Even though Karl Marx vehemently attacked all forms of idealism, religion, abstract philosophy, and utopianism, incredibly, he still naively believed that the future belonged to the collectivist communist state in which all class divisions, exacerbated by the evils of Industrial Capitalism, would eventually disappear through an international socialistic revolution at the end of history. Even more naïve is that Marx also taught that once the revolutionary eschaton arrives, all of the false religious, theological and philosophical ideologies connected to medieval feudalism and capitalism will become superfluous in light of the evolutionary communistic progress of mankind. In other words, such ‘false’, abstract ideas built upon the backward socio-economic realities of the past will be relegated to the ash heap of history, all in the name of the progressive communist state. Thus, at the end of the day, Marx assumed as a matter of course that the ‘literal’ socio-economic evolutionary laws of history were inevitably leading mankind into the promised land of worldwide communism and socialism, free from useless philosophies, religious superstitions, selfish individualism and its inherent attachment to class divisions and the affliction of the working class.
Marx sharply criticized those who tried to solve their problems philosophically or religiously, i.e., in thought, and advocated that they can only be solved by changing reality in practice so that the problem disappears. In other words, philosophy and religion had to be brought down to earth so that secular redemption could come through revolutionary practice, and not through thought or faith. As such, it was Marx who infamously wrote “the philosophers have only interpreted the world differently, what matters are to change it.” Due to their indifference to the material necessities of life, philosophy and religion could thus only maintain the oppressive status quo. Henceforth, revolutionary, political activism became the hallmark of Marxist tradition.
"In other words, philosophy and religion had to be brought down to earth so that secular redemption could come through revolutionary practice, and not through thought or faith"
However much Karl Marx may have been an implacable opponent of philosophy, religion, blind optimism and utopianism, he wound up espousing the absurd position that not only is all intellectual life conditioned by literal, materialistic socio-economic causes, but that such a literal dialectical relationship between man and the material forces of nature inevitably propels him progressively upward and onward toward the ultimate goal of socialistic freedom at the end of time. Marx was convinced that this historical ‘dialectic’ was propelling mankind to greater and greater socio-economic production, distribution, and freedom. Over time, man’s needs would be increasingly met to a greater and greater degree so that the working class divisions based on individualism, competition, and oppression would one day become obsolete and irrational. For Marx, socio-economic production never stops. It goes on forever changing, adapting and developing in a progressive, evolutionary way. The mechanism for this socio-economic progress in history was what he called the dialectic. Through literal and materialistic contradictions of socio-economic conditions on the ground, history is dialectically moving in a revolutionary way to a higher and higher synthesis all the time.
Incredibly, Marx also believed that the endgame of this grand, evolutionary struggle in history was finally in sight. It would be decided in a great, apocalyptic revolution between the capitalists and the working class, with the proletariat being declared the victors. Through literal dialectical materialism, capitalism will have produced its own negation, i.e., the working class, by oppressing them. They, in turn, will eventually bring about the final rebellion against the capitalists to usher in the communist state. Oddly enough, however, the industrial proletariat will not produce its own negation. Due to the dialectical progress of mankind, production and distribution will no longer be a problem. The growth of technology and the expansive forces of capitalism will have made such enormous progress in productive capacity and distribution that the whole class structure of modern society, including its oppressive philosophical and religious expressions, will become obsolete and irrational. Here, mankind finally and literally reaches Marx’s materialistic paradise of atheism.
Absurdly, Marx viewed this whole process as inevitable. The ‘scientific’ laws of socio-economic evolutionary production and distribution, i.e., dialectical materialism, were considered inviolable. Although Marx had great disdain for Hegel’s (1770-1831) philosophical approach, he nonetheless borrowed heavily from his dialectical evolutionary pantheism. Hegel taught that the root of all movement and change in history was through the dialectical contradiction between opposites. While at first they may clash with each other, they later are reconciled into a higher synthesis as history struggles, develops, progresses and improves. With all this in mind, by seizing onto Hegel’s dialectical method and applying it to socio-economic political realities on the ground, Marx went so far so as to predict the future. Having understood the laws of change and revolution that occur within history, Marx believed that he could create an outline for the development for the future communist advent. In this way, Marx foolishly believed he had resolved the problem of blind utopianism and false religious hope through the social ‘science’ of his evolutionary dialectical materialism (Rom. 1:18-31). One could have ‘faith’ in the future without relying on God or religion. How convenient.
Needless to say, such an optimistic, apocalyptic view of history cannot be defended by science or by the ‘literal’ laws of socio-economic dialectical materialism as Marx would have it. Marx’s use of science to explain eschatology is a gross misuse not of only of science but also of politics and history as well. Dialectical revolutionary change in and of itself does not and cannot necessitate progress. Indeed, it may even be entirely the opposite as it most certainly was in the case of 20th century communism. Marx, however, presupposed that a synthesis through dialectical revolution leads to a higher and better state than the previous one. Struggle and the human misery associated with it had to be justified by the communist state at the end of history.
The great problem here, however, is that Marx’s so-called science views history itself as redemptive. This, of course, is an unfounded assumption on the highest speculative order, something which Marx spent great pains throughout his entire life trying to avoid. History at once not only becomes a purpose-driven teleology, but is also deified. More troublesome still is that the age old dichotomy between determinism and freedom reappears once more, and for Marx, it results in a great chasm between science and eschatology, empirical study and philosophy of history. To understand a historical development as deterministic according to inexorable scientific laws is to understand it as blind. This rules out the possibility of understanding it as rationally aligned toward a goal. Marx beguiled himself into believing that his social science could have it both ways, i.e., that dialectical socio-economic materialism was a blind force leading man and history into a rational, goal-orientated, international, socialistic eschaton free from oppression. This, of course, is nothing but a leftist liberal fantasy built on what should be called dialectical fundamentalism.
"The great problem here, however, is that Marx’s so-called science views history itself as redemptive."
In short, Karl Marx was completely oblivious to the basic Messianic spirit of his own political ideology. Instead of being the great socio-economic scientist that he assumed himself to be, he was, in fact, a speculative philosopher of history completely indebted to the Judeo-Christian apocalyptic heritage that he so routinely denounced and despised. By discarding the Judeo-Christian supernatural context in which the apocalypse alone had once made perfect sense, he wound up wholeheartedly devoting himself to a secular socio-economic, political myth that he himself could never even enjoy solely because he was born at the wrong time. Such is the vain and hopeless quandary that Marxist dialectical fundamentalism has left the modern world with. More importantly, the untold sufferings of most people who have ever lived in the past can never be ameliorated by a communist state at the end of history anyway, even if it were somehow attainable. What is required to resolve this most outstanding problem is the resurrection of the dead, which is precisely why the Judeo-Christian worldview unabashedly declares an apocalyptic purpose to history in the first place (Isaiah 2:1-4; Daniel 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58; Revelation 19-20).
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!
The Gospel of John Challenge
What Is Sin?
Mark Musser was a missionary to the former Soviet Union for 7 years. He is now a pastor. Mark is the author of two books – “Nazi Oaks: The Green Sacrificial Offering of the Judeo-Christian Worldview in the Holocaust” and “Wrath or Rest: Saints in the Hands of Angry God.”