I’ve been saying for a while now that Socialism in all its forms is like a religion of sorts that’s antithetical to Christianity. Yet, some Christians seem to think that Jesus was a Socialist. The truth is, there can be no such thing as Christian Communism. I want to look at why this is so, contrasting Christianity with collectivism, because it’s this theory that’s behind the ideologies of Socialism.
First, we must understand that Socialism, at its core, is an anti-Christ humanist type of religion. Its goal is to replace Christianity, not become a form of Christianity. It veils itself behind an idealist view of collectivism and condemning greed and helping the marginalized, which has the outward appearance of Christian values. But we should not be fooled. Karl Marx said, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.”
A very influential Marxist from the early 20th century, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) said the following about Socialism:
“Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.” (‘Audacia e Fide’ in Avanti!; reprinted in Sotto la Mole, 1916-1920, p. 148)*
By the way, does the last part of this quote sound familiar with regard to what we see going on today in our cultural institutions? We’ll look more closely at why Gramsci is considered the Godfather of Cultural Marxism at another time.
When Marx said, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism,” he was giving us the true spirit behind Socialism. This is why I can say without recovation that, at its roots, Socialism is an evil ideology.
Karl Marx was also a collectivist.
Collectivism is basically the Borg Hive Mind. Individuals dissolve into the “community” hivemind. Marx expressed this mindset in the following:
“Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.”(The Grundrisse, 1857)*
But collectivism goes further back than Marx. In some ways it’s always been around, but we can trace modern collectivism to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Swiss philosopher, writer, and composer (author of “The Social Contract” in 1762). Rousseau’s philosophy had a big influence on the French Revolution, and more relevant to us today, Socialist collectivism.
This idea of collectivism is where people often think Jesus was a Socialist. And to show Socialism’s compatability to Christianity, its proponents might cite passages like the following:
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. (1 Cor.12:12 NKJV)
But a closer look at what Paul is actually saying shows that it’s not the collectivism of Karl Marx. Here’s what Paul says in verse 27:
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Cor.12:27 NKJV*)
We are member individually. We maintain our individuality, our unique gifts, our individual contributions. We don’t just disolve into the collective! Actually, some Christians seem to think to “die to self” means that we dissolve into God. We don’t matter anymore, but that’s patently false. To “die to self” means to die to the carnal nature and to be under the influence of God’s other-centered, self-giving love.
We show compassion and mutual care for one another out of God’s other-centered love, not by coercion of the State.
Socialism, on the other hand, forces people to follow the hivemind. We see this in cancel culture. You are canceled by Big Tech because you didn’t behave according to the “community standards” (read “hivemind collective”).
Trinitarian theology can help us understand this critical difference. In the Trinitarian life of God, the Father doesn’t become the Son, nor does the Spirit become the Father. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are individual Persons, members of one another that operate out of other-centered, self-giving love. That’s how the body of Christ works, too. We are one body, but individually members of one another.
Collectivism and Socialism teaches equal outcome (they call “equity”). Christianity teaches equal opportunity, not equal outcome (See 2 Pet.3:9; Matt.13:12-13; 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-26; 2 Thess. 3:10).
There’s a fascinating video interview on Sovereign Nations’ program “Changing Tides” with Dr. Steven Hicks, James Lindsay, and Michael O’Fallon called “The Seeds of Collectivism.” You should watch it if you get a chance. They trace the history of modern collectivism back to Rousseau. They also talk about how this collectivist mindset allows people to dehumanize the individual:
“Once you become a collectivist, you don’t see individuals anymore, and when stop seeing individuals you dehumanize the enemy at a further level and you’re able to do worse things. Also, you don’t see yourself as an individual anymore, and that strips away any sense of “I am responsible.” And once people don’t see themselves as individually responsible, they dehumanize themselves. That’s what happened in the French Revolution and that’s what happens in any collectivist revolution.”
This Rousseauian collectivist tendency to dehumanize individuals contributed to the brutal slaughter of the French aristocrats in the French Revolution. Also, the murder of over 100 million of its own citizens by Socialist regimes in the 20th century. Collectivist regimes have notoriously had the worst human rights records in history.
Ironically, collectivism is divisive and tribal, “us vs. them.” From history, we see that if you’re not part of the collective, they can do whatever we want with you.
As mentioned above, when you no longer see yourself as an individual, you also take away personal responsibility, which is one of the many reasons why this form of government always ends up eventually collapsing in on itself.
Beloved, Christ came to give us freedom. Stand firm and refuse to be bound by Socialism’s deceptive collectivist form of slavery.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal.5:1 NIV)