For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
- Ephesians 6:12
He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.
- 2 Chronicles 29:4-9
“The idea that all the best Marxist analyses have traditionally been analyses of failure appears in an interview with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek given in 2OO8. In this interview, Zizek was asked about the events in Czechoslovakia in 1968, when a period of reform, aimed at decentralizing and democratizing the country, was brutally brought to an end by the Soviet Union and its allies.
“Zizek’s claim is that the crushing of the reforms became the very thing that later sustained a myth held by the political left-namely that, had the reforms gone ahead, some kind of social and political paradise would have followed. According to Zizek, those on the political left are prone to dwelling on their failures, because doing so allows myths to be generated about what would have happened if they had succeeded. Zizek says that these failures allow those on the left to maintain a ‘safe moralistic position’, because their failures mean that they are never in power, or truly tested by action. He describes this stance as the ‘comfortable position of resistance’, which allows an avoidance of the real issues—such as re—evaluating the nature of political revolution. For Zizek, a dedicated Marxist, serious questions about the nature of political power are obscured by endlessly trying to justify utopia’s elusiveness.”
- Sam Atkinson (senior editor), The Philosophy Book, Big Ideas Simply Explained
As for the Scriptures, the first would be hard to sell in the Western World, maybe the entire world, in the 1950s. Everyone seemed to be afraid of the Big Red Menace and their nuclear might. It was easy seeing them as the “evil” that this verse talks about. The second Scripture is when Hezekiah purified the temple, but it illustrates whenever God is forgotten or ignored, the government does not remain secure. Karl Marx saw that one of the most dangerous threats to a revolutionary government would be Christianity, really any religion other than a belief, like Zizek’s, in a utopian state, free from any form of religion. Thus, in Marx’s philosophy, God was one of the first things that was jettisoned.
Slavoj Zizek (1949-present) makes a statement that most would think was a moment to say “duh.” Karl Marx’s experiment, or experiments based on his Manifesto, have all ended in failure in that someone must be in charge and absolute power corrupts. I remember the experiment made by Czechoslovakia in 1968. I was a teenager at the time. There was tension around the world, and it was shocking that it took the Russians as long as they did in delaying to carry out a swift reprisal. In infusing some democracy into the Socialist state, could that have formed a utopia? Odd, it seems the movement was counter, in a way, to the ”revolution” that started the USSR.
Marx’s insistence in removing religion from the equation was the first fear. Lenin conquered the competition, But Stalin purged any remnants. Mao instituted the Cultural Revolution. My point is that if this utopian existence was the prime end goal, why were the leaders afraid? And why is Socialism making a comeback among the younger generations?
Of the Chinese writers that I have read, one was arrested for keeping a diary, a warning in not trusting one’s neighbor under such a regime. The Chinese Communist Party wanted no one who could think on their own. In working with engineers in China, they could copy and steal any Western Technology and reverse engineer it, but when asked to understand the process and create a new design on their own, they feared that we (me personally, as the representative from our corporation) were trying to send them to a reeducation camp when they returned to China. In both of these countries, power was absolute. You became totally dependent on the government, or you did not survive.
If you ignore God, you also ignore the sin nature of mankind, but deep inside us, we know of that sin nature. And if we are the ones with power, we will do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat against that power. It is what Julia Kristeva’s philosophy warned about. She feared that without constant self-analysis, if feminism took hold and gained power, they might become the oppressors that the movement was fighting against. All Kristeva had to do was see the Socialist states in the 20th Century to see their flaws.
And at the core of this flaw is the open attack against religion, especially ignoring the Creator.
NOTE: This will be the last philosophy post using The Philosophy Book, at least for a short while. The book has a “Directory” with an additional 58 philosophers. There is less written about them and some fall into the problem that Henry Odera Oruka noted about subSaharan philosophers. There is not a lot written down for some of these “lesser” philosophers. In the place of this reference, the philosophy posts will shift toward a more Christian Theological approach. The reference will be A Concise History of Christian Thought by Tony Lane. We will take basically the same approach as discussing with these philosophers. We may learn how the Christian religion, and thought, has changed in the past 2,000 years, for good and bad. And as for the “bad”, I might blend in some thoughts from David K. Stabnow’s book, churchfails. Oddly, and maybe predictably, those great thinkers of past generations may have made great strides in the right direction, but like the rest of us – they had their faults.
If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.