, insisted Gramsci, was to Marxise the inner man. Only when that was done could you successfully dangle the utopia of the “Workers’ Paradise” before his eyes, to be accepted in a peaceful and humanly agreeable manner, without revolution or violence or bloodshed. … What Marx and Lenin had got wrong, Gramsci said, was the part about an immediate proletarian revolution. His Italian socialist brothers could see as well as he did that, in a country such as Italy—and in Spain or France or Belgium or Austria or Latin America, for that matter—the national tradition of all the classes was virtually consubstantial with Roman Catholicism. The idea of proletarian revolution in such a climate was impractical at best, and could be counterproductive at worst. … Gramsci had a better way. A subtler blueprint for Marxist victory. … Use Lenin’s geopolitical structure not to conquer streets and cities, argued Gramsci. Use it to conquer the mind of civil society. Use it to acquire a Marxist hegemony over the minds of the populations that must be won. … they must join in whatever liberating causes might come to the fore. . . Marxist must join with women, with the poor, with those who find certain civil laws oppressive. … they must enter into every civil, cultural, and political activity in every nation, patiently leavening them as thoroughly as yeast leavens bread. If there was any true superstructure that had to be eliminated, it was the Christianity that had created and still pervaded Western Culture in all its forms, activities, and expressions. … Marxist action must be unitary against what he saw to be the failing remnant of Christianity. And by a unitary attack, Gramsci meant that Marxists must change the residually Christian mind. He needed to alter that mind—to turn it into its opposite in all its details—so that it would become not merely a non-Christian mind but an anti-Christian mind. … everything must be done in the name of man’s dignity and rights, and in the name of his autonomy and freedom from outside constraint. From the claims and constraints of Christianity, above all else. Accomplish that, said Gramsci, and you will have established a true and freely adopted hegemony over the … thinking of every formerly Christian country. Do that, he promised, and in essence you will have Marxized the West. The final step—the Marxization of the politics of life itself—will then follow.[20]

 

Other Marxists were saying similar things. Christian Rakovsky, a leader in Trotsky’s blend of global Marxism, for example, reportedly said:

 

Communism cannot be the victor if it will not have suppressed the still living Christianity. … In reality Christianity is our only real enemy, since all the political and economic phenomena in the bourgeois States are only its consequences. Christianity, controlling the individual, is capable of annulling the revolutionary projection of the neutral Soviet or atheistic State by choking it and, as we see it in Russia, things have reached the point of the creation of that spiritual nihilism which is dominant in the ruling masses, which have, nevertheless, remained Christian: this obstacle has not yet been removed during twenty years of Marxism.[21]

 

 

The Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School

 

In the 1930s, a group of professors at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt in Germany (“the Frankfurt School” for short) developed their own unique strains of Western Marxism. While they preferred to call their theory “the critical theory of society” their work has become more commonly known as “Cultural Marxism.”

They were keenly aware of the fact that the German workers did not revolt as Marx had predicted. But the fact that Marxism had failed its first and biggest test wasn’t enough to make them abandon Marx. They remained Marxist at the core and sought to salvage Marx’s vision for the dissolution of the evil “capitalist” systems that dominated Europe and the United States and plagued the world. Max Horkheimer defined their critical theory of society as (1) “a theory dominated at every turn by a concern for reasonable conditions of life,” (2) a theory which condemns existing social institutions and practices as “inhuman,” and (3) a theory which contemplates the need for “alteration of society as a whole.”[22] In harmony with Marx, the Frankfurt School theorists taught that everything in Western society is so evil that every facet of it needs to be ruthlessly criticized, weakened, and destroyed.

The rise of Nazi movement in Germany forced these professors to flee their German homeland. The National Socialists were competing with Marxist Socialists and the Frankfurt theorists were definitely recognizable as Marxists. They were also all Jewish. So in 1935 they fled Germany and made Columbia University of New York their base of operations.[23] They did not flee to Stalin’s Moscow because they were critical of his dystopian implementation of Marx. They enjoyed the safety, liberty, opportunities, wealth, and honor the United States offered them during World War II. After WWII ended, some of the Frankfurt Professors returned to Germany. But others stayed to indoctrinate university students with their ideas about cultural revolution and criticism. The USA had emerged from WWII as the most powerful nation in history. In taking Germany’s place, they inherited the ire of those who target and harass the powerful.

Although sympathetic to Marx’s war on inequality among socio-economic classes, these “cultural Marxists” instead focused on other cultural areas where people groups encounter inequality. They saw power inequalities in the clash of cultures (particularly where traditional “Western culture” dominated non-western cultures), of races (European races having dominated non-European races), or religions (where peoples practicing various forms of Christianity have subjugated and oppressed people of other religions), of family (parents often dominate their children and adults oppress the youth), of gender (men often dominate women), and sexual orientation (heterosexual communities oppress people in LGBTIQ[24] categories). Why didn’t the workers of Europe unite and revolt as Marx had predicted? This was one of the main problems these Neo-Marxist theorists were also trying to solve. Perhaps Marx had been right about most everything but had underestimated the grip that the European cultural heritage (chiefly from the Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Reformation influences) had upon the hearts and minds. If these cultural barriers to Marxism could be eroded away, the revolution could proceed.

The chief weapon in their ideological arsenal was criticism.  The Frankfurt School made it academically fashionable to subject every old truth claim to “new criticism” or “critical theory.” Quite in harmony with Marx, every established authority and every established belief must be questioned, challenged, critiqued, doubted, ridiculed, marginalized, weakened, subverted, destroyed, and replaced. Beginning with criticism Marx’s spectre can proceed to liberate all the peoples of the world from the oppression of Classical civilization and Judeo-Christian culture.

Herbert Marcuse was one of the most influential and best known theorists of the Frankfurt School. He taught his brand of cultural Marxism into the 1970s at Columbia University, Harvard, Brandeis, and the University of California, San Diego. He is now widely regarded as the father of the New Left movement, the most influential “radical philosopher” of the 1960s, and a major inspiration for the Hippie Movement, the student movement, and the civil rights movement. Rather than fomenting discontent among the working class he focused on turning the youth against their heritages and the civilization they were born into. While critiquing both capitalism and communism, he recommended a “cultural revolution in the sense that the protest is directed toward the whole cultural establishment, including the morality of the existing society.”[25] He also called for:

 

radical change, revolution in and against a highly developed, technically advanced industrial society.  This historic novelty demands a reexamination of one our most cherished concepts. . . . First, the notion of the seizure of power. Here [in the United States], the old model [of Marxist revolution] wouldn’t do anymore. That, for example, in a country like the United States, under the leadership of a centralized and authoritarian party, large masses concentrate on Washington, occupy the Pentagon, and set up a new government. Seems to be a slightly too unrealistic and utopian picture. We will see that what we have to envisage is a type of diffuse and dispersed disintegration of the system.[26]

 

Like their Fabian forbearers, Cultural Marxists infiltrate and undermine the western cultures from the inside—from the universities in particular. In harmony with Marx’s dictum that, “Communism abolishes eternal truth, it abolishes all religion, and all morality,”[27] Frankfurt professors Marcuse and Reich commissioned their disciples to destroy Western concepts of morality. This is also reminiscent of the threat made by Communist Willi Munzenberg: “We will make the West so corrupt that it stinks.” Gramsci challenged his students to take the revolution into every educational institution and into newspapers, magazines, radio, film, television, journalism, and other forms of mass media. Gramsci and Lukacs encouraged the destruction of the traditional family unit, the basic building block of every tribe and civilization. Lukacs encouraged criticism of literature. Adorno and Shoenberg even sought to try to overturn western ideals for music. The Frankfurt Neo-Marxists also encouraged their students to take over the government gradually from the inside. When trying to understand how American culture began to change so radically after 1950, one must consider cultural Marxism as a major catalyst.

 

 

The Revolutionary Means and Ends of Saul Alinsky

 

Western Marxists sometimes lost patience with the slow pace of “progress.” During the 1960s, several revolutionaries in the “New Left” movement began to drift away from the gradual strains of Marxism and towards the more overtly violent (Maoist) end of the Marxist spectrum. Some leftist radicals began calling for armed conflict with police in city streets to create “liberated zones.” Others organized riots. Some even called for students to kill their parents. Saul Alinsky challenged this drift.

Alinsky was an effective worker’s union organizer, a talented community organizer, a radical political leftist, a Communist sympathizer, and a Marx-inspired revolutionary. He helped turn the tide of the New Left away from the violent approach back to a gradualist approach. It was not their ends that he disapproved of—he too fantasized about the destruction and overthrow of the USA. It was rather their means that he criticized:

 

They [the New Left radicals] also urge violence and cry ‘Burn the system down!’ They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world. It is to this point that I have written this book.[28]

 

When he rebuked the calls for violence by the New Left it was not because he held that such violence would have been morally unjustifiable; he rebuked them because they were doomed to fail. He was just being pragmatic about it. A few thousand citizens armed with pipe bombs and pistols had no chance of successfully bringing down the most powerful nation in the world from the inside. That just couldn’t work. But a gradual acquisition of power could succeed if a more patient, subtle, deceptive, and effective strategy were used.

 

What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Notes on how to take it away. [29]

 

He encourages organization and agitation for helping revolutionaries use what little power they had to gain more power. His famous thirteen rules for radicals have been used for many different causes, but ultimately the overall thrust is towards one end: gaining power. By listening to people who really want something (the “have-nots”) that the powerful (the “haves”) are withholding from them, by further agitating them and organizing them into communities committed to social change, teaching them to provoke[30] the powers that be to overreact against them, and taking advantage of public sympathy, they can gradually take what they want. His methodology of organizing the powerless and agitating the powerful helped shift the balance of power in the United States. When you cannot be a wrench in the gears of the machine, be sand in it. Eventually the sand will bring the machine to a halt. Meanwhile don’t telegraph your plans to your enemy.

 

 

The Prevalence of Marxism Today

 

Despite having allowed some non-Marxist freedoms in, Communist Marxism remains the official and dominant political-economic force in China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam today. There are also governments in other countries—such as the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa—who do not self-identify to the public as either Marxist or Communist but who historically had strong ties with the Soviet Union, have had many Communists in the highest echelons of their leadership, and exhibit strong Leninist tendencies today. Between 1998 and 2015 there was a resurgence of popular hope in Marxist principles in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. This so-called “pink tide” ended with a popular rejection of most of the Marxist leaders and policies.

Despite the fact that it sits above the largest oil deposit in the entire world and the second largest natural gas deposit in the Americas, Venezuela is presently collapsing in every way. It should be one of the most prosperous nations in the world. But with rampant violence, empty food stores, and collapse, its cities have become one of the most politically, socially, and economically uninhabitable places on earth to live. And why is this? One of the main reasons is that they have over the last fifteen years slid deeper and deeper into Castro-styled Marxism under the leadership of Hugo Chavez. Before he took power, when journalists asked Chavez if he was a Communist, he would answer, “I’m a humanist.” This was the exact same answer his mentor Fidel Castro used decades earlier when asked if he was a Communist. Their dodge is deceptive because humanist sounds far less dangerous than communist. Meanwhile most contemporary humanists tend to register on the Marxist end of the spectrum. Later, after coming to power, Chavez admitted that he was actually “a convinced follower of Marxist-Leninist ideology.” He and Nicolas Madura, his successor, led Venezuela into severe hyperinflation, deep economic recession, terrible food shortages, an elimination of the middle-class, a greater number of poor, and some of the highest crime and murder rates on earth as they progressively implemented Marx’s ten planks.

While the Marxist countries have been forced to sacrifice some of their control for freedoms, the freer countries have sacrificed some of their freedoms for Marxist controls. The “Western Marxists” sometimes compete with and at other times cooperated with the “Eastern Marxists.” Likewise the Eastern Marxists sometimes competed with and at other times cooperated with the Western Marxists. Blurring the lines further, many of the families who made their fortunes as capitalists provided funding for Communist front organizations. Carrol Quigley, professor of history at Georgetown University was a mentor to Bill Clinton long before he became the 42nd President of the United States. In his Tragedy and Hope, Quigley posits an international network of bankers who operate in fabian ways, work towards Western Marxist goals of global control, and were not averse to fund and cooperate with Eastern Marxist organizations:

 

There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act.  In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Group has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, of any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records.  … Since 1925 there have been substantial contributions from wealthy individuals and from foundations and firms associated with the international banking fraternity. … The chief backbone of this organization grew up along the already existing financial cooperation running from the Morgan Bank in New York to a group of international financiers in London …  there grew up in the twentieth century a power structure between London and New York which penetrated deeply into university life, the press, and the practice of foreign policy. … It was this group of people, whose wealth and influence so exceeded their experience and understanding, who provided much of the frame-work of influence which the Communist sympathizers and fellow travelers [Soviet sympathizers] took over in the United States in the 1930’s.[31]

 

 

A Few Prominent Marxists Today

 

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, has denied allegations of being a socialist and a Marxist. But his views do fit well in the socialist spectrum and he has been very strongly influenced by Marx and Alinsky. He also has a very strong Marxist background, ties, and orientation. His legal father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a socialist with communist leanings. His ideological father, Frank Marshall Davis, was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party with a passionate desire to destroy the American system. His mother, Anne Dunham, was a radical leftist, a devotee of the Frankfurt School’s “critical theory,” and a Communist as well. Another one of his mentors, Jeremiah Wright, a revolutionary Marxist and Muslim turned pseudo-Christian preacher, gained some fame for preaching a sermon insistent upon the need for God to damn the USA rather than bless it. Wright is also a fount of Black Liberation Theology.[32]

Barack Obama attended Columbia University, one of the chief fountains of both Fabian and Frankfurt strains of Marxism,[33] and, as a political science major there, he learned the nuances of the Cloward-Piven strategy—a plan to increase the burden of the public welfare system to create an overwhelming crisis in the evil capitalistic system and cause the rise of a Marx-inspired government that would end poverty by the forceful redistribution of wealth.

Obama got his start in politics as a community organizer under the auspices of two organizations Saul Alinsky founded. He became a trainer in Alinsky’s methods and used some of the Alinsky methods to help his presidential campaign succeed. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991—a time when many of the professors were still optimistic about Soviet Communism. Also many of them were pundits of “critical legal studies,” a NeoMarxist revolution against American jurisprudence that assumes law is about power rather than justice. Roberto Unger, one of Obama’s professors during his years at Harvard Law, is not ashamed to admit that he is Marxist revolutionary in the Frankfurt School tradition. Obama also studied the Marx-inspired “critical race theory” (CRT) under Derrick Bell at Harvard and went on to teach it as a lecturer at the University of Chicago. As President, Obama appointed one self-described Maoist Communist to an important role in his cabinet. While enjoying upper-class wealth, Obama’s deleterious attempt to socialize health care, his refusal to speak out against the violence associated with various movements under the MoveOn.org umbrella, and his promotion of several other global governance agendas are indicative of a generally Marxist orientation. Now that his second term as President has ended, Obama plans continue to lend his talents for organizing and agitating to the insurgency movement.

Bill Ayers, the co-founder of the Weather Underground, a communist organization that openly called for guerrilla warfare and the overthrow of the US government, was also one of Obama’s mentors in Chicago. In acts of terrorism, and largely in protest of the military involvement in Vietnam, Ayers’ group planted bombs at the New York City Police Department headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. Ayers served no prison time for his terrorism.[34] He went on to become a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Although he officially denied any significant association with Barack Obama, Ayers later claimed to have written Obama’s autobiography Dreams of my Father (1995) prior to Obama’s bid for the presidency.

In 2017, Bill Ayers, along with Carl Dix, a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, recently helped create the RefuseFacism.org movement.[35] This movement seeks to organize and agitate with “massive protest and resistance from tens of millions of ordinary people” to oppose the inauguration of the 45th President, to create “a crisis of rule,” to “have the effect of figuratively stopping society in its tracks,” create “a political eruption from below,”  “bring DC to a halt,” foster “non-violent direct action disrupting business as usual, occupying public spaces … strikes … in cities around the country.”[36] This echoes Marx’s writings, resembles some of the propaganda and strategies used by Lenin, and is textbook Alinsky. While the Refuse Fascism organization calls for non-violent protest out of one side of their mouth, they also are calling for militant fighting out of the other:

 

In short, should we hold back now it will almost certainly become immeasurably more difficult to fight back once Trump-Pence are in power and using the vast state power at their disposal to implement their program. The path of holding back, of waiting and seeing, of calculating odds is littered with corpses.  Far better to fight as hard as we can now, however difficult the circumstances, fostering an ethos and framework of resistance as we go for victory and going all out in a telescoped period of time for what is indeed our best shot. There are, of course, no guarantees of victory for people who have right on their side.  The only guarantee that has ever existed is that if you don’t fight for justice you will certainly not get it. Let us fight.[37]

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton has served the US as a Senator and as the Secretary of State. When including the votes of three million illegal aliens and questionable results from several districts in five states, Hillary won the popular vote for the election of the 45th President of the United States. But she failed to earn the electoral vote. While she is certainly not a consistent Marxist, she was converted to a Marxist viewpoint in her college days. The 92-page thesis she wrote as a political science major was titled “There is Only the Fight: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.” Although she did offer some criticisms of his work, she clearly defended Alinsky’s means and, in agreeing that there is ultimately one fight, she agreed with his ends. That fight is at heart of the Marxist worldview; it is the lens through which everything must be viewed to be understood properly. She looked up to Alinsky at one time as a model and mentor. She interviewed him in person and kept a personal correspondence going with him. While her views on “the fight” have matured over the decades, Mrs. Clinton remains a leftist radical and an Alinsky-inspired revolutionary.

Jorge Bergoglio, better known now as Pope Francis, the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, is one of the most influential people in the world today. At least a billion people are listening to him. Officially he supports neither Capitalism, Marxism, nor Marxist Liberation Theology. Bergoglio preaches that the main problem of the world needs to be “radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality.” He sounded so much like a Marxist so often that many began to ask whether he was in fact a Marxist.  Bergoglio answered, “Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.” Bergoglio set the locus of his social doctrine in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) rather than in Marx. But Francis is not talking about the old RCC and its old traditions; he is talking about the new RCC created by the Second Vatican Council. Prior to that council, the RCC and Marxist-Leninism were bitter enemies and irreconcilable competitors. After the council ended (1965), the enmity cooled and the RCC began to move in Marxist directions. According to RCC historian and former Jesuit professor Malachi Martin:

 

Within five years of the end of Vatican II, by the dawn of the 1970s, the whole of Latin America was being flooded with a new theology—Liberation Theology—in which basic Marxism was smartly decked out in traditional Christian vocabulary and retooled Christian concepts. Books written mainly by co-opted Catholic priests, together with political and revolutionary action manuals, saturated the volatile area of Latin America … Liberation Theology was a perfectly faithful exercise of Gramsci’s principles. It could be launched with the corruption of a relatively few well-placed Judas goats. Yet it could be aimed at the culture and the mentality of the masses. It stripped both of any attachment to the Christian transcendent. It locked both the individual and his culture in the close embrace of a goal that was totally immanent: the class struggle for socio-political liberation. Swiftly, the linchpins of Vatican and papal control were replaced by the action-oriented demands of the Roman Church—Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Maryknollers—all committed themselves to Liberation Theology.[38]

 

Interestingly, Bergoglio is the first Jesuit in history to ever become a Pope. His words resonate with the stream of NeoMarxist thought that has been infiltrating the Jesuit order since the 1950s through the work of Jesuit-Marxist thinkers like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (also considered to be the founder of the New Age Movement), Karl Rahner, and a cadre of Liberation Theologians.[39] After having their own revolution the Jesuits in turn caused a revolution in the RCC during and after the Second Vatican Council.

Quoting Francis frequently, the Vatican recently started pushing the agenda of creating a global government (“create a world political authority,” “the creation of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction,” “creating a world political Authority,” “arrive at global Government” [40]) that controls “peace and security; disarmament and arms control; promotion and protection of fundamental human rights; management of the economy and development policies; management of migratory flows and food security; and protection of the environment.” This system of control would of course include a “central world bank that regulates the flow and system of monetary exchanges.” This world government is to be “geared to the universal common good,” “aimed at achieving the common good on the local, regional and world levels,” is about “global social justice,” and “aimed at achieving free and stable markets and a fair distribution of world wealth.” There is nothing here that cannot be found in the writings of Eastern and Western interpreters of Marx. Nor is there anything here that can be achieved without the authoritarian and totalitarian power.

Ironically, while the Pope and the new RCC Church talk in increasingly Marxist tones about the plight of the poor, the evils of greedy capitalism, and the need for other people’s investments to be controlled, they continue to take in billions of dollars every year from their 1.2 billion subjects. Vatican City, which has a population of just 800 people, receives no less than 300 million dollars’ worth of wool per year from its flock. Although no one knows how much wealth the RCC really has, it is known that they manage 6 billion euros worth of assets, have 700 million euros of equity, and keep over 20 million dollars in gold in the vaults of the US Federal Reserve. One also can wonder why they haven’t started auctioning the many priceless treasures (gold, ivories, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, mosaics, tapestries, paintings, sculptures, frescoes, etc.) kept in the Vatican. It is a piquant irony that the Apostle Peter was able to say, “I have no silver or gold…” (Acts 3:6) but the church that he supposedly founded is worth countless billions—or perhaps even trillions—of dollars and euros.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dali Lama of Tibetan Buddhism, is another religious leader with considerable influence around the globe. Given the Maoist invasion and oppression of Tibet, we might expect the Dali Lama to be very critical of Marxism. However, while addressing an American audience in 2011, he explained, “I consider myself a Marxist . . . but not a Leninist.” Also, in a 2015 lecture entitled “A Human Approach to World Peace,” Tenzin went on record as saying, “As far as socioeconomic theory, I am a Marxist. … In capitalist countries, there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor. In Marxism, there is emphasis on equal distribution.” Tenzin is right in saying some of the best-known Marxist countries (China) are practicing capitalism now. But he fails to mention the fact that all of the “capitalist countries” have in the last 100 years become a mixture of capitalist, socialist, Marxist, and Keynesian[41] economic practices. He seems to have missed the fact that the gulf between “the 1%” and “the 99%” was felt more acutely in the extreme Marxist experiments. Eastern Marxism purged the upper-class, created a new upper-class, eliminated the middle-class, and enlarged the lower-class. The gulf between rich and poor in Western countries grows proportionately to the adoption of Western Marxist theory.

 

 

Reasons to Reject All Forms of Marxism

 

The Heart of Marxism is Conflict

 

While the impulse to rebel and revolt and quarrel has been with mankind since the beginning, Marx may have been the first to make it the kernel of a philosophical worldview. With its emphasis on equality and justice for all, Marxism sounds quite appealing in the abstract. But in the real world terror, slavery, misery, mass murder, injustice, inequality, and even genocide are inevitable. It’s built into the system. While posing as the system of cooperation and the antidote to the system of competition, Marxism is founded on the assumption that history can only properly be understood as a competition, a fight, a conflict, a war. Just as never-ending competition between species in the Darwinian model of evolution supposedly produces biological progress, so too does social progress supposedly happen through conflict between people groups.[42] The revolutionaries seek to help the weaker people groups cooperate to revolt against the stronger group.

 

Marxism is anti-Christian

 

Marx’s antipathy for religion in general (“the opiate of the masses”) and for Christianity in particular (considered to be nothing more than a tool of oppression) is not in dispute. In the Warsaw Pact countries, church leaders that complied with the revolutions were rewarded while church leaders that opposed the revolution were removed. The satanic, anti-Christian roots start with Marx, who after abandoning the Christian faith, wrote, “I wish to avenge myself against the One [God] who rules above,”[43] “I shall howl gigantic curses upon mankind,”[44] and, “With disdain I will throw my gauntlet full in the face of the world and see the collapse of this pygmy giant … then I will wander godlike and victorious through the ruins of this world. … I will feel equal to the Creator.”[45] When writing in positive tones about the bloody revolutions in 19th century France and the overturning of their progress by Napoleon, Marx seems to have concluded that “in the name of the people … ‘All that exists deserves to perish.’”[46]

By age eighteen Marx had rejected Christianity and embarked upon an anti-Christian and pro-Luciferian path. One of his early poems tells of how “that enthroned Lord,” “the Almighty,” has “snatched from me my all” and how “nothing but revenge is left to me,” “revenge I’ll proudly wreak on that being,” and “I shall build my throne high overhead. … defiant.”[47] One of Marx’s former early partners, Mikhail Bakunin, wrote in ways which harmonize well with the spirit and words of Marx:

 

The Evil one is the satanic revolt against divine authority, revolt in which we see the fecund germ of human emancipations, the revolution. Socialists recognize each other by the words, ‘In the name of the one to whom a great wrong has been done.’… In this revolution we will have to awaken the Devil in the people, to stir up the basests passions. Our mission is to destroy, not to edify. The passion of destruction is a creative passion.[48]

 

The “one to whom a great wrong has been done” refers to Lucifer, the great cherub who attempted to depose God and was in turn cast out by God. Luciferians (i.e., Satanists) see Lucifer as the victim—the righteous rebel—and God as the unjust King who needs to be overthrown. Both the ends and the means of the purer forms of Marxism (and the revolutionary ideologies that preceded it and fed into it) are ultimately satanic. They originate from men who were in rebellion against the God of their parents. They also fit the Bible’s descriptions of Satan as a deceiver who “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), a thief who “comes to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), and an adversary who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8), and the ultimate rebel. Alinsky essentially dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to Satan with these words:

 

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.[49]

 

 

 

The Question of Compatibility

 

It could be argued that most of the people who hunger, thirst, and work for a more equitable and just world prefer to avoid the bloodshed, terrorism, and other evils that tend to go along with Marx’s spectre. They’re interested in a soft revolution, constructive reforms, an effective but unoppressive yoke, and a milder, sanitized, reformed, kautskian version of Marxism. Indeed, many western Marxists work with sincere and noble aspirations in peaceful ways towards constructive reforms of highly imperfect systems.[50] And it may have been the criticism and work of moderate western Marxists that helped temper some of the abuses that western governments would otherwise have continued to wallow in. Perhaps if Christians in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries had been more sensitive to and vocal about unjust labor practices, imperialism, colonization, slavery, consumerism, unjust wars, racism, persecution, inequalities, predatory lending, greed, and the ubiquitous Old Testament themes of justice and righteousness for the powerless, the vacuum that secular Marxism filled wouldn’t have been empty. Secular Marxist humanists are following a desupernaturalized version of the Judeo-Christian vision of justice that both Israel and the Church lost.

Pressing the point further, perhaps many modern Christians have already proved that the Christianesque aspects of Marxism can be adopted while the materialistic, violent, and antichristian elements are filtered out. Marx’s vision of justice may partially be inspired by and harmonious with the many Old Testament passages on justice, Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount (“blessed are the poor” and therefore “condemned are the wealthy/powerful”), writings about controlling greed found in the Talmud and other rabbinic writings, and some of the writings of the Anabaptist Christian radicals who were persecuted and murdered by Protestants and Roman Catholics alike. Perhaps Isaiah and Jesus were the first embryonic Marxists and as society evolved Marx was offering an evolved application of true Christian principles. Marx may have been influenced heavily by Isaiah:

 

I want you to remove the sinful chains, to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke, to set free the oppressed, and to break every burdensome yoke. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people.  – Isaiah 58:6–7 (NET)

Class conflict is real and perhaps lies at the heart of the social gospel of how we need to build the kingdom of God on earth. Perhaps Marxism provides a helpful way to break with misguided Greco-Roman interpretations—the Western Captivity—of the Bible that occurred after “the Constantianian Shift.” Perhaps Marx offers an important part of the Reformation that Luther and Calvin didn’t get around to. A large percentage of the Christian Churches in the West are already heavily influenced by Marxism and contribute to Marxist causes.

There are many admixtures of Christianity and Marxism in various ratios. Surely some blends are better than others. But should they be blended at all? While the Marxist critiques of the wealthy and powerful often show areas where improvement is needed, the Marxist vision is ultimately neither constructive nor reformative. In so far as they are possessed by Marx’s spectre, the leaders of the new Marxisms will content themselves with gradual and peaceful reform only as a means to weaken and replace the incumbent powers. When the system is sufficiently weakened, the reforms end and the attempt the revolution begins. As thousands of kind-hearted socialists discovered during the early days of the Russian Revolution, their work as mild revolutionaries helped the more heartless revolutionaries accomplish the Revolution—the very bloody, nasty, evil revolution. Those who hunger and thirst for Marxist righteousness are working towards that same end. They may do so in ignorance and in good conscience, but eventually it leads towards large quantities of blood and many tears. Although it is denied, it seems that following the money trail of the World Council of Churches[51] (WCC), the National Council of Churches (NCC), the United Methodist Church, and the United Presbyterian Church, and other Marx-intoxicated Christian groups shows millions of dollars sent to finance propaganda, weapons, ammunition, and pay for several Marxist “liberation armies” on at least two continents. If this is true, it offers a poignant example of the work of the nonviolent Marxist revolutionaries being something that can be untangled from violent revolutionaries.

While encouraging efforts towards truly constructive and peaceful reforms, we must discourage any support of all destructive and revolutionary movements.[52] In so far as Marxism is directly or indirectly revolutionary, it has no continuity with the Scriptures. The expectation of support for the established government runs through all the books of the Old and New Testaments. Members of the Tribes of Israel and members of the global Church were both encouraged to not revolt against the established authorities—even when those authorities were very abusive. When their slavery was unbearable and when their baby boys were being murdered, Moses and the Israelites did not rise up in armed revolution against Pharaoh and Egypt. They endured suffering, they groaned, and they left when Pharaoh asked them to. When Moses became the leader of the Israelites, he carried a shepherd’s staff—not a spear, sword or bow. But the Israelites themselves never killed or harassed their Egyptian oppressors.[53] David refused to oppose King Saul even though Saul had gone insane, was trying to murder David, and deserved no such mercy. Even though his people had been slaughtered, kidnapped, and held against their will, Daniel faithfully served and blessed the kings of the Babylonian and Persian Empires—despite the fact that they were guilty of many injustices.

Unlike most of the Jews of their day, Jesus and his Apostles never raised their voices or their ink quills—much less the sword—against either Caesar or the Roman Empire. They were supportive of the Roman Empire despite the fact that it was a kingdom that they knew would “devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces” (Daniel 7:23). Contrary to the liberation theology perspective, while Jesus and most of his apostles were executed by Roman order, they had not acted as subversives or revolutionaries. When Jesus told his eleven remaining followers to purchase swords and heard that they had a total of two, he said, “It is enough” (Luke 22:35-38). Two swords among eleven men is no way to start of a revolution. As Jesus was being arrested, when Peter asked if he should “strike with the sword” Jesus answered in the negative and did damage control (Luke 22:49-51). Jesus chided the armed mob by asking, “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me” (Luke 22:52-53).[54] Jesus was the greatest revolutionary in world history. But he was not a destructive or violent revolutionary in the Marxist tradition. He sent his disciples out as “sheep among wolves” who were to be “as wise as serpents but at harmless as doves” (Mt. 10:16). While on trial with the regional Roman authority Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting [to prevent my arrest but] my kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). His judge had no concerns about him as a threat to Rome and said, “I find no guilt in him” (18:38).

The Roman Tribune who rescued the Apostle Paul from death at the hands of a violent mob asked whether Paul was “the Egyptian … who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness” (Acts 21:27-39). His question is comical. In his mission as an Apostle, Paul had no blood on his hands. The revolutionary message that Paul was propagating was preaching was that God was adopting non-Jews into his family without any need for rites like circumcision and obedience to the Mosaic Law. This aroused the anger and violent responses from many Jews but the violence was only directed at Paul and other Christians. The first and second generations of Christ’s followers were victims of—but not wielders of—violence.

James, the half-brother of Jesus and an important leader in the church of Jerusalem, wrote a sobering warning to the class of people who are characterized by monetary wealth, fraud, power, and oppression of the workers they employed:

 

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. (James 5:1-6)

 

Written 1,800 years before Marx, James’ warning sounds almost like something Marx could have written. It is likely that Marx drew some of his inspiration from the Jewish and Christian traditions that James was a part of. They’re talking about similar problems—problems that still plague our societies today. But note how the response to the problem that James encourages is diametrically opposed on every point to the response the Marxists encourage. James urges patience and faith:

 

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:7-11)

 

While Marxist criticism may occasionally serve to show professing Christians where they need improvement, the blending of Marxism and Christianity will invariably produce doctrines that are contrary to the knowledge of God. For example, Marxist Christians tend to replace a theistic view of a transcendent and infinite God with an immanent and finite view of God. God becomes little more than the march of history, the outworking of class conflict in history, or an algebraic variable for the desire for social change. Non-Marxist Christians believe that while Christ’s kingdom is not of this world in this present age, someday Christ himself will return and create his own geopolitical kingdom on earth. Marxist Christians invariably replace that hope with an emphasis on an earthly kingdom that we must create ourselves. The gospel of salvation by grace, through faith, not by works, but for good works (Eph. 2:8-10) gets replaced by a social gospel of salvation through revolutionary works—either the sand-in-the-machine works of Alinsky or the bullet-to-the-head works of Mao. It is not those who are “poor in spirit” whom God blesses but those who are poor in material goods. The hope of eternal life and resurrection of the body are minimized at best and eventually lost.

The ideological evolution of John de Gruchy, Professor Emeritus of Christian Studies at the University of Cape Town, may serve as an unfortunate example of how Marxism transmogrifies a Christian’s faith. In his book Confessions of a Christian Humanist de Gruchy outlines his journey away from a God-centered Christianity to a Marx-intoxicated Christianity. He describes the “evangelical-fundamentalism” of his younger days as supporting the status quo of an ethically inhumane apartheid in South Africa, of supporting misguided sexual guilt, patriarchy, and “saving souls.” He rejoices over his conversion to what he believes to be a superior theology—one that integrates darwinism, feminism (NeoMarxist), liberation theology (NeoMarxist), black theology (NeoMarxist), commonalities with Hinduism, and the Eastern Orthodox Christian notion of “divinization.” He credits Dietrich Bonhoeffer, several semi-Christian Marxists (Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner, Desmond Tutu), and even the Hindu philosopher Savrepalli Radhakrishnan as helping him on his journey to become a proper Christian Humanist. DeGruchy explains:

 

Being a Christian humanist implies that one is committed to human dignity, rights and freedom, and has some real hope for humanity; and being a Christian humanist suggests that these commitments and this hope are inseparable from one’s faith in Jesus Christ.[55]

 

But when answering the question about the real hope that is within him, de Gruchy believes that the traditional view of eternal life and resurrection has been misunderstood by orthodox Christians for two thousand years. He reinterprets them as follows:

 

… ‘eternal life’ . . . refers to a quality of life rather than to endless quantity; it is life lived under the reign of God, in the ‘kingdom of heaven’ here and now. Part of what we are saying in proclaiming the ‘resurrection of the body’ is that we are part of a web of human life, for Christians, ‘the body of Christ’, that has been raised to newness of life. . . the ‘resurrection of the body’ suggests something organic, it has to do with the interconnectedness of life of which death is an inevitable and indispensable part. This might not give much comfort to those who wonder about the whereabouts of their loved ones who have died, or about their own destiny, but it may well provide a fresh perspective from which we can look at the reality of death and ‘the life everlasting’. The ‘resurrection of the body’ is not to be understood in a crude, literal sense; it refers to the reconstitution of our personhood in relation to others in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine.[56]

 

It should be obvious that de Gruchy has parted company with Jesus and his Apostles on this crucial doctrine. Or, to borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul, he has “shipwrecked his faith” (1st Tim. 1:19) on the reef of Marxism. He is also blowing the faith of his students and readers towards the same reefs with the winds of his teaching. Ironically, while de Gruchy self-identifies as a theologian in the Reformed-Evangelical tradition, none of the Protestant Reformers would have had any tolerance for his secularized view of eternal life or his purely this-worldly social gospel. He has completed the process of becoming a secular humanist who self-identifies as a Christian but who may very possibly not be identified as a Christian by Jesus Christ himself.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Regardless of whether Marx’s original spectre has departed the world scene or not, there are several other Neo-Marxist spectres around to take its place. They have achieved prominence in many of the fields that shape peoples’ worldviews and attitudes. The implications are far reaching in individual, regional, and global scopes and in political, economic, cultural, moral, and ideological arenas. Morally it tends to lead toward rebellion against every imperative in the word of God.

Even the push for social justice tends to end in social unrest. The means and ends of Marxism tend towards bloodshed and tragedy. For example, in this day when the Pope, billionaires like George Soros,[57] and many of the most powerful political leaders of the day are sending hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle-East into Europe and North America, it is done ostensibly in the name of compassion for the dispossessed, global equality for the oppressed, and multiculturalism. Painted as a “love your neighbor as yourself” it sounds like something Christ might have said. But in the Marxist matrix, the current migrant crisis[58] is a method of pitting one group against another group, of creating shifts in power and class conflicts, and of course for creating economic, social, cultural, and moral crisis, and fostering conditions that are ripe for “the Revolution.”

Marxism is not simply a philosophy of overthrowing governments and controlling the machinery, the workers, and the economies of the world. Eastern-styled Marxism starts with worldly warfare (guerilla warfare and revolution) and then, once established, leads to ideological slavery in opposition to the knowledge of God. Western-styled Marxism engages in ideological and cultural warfare first and then leads to worldly warfare second.  If the factors of theft, rebellion, constant conflict, and totalitarian controls are not enough to compel the defenders of the Christian faith to declare war against it, Marxism has always been a humanistic philosophy that “suppresses the truth … about God” (Rom. 1:18-19). It wages war against the knowledge of God and therefore it deserves an apologetic response. When the Apostle Paul described his earthly mission he did so in militant terms:

 

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to Christ… (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

 

For our earthly mission to have continuity with the apostolic mission, we should not participate in the bloody wars waged with bombs, bullets, and blades; we should instead be militant, strategic, tactical warfighters in the ideological war for the knowledge of God our Lord and Christ.

Christianity—in all of its pre-Marxist forms—are Marxism’s chief enemies. The fact that both Marx and Engels both went through strong Christian phases in their earlier days (before biblical criticism turned them against the God of the Bible, against Christian churches, and even against Western Civilization itself) is part of what makes Marxism extra deceptive and dangerous. It has a knack for replacing Christianity as a purely secular counterfeit. It also has a knack for infiltrating Christian worldviews, hybridizing with them, retooling and secularizing them. Marxism invariably drips the acid of criticism onto everything it touches. That’s part of the bargain.

We may be seeing some signs that one of Marx’s spectres has begun to haunt the evangelical Christian academy. The current era is one where several esteemed evangelical scholars will, for example, praise and defend a book with a subtitle of “A New Historiographical Approach”[59] despite the fact that New Historicism is a school of thought which is rooted in some of the theories of Karl Marx (as filtered through Michael Foucault, Lynn Hunt, and Stephen Greenblatt) and despite the fact that the book criticizes pieces of the historical gospel narrative. When other evangelical scholars criticize this type of criticism they become criticized and ridiculed for having been critical. This too seems to resonate with the spirit of Marx and the Frankfurt theorists. This may also show which direction the compass needle is pointing. Instead of heading in the “Christian Humanist” direction that Professor de Gruchy took, let us instead learn how the guerillas wage their ideological wars and then proceed to destroy the arguments and lofty opinions they have raised against the knowledge of God.

 

End Notes

[2] These farming communities in Israel were among the first pioneers of primitive and hardline strains of Marx-inspired Communism. Until recently some Marxists would argue that they proved that Marxism was succeeding in the micro level and therefore could theoretically still be made to work on the macro level.

[3] Aden, Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Benin, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Congo, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Ethiopia, Hungary, Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, North Korea, Poland, Romania, Somalia, South Yemen, Soviet Union, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia.

[4] The Paris Commune (1871), Finnish Civil War (1918), German Revolution (1918), Hungarian Soviet Republic (1919), Mongolian Revolution (1921), Salvadoran peasant uprising (1932), Spanish Revolution (1936), Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.

[5] In 1917 the Bolsheviks legalized abortion in Russia. There were an estimated 6-7 million abortions per year in the USSR. That adds 300 million unborn victims to the tally. There are more than 13 million abortions per year in China. China reported 336 million abortions in the last 40 years. In the US, the secular humanists (with Neo-Darwinian and Neo-Marxist leanings) legalized abortion in 1973, and approximately 60 million unborn Americans were sacrificed. Between China, the USSR, and the USA, there were close to a billion children that were not permitted to set foot on the earth.

[6] Marxism in Cuba under the brutal leadership of the Castro brothers has so far led to the directly execution of an estimated 140,000 Cuban citizens (not including the thousands who were starved), caused 78,000 more Cubans to die at sea as they tried to escape, and caused 1.5 million desperate Cubans to emigrate to the USA as political refugees.

[7] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977), 44-45. Italics added.

[8] William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers: Plato to the Present, 3rd edition. (NY: Hold, Rinehard, and Winston, 1964), 747.

[9] At the beginning of the Russian Revolution, Kautsky could not imagine that his former associates would allow atrocities to occur. He wrote, “They know that terror can never uproot ideas.” War Minister Trotsky replied, “Mr. Kautsky, you do not know what terror we will apply.” Cited by Richard Wurmbrand in Christ in the Communist Prisons (NY: Coward-McCann, 1968), 83.

[10] Edward R. Pease, The History of Fabian Socialism (NY: E.P. Dutton & Company Publishers, 1916),19. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13715/13715-h.htm. Also William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers: From Plato to the Present. 3rd edition. Hold, Rinehard, and Winston. 1964. 752.

[11] Martin Cowen, Fabian Libertarianism: 100 Years to Freedom (XLibris, 2016), Kindle location 274.

[12] George Bernard Shaw. Who I Am and What I Think: Sixteen Self Sketches. (Constable, 1949). Shaw cofounded the London School of Economics, won a Nobel Prize for literature, and wrote sixty plays which helped popularize socialist views and values on education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class conflict. In the preface to the Communist Manifesto, Engels seems to address the Fabian variant:

Yet, when it was written, we could not have called it a Socialist Manifesto. By Socialists, in 1847, … professed to redress, without any danger to capital and profit, all sorts of social grievances, in both cases men outside the working class movement, and looking rather to the “educated” classes for support. Whatever portion of the working class had become convinced of the insufficiency of mere political revolutions, and had proclaimed the necessity of a total social change, that portion, then, called itself Communist. … Thus, Socialism was, in 1847, a middle-class movement, Communism a working class movement. Socialism was, on the Continent at least, “respectable”; Communism was the very opposite. And as our notion, from the very beginning, was that the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself there could be no doubt as to which of the two names we must take. Moreover, we have, ever since, been far from repudiating it.

[13] In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels famously wrote, “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” The Fabians who helped fund the Russian Revolution preferred to conceal their aims. Lenin would later admit, “We have to use any ruse, dodge, trick, cunning, unlawful method, concealment, and veiling of the truth. The basic rule is to exploit the conflicting interests of the capitalist states.”

[14] Sidney Webb, Socialism in England (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co, 1889), 26-27. George Bernard Shaw also wrote, “The Fabian Society was warlike in its origin. … in 1885 … we denounced the capitalists as thieves…, talked of revolution, anarchism, … and all the rest of it, no the tacit assumption that the object of our campaign, with its watchwords, ‘EDUCATE, AGITATE, ORGANIZE’ was to bring about a tremendous smash-up of existing society, to be succeeded by complete Socialism.” The Fabian Society: Its Early History (The Fabian Society, 1892).

[15] Pease, 26.

[16] Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (NY: Scribner’s Sons, 1936).

[17] Paul Kurtz. Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for a New Planetary Humanism (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1999), 2.

[18] Ibid, 20.

[19] A Secular Humanist Declaration (The Council for Secular Humanism, 1980). http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/11. Accessed January 14th, 2017.

[20] Malachi Martin. The Keys of This Blood: The Struggle for World Domination between Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Capitalist West. (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1990), 247-251.

[21] J. Landowsky, The Red Symphony (Christian Book Club of America: 2002).

[22] Max Horkheimer, “Traditional and Critical Theory.” Cited in Marcuse, Feenberg, and Leiss, The Essential Marcuse: Selected Writings of Philosopher and Social Critic Herbert Marcuse (Boston: Beacon Press, 2007).

[23] Columbia University was also where Fabian Marxist John Dewey was training thousands of teachers in “progressive education.” Interestingly, the USSR eagerly translated Dewey’s pro-collectivist books and used them in their own educational systems.

[24] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Questioning.

[25] Herbert Marcuse. “Reflections on the French Revolution.” Quoted in Michael Walsh, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West (NY: Encounter Books ,2015), 46.

[26] Herbert Marcuse, “On the New Left.” Cited by Walsh, 46.

[27] Communist Manifesto, 44

[28] Saul Alinsky. Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (NY: Random House, 1971), xiii.

[29] Ibid, 3.

[30] While preferring nonviolent approaches over violent approaches to socio-political change, Alinsky’s methods are nevertheless hardly commendable. He agrees with Mao that power comes from the barrel of a gun but realizes that those who do not have ‘the guns’ must exploit other means of gaining power over those who hold the guns. Once the Alinskyites gain enough power there is no reason in their system to continue with a nonviolent and gradual approach to social change. Once they begin to believe they can get away with it, they will be free to revolt like Maoists.

[31] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. (NY: MacMillan, 1966), 950-955.

[32] Liberation Theology is invariably Marxist in orientation and, if the Communist defector Ion Pacepa is correct, was originally created as a disinformation campaign by the Russian and Romanian KGB agencies during the 1960s. It would reword Marxism in Christian vocabulary in order to help spread the revolutionary memes through the minds of Latin Americans in particular. Variations were made for other people groups.

[33] Attending Columbia University is not necessarily a guarantee of Marxist indoctrination. The famous economist Milton Friedman, for example, studied statistics at Columbia in the 1930s and became one of the greatest critics of Keynesianism, Socialism, and Marxism. Similarly, economist F.A. Hayek, who is famous for dialogues with Keynes and for his anti-socialism book The Road to Serfdom, spent most of his career on the faculty of the London School of Economics—the same school that was started by the Fabian Society. Columbia was rife with Marxism in the 1980s however.

[34] Officially no people were actually killed by the bombs. Ayers has since publicly condemned all forms of terrorism—including Obama’s extensive use of drone aircraft attacks in other nations.

[35] https://refusefascism.org/about-contact/initiators/. Accessed January 9th, 2017.

[36] These are all direct quotes from https://refusefascism.org/faqs-on-stopping-trump-pence/. Accessed on January 9th, 2017. Similar militant language (“Hundreds of thousands of people will be storming the streets across the US,” “we need massive resistance in the streets,” and “Let’s fight for the revolution we really need”) is used by the J20Resist movement at http://www.workers.org/j20/. J20 refers to January 20th, 2017, the date of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. The Mayor of the District of Columbia encouraged rioters to protest peacefully and to stop destroying the city.

[37] Ibid. Italics added.

[38] Keys of this Blood, 260-261.

[39] Malachi Martin, The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church (NY: Touchstone, 1987).

[40] The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. “Towards Reforming the International and Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority.”  http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/ documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20111024_nota_en.html. Accessed January 9th, 2017.

[41] John Maynard Keynes, a member of the Fabian Society, is often portrayed as the savior of capitalism or the synthesizer of capitalism and socialism. Since his solution requires increases in government spending and intervention it arguably fits more on the Leftist end of the spectrum.

[42] In a letter to Ferdinand Lassale in 1861, Marx wrote, “Darwin’s book [Origin of the Species] is very important and serves me as a basis in the natural sciences for the historical class struggle.”

[43] Richard Wurmbrand, Marx and Satan (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1986), 5.

[44] Ibid, 7. See also Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1988), chapter 3.

[45] Ibid, 18. A slightly different translation can be seen in Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse at https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1837-pre/verse/verse20.htm. Accessed January 1st, 2017.

[46] Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/1346/pg1346.txt. Accessed Jan.1st, 2017.

[47] Early Works of Karl Marx: Book of Verse. “Invocation of One in Despair.” https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1837-pre/verse/verse11.htm

[48] Marx and Satan, 16.

[49] Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (Random House: 1971). This nod to Lucifer is found on the page prior to the table of contents. It is not clear whether he regards Lucifer as a real being whom he admires or whether he takes Lucifer as a great symbol of rebellion. For the complete text see https://archive.org/stream/RulesForRadicals/ RulesForRadicals_djvu.txt.

[50] The non-Marxist and less-Marxist systems are highly imperfect too. New Left historian and former Boston University professor Howard Zinn wrote A People’s History of the United States (http://www.historyisaweapon.com/ zinnapeopleshistory.html) to portray the American story through a Marxist lens as one of exploitation and oppression of the weak by the strong. Despite valid complaints by other historians about its lack of objectivity, the book cannot be dismissed simply as a work of fiction. Real injustices and inequalities fuel Marxist aspirations. Zinn’s book became a best seller and is used as a textbook in many colleges and high schools. According to files released by the FBI in 2010, Zinn had been a very active member of the Communist Party USA and a member of several Communist front groups. While recommending Zinn’s book only as an example of effective Communist propaganda, many of his complaints about the abuses of power are not wholly without merit.

[51] From the WCC’s website: “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour … The WCC brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians and including most of the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. … There are now 348 member churches.” https://www.oikoumene.org/en/about-us/about-us/. Accessed January 12th, 2017.

[52] See Norman Geisler, Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options, 3rd edition (IL: Baker Academic, 2010), 252-259.

[53] The one recorded exception to this serves to reinforce my point. In Exodus 2:11-12, Moses, as a young man, did kill an Egyptian whom he had seen beating a Hebrew slave. The question of “who made you a prince and judge [rescuer] over us?” (2:15) suggests that his act of vigilante justice could have been seen as an attempt to start a revolution of some type. If that was the beginning of Moses’ short career as a revolutionary it was also the end of it.

[54] C.f., Matt 26 and Mark 14. The older English translations translate λῃστής as having revolutionary or insurrectionist connotations. Translators of some of the newer translations see this usage as developing later and prefer to translate it more along the lines of a robber. Luke, for example, uses the same word for the highwaymen who attack travelers in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30). With the older translation, it is simply clear that Jesus was obviously not a revolutionary while those arresting him thought he might be. If we go with the newer translation the idea that Jesus was a revolutionary was so far from the truth that it never even entered the minds of his adversaries.

[55] John W. de Gruchy, Confessions of a Christian Humanist (MN: Fortress Press, 2006), 30.

[56] Ibid, 208.

[57] George Soros graduated from the London School of Economics, became the 27th most wealthy person in the world, is chairman of the Open Society Foundation (which has given several billion dollars to left-wing groups), is a major funder of MoveOn.org, and was a major contributor to the Obama and Clinton campaigns. Since communism and socialism have been “thoroughly discredited” he now devotes his fortune toward working against the threat of “global capitalism.” In the process of advancing his “open societies” he has funded organizations that champion social justice—and sometimes clash with police and riot in the streets of cities like Ferguson (2014), Baltimore (2015), Charlotte (2016), Chicago, Portland, Oakland, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. (2017).

[58] Since 2015 hundreds of thousands of people from Syria, Afghanistan, Albania, Iraq, Eritrea, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia and several other countries have poured into Germany, Hungary, France, Sweden, the UK, and other European countries. This is enabled by adoption of the “open borders” doctrine and fueled by the invasion of Syria and Iraq by the jihadis of Islamic State. The Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood seems to have had support from some Leftist groups in the West.

[59] Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2010).

 

An Evaluation of Marxist Humanism (Part 1 of 2)


An Evaluation of Marxist Humanism

Part 1 of 2

by Norman L. Geisler


Judged by the standard of political influence, Marxism is the most widespread form of humanism in the world. Its founder, Karl Marx, was born in 1818 to a German Jewish family which was converted to Lutheranism when he was six. As a university student he was influenced heavily by Georg Hegel’s idealism and he adopted Ludwig Feuerbach’s atheism. After some radical political activity, which resulted in expulsion from France in 1845, he teamed up with Friedrich Engels to produce the Communist Manifesto (1848). With the economic support of Engels’s prosperous textile business Marx spent years of research in the British Museum and produced his famous Das Kapital (1867). These and succeeding Marxist writings have bequeathed a form of humanistic thought that is politically dominant in much of the world.

The Marxist View of God and Religion

Even as a college student Marx was a militant atheist who believed that the “criticism of religion is the foundation of all criticism.” For this criticism Marx drew heavily on the radical young Hegelian, Ludwig Feuerbach. Engels admitted that Feuerbach influenced them more than did any other post-Hegelian philosopher. [1] He triumphantly spoke of Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity which “with one blow . . . pulverized [religion] . . . in that without circumlocution it placed materialism on the throne again.”[2]

There were three basic premises Marx learned from Feuerbach. First, “the teaching that man is the highest essence for man”[3] was accepted. This means that there is a categorical imperative to over-throw anything—especially religion—which debases man. Secondly, Marx accepted the premise of Feuerbach that “man makes religion, religion does not make man.”[4] In other words, religion is the self-consciousness of man who has lost himself and then found himself again as “God.” Thirdly, Marx also accepted the Feuerbachian belief that “all religion … is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men’s minds of those external forces which control their daily life, a reflection in which the terrestrial forces assume the form of supernatural forces.”[5] In brief, God is nothing but a projection of human imagination. God did not make man in His image; man has made “God” in his image.

Marx’s atheism, however, went well beyond Feuerbach. Marx agreed with the materialists that “matter is not a product of mind, but mind itself is merely the highest product of matter.”[6] That is, he agreed with Feuerbach that man in seeking his origin must look backward to pure matter. Marx, however, objected that Feuerbach did not go forward in the social domain. For Feuerbach by no means wished to abolish religion; he wanted to perfect it.[7] Feuerbach, reasoned Marx, did not see that the “religious sentiment” is itself a social product.[8] Hence “he [did] not grasp the significance of ‘revolutionary’ of ‘practical-critical,’ activity.”[9] Feuerbach did not realize, in the words of Marxism’s famous slogan, that “religion is the opium of the people.”[10] Man needs to take the drug of religion because this world is not adequate to assure him of his complete and integrated development. So he compensates himself with the image of another, more perfect world.[11]

In going beyond Feuerbach, Marx argued that “nowadays, in our evolutionary conception of the universe, there is absolutely no room for either a Creator or a Ruler; and to talk of a Supreme Being shut out from the whole existing world [as deism does] implies a contra-diction in terms.”[12] Hence, concluded Marx, “the only service that can be rendered to God today is to declare atheism a compulsory article of faith and … [to prohibit] religion generally.”[13]

Marx had no illusions that religion would immediately cease to exist when socialism was adopted. Since religion is but a reflex of the real world, religion will not vanish until the practical relations of everyday life offer to man perfect relations with regard to his fellow men and to nature[14]—that is, until the communist utopia is realized.

 The Marxist View of Man

Basically Marxism holds a materialistic view of man’s origin and nature. This, of course, entails an evolutionary concept of man’s origin.

The Origin of Man

Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859. Marx’s Das Kapital came out only eight years later (in 1867). Evolution for Marx was a helpful addition to his materialistic understanding of the origin of man.[15] “Mind is the product of matter,” he wrote; that is, mind has evolved from material stuff. The nonliving matter has always been; it has produced the living, and finally, the nonintelligent has produced the intelligent (man).

Marx had written his doctoral thesis (at the University of Jena, 1841) on the materialistic philosophies of two early Greek philosophers, Epicurus and Democritus. Then with the subsequent support of Darwinian evolution he could explain the origin of human life as the product of evolutionary processes in a material world—there was no longer any need to speak of God.

The Nature of Man

Marx was not interested in pure philosophy, which he dismissed as mere speculation and quite useless when compared to the vital task of changing the world.[16] Hence he was not particularly interested in philosophical materialism. His being designated a materialist, however, does not mean that he denied mind altogether (as he denied life after death). Rather he believed that everything about man, including his mind, is determined by his material conditions. “For us,” said Marx, “mind is a mode of energy, a function of brain; all we know is that the material world is governed by immutable laws, and so forth.”[17] This view would fit with what philosophers call epiphenomenalism, according to which consciousness is nonmaterial but dependent on material things for its existence.

Karl Marx was more interested in man in the concrete, in man as a social being. He believed that “the real nature of man is the total of social nature.”[18] Apart from the obvious biological facts such as man’s need for food, Marx tended to downplay individual human existence. He believed that what is true of one man at one time in one society is also true of all men at all times in all places.[19] Thus it is not [that] the consciousness of men . . . determines their being, but . . . their social being determines their consciousness.”[20] In short, psychology is reducible to sociology, but sociology is not reducible to psychology.

One important generalization Marx makes about human nature is that man is a socially active being who distinguishes himself from other animals in that he produces his means of subsistence.[21] That is, it is natural for men to work for their living. Thus, Marx concludes, it is right for men to have a life of productive activity, to be workers.

The Alienation of Man

Men who do not find fulfillment in industrial labor will experience alienation. This alienation will be eliminated when private property is done away with.[22] Private property, however, is not the cause but a consequence of alienation.[23] The alienation itself consists in the fact that the work is not part of the worker’s nature. He is not fulfilled in work because it is forced on him so that someone else may be fulfilled Even the objects he produces are alien to him because they are owned by another. The cure for this ill will be the future communist society in which everyone can cultivate his talent by working for the good of the whole commune of mankind.[24] It is in this sense that Marxism is appropriately called a humanism.

The Marxist View of the World and History

 The Dialectic of History

 As has been noted already, Marx’s overall view of the world is materialistic. He uses the term historical materialism to designate that view of the course of history which seeks the ultimate cause and the great moving power of all important historic events in the economic development of society.[25] Further, Marx can be classified as a dialectical materialist, following in the tradition of the Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.[26] History is unfolding according to a universal dialectical law the outworking of which can be predicted the way an astronomer predicts an eclipse. In the preface to Das Kapital Marx compares his method to that of a physicist: “The ultimate aim of this work is to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society” He also speaks of the natural laws of capitalistic production as “working with iron necessity toward inevitable results.”[27]

The dialectic of modern history is that the thesis of capitalism is opposed by the antithesis of socialism, which will unavoidably give way to the ultimate synthesis of communism. History is predetermined like the course of the stars, except that the laws governing history are not mechanical but economic in nature. Man is economically determined. That is, “the mode of production of material life determines the general character of the social, political, and spiritual processes of life.”[28] This, of course, does not mean that man is determined solely by economic factors. Marx means only that the economic is the primary or dominant influence on man’s social character. Engels emphatically proclaimed, “More than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase.”[29]

The Future of Capitalism

 On the basis of his assumption that the dialectic of history is carried out by means of economic determinism, Marx confidently predicted that capitalism would become increasingly unstable and that the class struggle between the bourgeoisie (ruling class) and the proletariat (working class) would intensify. The poor would become larger and poorer until, by a major social revolution, they would seize power and institute the new communist phase of history.[30]

The fact that these predictions did not come to pass remains an embarrassment to Marxist theory. It casts doubt on the scientific and predictive value of orthodox Marxism.

The Future Communistic Utopia

According to Marx, capitalism has internal problems which will eventually lead to a communistic economic system. For as the masses become more numerous and the capitalists fewer, the latter will control great concentrations of productive equipment which they will throttle for their own gain. But the masses will then sweep aside the capitalists as a hindrance to production and seize an industrial economy which has been carried to the edge of perfection by self-liquidating capitalism Thus there will emerge a progressive society with no wages, no money, no social classes, and eventually no state. This communist utopia will simply be a free association of producers under their own conscious control. Society will ultimately realize the communist ideal: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”[31] There will, however, be the need for an intermediate period of “the dictatorship of the proletariat.”[32] But in the higher stage the state will vanish and true freedom will begin.

The Marxist Ethic

There are several characteristic dimensions of the ethics of Marxism. Three of these are relativism, utilitarianism, and collectivism.

Relativism

 Since Marxism is atheistic, and since, as Nietzsche rioted, when God dies all absolute value dies with Him, it is understandable that Marxist ethics is relativistic. That is, there are no moral absolutes. There are two reasons for this.

First, there is no external, eternal realm. The only absolute is the inexorable progress of the unfolding dialectic of history. Engels wrote, “We therefore reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatever as an eternal, ultimate and forever immutable law on the pretext that the moral world has its permanent principles which transcend history.”[33]

Secondly, there is no such thing as a nature or essence of man which could serve as a foundation for general principles of human conduct. Man’s ideas of good and evil are determined by man’s concrete place in the socioeconomic structure. In brief, class struggle generates its own ethic.

Utilitarianism

On what basis are one’s actions regarded as moral? The answer is, they are regarded as moral if they serve to create a new communist society. Actions can be justified by their end. Lenin once defined morality as that which serves to destroy the exploiting capitalistic society and to unite workers in creating a new communist society,[34] in effect saying that the end justifies the means.[35] This is the communist’s equivalent of utilitarianism’s “greatest good for the greatest number in the long run.” Whatever promotes the ultimate cause of communism is good, and what hinders it is evil.

Collectivism

Another feature of Marxist ethics is that the universal transcends the individual. This is a heritage from Hegel, who believed that the perfect life is possible only when the individual is organically integrated into the ethical totality. For Marx, however, the highest ethical totality is not the state (as it was for Hegel) but “universal freedom of will.” Note that this “freedom” is not individual but corporate and universal. The difference from Hegel is that the emphasis is shifted from the state to society, from the body politic to the body public.

According to Marx, in the perfect society private morals are eliminated and the ethical ideals of the community are achieved. This will be accomplished, of course, by material production. For material production determines religion, metaphysics, and morality.[36]

An Evaluation of Marxist Humanism

 Several aspects of Marxism call for comment here. Some comments will be of a positive nature; a large number, however, will point out weaknesses in Marx’s philosophy.

Positive Contributions of Marxism

Marx’s concern for the condition of workers is to be commended. Working conditions in Europe and North America are vastly improved today from those of over a century ago when Marx wrote and this is at least partially due to the pressure applied by Marxists. Likewise, Marx is certainly right in attacking the view that workers are merely a means to the end of capitalistic gain. Thus there has been a significant humanistic contribution in that Marxist philosophy places man over money.

Another positive contribution of Marxism has been its corrective on unlimited and uncontrolled capitalism. Any system which permits the rich to get richer and makes the poor poorer without limits is bound to produce ethical abuses. In the ancient Jewish economy this possibility was checked by the Year of Jubilee (every fiftieth year), when acquisitions were returned to their original owners.[37]

Finally, the millennial aspirations of Marxism are noble. Indeed, the Marxist philosophy of history encourages men to work toward the goal of overcoming the perceived evils of the present world. It is this humanistic vision which has captured the imagination and dedication of many young thinkers.

Negative Features of Marxism

Marxism is subject to numerous critiques. We will briefly indicate some of the more significant ones.

First, the dogmatic atheism of Marxism is unfounded. It is self-defeating to insist that God is nothing but a projection of human imagination. “Nothing but” statements presume “more than” knowledge. One cannot know that God is confined to imagination unless one’s knowledge goes beyond mere imagination.

Second, Marx’s deterministic view of history is ill founded. Not only is it contrary to fact—since things have not worked out as Marx predicted—but it is a category mistake to assume that economic influence works like physical laws.

Third, a materialistic view of man ignores the rich spiritual and religious aspects of human nature, to say nothing of the evidence for man’s immateriality and immortality.

Fourth, in its strongest form ethical relativism is self-destructive. The absolute denial of absolutes cuts its own throat. And to replace one absolute with another (the communist end) does not avoid absolutism. Also, the fallacies of the “end justifies the means” ethic are infamous.

Fifth, Marxism holds out an admirably idealistic goal (a human utopia) but has a miserable record of achievement. Life in Marxist countries has been more like hell than heaven. While the goal of a perfect community is desirable, the revolutionary means of achieving it is highly dubious. Every country that experienced a communist revolution ended up seeing a system that is even more repressive and oppressive than the flawed system it displaced. Where the standard of living improved for some in the short term it was at the expense of the many whose property and wealth was seized while they were murdered, sent to labor camps for reeducation, or sent to collective farms to serve as slave labor. And ultimately the promise of equality for all proved to be equal poverty and oppression for the people while the few at the top enjoyed what little wealth was left over. Also the means for maintaining the system—brainwashing campaigns, fear of the secret police force, networks of secret informers, etc.—after failing to deliver on its promises is dystopian. From a Christian perspective the means of transforming mankind is not revolution and reprogramming but regeneration. It begins not with the birth of a new government but with the birth of new men and new women—that is, the new birth (John 3:5).

Sixth, Marx’s view of capitalistic systems was short-sighted, shallow, and based on a stereotype. While his critique of the unbridled, compassionless capitalism at work England in the nineteenth century was warranted and insightful, it wrongly assumed that capitalist systems were impossible to gently reform in a politically and the only possible option was a violent and bloody overthrow. Marx was wrong. Several capitalistic countries were able to implement several types of reforms and implement controls without violence.[38]

Seventh, Marx’s view of religion is superficial. He should have heeded his father’s exhortation to him at age seventeen: “Faith [in God] is a real [requirement] of man sooner or later, and there are moments in life when even the atheist is [involuntarily] drawn to worship the Almighty.”[39] Or better yet, in view of his later tumultuous life and the revolutions his thought has precipitated in the world, Marx should have applied his own earlier thoughts:

Union with Christ bestows inner exaltation, consolation in suffering, calm assurance, and a heart which is open to love of mankind, to all that is noble, to all that is great, not out of ambition, not through the desire of fame, but only because of Christ.[40]

Karl Marx’s own father feared it was the desire for fame which transformed Karl’s Christian conscience into a demonic passion. In March 1837 he admonished his ambitious son:

From time to time, my heart revels in the thoughts of you and your future. And yet, from time to time, I cannot escape the sad, suspicious, fearful thoughts that strike like lightning: Does your heart match your head and your talents? Does it have room for the earthly but gentler feelings that are such an essential consolation to the sensitive human being in this vale of sorrows? Is the demon, which is clearly not given to or dominated by everybody, of a celestial or a Faustian nature?[41]

 

 

[1] See Marx and Engels on Religion, ed. Reinhold Niebuhr (New York: Schocken, 1964), 214.

[2] Ibid, 224.

[3] Ibid, 50.

[4] Ibid, 41.

[5] Ibid, 147.

[6] Ibid, 231.

[7] Ibid, 237.

[8] Ibid, 71.

[9] Ibid, 69.

[10] Ibid, 35.

[11] Ibid, 36.

[12] Ibid, 295. Even agnosticism was rejected by Marx: “What, indeed, is agnosticism but, to use an expressive Lancashire term, ‘shamefaced’ materialism? The agnostic conception of nature is materialistic throughout.”

[13] Ibid, 143.

[14] Ibid, 136.

[15] At Marx’s burial, Engels eulogized him saying, “just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of evolution human history.” Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of Great Economic Thinkers. (Simon and Shuster: New York: 1986) 170

[16] See Marx, Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy, trans. T. B. Bottomore (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), 82.

[17] Marx and Engels on Religion, 298.

[18] Marx, Selected Writings, 83.

[19] Ibid, 91-92.

[20] Ibid, 67.

[21] Ibid, 69.

[22] Ibid, 250.

[23] Ibid, 176.

[24] Ibid, 177, 253.

[25] Marx and Engels on Religion, 298.

[26] Hegel himself rejected this dialectic, though it is commonly attributed to him. See Gustav E. Mueller, “The Hegel Legend of Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis,” Journal of the History of Ideas 19, no. 3 (1958): 411-414.

[27] Das Kapital, ed. Friedrich Engels, trans. Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, in Great Books of the Western World, ed. Robert Maynard Hutchins (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 19521, vol.50, 6.

[28] Marx, Selected Writings, 67; cf. 70, 90, 111ff.

[29] Marx and Engels on Religion, 274.

[30] See Marx, Selected Writings, 79-80, 147ff., 236.

[31] Ibid, 263.

[32] Ibid, 261.

[33] Quoted in R. N. Carew Hunt, The Theory and Practice of Communism. New York: Macmillan, 1962), 87-88.

[34] Ibid, 89.

[35] Some neo-Marxists have rejected this, insisting that means are subject to the same moral principles as the end. But they have thereby departed from orthodox Marxism. See George H. Hampsch, The Theory of Communism (Secaucus, N. J.: Citadel, 1965), 127.

[36] See Marx, The Communist Manifesto, ed. Samuel H. Beer (New York: Appleton Century-Crofts, 1955), 177.

[37] Leviticus 25.

[38] Robert L. Heilbroner. The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of Great Economic Thinkers. (Touchstone: 1986). 166-169.

[39] Letter from Trier, November 18, 1835.

[40] Written by Marx between August 10 and 16, 1835.

[41] Saul K. Padover, Karl Marx: An Intimate Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978), 97.

Copyright 1983, 2016 – Norman L. Geisler –  All rights reserved


This essay is adapted from Chapter Five of Norman Geisler’s Is Man the Measure? An Evaluation of Contemporary Humanism (Wipf & Stock: 1983). It will also be reproduced in Norm’s forthcoming book Is Man the Measure: An Evaluation of Contemporary Humanism and Transhumanism (Bastion Books: 2017).


Read Part 2 of 2 here.

“We the People…” (Christians Should Vote)


 

“We the People…”

by Dr. Norman L. Geisler

 

Introduction

America belongs to “We the people.” It does not belong to the Congress. It does not belong to special interest groups. It does not belong to the Courts. It belongs to “We the people….” The original Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, declared:

Providence [God] has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty—as well as the privilege and interest –of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Yes, he preferred those who follow a Christian ethic and voted accordingly. And contrary to a widely misinterpretation of the First Amendment, the Constitution does not forbid establishing morality but only establishing one national religion. It says, “Congress [The Federal Government]. Shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion….”

Indeed, historically Congress (upheld by the Supreme Court) did establish the Judeo-Christian morality, including virtually all of the Ten Commandments at one time or another.

Politically speaking, the basic problem in America is that “We the people” have lost control of our government. How have we done this? Three things come to mind. First, “We the people” are not all registered to vote. Second, “We the people” who are registered do not all vote. Third, “We the people” who do vote do not all vote our convictions.

“We the people” are not all registered to vote.

A. 35% of eligible Americans are not registered. So, the people who don’t vote decide almost all the elections. Yet “we the people” complain about our government when we have not all even participated in it. The truth is the “we the people” who don’t vote could change America.

“We the people” are not all registered to vote.

Further, “We the people” who are registered do not all vote. In 2004 only 64% of us voted. And in the off presidential year of 2002 only 43% voted. That is minority rule. But if we don’t vote, we don’t have a voice—and should not voice a complaint!

“We the people” who do vote do not all vote our convictions.

Sadder still, is the third problem: those who are Christians and do vote do not always vote their convictions. Two exit poles of one relatively recent elections revealed that about two-thirds of Americans put issues over character. Indeed, a large percent of people admitted that they voted for a president they did not even trust! The solution to this situation is simple.

First of all, we should vote principle over party

We expect preachers to rave about the need for morality in public like, but listen to the words of a famous non-Christian, Mark Twain: “This is an honest nation–in private life. The American Christian is a straight and clean and honest man, and in his private commerce with his fellows can be trusted to stand faithfully by the principles of honor and honesty imposed upon him by his religion. But the moment he comes forward to exercise a public trust he can be confidently counted upon to betray that trust in nine cases out of ten, if `party loyalty’ shall require it….” (Twain, Christian Science, 359).

That hits the nail right on the head. Most Americans—even politicians—have good private ethics, at least in principle, if not in practice. But how many times have we heard them say: “I personally do not believe in doing X, but I would not vote for a law that forbid others from doing it.” This is a private ethic with no public ethic.

Second, we should vote morals over money.

Recently, a presidential candidate, when asked when human life began, replied: “That is above my pay grade.” I radio talk show host ask me what I thought of that answer. My reply was, “Lower his pay grade!” I could have added, raise his moral standard. The only sitting president ever to write a book was Ronald Reagan—and it was on abortion. When asked a similar question, he replied, “If you aren’t sure, then don’t shoot.” The fact is, we are sure. Human life begins at conception. It is a scientific fact. An unborn pig is a pig. An unborn horse is a horse. And an unborn human is a human. We don’t even need science; we just need common sense.

Third, we should vote conviction over convenience

What would we think of a political leader who said, “I personally do not believe in killing little children (infanticide), but I would not vote for a law that forbids others from doing it.” What about rape, incest, spouse abuse, and child abuse? Is it all right as long as this is part of our private practice but not our public policy? Does anyone really want to live in a country where our civic leaders claim not to practice murder privately but refuse to pass a law to forbid it publicly!

The Persistent Myth: We Cannot Legislate Morality

One of the underlying problems is that even many Christians have bought into the legal and social myth that “We Can’t legislate morality.” But this is constitutionally, historically, and socially wrong. The High Court pronounced: “We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity…. [We are] people whose manners…and whose morals have been elevated and inspired…by means of the Christian religion” (Ruggles, 1811).

Socially, all laws affirm that one behavior is right and another wrong. But right and wrong are a matter of morality. So, all good laws legislate morality. We cannot avoid legislating morality. The only question is whose morality is going to be legislated.

Historically, our leaders had no hesitation in answering this question. In Colonial days, Sixth President of United States asserted that “If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and “Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free” (The Right Constitution …, Letter VI).

Even the Declaration of Independence speaks of “Nature’s Law’s” that come from “Nature’s God” and are manifest in “unalienable” God-given rights. President John Adams saw it correctly: “Private and public Virtue is the only foundation of Republics.” When the Mormons taught and practiced polygamy, the Supreme Court ruled (Beason, 1889): “Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries…. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman and to debase man.”

Mark Twain was right: “[The Christian] has sound and sturdy private morals, but he has no public ones…. There are Christian Private Morals, but there are no Christian Public Morals, at the polls, or in Congress or anywhere else–except here and there and scattered around like lost comets in the solar system” (ibid., 361).

What is the solution to our political and moral problems in America? Well, for starters Christians must vote character over convenience. We must vote morals over money and principle over party. And above all, we must vote life over death.

Since the right to life is the right to all other rights—the dead have no rights—necessarily the right to life becomes the primary moral principle in judging public officials. If Germans citizens had a chance to vote for Hitler, knowing he was engaged in a holocaust, and Hitler had a good plan for the economy and the environment, what would be the overriding issue? Should they vote money over morals. Should they have voted party (Nazis) over principle? But Hitler only killed 12 million human beings (I speak as a fool when I say “only”). Americans, since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion (Jan 22, 1973) have killed 48 million unborn human beings by abortion.

How then shall we vote? For candidates that favor abortion or for those who oppose it? Every Christian—indeed, every moral person—has a moral duty to put conviction of convenience, principle over party and vote for life.

President President James Garfield (1831-1881) wrote: “The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.” Yes, “We the people” are response, and “We the people must take responsibility for our actions. James Madison “the Father of US Constitution” declared: “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” (Memorial & Remonstrance, 1785). Our first president, George Washington, declared in his First Inaugural Address that “There is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…. [So] the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” The Wisest man who ever lived put it this way: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).

 

Copyright © 2008 Norman L. Geisler – All Rights Reserved

 

The Conservative Agenda: Its Basis and Its Basics


The Conservative Agenda:

Its Basis and Its Basics


by Norman L. Geisler


Introduction

As I listen to liberals articulate their agenda, I am struck by the stark contrast between true conservatism and liberalism. In point of fact, I am struck by the unAmerican nature of political liberalism. Indeed, the basics of conservativism are identical with the basis of Americanism. The natural birth of conservativism is the same as the national birth of America: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” There are numerous basic principles of conservativism contained in our National Birth Certificate: The beliefs in 1) a Creator, 2) Creation, 3) God-given moral absolutes; 4) Governments are ordained of God; 5) the Providence of God, and 6) a final day of judgment. Other principles, like 7) the freedom of speech, 8) the right to political dissent, 9) the right to bear arms, 10) a government based on the consent of the governed, and 11) freedom against tyranny are also implied in The Declaration of Independence.

However, the most fundamental principles of conservativism are the first three: Creator, creation, and God-given moral absolutes. These are the foundation of our country, our constitutions, our courts, and our conservative agenda. And the erosion of these principles in the courts portends the condemnation of our country, as the prospects of restoring them offers hope for our preservation.


The Basis of Conservativism

A conservative is someone who wishes to conserve the basic principles on which our country was founded. He wants to protect, preserve, and achieve the application of these principles to our country. So, the basis of conservativism is the grounds for the basics of conservativism. This being the case, let me speak first about the origin of conservativism.

The Origin of Conservativism

Conservativism is firmly rooted in the principles of The Declaration of Independence which is the basis of Americanisms. That The Declaration of Independence is our founding document and the birthday of our country has been firmly established in a recent brilliant Amicus Brief before the High Court titled Gonzales v. Planner Parenthood (2007).

The Original States

Gonzales demonstrates that all the original states endorsed The Declaration, and every state since has been required to form a government that is in conformity with the U. S. Constitution “and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.” As late as August 21, 1959 Hawaii was admitted to the United States based on the same basis, namely, that it concurred with “the principles of the Declaration of Independence.”

The Articles of Confederation (1781)

In the pre Constitution Articles of Confederation document drafted in 1777 and ratified in 1781 all agreed in “cooperation between the States” and sent “delegates of the United States of America” to participate. This acknowledges that the country already existed before this time and had delegates to send. Indeed, following the spirit of The Declaration of Independence, these Articles spoke of the “Great Governor of the world” who “authorize[d] us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual union.”

The Northwest Ordinance (1787)

Likewise, in The Northwest Ordinance was created in 1787 to serve for those territories that would seek thereafter to become States of the already existing United States. It too borrowed from The Declaration of Independence, insisting that “religions, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government…shall forever be encouraged.” In its introductory legal document it insists that “the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty… formed the basis whereupon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected….”

The U. S. Constitution

In 1789 The Articles of Confederation were replaced by The United States Constitution and thus became the national government mandated by The Declaration of Independence. It begins, “We the people of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Clearly, the “United States” already existed or they could not be doing this “for” the nation. Indeed, as The Constitution says, they were only making “a more perfect union” than the one already in effect for 13 years. The new Constitution did not create a new nation. It simply created a new document to govern the already existing nation. This new Constitution was “for the United States of America.” It was not the creation of the United States. Article VI makes it clear that it was only providing a better government for the nation that already existed. It affirms that the nation already existed and had an initial form of government under The Articles of Confederation which in turn was based on The Declaration of Independence. For The U.S. Constitution affirms that “all the debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution shall be valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the Confederation….”

Indeed, the draft of The Constitution (1787) ends with a reference to the ratification of the Constitution, speaking of “the Independence of the United States of America” as the “twelfth” years before it (in 1776).

As late as 1961 in McGowan v State of Maryland, Justice Douglas wrote: “The institutions of our society are founded on the belief that there is an authority higher than the authority of the State; that there is a moral law which the State is powerless to alter; that the individual possesses rights, conferred by the Creator, and which governments must respect.” It then refers to the familiar words of The Declaration of Independence as a basis of this affirmation, saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evidence, that all men are created equal….” Justice Douglas adds, “And the body of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights enshrine those principles.”

On the Jubilee of The U. S. Constitution, President John Quincy Adams wrote: “This act [i.e., the Constitution] was the compliment to the Declaration of Independence; founded on the same principles, carrying them out into practical execution, and forming with it, one entire system of government….”(1).

Indeed, the Founders and presidents dated their government from the time of The Declaration (in 1776), rather than from The Constitution [in 1789]. This included Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Jackson and even Abraham Lincoln. In his famous Gettysburg Address (1863) Lincoln said: “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation….” But eighty seven years before 1863 when Lincoln gave the famous address was 1776, the year of The Declaration of Independencewhen America was born.

The Implication of Conservativism

If The Declaration of Independence is our founding document, then its principles are our founding principles. And a conservative is one, who by definition, wants to conserve these principles. As already noted, the most basic of these are the first three. So, we will concentrate on them and their implications for a truly conservative agenda.

Creator

Contrary to current judicial shyness about recognizing God, our founding document and our founders had no reluctance to acknowledge the Creator. This is obvious in numerous way. First, The Declaration itself refers to the “Creator” and “Nature’s God.” Also, The Articles of Confederation speak of “the great Governor of the World.” Further, the father of the Constitution, James Madison, declared that “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of “the Governor of the Universe” (Memorial & Remonstrance, 1785).

What is more, Congress has been opened by prayer to God from the very beginning. And presidential oaths have been taken in the name of God, adding “so help me God.” This is to say nothing of “In God we trust” on our coins, above the head of the president of the House of Representative’s, and in the fourth stanza of our National Anthem.

Further, early presidents with the consent of Congress invoked “God” in their thanksgiving proclamations, such as Washington, Adams, and Madison. The First National Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1777 was signed by Henry Laurens, President of the Continental Congress. It affirmed that: “…it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received, and to implore such further blessings….” Later, George Washington declared that “…it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour” (Oct. 3, 1789).

What is more, the Constitutions of many States refer directly to God. In my own State the Constitution begins: “We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union … do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

Like other States, the Tar Heel Constitution even went so far as to disqualify atheists from holding office, saying, in Article VI, Section 8: “Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.” There is no scarcity to official references to God by our Founders and in our founding documents. And a conservative is someone who wishes to confess openly and conserve perpetually this God-given and God-acknowledged heritage, including our Pledge of Allegiance “under God.”

Creation

Further, in addition to acknowledging “the Creator and Ruler of the world,” a conservative is one who believes that “all men are created equal.” He does not believe, as the Scopes evolutionary textbook did in 1925, that the “Caucasians” are the “highest type” of human beings (2). Nor does he believe as Charles Darwin did (in The Descent of Man) that vaccinations and laws to help the poor should be eliminated because it preserves the weaker breed that natural selection would have eliminated. Darwin wrote: “We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick: we institute poor laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small pox”(3).

Nor does a conservative believe, as Hitler did in Mein Kampf, that “If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile”(4). In short, there are moral implications to Darwinian evolution, namely, if natural selection explains common ancestry, then there is nothing wrong with eliminating the weak and undesirable among us.

In short, if there is not a Creator and Moral Law-Giver, then man is just an animal without any God-given rights, and those in power are under no moral obligation to preserve these rights. A true conservative finds Darwinianism and its social consequences to be contrary to every fiber of his being and loudly proclaims with our founding Fathers and documents that “all men are created equal” and, hence, are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” foremost among them are the rights to life and liberty.

God-given Moral Laws

Nietzsche was right: If God is dead, then there are no God-given moral laws. As the French atheists Jean Paul Sartre put it: As a person without God, “I was like a man who’s lost his shadow. And there was nothing left in heaven, no right or wrong, nor anyone to give me orders…. I am doomed to have no other law but mine”(5). The simple truth is that if there is no absolute Moral Law Giver, then there are no absolute moral laws. Or, in Jeffersonian terms, “Nature’s Laws” come from “Nature’s God.” Both logic and history inform us that we cannot separate the Moral Law from the Moral Law-Giver and that we cannot have good government or society without an absolute standard for good.

The Destruction of the Declaration

Liberals are deconstructionists. They want to deconstruct the Constitution. Conservatives are reconstructionists. We want to reconstruct the Constitution the liberal courts have deconstructed to conform with the way the framers constructed it. Sadly, liberals, to borrow the title of Ann Coulter’s excellent best seller, are truly “Godless.” Of course, this is not necessarily true in their private lives, but it is in their public policy. For they would eliminate God from government and government schools. But a government less God is literally a God-less government. Mark Twain said it well: “ The American Christian is a straight and clean and honest man, and in his private commerce with his fellows can be trusted to stand faithfully by the principles of honor and honesty imposed upon him by his religion. But the moment he comes forwards to exercise a public trust he can be confidently counted upon to betray that trust in nine cases out of ten, if ‘party loyalty’ shall require it….” He continues, “There are Christian Private Morals, but there are no Christian Public Morals, at the polls, or in the Congress or anywhere else–except here and there and scattered around like lost comets in the solar system”(6). The more recent godless trend in our government can be demonstrated by the Supreme Court decision between 1961 and 1987 discussed later. First, lets look at the historical record.

The Humanist Manifestos

Beginning with the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, Secular Humanism declared itself a “religion” with three fundamental principles(7): No Creator, no creation, and no God-given moral absolutes. In their own words, they declared there is–

No Creator.–“Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.” In brief, there is no Creator of the world or of mankind.

No Creation.–“Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.” In short, mankind was not created but evolved by natural processes.

No God-Given Moral Absolutes.–“Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantee of human values” That is to say, there are no God-given moral absolutes.
So here we have a self-proclaimed religion of Humanism that is opposed to three fundamental principles of The Declaration of Independence. But since The Declaration is the founding document of America, The Humanist Manifesto is at the core an anti-American religion. And since it is a religion less God, then it is a God-less religion.

But one may argue that the First Amendment permits freedom of religion–even for Humanist religions. In response, a serious case can be made against the thesis that by freedom of religion was meant also freedom from religion. And it may also be argued that “religion” as meant by the founding Fathers was not intended to include atheism. Indeed, many States incorporated anti-atheist statements in their constitutions. Even the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled in Kneeland, 1838 that “[The First Amendment] embraces all who believe in the existence of God. This provision does not extend to atheists because they do not believe in God or religion.”

Be this as it may, even granted that Humanism (without belief in God) is a religion (asTorcaso v. Watkins said in 1961), nonetheless, neither Humanism nor any non-theistic religion has the right to be the established (i.e., favored) religion in government schools.

The Humanist Courts

A Humanist culture will ultimately produce humanist courts. It took a generation or two to do it, but it eventually happened. And granted that Humanism is a religion, then it would follow that Humanism–or at least its central religious beliefs–have become the established beliefs in our public schools. Just how this happened is a matter of record.

1925–At the Tennessee Scopes Trial ACLU attorneys argued that teaching evolution was part of their religious rights, claiming that permitting the “teaching of a particular doctrine that comes from a particular religious book…contravene the provision of our constitution”(8). But, as we have seen, evolution is a particular doctrine from a particular religion called Humanism.

1933–John Dewey signed Humanist Manifesto I (1933) which proclaims a religious point of view that denies the fundamental beliefs of The Declaration of Independence – Creator, creation, and God-given moral absolutes.

1934–John Dewey wrote a book called the A Common Faith in which he declared: “Here are all the arguments for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class, or race. Such a faith has always been implicitly the common faith of mankind. It remains to make it explicit and militant”(9). During the next decades Dewey concentrated on training teachers in this militant Faith to indoctrinate our children in our tax-supported government schools. Within a generation Humanist had achieved their first major victories in the Supreme Court.

1961–In Torcaso v. Watkins the High Court proclaimed that “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others” (emphasis added). Then in rapid-like decisions the Supreme Court began to make ruling after ruling that eliminated the Creator, creation and God-given moral absolutes as an official part of our government school programs.

1962 (Engel)–State required devotional prayers were banned from public schools. We had been praying in American schools for some 300 years before that with no perceivable damage to our children or our freedoms.

1963 (Abington)––State required devotional Bible-readings was barred from public schools. It is worthy of note that our earliest schools were started to teach children to read the Bible with the 1647 “Old Deluder Satan Law”(10).

1968 (Epperson)–Laws forbidding teaching evolution was declared unconstitutional. This was done in spite of the fact that evolution is opposed to creation, a doctrine embedded in our American Birth Certificate and at the basis of our freedoms.

1973 (Roe and Doe)–De facto abortion on demand was approved by the High Court in these two decisions. This too flies in the face of the fundamental constitutional right to life stated in The Declaration of Independence and in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of The Constitution.

1990 (Stone)–-The display of the Ten Commandments was forbidden in public schools. With this ruling, not only was the legal history of the these moral principles reversed but so was the moral foundation necessary for good government and education called for by our early Fathers.

1987 (Edwards)–Laws requiring teaching creation, if evolution is taught, were struck down. This ruling not only enshrined naturalistic evolution and eliminated teaching the crucial creation pillar of our founding document, but it established (contrary to the First Amendment) a crucial tenet of non-theistic religions.

Thus ended a generation of liberal, High Court rulings that in effect established the central tenets of Religious Humanism in our tax-supported institutions of learning. For they favored the central teachings of non-theistic religions, like Secular Humanism, over the opposing tenets of other religions, namely, orthodox theistic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Indeed, these Court rulings favored religious beliefs that were opposed to the foundational documents of America. All true conservatives cringe at these anti-American conclusions.

The Tragic Conclusion

Religious Humanist John Dunphy summed up their Humanist strategy well in his 1983 article in The Humanist journal:

“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classrooms by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new Faith: A religion of humanity…. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers. For they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach…”(11).

Indeed, this is precisely what happened between 1961 and 1987 when the Supreme Court ruled that government cannot endorse teaching Creator, creation, or God-given absolutes in America’s public schools, even though these are the basic principles of The Declaration of Independence on which our government is based. So, in effect the courts ruled that teaching the great truths of The Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional! These judicial decisions are not only unconstitutional, but they are unAmerican. Thus, if Thomas Jefferson returned today, he would discover that he was being forced to pay taxes to public schools that were teaching his children that The Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional. I have no doubt what the proclaimer of “Taxation without representation” would do: He would start a second American revolution!


The Basics of Conservativism

The basic principles of conservativism are the basic principles of Americanism–those embedded in our Birth Certificate–The Declaration of Independence. It is from these principles that we derive the conservative agenda. Foremost on the list are the beliefs in a Creator, creation, and God-given moral absolutes. Let me briefly comment on each area.

The Creator

If we are ever going to be successful in reestablishing the conservative agenda in America, then it cannot be done without overcoming the hostility to invoking God in the public square and overcoming the antagonism toward acknowledging Him in our schools. Contrary to the tragic ruling against teaching creation along side of evolution in public schools, our founders had no such problem in giving due credit to the Creator.

Fortunately, the vestiges of our religious heritage can still be found in our culture. Last time I looked God’s name was over the president’s head in The House of Representatives in the phrase “In God we trust.” Nor has it been minted out of all our coins. Indeed, it is still found in the last stanza of the National Anthem, though it is seldom sung outside of churches. Yes, his name is still invoked to call Congress into session. Ironically, the US Marshall still invokes God’s blessing at the opening session of Federal Court when he prays: “…God bless the United States and this honorable Court.” Yes, we still pay military Chaplains who can use God’s name, and presidents still take oaths in God’s name. And liberals have not yet physically deconstructed the Jefferson or Lincoln Memorials–even though they may wish to do so if they could.

A certain tragic irony emerges from eliminating God and any prayer to Him from our public school. After the Virginia Tech massacre, someone put the following on the internet which I summarize: “Dear God: Why don’t you do something about all the violence in our schools like the mass slaughters at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Signed, Johnny.” To his surprise He received a reply: “Dear Johnny: Sorry, I am not allowed in school anymore. Signed, God”!

Actually, there are at least ten good reason for prayers in the public school which I wrote to the editor of The Charlotte Observer, and my then honorable Senator Jesse Helms put into the Congressional record. We should have voluntary class prayer because:

1) Our government was based on religious principles (of which prayer was a part) from the very beginning.

2) The First Amendment does not separate God and government but actually encourages religion (which includes prayer) in the Free Exercise clause.

3) Early Congressional actions such as The Northwest Ordinance (1787) encouraged religion in public schools of which prayer was a part.

4) Early Presidents, with congressional approval, made proclamations encouraging public prayer.

5) Congress has prayed at the opening of every session since the very beginning.

6) Schools had prayer for some three hundred years before the Supreme Court ruled that State mandated class devotional prayers were unconstitutional (Engel, 1962).

7) Since the High Court outlawed state mandated class devotion prayer and Bible reading the nation has been in steady moral decline.

8) Morals must be taught, and they cannot properly be taught without religious sentiments like respect for the Creator since both logically and practically there will not be respect for an absolute moral law without respect for an absolute Moral Law Giver.

9) Forbidding prayer and other religious expressions in public schools establishes in effect the religion of Secularism.

10) To forbid the majority the right to pray because the minority objects, is to impose the irreligion of the minority on the religious majority.

If theistic children who do not believe in Darwinian evolution, sex education, and homosexual life-styles are exposed to these contrary beliefs without violation of their rights, then why can’t the tiny minority of atheist’s children to be exposed to voluntary prayers?

Creation

My experience as the lead expert witness for teaching creation alongside of evolution in the 1981 Arkansas “Scopes II” trial taught me invaluable lessons. The State had passed a “balanced treatment” law which was the reverse of Scopes I (1925). It read in essence, if you teach evolution, then you must also balance it off by teaching creation, but one does not have to teach either. The evolutionists at the Scopes I Trial (1925) spoke in favor of teaching both views. John Scopes said: “Education you know, means broadening, advancing. If you limit a teacher to only one side of anything, the whole country will eventually have only one thought, be one individual. I believe in teaching every aspect of every problem or theory”(12). ACLU attorney Malone pled: “For God’s sake, let the children have their minds be kept open–close no doors to their knowledge; shut no door from them…. Let they have both. Let them both be taught. Let them both live”(13). The irony is that creationists were called “bigots” many times at the Trial. But let not the kettle call the pot black. If it was bigotry in 1925 when only creation was taught in schools, then it is still bigotry in 2007 when only evolution is being taught.

God-Given Moral Absolutes

The Conservative agenda is a moral agenda. Yes, we believe in legislating morality. In fact, really everyone does, even those who deny it(14). Since virtually all good laws prescribe some behavior as good and others as bad, there are really no such laws that do not legislate morality. No civil society is without legislation on moral issues, forbidding theft, abuse, rape, and murder. Indeed, even liberals favor these laws, as well as others condemning racism, hate crimes, and genocide. The truth is that everyone favors legislating morality. The only question is whose’s morality will be legislated. The conservative answer has always been “God’s”! From the very beginning our founding document spoke of “Nature’s Laws” that come from “Nature’s God” or “the unalienable rights” of the “Creator.” Among these are the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Indeed, most all of the Ten Commandments have been put into law at one time or another.

Laws Protecting Life

First and foremost on the list is the right to life. For the right to life is the right to all other rights. Those who are not allowed to live, are not allowed to have any other rights. And this right to life extends to both ends of life, thus opposing both abortion and euthanasia. At the time of The Declaration abortion was forbidden by both English Common Law from which our law was derived and an early American law which in 1716 forbid midwives to perform abortions(15). And the unborn were defined in the dictionaries of the day as a “child in the womb” and a child as a “very young person”(16). This leaves no doubt about the framers views against abortion.

Historically, being against abortion was not a uniquely Christian view for even the ancient pagan Hippocratic oath opposed both abortion and euthanasia, pledging, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anyone if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.” Whatever minor intramural debate there may be about capital punishment for guilty criminals, there should be absolutely no doubt about the wrongness of giving capital punishment to innocent babies by abortion!

Resetting the Conservative Agenda

There are some who wish to refocus the conservative agenda away from the life and death issues of abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, and pro-family values to other things like poverty, privacy rights, Gay rights, animal rights, and environmental concerns. The conservative response is based in our founding national documents and its fundamental principles.

On Pro-Life

1. We believe in the unalienable right to life of all humans, born and unborn, young and old–whatever their ethnic orientation..

2. We believe there is no right to do a wrong, and that it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings of any size, age, color or creed. The unalienable right to life takes precedence over questionable right of privacy. Killing innocent human beings in private is no more justifiable than killing them in public.

3. We believe it is hypocritical to focus on saving baby seals while we destroying baby humans at the rate of over 3000 per day by abortion.

4. We believes in the unalienable right to life of the born and unborn, not in alienating the unborn from their right to life.

5. We believe that the right to privacy of the mother does not take precedence over the right to life of the child.

On Civil Rights

1. We believe in civil rights for all persons, but we do not believe in uncivil actions against any person.

2. We believe that abortion is the worst violations of civil rights because it violates the very basis of all civil rights–the right to life itself. The right to life is the right to all other rights. Hence, those who are not allowed to live are deprived of all their civil rights.

3. We believe that homosexuals have civil rights but that homosexual activity is a civil wrong against themselves and their society. We do not believe there are any rights to do a wrong. Likewise, polygamist, pedophiles, and rapist have civil rights, but their activities as such are not civil rights; tey are uncivil wrong. And we believe is wrong to give rights to do a wrong.

4. We believe the evident truth that “all men are created equal” opposes slavery, racism, and ethnic discrimination.

On The Family

1. We believe that our domestic constitution should begins with “We the parents of our children, in order to form a more perfect society, establish the family to insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

2. We believe that a family consisting of one male and one female, and whatever children with which God blesses us. And we pledge ourselves to preserve the family as the basic unit of society, the teacher of social skills, moral values, and the duty of good citizenship.

3. We believe that since the roots of most social problems begin in the family that we should be doing everything we can to strengthen the family, not to weaken it. To be pro-family is to be pro-society, and to degrade the family by approving of distorted unions is destructive of our society.

4. We believe that divorce is generally harmful to the family and should be discouraged and diminished.

On Homosexuality

1. We believe that civil rights for homosexuals should not be a pretext for civil wrongs done by homosexuals–both against themselves and society. We believe that if laws against smoking can add seven years on the average to ones life, then laws restraining homosexual activity, which can add some 20-30 years to their lives, should be welcomed as well(17).

2. We believe that uncivil behavior is not the basis for a civil union. In the beginning God did not unite Adam and Steve but Adam and Eve.

3. We believe that since no homosexual union has ever produced a child, then only babies produced by homosexual unions should be adopted by homosexuals.

On Education

1. We encourage home schools, private schools, and parental control of public schools, not government control of our tax-supported institutions.

2. Since we firmly believe that taxation without representation is tyranny, we believe that the majority view of creation, held in some form by over 75 percent of Americans, should be represented in public schools. And we thank Judge Antonia Scalia for his brilliant defense of this in his dissenting opinion in the 1987 Edwards case.

3. We believe that sex education is best done by parents, not the schools. If the school is to be involved, it should be with parental permission and review of the curriculum. We believe children should not be taught a sex course in “how to” but, if any, they should be taught one in “why not” to get involved in sex before marriage.

4. We believe that no child should be left behind and that, if necessary we should spank their behind to help accomplish this. We believe discipline is a necessary condition for proper education and the moral law (as expressed in the Ten Commandments) is necessary for proper discipline.

5. The Ten Commandments are represented on the East end of the Supreme Court, over the Chief Justice’s head, and on the upper wall, and we see no reason the same Court should forbid our school children from having them on their walls.

6. We believe that no harm was done for 300 years of school classes talking to the Creator in public schools and much harm has been done in the generation since prayer has been locked out of school classes.

7. We believe that the Bible, the world’s best seller, should be read, not banned, from public school classes.

8. We believe that if it was bigotry in 1925 to teach only one view of origins in public schools when only creation was taught, then it is still bigotry today to teach only one view of origins when only evolution is being taught.

On God and Government

1. We believe in government based on God, not a government without God.

2. We believe civil laws should be based on unchanging Divine principles; , not on changing human precepts.

3. We believe in the cooperation of religion and state and in the encouragement of religion by the state, not in the separation of religion from the state or in the antagonism against religion by the state.

On Poverty

1. We believe that poverty cannot be voted out of existence but that it should be worked out of existence. We believe poverty is better addressed by private compassion than by public compulsion.

2. We believe in making a living by working, not in making a living at not working.

3. We believe our economy is best served by capitalism, not collectivism. We believe that the economy is best served by private entepenureship, not by public ownership.

4. While we are concerned about the poor life of those born, we are even more concerned about those who by abortion were never allowed to be born.

On Crime and Punishment

1. We believe the punishment should fit the crime and that it is fit to punish a crime.

2. We believe that focusing on criminal rights to a fair trial should not overshadow the need to protect non-criminal’s rights to happy life.

3. We believe in the rights of innocent citizens to be protected from the wrongs of guilty criminals.

4. We believe criminals should be treated as persons to be punished, not patients to be treated. We believe forced “rehabilitation” is a violation of personhood. We believe proper punishment is the best form of rehabilitation.

5. We believe it is a gross inconsistency to protest capital punishment for guilty criminals while one engages in capital punishment on innocent babies.

On War

1. We believe in the right to protect our right to life.

2. We also believe that fighting terrorist is better done on their soil than ours and that we must fight fire with fire, not with mere fiery anti-war rhetoric.

3. We are more concerned about actual global terrorism than debatable global warming. Indeed, I believe that alleged global warming could be significantly diminished by circulating less liberal hot air used in attacking the Commander in Chief in his fight against global terrorism.

4. Yes, we still believe in the Second Amendment and the old NRA slogan that “when guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns.”

 

Conclusion

In summation, conservatives believe in life, liberty, and happiness based on God’s law and achieved in a context of freedom of religion and speech. In short, we believe in a godly, not a God-less government. Put another way, we believe The Declaration of Independence.

I close with a quote from its author. My favorite line on any monument in our nation’s capitol is from the Jefferson Memorial. Standing in front of the magnificent statue of Thomas Jefferson and looking over the water toward the White House one can read these words engraved in large marble letters: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?


Notes

1. Robert C. Cannada, America’s Rule of Law (National Lawyers Association Foundation, 2002).

2. George William Hunter, A Civic Biology (New York: American Book Company, 1914), 196.

3. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, in The Great Books edition, 323.

4. Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1939),162.

5. Jean Paul Sartre, No Exit and Three Other Plays:The Flies (New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1947), 122.

6. Mark Twain, Christian Science (NY: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1906), 359-361.

7. It added other principles, but these are among the first and most basic listed in theHumanist Manifesto I (1933).

8. The trial transcript is published in The World’s Most Famous Court Trial: Tennessee Evolution Case (Cincinnati, Ohio: National Book Company), 51-52.

9. John Dewey, A Common Faith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934), 87.

10. This was so named from its first line of the law which goes on to affirm that if our children are taught to read the Bible they will have the best defense against Satan who wishes to deceive them.

11. Paul Kurts, The Humanist (Jan/Feb., 1983), 26.

12. Cited in P. William Davis, The World of Biology, 2nd ed. (NY: McGraw-Hill, 1979), 610.

13. Cited in T. C. Mercer, ed., The World’s Most Famous Court Trial (Cincinnati: National Book Company, 1925), 299.

14. See Norman .L. Geisler and Frank Turek, Legislating Morality (Eugene, Or: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998).

15. See James Witherspoon “Reexamining Roe: Nineteenth-Century Abortion Statutes and the Fourteenth Amendment.” St. Mary’s Law Journal 17 (1985), 32.

16. See Dennis J. Horan, “Abortion and Midwifery: A Footnote in Legal History,” in Hilger, Horan, and Mall EDS, New Perspectives on Human Abortion (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America., 1981), 199.

17. See Geisler, Legislating Morality, Chap. 9.

 

An Evaluation of the “Evangelical Manifesto”


An Evaluation of the “Evangelical Manifesto”

By Norman L. Geisler

May 15, 2008

Introduction

Moses is dead, and there are many candidates vying for Joshua’s position. Or, to put it another way, Jerry Falwell is gone. Adrian Rogers is also with his Maker. D. James Kennedy has gone to his reward. Pat Robertson’s political aspirations failed, as has much of his influence. James Dobson officially retired as president of Focus on the Family and, despite his widespread pro-family influence, has never really had much of a taste for political activism. The former NAE president has fallen from grace, and the chair of evangelical leadership is wide open!  Enter, the Evangelical left with a handful of self-appointed leaders who propose a “Manifesto” which could be described as “the Evangelical Left strikes back.” Released on May 7, 2008 from the Nation’s Capitol, Fuller Seminary’s Richard Mouw, Os Guiness, Christianity Today’s David Neff, and others led the attempt to redefine Evangelicalism with a distinctive list to the left.

Don’t get me wrong; there are many admirable and even eloquent statements in the Manifesto. Indeed, there is enough truth in it to draw many floating in the middle waters of evangelicalism into the vortex of the left. For example, they claim to be historic Protestants, holding to the essence of the early creeds, the divine authority of the Bible, and maintaining a pro-life and pro-family posture. They claim to hold to the Protestant principles of the Bible alone, faith alone, and grace alone, as well as being Trinitarian. They speak out against the errors of both the far right “theocrats” and the far left “liberals.” They plead for a middle road between the “naked public square” and the “sacred public square” to be found in a “civil public square.” They claim the latter is viewed as one that acts on principles of “civility,” “justice,” “fair[ness],” and the “Golden Rule.” Their stated purposes are to redefine evangelical identity, refine its behavior, and rethink its place in public life.


Concerns About What is Not Said in the Manifesto

But beneath the polished rhetoric and catchy phrases, there lurks a deep danger, both in what they affirm and in what they do not affirm. First, a look at what they do not include in their admittedly “mere Christianity.” Nothing is said about the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, the very basis for all evangelical truth. Instead, we hear about the Bible’s as an undefined “supreme authority” or “final rule of faith and practice” which to neo-evangelicals and neo-orthodox means it is not without errors in history and science.

Second, the fundamental doctrine of the physical bodily return of Christ is watered down to a merely “personal return”–something that even liberals and heretical full preterists could sign.

Third, the critical doctrine of the physical bodily resurrection (called “the resurrection of the flesh” in the creeds) is reduced to an undefined “resurrection”–which could include neo-orthodoxy, liberals, and even Jehovah’s witnesses.

Fourth, while it is commendable to stress that Evangelicals are “for something” rather than “against something.” Nevertheless, it is logically naïve to say so since every proposition is opposed to its opposite. Being pro traditional family means, as Homosexuals readily perceive, that one is thereby against homosexual relations and union.

Fifth, while the Manifesto speaks against “politicizing faith.” Nonetheless, it never spells out how this can be accomplished without privatizing faith and, thereby negating, its rightful influence in the public square.

Finally, one can agree that Evangelicalism should not be defined politically but theologically. If so, the National Press Club was strange place to introduce the Manifesto, rather than a theological forum. In any event, the document is thin on theology in general. It does not represent a historic or robust Evangelicalism. It is a rather minimalist view of true orthodox beliefs.

So, in spite of its claim to be truly evangelical, it does not embrace some of the fundamental doctrines of orthodoxy that have been expressed in the early creeds, councils, and Fathers of the church down through the centuries. And despite of its claim to be “Protestant,” it shows no signs of agreeing with either of the Protestant reformers Luther or Calvin on the inerrancy of Scripture, the physical resurrection of Christ, or His physical bodily return to earth.


Concerns About What is Said in the Manifesto

Further, what the Manifesto does say is also troubling. First of all, it has no real ground for its moral beliefs in civility and justice. It rightly rejects the “theocrats” who ground it in the Bible as the divinely prescriptive basis for civil law. But they show no appreciation of fundamental doctrines of our republic which are God-given, “unalienable” rights come from “Nature’s Laws” which are given by “Nature’s God.” Without a Natural Law (cf. Rom. 2:12-15) there is no non sectarian objective moral basis for social laws. On the other extreme, they defend the rights of “secularist” who does not even believing in the God of The Declaration of Independence, nor that “all men are created….”

Second, while speaking of “creation” without definition, and of harmony of “science and faith,” it does not speak explicitly against evolution and its accompanying social evils. Indeed, it does not make clear that it is not condemning creationist and/or intelligent design views when it speaks of a “false hostility between science and faith.”

Third, the framers of the Manifesto reveal their (left) hand–when they speak against “Fundamentalism” which is a code word for conservative Christians and most evangelicals who hold to the historic fundamentals of the Faith expressed in the early creeds. In their “sixth” of the “defining features” they list “conservative Fundamentalism” as an extreme to be avoided like “liberal revisionism.” They also list “Christian Fundamentalism” as an extreme to be avoided (like “secularism”) because of its alleged “diminished Christian content and manner.” Their leftist leanings and historic misunderstanding are clearly revealed in their erroneous statement that “fundamentalism was thoroughly world-denying and politically disengaged from its outset.” Further, the fact it has attracted socially liberal radicals like Jim Wallis reveals that it is not a mainstream evangelical document. This is confirmed also by the refusal of James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Al Mohler, and many other top evangelical leaders to sign it.

Fourth, the Manifesto rejects “single-issue politics, such as abortion and marriage,” this in spite of the fact that the right to life is the right to all other rights, and the family is the foundation for society. If these are not the single most important social issues, then it is difficult to see what are.

Fifth, it is not hard to see the hidden agenda behind the partial truth in the statement that evangelicalism has a “duty never to be completely equated with and party, partisan ideology, [or] economic system.” For an evangelical has a duty to promote the candidates and parties that best exemplify Christian principles.

Finally, placing “Islam,” “communism,” and “democracy” in the same camp is neither accurate nor acceptable. For the latter, at least in its American form, cannot fairly be described as “coercing others” to “believe their way is the only way” and are prepared to “coerce others” to believe it is. This betrays an underlying anti-Americanism strain.


Conclusion

As leaders from the evangelical right have faded, a handful of the evangelical left have made their move to fill the vacuum. However, they do not rightfully represent historic evangelicalism, nor do they have an objective moral basis for meeting the needs of our culture. So, we should take them at their word when they say, “We speak for ourselves” and “no one speaks for all Evangelicals.” And, hopefully, few will listen to their voice as that of full-fledged and genuine Evangelicalism.

While they are commendably not theonomist, their undefined and unfounded “civility” doctrine is too little and too late to meet the challenges facing America today. Only a robust evangelicalism can provide the motivation and a full-fledged Jeffersonian natural law basis for government (which as C. S. Lewis showed in The Abolition of Man, is common to all decent peoples) can withstand the threat of Islamic theonomist on the right and secular relativists on the left.

What can we do in response to this subtle attempt to shift the center of Evangelicalism to the left? For starters, let’s reread and return to our National Birth Certificate, The Declaration of Independence. And the next trip to Washington, D. C., stand in front of the imposing stature of Jefferson. Then look out over the water toward the White House and look up to the big letters engraved in marble and meditate on these words: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God”! And for a more full-fledged response to the Manifesto’s doctrinal anemia and social inadequacy, we recommend a look respectively at our books, Conviction without Compromise and Legislating Moraity.

The Crusades: Were they Justified? (2015)


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The Crusades: Were they Justified?

Norman L. Geisler

2015

 

 

Recently president Barak Obama made a moral comparison between the Crusades and recent attacks and atrocities of the Radical Islamic group called ISIS, known for beheading, crucifying, and even burning its captives. Not only is there no moral equivalence between the actions of the Crusades and ISIS, this comparison reveals a serious lack of understanding of the Crusades.

The Prologue to the Crusades

Between 1095 and 1400 there were some nine Crusades or expeditions of Western (European) Christians into the Eastern Mediterranean designed to recover the Holy Land from Muslim hands. These were encouraged by the Catholic Church and involved the death of thousands of people.

The Prologue to the Crusades: 500 Years of Muslim Advance

The Crusades can only properly be understood in terms of the 500 years of Muslim advance into the West that preceded them. Muhammad was born in A.D. 570 Mecca in present-day Saudi, Arabia. In 630 he led an army of 30,000 to conquer Mecca. By 711 Muslims took Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Jerusalem. By 732 they had invaded Spain and were turned back at Tours, France by Charles Martel. In 846 they attacked outlying areas of Rome. By the end of the 9th century Muslim pirates had established havens all along the Mediterranean coast, threatening commerce, communication, and pilgrim traffic for the next century. They controlled some 2/3 of Christendom. As a result, many Christians and Jews were enduring persecution at Muslim hands.

 

The Plea for the Crusades

By 1071 Eastern Christians sent appeals to the Western Christians for help. In 1095 Pope Urban II responded by calling on the Knights of Christendom to assist, and the first Crusade began what turned out to be a several hundred years of conflict.

The Purpose of the Crusades

Contrary to some modern secular charges, the Crusades were not colonial attempts to accumulate land and possessions. The primary purpose was spiritual. They wished to liberate the Christian captives from oppression by Muslims. Further, they desired to restore Christian access to the holy sites around Jerusalem. This is not to say that no unnecessary deaths and pillaging occurred. Regretfully, it did.  However, the primary purposes were noble.

 

The Participants of the Crusades

The Crusaders consisted of Western Christians who loved their fellow believers in the East many of whom had lost their homes, land, and even their lives. This opens the door to address several widely held myths about the Crusades that call for a response.

 

Myth #1: The Crusades were wars of unprovoked aggression

against a peaceful Muslim world minding its own business.

 The truth is that the Crusades were a reaction to 500 years of Muslim aggression into dominantly Christian countries. The Crusades were in essence a defensive action against the spread of Islam by the sword. They were undertaken largely out of concern for fellow Christians in the East. In fact, many great saints supported the Crusades, including Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, and peace-loving Francis of Assisi. Troops prayed and fasted before battles and praised God after them. Even many Muslim respected the ideals of the Crusaders.

Of course, there were sins of overreactions by some Crusaders. But most of these were deeply regretted and forgiveness was sought by Christians who participated in them. Unfortunately, this was not so for Muslim exploiters who felt little remorse but looked to a future in Paradise as a reward for their endeavours in stomping out the infidels.

Myth # 2: The Crusades were colonialist imperialists after booty and land.

This charge is contrary to the facts of history. Most Crusaders undertook the 2000 mile trek at great sacrifice of their own wealth. Many sold or mortgaged their own homes, most of which were not recouped. Most never occupied the land they gained from the Muslims. They went out with a sense of duty to God.

Myth # 3: When the crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099,

they massacred ruthlessly.

This criticism is overstated. Of course, people were killed, but it was not ruthless. It was usually in accord with the norms of war for that time. Cities that resisted were captured and subjugated to the captors, but inhabitants of cities that surrendered were not killed. However, the people who surrendered most often retained their property and worshiped freely (see SALVO, issue 27 [Winter, 2013], pp. 60-62).

The Perversion of the Crusades

If this is so, then why do most people today have a distorted view of the Crusades? It was not always so. During the Middle Ages nearly all Christians in Europe believed the Crusades were morally justified. The modern distortion of the Crusades began with French humanist Voltaire (1694-1778) who abhorred Christianity (see his Philosophical Dictionary). The contemporary anti-crusade stance was set by Sir Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades (1951-1954) and popularized by a BBC/A&E documentary (1995).

Only recently has this negative attitude begun to be corrected. Professor Rodney Stark is a case in point. He wrote, “Not only had the Byzantines lost most of their empire; the enemy was at their gates.” Hence, “the popes, like most Christians, believed war against the Muslims to be justified partly because the latter had usurped by force lands which once belonged to Christians and partly because they abused the Christians over whom they ruled and such Christian lands as they could raid for slaves, plunder and the joys of destruction” (Rodney Stark, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (HarperOne, 2009), pp. 33, 248) Other authors have added to this re-evaluation of the Crusades (see also Thomas F. Madden, The New Concise History of the Crusades, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2005).

 


 

Dr. Geisler is a philosopher, theologian, and ethicist who has authored two books devoted to the subject of ethics: The Christian Love Ethic (Bastion Books: 2012) and Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options (Baker Academic:1989, 2010)