Monday, June 05, 2017

The atheism of Marx and Mao

Karl Marx thought it important for people not to believe in God, because he thought that it was being used to make workers complacent with being exploited and not want to rise up against their oppressors. I think that in many cases, Marx had a point. 
Mao Tse-tung, who was a follower of Marx, wanted people to reject God for the opposite reason. if there is a God, there is some being above Mao to whom Mao would have to be accountable.

20 comments:

Mortal said...

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: "Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses." Solzhenitsyn then contrasts these Shakespearean villains with the Stalinist terror, untethered by conscience, answerable to no higher power than their own ideology, unmoved by literal mountains of corpses.

Hitler - 50 million dead.
Stalin - 60-80 million dead.
Mao - 80-100 million dead.
(Don't you just love the 20 million "uncertainty factor"?)

As Dostoevsky said, "without God, everything is permissible."

John Moore said...

Except that Hitler seems to have been a Christian. Those who deny it are not true Scotsmen!

Mortal said...

Hitler was most certainly not a Christian, other than as a child! He was a believer in Teutonic paganism, as well as various other distinctly non or even anti Christian ideas, such as astrology, reincarnation, and (lest we forget) German racial superiority. Hitler was on the record as claiming that Jesus was the bastard son of Mary and a Roman soldier (see: Tischgespräche). Kindly tell me how anyone who says that can be considered a Christian.

Not only was Hitler not a True Scotsman, he wasn't even a (figurative) Scotsman.

Stalin was similarly an Orthodox Christian as a youth, but abandoned his faith long before becoming a Communist.

John Moore said...

Somebody compiled a huge list of quotes from Hitler where he talked about his belief as a Christian: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler

Joe Hinman said...

I have had this sane stupid argument with atheists time after time after time they always say the same stupid stuff. I know it's a mind binder,but there are people who run for Office who don't say what they really think.

Would Hitler lie,gee I don't know, He.seemed so honest, he was such a kind man. Is Trump a Christian he says he is would Trump lie? gee it's a puzzlement.

Let's see, he;s running for office,he wants people to vote for him ,those people are Christians,I guess he would say he's a mass murderer right?

John Moore said...

Indeed, so many people say they're Christian when they're really not. Many popes I'm sure. Many priests secretly scoff at the scriptures. It makes you wonder if anyone is really a Christian at all!

How come you're going around with just one bruised cheek? Brazenly wearing your cloak too! Doesn't that suggest you're not a real Christian deep down? You blatantly disregard the teachings when they're hard to comply with.

Ah! To be a Christian does not mean being sinless, but it just means confessing and receiving forgiveness. OK, but in that case, who's to say Hitler didn't confess and humbly repent in his final hours?

The best way to handle this kind of "stupid argument" is just to take people at their word. Or else not bring up the subject at all.

grodrigues said...

"OK, but in that case, who's to say Hitler didn't confess and humbly repent in his final hours?"

Is a Christian supposed to be stumped by this question?

Joe Hinman said...

why do we need to decide who is Christian and who is not?

Nick said...

Hitler may not have been a Christian, but he also certainly was not a materialist atheist.

John Moore said...

Joe Hinman asks why we need to decide, and the reason is because Christians tend to claim that Christianity makes people act better while atheism makes people act worse. If Christians would stop using this argument, then we wouldn't need to wonder about Hitler's contrite soul.

By the way, is there anything Biblical that suggests your belief in God makes you sin less?

I suggest that Christianity isn't really about being good, but the whole basis of Christianity is that you confess and ask forgiveness. Sure, you want to stop sinning, but you can't. I think Paul talked about this a whole lot.

Gentiles weren't under the law, but a lot of them acted good just by instinct or whatever. Even Jews under the law weren't good by any means. The point of the law is not that you obey and become good, but the whole point of the law is just so you know you fall short of God's glory. The law condemns you; it doesn't justify you.

So maybe this whole idea of Christians acting better than atheists is a red herring.

Mortal said...

"while atheism makes people act worse"

Well, I for one do not say that. But what I do say is that atheists are at a disadvantage when it comes to repentance or reforming one's life. And for this there is objective, empirical evidence. Why do you think that programs such as AA insist on recognizing a "higher power"? Rhetorical question - I'll tell you the answer: because it works!

Joe Hinman said...

Nick is right Hilter was not an athlete,Ho one said he was, Those are not the only two options.

btw Wednesday, so I post on my blog, please read part two of my brain/mind post.

Mind is not reducible to Brian part 2

Joe Hinman said...

Joe Hinman asks why we need to decide, and the reason is because Christians tend to claim that Christianity makes people act better while atheism makes people act worse. If Christians would stop using this argument, then we wouldn't need to wonder about Hitler's contrite soul.

that's rather foolish for several reasons because being born again and producing good fruits is a basic tenet of the faith.

Also because the idea that atheism makes it worse is what ashiest tack on to degrade our argument.


By the way, is there anything Biblical that suggests your belief in God makes you sin less?

that is a different concept; Saying you are saved, and renovated and fixed up, made better and produce good results in your life does not necessary ential sinning less.

I suggest that Christianity isn't really about being good, but the whole basis of Christianity is that you confess and ask forgiveness. Sure, you want to stop sinning, but you can't. I think Paul talked about this a whole lot.

that's true in a sense but it produce a change, you can produce good results and change without becoming perfect.

Gentiles weren't under the law, but a lot of them acted good just by instinct or whatever. Even Jews under the law weren't good by any means. The point of the law is not that you obey and become good, but the whole point of the law is just so you know you fall short of God's glory. The law condemns you; it doesn't justify you.

So maybe this whole idea of Christians acting better than atheists is a red herring.

you are the one who putting terms of comparison between Christians and atheists,I am only comparing the individual believer with himself/herself.

John Moore said...

This is a new concept for me, the idea that producing good results in your life does not necessarily entail sinning less.

I thought Christians were all concerned about sin and redemption, and they didn't really focus on storing up treasures here on Earth. Sure, there's the "prosperity gospel" movement, but you guys don't subscribe to that, do you?


Joe Hinman said...

This is a new concept for me, the idea that producing good results in your life does not necessarily entail sinning less.

I thought Christians were all concerned about sin and redemption, and they didn't really focus on storing up treasures here on Earth. Sure, there's the "prosperity gospel" movement, but you guys don't subscribe to that, do you?


I didn't say we don't care about sin,you yourself said Christians can't completely stop sinning remember that?

You said: "I suggest that Christianity isn't really about being good, but the whole basis of Christianity is that you confess and ask forgiveness. Sure, you want to stop sinning, but you can't. I think Paul talked about this a whole lot."

sound familiar? There is a certain truth and I as alluding to it. The only difference is It's not that we cant stop sinning, w'e can stop sin as a way of life and can change many behaviors we can't always stop everything at once,it's a growth process,and sometimes we can't stop certain things. Anyone can stop big things, stealing,gambling,drug abuse, (it may be struggle). But there are sins deeply rooted in the psyche such as resentment from childhood manifesting in an attitude toward someone or something like that,that sort of thing takes time to understand and heal.
It is quite common that people can change behaviors after a major religions experience. After I got saved I realized one day I did not need drugs. I just put out my joint never smoked pot or hash again. i wasn't doing any hard drugs just pot and Hash and stuff like that.I went from smoking a lot of pot everyday for years to none at all never smoked a joint again.I did that in one day, I never missed it, it was nostruggle.

John Moore said...

It's great that you improved your life, and if religion helped you, then that's great too. On the other hand, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." What if your improved life here on Earth reduces your chance of getting into heaven later? Is that a risk you'd willingly take?

Suppose drug addiction is like the Torah insofar as they both force you to recognize your sinful nature. If you never experienced that drug addiction or other self-destructive tendencies, you might get a smug and arrogant feeling, like the pharisees. That wouldn't be good.

I guess overcoming a drug addiction is like dying to the Law so that you can live in the spirit, as Paul says in Romans 7. On the other hand, it's pretty clear from that chapter that you don't need to literally overcome your drug addiction, in the physical sense. You can keep on suffering in your body like that, as long as your spirit is redeemed, because it's no longer "you" doing the drugs like that. "No longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me."

All through the New Testament it seems that our physical lives are fairly unimportant, and the thing that really matters is just getting into heaven.

Mortal said...

All through the New Testament it seems that our physical lives are fairly unimportant, and the thing that really matters is just getting into heaven.

You must have read a different New Testament than the one I'm familiar with, John.

In the Lord's Prayer, we read "Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." St. Paul's letters are absolutely stuffed with advice on how to live in the here and now. And when he does deal with such matters as the End Times and the next world, one senses an almost impatience with people who obsess over those things. Jesus Himself exemplifies a focus on our Earthly lives, on the minutiae of daily activity. His parables tell of farmers, housewives, day laborers, fishermen, etc. The 30 years He Himself spent in almost total obscurity (paradoxically) shines a bright light on the importance of just living - of normality.

I could go on, but the New Testament is firmly rooted in the here and now.

Victor Reppert said...

May I kindly point out that this discussion of whether Hitler was a Christian invariably gets weird. What kind of Christianity is it that allows you to hate, persecute, and kill people in virtue of being racially Jewish??? I know Christians have treated Jews poorly in their history because they failed to accept their Messiah, but at the very least, if you accept the Messiah, you are OK. But if you hate Jews because they are racially Jewish, this has, uh, er, some pretty serious Christological consequences, doesn't it?

Joe Hinman said...

John Moore said...
It's great that you improved your life, and if religion helped you, then that's great too. On the other hand, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." What if your improved life here on Earth reduces your chance of getting into heaven later? Is that a risk you'd willingly take?


You are misinterpreting poor in spirit, it means humble not having had no spiritual experiences.

Suppose drug addiction is like the Torah insofar as they both force you to recognize your sinful nature. If you never experienced that drug addiction or other self-destructive tendencies, you might get a smug and arrogant feeling, like the pharisees. That wouldn't be good.

I don't understand where you get the idea that having a big experience means you don't see your spiritual need? that's prelude to the experience,

I guess overcoming a drug addiction is like dying to the Law so that you can live in the spirit, as Paul says in Romans 7. On the other hand, it's pretty clear from that chapter that you don't need to literally overcome your drug addiction, in the physical sense. You can keep on suffering in your body like that, as long as your spirit is redeemed, because it's no longer "you" doing the drugs like that. "No longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me."

I see drug addiction as the consequence of sinful life, So true repentance would have to include a desire to turn from the sinful life,you would have to at least try. But salvation can't be contingent upon your own effort or accomplishment.I see repentance as a necessary precondition not as merit.

All through the New Testament it seems that our physical lives are fairly unimportant, and the thing that really matters is just getting into heaven.

No I don't think that all.I think you are reading that in, The Jews did not have a big mind body dualism likes the Greeks,

David B Marshall said...

I think you're being naïve about Marx, Victor. Check out David Aikman's doctoral dissertation, Atheism in the Marxist Tradition, on an inter-library loan. His hatred for God preceded any concern he later showed for workers -- which was itself probably not very real.