Socialist and anti-racist religion
Analyzing Marxist myths and racial divisions
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Karl Marx’s predecessor, Auguste Comte, made up “the Religion of Humanity,” within which humanity would worship itself. In Socialism as a Secular Creed (Lexington Books, 2021), Andrei Znamenski explains what atheists deny: the religious nature of Marxist hopes past and present.
Znamenski shows how radicals often pose as liberty-lovers until they gain power. That follows the game plan of early socialist Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin: “We demand at this moment freedom of religions so that one single religion may more easily be built on all these ruins of humanity’s religious past. … We lay claim to freedom of education so that our doctrine may be propagated more easily, with no obstructions, and be one day the sole affection, followed and practiced by all.”
Znamenski tells the saga well. The hierarchs of Marxist religion have to decide how to treat resisters. Some leaders resist the pressure to murder opponents, but the ruthless see those reluctant to kill as “soft” and eventually push them out or kill them. Revolutions bring the worst to the top: “Democratic socialism” is a myth.
If you’ve read Kendi-kindled books on racial issues promoted since the George Floyd tragedy, it’s worth reading the other side: Fault Lines (Salem, 2021) is a response by African American pastor Voddie Baucham Jr. Baucham opposes racism and describes the current “antiracist movement” as a religion with its own cosmology, canon, theology (“ethnic gnosticism”), sins (“whitesplaining”), and creation myth: “On the sixth day, white people created white fragility.”
Baucham also analyzes police shootings of both blacks and whites, alongside cases of police being shot. He examines the epidemic of abortion in black America and wonders why that goes largely unpublicized. Baucham lists some of the people who have lost jobs or gained scorn merely for criticizing critical race theory absolutes.
What’s not helpful is Baucham’s dismissal of theologically sound Christians, including individuals and groups like Tim Keller, the Gospel Coalition, and Mark Dever/9Marks. We can make more honey if we go beyond buzzwords. Let’s sting the latter-day followers of Marx, Darwin, and the Black Panthers. Let’s ally with those who also emphasize the Bible rather than racial division. Let’s agree that black lives matter but oppose the BLM industrial complex.
And a reminder: As Christians face race-first attacks, more still unites us than separates us when we stand on the Bible. William Edgar’s 7 Big Questions Your Life Depends On (Crown & Covenant, 2020) includes looks at “Did God Really Say?” (frequently asked now) and “Do You Want To Be Healed?” (not asked often enough).
I also recommend Kenneth Samples’ Christianity Cross-Examined (RTB Press, 2021) and Christopher White’s God & Man and Monkey at Yale (Lowe, 2021), a critique of Darwinism. Faith in evolution rather than creation is racism’s best friend, God’s most potent ideological enemy, and abortion’s ally: Babies seen as products of chance seem readily replaceable.
Five favorite biographies:
Bavinck by James Eglinton: Bavinck, a Dutch theologian, is overshadowed by the more famous Abraham Kuyper. Eglinton shows how Bavinck (1854-1921) was a vital Kuyper ally.
Calvin by Bruce Gordon: Gordon sets the European context. Calvin fled persecution in France, then transformed his native land and Europe by sending trained missionary-pastors back home.
Daws by Betty Lee Skinner: Dawson Trotman, who made spiritual disciplines practical through the Navigators ministry, challenged Billy Graham and others to take a very disciplined approach to growth in Christ.
Jonathan Edwards by George Marsden: Marsden, a history pro, shows Edwards as a pastor, theologian, philosopher, missionary, and family head.
The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 1899-1981 by Iain Murray: Lloyd-Jones is famous for his commentaries. Murray condensed two earlier volumes and updated this preacher’s story in this excellent version.
I also recommend four other biographers: J.C. Ryle, John Pollock, Peter Masters, and Marcus Loane. —Russ Pulliam