The Incompatibility Of Marxism & Christianity
Updated: Mar 16
Everyone notices certain patterns.
Counselors are trained to look for them. I’ve noticed people exhibiting one pattern of thinking that is cause for concern: professing Christians adopting Marxist beliefs. Over the past few months, I haven’t gone a week without having to address it. Why address it at all?
One of the outcomes good counselors strive for is coherency and integration. When our time is done with the client, we want them to be well-integrated individuals who have a coherent, consistent set of belief systems. Most people who sit in my office aren’t struggling with a mental health issue, they’re struggling with a life complexity issue. Trying to hold opposing belief systems to be true simultaneously intensifies the complexity of their lives.
I believe there are several reasons for the recent increase in the spread of Marxist ideas. Here are some contributing factors:
The current surge of Antifa-related crimes. Roughly speaking, antifa thinks the system has let them down. Because the system has let them down, they feel justified in tearing it down and rolling the dice on implementing a new, more favorable, system.
Black Lives Matter. Any thinking person would agree with the statement, “black lives matter.” But when it comes to the organization, there is reasonable concern over co-founder Patrisse Cullors referring to herself and fellow organizer Alicia Garza as, “trained Marxists.” A simple internet search will turn up the clip.
The increasing prevalence of Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory.
The resurgence of Dr. Voddie Baucham’s 2019 lecture on Cultural Marxism. If you haven’t watched his lecture, I would encourage you to set aside 1hr and do so. It’s excellent.
There are other factors, but I believe these in particular have forced their way to the cultural forefront, and have led many Christians to accept Marxist beliefs.
I’ve been surprised how many clients I’ve talked to over the past few months that claim to be Christians, but have (knowingly or unknowingly) embraced Marxist philosophies. Other counselors have noticed this phenomenon as well. Some of the ideas are subtle, some are not. What are we to think about these people?
These people don’t know anything about Christianity.
These people don’t know anything about Marxism.
These people have a pathologically compartmentalized psychology.
These people want to be all things good at the same time, and are willing to do insane intellectual gymnastics in an attempt to avoid the internal contradictions and subsequent psychological conflicts.
I won’t take the time to examine those individual belief systems in detail. Instead I will focus on demonstrating the incompatibility of Christianity with Marxism.
I will briefly compare and contrast a few key tenets of Marxism and Christianity. It will be brief because demonstrating the complete incompatibility of the two won’t take long.
1. Marxism is a way of analyzing the development of past events. Marx wrote, “I have never established a socialist system.” Evidently you can have Marxism without socialism, but you can’t have socialism without Marxism. This is deceptive wordplay, as Marx is clearly providing the framework for a system of belief while denying his way of analyzing events is a system of belief.
2. Marx believed that people were essentially blank slates. He believed that human beings were socially constructed and that our identity was developed by the various social classes in which we were born in to or found ourselves. You could, therefore, be judged solely on what group you belong to: group guilt or group innocence.
3. Marx also believed the primary influence of human history was the battle between the poor and rich. A central theme of Marx's writings was the struggle between the proletariat (working class) and bourgeoisie (wealthy class).
Because of this presupposition, Marx taught that your group identity was of upmost importance (i.e., what class you belonged to). He believed that the best way to conceptualize human beings that make up a society was to group them together according to certain identities. In turn, these groups are always struggling for power.
4. Marx believed that society needed to be transformed, and revolution was a necessary, inevitable, and morally responsible component of the transformative process. He wrote that, “the emancipation of the workers must be the task of the workers themselves,”and that, “the unity of the bourgeoisie can be shaken only by the unity of the proletariat.” Marx also knew the revolution he called for would be very violent. He wrote,“What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave diggers.” And again, “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”
5. Marx was a materialist. That is, he valued material things over spiritual or cultural values. He believed that if you equalized the status between the poor and rich classes utopian societies could be achieved. Marx believed that humanity’s problems would dissolve if individual societies provided for their people economically.
6. Marx opposed all religion. He viewed religion as a sort of cancer and thought that it hindered human development. Consider the following quotes:
“This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world...”
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.”
As if that weren’t a stark enough contrast with Christianity, we have this:
“The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”
Let’s stop there. Now, if you have any understanding of the Christian worldview, ask yourself,
Does any of that sound vaguely Christian?
1. Christianity teaches that you are an individual and should be judged as such. It teaches that every person is fundamentally responsible to God. There is no group guilt concept in the Christian worldview. While Christianity teaches that all humanity stands guilty before God, that guilt is ultimately an individual guilt. You aren’t declared guilty because you belong to some group. Your guilt is between you and God, not you and the state.
2. Christianity teaches that all human beings are sinful. We're biased toward sin. We aren’t blank slates at all.
3. Christianity teaches that ultimately only God – not equally distributed material possessions or wealth – can fulfill every need of mankind. Furthermore, it’s not obvious that material possessions will fulfill every longing of mankind. A simple search will turn up numerous examples of people who (from a materialistic standpoint) had everything in life, except for a good life. There is ample evidence that the equal distribution of wealth isn’t the fundamental purpose human beings inhabit the earth. We should be grateful for the advantages of materialism, but we shouldn’t be naïve in thinking it will solve all our problems.
4. Christianity does not advocate for violent revolution. It does not teach that utopian society (i.e., perfect society) is achievable solely by human effort. Christianity doesn’t teach that utopia is achievable so long as we live in a sinful world. It doesn’t teach that followers are morally responsible or morally justified in killing tens of millions of people by putting them in concentration camps or gulags. Christianity teaches that different socioeconomic classes are inevitable. Jesus himself said that, “you will always have the poor among you,” (Mark 14:7).
5. The Christian worldview does not call upon the practitioner to, “give up on the illusion of his condition.” The opposite is true of the Christian worldview: it clearly articulates the human condition. It does this directly and through the use of metaphors:
You must deny yourself.
There is a war within you.
You must pick up your cross.
Sin crouches at your door and wants its way with you.
We are to worship the Son (not revolve around ourselves as our one true sun).
In the End
Christianity and Marxism do not have similarities.
They aren’t slightly different.
One doesn’t overlap with the other.
They aren’t two sides of the same coin.
They couldn't be more opposite.
They’re radically different from one another.
They're utterly and completely at odds with one another.
The Christian claiming to be a Marxist is a circle telling all the other shapes around that it’s a square. You’re one or the other. You’re not both and you never will be. The Christian who believes they’re a Marxist is either a Christian or a Marxist, but they aren't both.
You must choose.
 Dr. Jordan Peterson has spoken about Marxism in various lectures. This blog post was compiled from several of those lectures. A YouTube search will produce some great, thought-provoking material on the subject.