Marxism is fast becoming a dominant ideology in the West, even among many professing Christians (whether they understand that or not). And Marxism has its roots in the teachings of Charles Darwin (itself founded upon the unbiblical secular timeline of supposed “millions of years” of earth history), which of course, many in the church have adopted.
Karl Marx’s ideology emanates from a naturalistic, atheistic understanding of life, which requires some form of evolution to account for our existence. And of course, because it only espouses ‘natural law’, removing the Creator does away with any kind of created order and absolute moral law. This allows for (among other things) destruction of family, family hierarchy, and gender norms and either silently condones or actively encourages sexual deviancy, abortion, euthanasia, pedophilia, and eugenics.
Ultimately, it creates a “survival of the fittest” mentality in a society, within which totalitarian governmental systems easily operate and thrive (as they control all of the major resources and are the “fittest” among us). As H. Enoch, former President of the Union of Evangelical Students of India and Vice Presidents of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students stated:
Darwinism consistently applied would measure goodness in terms of survival value. This is the law of the jungle where “might is right” and the fittest survive. Whether cunning or cruelty, cowardice or deceit, whatever will enable the individual to survive is good and right for that individual or that society.1
And all of these ideas are prominent and evident in western culture today. How did this come to be in societies where, in the past, indeed the very fabric of these societies were once built upon biblical foundations and interwoven with scriptural norms? It’s actually quite easily done—simply teach Darwinism to generations of students.
In the United States, well-known political figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders (who call themselves democratic socialists), are both raising eyebrows among some conservative types, and yet gaining massive support from the public, particularly among the younger demographics who have been steeped in secular teaching since their arrival in state-run schools at a very young age.
And lest we think of ourselves as being that different than our US counterparts, Canadians need to understand that we are actually much further down the road of socialism than they are. In many cases have willingly adopted policies that would have never even been considered half a century ago. While approximately 55 percent of people in the United States see socialism negatively, according to a recent Forum Research poll (from a poll of 1,733 voters), 58 percent of Canadian voters interviewed said they view socialism positively!2
Even though Marxism or Communism has never worked to bring about any form of societal utopia in any country it has ever been implemented in formerly, many people believe it should still be implemented in Western society today, perhaps in a new format that will “fix” any previous improprieties that took place in the past.
Consider outspoken humanist and American political writer Kurt Vonnegut’s response to George Santayana’s famous “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" quote:
I've got news for Mr. Santayana: we're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive.
And perhaps even more poignant (especially to those of us watching our culture speeding towards cultural collapse at break-neck speed) is the controversial American anarchist author, poet, and pedophilia advocate Peter Lamborn Wilson’s ironic quote:
Those who understand history are condemned to watch other idiots repeat it.
Simply put, Marxism is a redefined form of communism, an economic and political theory developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles in which the workers in a society own the means of production, distribution, and the exchange of goods to make money. Its goal is to resolve the problems resulting from abuse in capitalistic societies, including the exploitation of laborers and the widening gap between the largely poor masses and the very few rich. According to the Socialism 101 website:
Marxism focuses on class relations and societal conflict, and uses a materialistic interpretation of historical development, and a dialectical view of social transformation. Marxist methodology uses economic and socio-political inquiry and applies that to the critique and analysis of the development of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change.
Whilst socialism and communism existed before Marx, he and Engels were the ones who turned the utopian dream of a perfect society into a practical science. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are alone responsible for popularising socialism and communism throughout the world, and it is safe to say that socialism would have remained an impractical, utopian, near impossible-to-implement ideology without Marxist analyses.3
Capitalism has been commonly described as a socioeconomic system in which private ownership for profit controls the trade industry and the market, and it has been dominant in most Western countries. It incorporates biblical principles like private ownership (based on the Eighth Commandment), personal responsibility, and hard work (such as the warnings against sloth in the book of Proverbs and the principle of “those who don’t work don’t eat,” reiterated in 2 Thessalonians 3:10).
For the Christian, the system incorporates the commonly called “Puritan work ethic,” the idea that God has provided man with a bountiful creation with many resources. Given a free society and opportunity, if individuals work hard, they can get ahead economically. And the ability to make more capital should motivate them to continue working hard and provide for their families and for others less fortunate than themselves as an outflow of that bounty.
But admittedly, if capitalism does not continue to include other biblical principles like charity, providing for orphans and widows, feeding the poor, and personal generosity, it doesn’t always work in the favor of prosperity and progress for all.
Increasingly, big corporations tend to dominate the market, and small businesses and individuals have more difficulty finding their way up in the market. Mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships among mega-companies aimed to increase profits and eliminate competitors are often very successful (for individual corporations, not their employees), leaving many small companies in a bind. And in this way, critics of capitalism say the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, which is often true.
For example, a recent USA Today article stated that since the coronavirus pandemic, billionaires like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have gotten richer by billions of dollars, while small business across the land have been forced to close and millions of people have lost their jobs.4 Champions of Marxism might say this is unjust because not everyone had the same opportunity as these mega-corporations had, and so capitalism is unfair in that it promotes inequality.
This is where many perhaps well-meaning Christians might agree to do away with capitalism to some degree. However, it would be well for them to note that the same sin-nature that causes people to deviate from God’s principles inhabits those leaders who would rule under Marxist principles. And under an ideology that is undergirded in the belief that there is no God, and therefore no moral absolutes, Marxism justifies all manner of atrocities as part of “the good.”
Marxist communism is greatly influenced by Social Darwinism (founded by English naturalist Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species). Marx and Engels “were exceedingly enthusiastic over Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. Karl Marx wrote a letter to Engels in December of 1860 declaring that On the Origin of Species was ‘the book which contains the basis in natural history for our views.’”5
As an atheist, Karl Marx viewed the world in terms of a class struggle in which the state was the supreme authority. As mentioned, in his mind the struggle of the classes for existence was comparable to the “survival of the fittest” in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Marxism “insists that man’s well-being is inevitably and progressively improved through a blind process of class struggle and revolution” or the progressive improvement and development of man.
In another letter dated January of 1861, Marx wrote:
Darwin’s book is very important and serves me as a basis of struggle in history . . . not only is a death blow dealt here for the first time to “Teleology” in the natural sciences, but their rational meaning is emphatically explained.6
Like Darwin, Marx viewed men in terms of constant evolution, therefore not completely developed, which then justified violent revolution and death as a means of human progress as one group conquered and replaced another.
Like Darwin, Marx viewed men in terms of constant evolution, therefore not completely developed, which then justified violent revolution and death as a means of human progress as one group conquered and replaced another. In current times, we see Marxist and Darwinian ideas being used as an excuse to perpetuate the idea to “live and let others live,” in whatever way people desire, without a supreme authority (much like the Israelites after Joshua died—see Judges 21:25). So, disobedience to God’s rules is not only normal but totally accepted as part of our random evolutionary process as humans.
It is important to remember that all worldviews have a religious component to them, and Marxism is no different.
The three main religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam found around the world are no more dogmatic than Marxism is. Marxism proper contains within it an entire religious worldview, including an understanding of how the universe originated, where life came from, how to explain the human condition, and our future eschatological destiny.
Marx essentially preached he’d discovered the secret of perfecting the human condition, and for him, the political arena became an outworking of his secular religious works, where he likely believed he was doing what was best for humanity as a whole (at the expense of any individual that opposed the proletariat). Salvation in this system would be brought about when the entire world embraced communism and humans evolved beyond any kind of class struggle.
As author David Koyzis (PhD in government and international studies at University of Notre Dame, who taught undergraduate political science for thirty years) explained:
Much as the scriptures teaches the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over his enemies and the reign of the righteous over the new earth in the kingdom of God, so also does Marxism promises an eschatological consummation of human history. This does not, of course, mean that there is not a battle to be waged or work to be done. Indeed, there is much of both. But in fighting for the classless society, the proletariat does so fully confident that it is fighting not against history but with it.
Again, people need to understand that just like any other religious ideology, Marxists believe that what they are doing in the biggest possible sense is ultimately what is best for all. One only needs to watch the zeal of how many members of Marxist-based groups like Antifa or the Black Lives Matter organization operate to see a commitment to an ideology far beyond what the average, passive churchgoer is willing to do to enact their beliefs in society. It brings meaning to the lives of many who might be deemed “outcasts” on the fringe of society.
Unlike Christ’s teachings of non-coercion, violence is justified under this ideology. However, even though they disavow biblical authority, leading advocates of Marxism often borrow biblical terminology to explain their beliefs that dissenters must be overthrown and removed. As Leonardo Boff, a Brazilian theologian, philosopher, and writer who is well known for his support for liberation theology in Latin American stated:
[A] final apocalyptic confrontation of the forces of good [communist] and evil [non-communist], and then the blessed millennium.
He believes the violent removal of anti-communists is justified and that it will bring about:
God’s Kingdom on Earth, and the advent of a new society of a socialistic type.7
“God” in this case being communism—deified.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27–28)
Many believers can’t help but notice the massive attack on family today and may not understand that this God-ordained building block of western society, the family unit, is actually antithetical to Marxist beliefs, which is why it has been targeted so violently in the past several decades as communist-leaning educational institutions have influenced generations towards it.
Similar to Marx’s dismissive explanation of “religion” as being a tool of control and the “opiate of the masses,” with the idea of God out of the equation, he needed to explain the family structure and its function not from a biblical viewpoint but according to his communistic beliefs. In his explanation, the family was viewed as part of a superstructure that could be manipulated by capitalism, not as a unit created by God.
Marx viewed the family structure as not directly related to production, but as a way of keeping capitalism going. For him, the family structure perpetuated the belief that hierarchy and inequality were normal. Family also provided a “safe heaven” for male workers, where women would relieve their stress and children would provide a “reason” to keep working hard.
Marx also viewed the family as a promoter of consumption through competition with the neighbors and through “pester-power” from children and as a way to teach passive acceptance of hierarchy.8 But logically, if family structure simply evolves with the times, really, anything goes (polygamy, homosexual “marriage,” divorce, adultery, etc.). And you can construct a “family” however you wish.
So for Marx, abolishing the family (the bourgeois) was important to abolishing a capitalistic society. He wrote, “Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.”
His explanation as to why people objected to the destruction of the family was based on what he considered their lack of understanding.
On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.
The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Christians need to educate themselves and their children of the truth that Marxist ideas, combined with Darwin’s, have been detrimental to the world ever since their inception. Marxism advocates attacks on history, absolute truth, individuality, and the family unit as created by God for his glory.
Understand that Marx was brought up in a Christian family; his parents were Jewish and new believers. However, on his way to becoming a lawyer, like his father, Marx was influenced by the writings of Hegel, a political philosopher from Germany, and then by the writings and ideas of Charles Darwin, which he fully embraced and used to justify his radical beliefs.
Marx came to believe in naturalism and that society itself must evolve. With that starting point he came to believe all other ideologies contrary to these ideas were against the inevitable, simply roadblocks and obstacles to be crushed by the unstoppable march of human evolution.
Any political adversaries were simply considered enemy reactionaries who deserved no legal rights or protections but rather stern and severe punishment and castigation up to the point of imprisonment or execution for the crime of retarding humanity’s relentless march towards perfection. Only beliefs and actions that advance socialism can be considered “right” under this thinking, which ultimately imitates social Darwinism to a “T.”
The French historian and university professor Stéphane Courtois (a director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and director of a collection specialized in the history of communist movements and regimes) explains:
In Communism there exists a socio-political eugenics, a form of social Darwinism . . . . As master of the knowledge of the evolution of social species, Lenin decided who should disappear by virtue of having been condemned to the dustbin of history. From the moment that a decision had been made on a “scientific” basis . . . that the bourgeoisie represented a stage of humanity that had been surpassed, its liquidation as a class and the liquidation of the individuals who actually or supposedly belonged to it could be justified
Indeed, the fathers of all of the murderous communist regimes (Lenin, Stalin, Marx, Pol Pot, etc.) were fanatical Darwinists that justified some of the worst atrocities the world has ever seen by adopting his naturalistic, evolutionary thinking and taking it to its ultimate conclusions. Communist North Korea and China today, for example, are among the most brutal human-rights abusers, and yet the west continues to move towards a belief in government that mimics theirs to various degrees.
Ultimately, no world system will ever be truly just and perfect until the perfect one, Jesus Christ, comes to rule. However, God’s Word lays out several truths and laws contrary to socialism that were imbedded into the western societies that adopted them, which produced the most fair and equitable countries this world has ever seen.
Despite the claims of socialists who point to the many sinful actions of leaders and individuals or to unjust or shameful laws of the past or present, Marxism, communism, and socialism violate many of God’s ordained laws and principles for society and should be rejected by those that hold to scriptural authority.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.