Socialism and Christianity
By Gary Benoit
ITEM: In his new book The August Coup, Mikhail Gorbachev states that socialism "...is an idea that draws strength from many achievements of Christianity .... "
Correction: Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable. One is based on the atheistic philosophy found in the Communist Manifesto; the other is based on the deity of Jesus Christ.
Anyone who doubts that the Communist Manifesto is also a socialist manifesto need only read Frederick Engels' preface to the 1888 edition, which declares that the Communist Manifesto "is undoubtedly the most widespread, the most international production of all Socialist literature, the common platform acknowledged by millions of working men from Siberia to California."
But why wasn't it called a "Socialist Manifesto" instead? According to Engels, "Socialism was, in 1847, a middle-class movement, Communism a working-class movement .... And as our notion, from the very beginning, was that 'the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself,' there could be no doubt as to which of the two names we must take."
Socialism means economic control of the people by government. In a socialist country, the state is all-powerful. Such an all-powerful state views itself and not God as the ultimate authority. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Communist Manifesto calls for abolishing family, marriage, countries, and religion as well as private property. Under the socialist system the state determines what is right and wrong without any competing loyalties to God, family, or country.
Karl Marx, the principal author of the Communist Manifesto, once called religion "the opium of the people." Marx viewed man as mere matter that can be shaped, and perfected, by his external environment. How different this is from the Christian view that man has an eternal soul and is responsible for his own actions!
It is impossible for a true Christian to be a socialist or for a true socialist to be a Christian. Nevertheless, socialists have cleverly twisted the scriptures in order to make their materialistic philosophy appear Christian. As Marx explained in the Communist Manifesto: "Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached, in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church."
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