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Communists Against Religion -- Part 4 September 7, 2003 by RedStar2000


Jesus H. Christ! (pardon the expression).

Yeah, another collection of posts on this theme. It's like a damn teen-age slasher movie--the bad guy's been shot a dozen times, thrown through a window, stabbed, etc., and then...he's back!

I have the awful feeling that this is not the end of the series, either.


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I think it's necessary to criticize Lenin's formula of "separation of church and state and separation of church and school" as a bourgeois democratic formula.

Simply establishing a formal or legal separation does not work...that is, does not result in any consequent decline of the influence of superstitious beliefs in society.

What must take place is the elimination of superstition from all aspects of public life.

Likewise, it would difficult to imagine any association of communists that would include "believers" in the "supernatural". Such individuals might well be "pro-communist" or sympathizers with communism...but it would suggest an impossible degree of confusion for someone to say "I am a Marxist" and "I believe in God" at the same time.

It's one or the other, folks.
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 18, 2003
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Here's an excerpt from one of those threads...

quote:

All obviously religious architecture is to be demolished (some modern churches don't "look" like religious buildings...they can be taken over for secular purposes). Knock down the most "famous" cathedrals first...it sends the message that we're serious. The "little churches" can be the last to go.

All public religious ceremonies, processionals, holidays, etc. are to be abolished. Religious symbols to be removed from all public buildings.

All building names, street names, place names, city names, names of geographical features, etc. with religious connotations to be re-named.

All religious schools to be converted to secular use or torn down.

No new religious texts to be published...let the ones that exist gradually go out of circulation.

No further manufacture or distribution of religious paraphernalia; artifacts from demolished churches to be recycled into useful stuff or destroyed.

Cemeteries to be replaced with crematoriums; eventually to be cleared and the land used for some secular purpose, like a park for example.

Street-preaching is "disturbing the peace"...30 days on the back of a sanitation truck would seem appropriate.

As part of the transition, it might be appropriate to allow the temporary use of secular buildings for religious ceremonies...but nothing decent: something like an unused warehouse would be about right.

Demoralizing believers is very important; especially "holy" sites need to be profaned in an emphatic way...to demonstrate that the old ways are finished.

Note that there's nothing here that directly involves persecuting believers for believing (unless they make a public nuisance of themselves).

And, mind you, even with these steps, I still think it likely to take a couple of centuries to rid ourselves of this blight...it took Christianity that long to destroy the old religions in the Roman Empire.


Prior to the revolution, we make it clear to people who express sympathy for our views that religion is on its way out as a public activity...and that it's incompatible with a communist outlook.

It's not necessary to be "obnoxious" about this...except towards those who are vehement in their advocacy of superstition. People who are "open" to communist ideas usually have no difficulties with atheism anyway. I was an atheist more than a decade before I became interested in communism.

In the larger society around us, I think it's fair to say that, with ups and downs, the influence of religion will continue to decline. By the time that the working class is ready to seriously consider proletarian revolution, the vast majority will be atheist in practice if not in theory.

The measures to be taken after the revolution that I proposed will be supported by a substantial majority of workers...and the superstitious will inevitably find themselves on the defensive. They will suffer the public shame of being known reactionaries...with little or no need for any kind of active "persecution".

What will be really "tricky" is watching closely how the superstitious treat "their" kids...and carefully but firmly putting an end to the brainwashing of children.

We would begin with the clear-cut nutball cults--taking "their" kids away...and then gradually move to the less extreme religious groups until the lesson was learned: preach to children and lose them forever.

Of course, there may well "always" be "underground" superstitions of one sort or another. That's unfortunate and I'm not sure what could be done about it. (Therapy?)

But when religion ceases to obstruct the mental activity of the vast majority of humanity, I don't think a "come-back" will ever be possible again.

At least I hope not.
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 18, 2003
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quote:

We could take the authoritarian path and silence the church, destroy it, force our atheism upon all, etc.


Well, I suppose we could at that, but I see nothing in my proposals that "forces" anyone to believe or not believe anything.

"Belief" is not the issue...public presence and public activity and the brainwashing of children are what is at issue.

quote:

A moral code -- e.g., the 10 commandments. Surely teaching morals and ethics to a population is an essential aspect of building a society based upon equality?


Perhaps so, but "surely" that has nothing to do with the barbaric codes of religion. Would you suggest that communists should concern themselves with adultery?

quote:

A belief as to what happens after death. the "great mystery", and surely one that any inquisitive mind will touch upon.


Why? Corpses rot. What is "mysterious" about that?

quote:

A belief in a "supreme" being. While I don't believe in an interventional god (my own belief system would equate most closely to Buddhism), I am constantly frustrated by arrogant "scientists" who, while being unable to disprove existence (a crucial aspect of scientific experimentation) of god, look down their noses at this "unscientific" view, dismissing even well structured arguments e.g., creationism (this should get a rise) coupled with guided evolution--as superstitious nonsense.


The reason scientists seem "arrogant" to you is that you don't understand how scientists think.

In science, "proving" a negative is extremely difficult or impossible; therefore the burden of proof is always placed on the person who makes a positive assertion about the nature of reality.

"I say unicorns exist."

"Prove it!"

"I say God exists."

"Prove it!"

The same thing goes, of course, for nonsense like creationism and "guided" evolution: there is no evidence in favor and tons of evidence against those "ideas".

quote:

I would envision a society that focuses on arts, on leisure, and upon political and philosophical debate; life after death, the existence of god, etc., these are questions that science can not answer, yet burn in the heart of every man. Surely this new society would encourage discussion and philosophical thought?


Actually, they don't "burn in the heart" of lots of people. The ones who are afflicted with such meaningless "questions" suffer because they were taught as children to believe in things that don't exist.

People were once taught to believe in "witches"...and consequently feared eccentric elderly women to the point of torturing and murdering them. When they finally understood that there is no such thing as a witch, they stopped doing that.

When people learn to dismiss supernatural concerns with contempt, they will not bother themselves with gods or "life after death" (an oxymoron) or similar nonsense.

quote:

...surely freedom of speech--which implies freedom of belief--is a crucial part of any democratic system?


No, there is no such thing as an "absolute" freedom of speech--although we always have freedom of belief...there's no way to get inside someone's head and run a "belief-check".

Every human society rigorously controls or prohibits certain kinds of speech...and communism will be no different.

Racist speech will be prohibited. Misogynist speech will be prohibited. Pro-capitalist speech is in for a rough time...it might be marginally permitted and might not.

I advocate that the public expression of superstitious belief be prohibited.

That doesn't mean, by the way, that we have to shoot people or put them in prison...there are many less drastic ways of demonstrating social disapproval. Every street preacher deserves and should receive a punch in the mouth, for example.

But you have to make it clear what you will tolerate and what you will not tolerate...and I don't think we should tolerate superstition at all.
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 19, 2003
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quote:

All you say sounds so nice and easy. But we are humans and as much as you try, you cannot predict what will happen, and how we will react.


I don't disagree with that...but we either have serious goals that we attempt to implement or what? Just sit around and "hope for the best"? Pray???

quote:

What happens if people don't want to give up on religion? What if they still believe in a god even when you start that little eradication process?


There will be a struggle.

There always is! It's not something that you can avoid.

quote:

...but what if they want to practice their religion in the open? Have a place to worship, you will deny that?


The only purpose of "practicing religion in the open" is propagandizing for the "faith"...they call it "witnessing". The only purpose of "religious architecture" is propaganda in stone.

There's no reason why believers cannot meet in one another's residences to collectively "worship".

quote:

Also taking children away from their parents, thats just barbaric!...How do you think the parents would feel if their children were taken from them? That's quite disturbing.


It happens now...though not nearly as much as it should. Children who are physically or sexually abused by their parents or other adult "care-takers" are routinely removed from such environments.

Since brainwashing children with superstitious crap is child abuse, the kids will be liberated from an abusive environment, probably by a neighborhood assembly that finds out what is going on.

quote:

...but who are you to decide what they will believe in or not? I mean by you teaching them in school and whatever else you said, that there are no gods, and to not have religions and all that other garbage, you are forcing an idea in them, you too are brainwashing them.


No, when we tell the kids that there are no gods (and no witches, ghosts, vampires, devils, etc.), we are telling them the plain and simple truth about the real world.

When you suggest in your post that this is "garbage", you expose yourself as one who prefers to wallow in superstition and, to keep it from dying out, wants the "right" to brainwash kids into believing it too.

Sorry, that won't be permitted.

quote:

I mean is your objective to turn people communist or just do what's best for them?


Definitely "turn people communist"--that is what's "best" for them.

But that process will mostly take place prior to the revolution...indeed, that has to happen in order for there to be a revolution.

quote:

...but wouldn't it be a better idea to leave all the old "churches" and "holy sites" intact? I mean you could just have them there for people to look at, not really to practice anything. I mean if you think those building aren't beautiful then that's your business but I'm sure many people disagree, I mean it's history.


As I pointed out above, those places are propaganda all by themselves.

If you want to get into the symbolism of "beauty", I see nothing "beautiful" about those monstrous monuments to tyranny and oppression and ignorance.

Yes, it is history...and we have many ways of recording it. We do not have to have our faces rubbed in that shit every time we leave our apartments.

quote:

I think the kind of society you are trying to make is one like in the book The Giver. And that's creepy.


I have never heard of this presumably dystopian novel. But I would remind you that capitalist literature is rich in novels that purport to "prove" that any significant improvement on capitalism is "impossible".

I don't take them seriously...neither should anyone else.

quote:

Christians will not be content with simply being allowed(!) to believe in "god" because a part of Christian belief is attending church; if the Christians cannot attend church, they will be extremely displeased, that is, as long as they are Christians.


Yeah, I know what you mean. After all the threads on this board, I know the believers will absolutely howl with outrage at my "Stalinist tyranny".

Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass. There was a time when Christians had no churches, Muslims had no mosques, and Jews had no synagogues or temples, etc. They can all get used to that condition again.

quote:

Multiple Partners = AIDS, that is official WHO advice, the sooner people realise that the sooner people stop dying...


Another banal irrelevancy from the neo-puritan--who else?

What argument will you use to defend your neo-puritanical prejudices when AIDS is a curable disease?

What will you piss and moan about then?
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 19, 2003
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quote:

I think you enjoy seeing others become shocked by your unconventional ways, am I right, comrade? You rebellious teenager...er, elderly man!


It has its moments.

Now and then some newbie will read one of my posts and respond with a bunch of sarcastic remarks about "teenagers" who are "just rebelling against their parents", etc.

It makes my day.
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 20, 2003
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quote:

What Redstar and others are advocating is bordering on the "Bolshevisation" programs instituted by Stalin just after his ascendancy to the head of the Party.


In what way?

quote:

What you are talking about is oppression, plain and simple.


In what way?

quote:

All too often, revolutionaries aren't motivated by a feeling for the necessity of a truly egalitarian society. Instead, they are motivated by greed for the power to oppress those whom they hated before the seizure of power.


I suspect it's both, but consider this: won't the bourgeoisie feel outrageously oppressed when the revolution deprives them of "their" wealth? Won't racists and sexists feel outrageously oppressed when they see that people of color and women are really treated equally in the new society?

One person's "outrageous oppression" is another person's simple justice.

quote:

I ask you this simple question. Are you motivated by a love for the people or the lust to destroy those you hate?


Neither one, actually. People are not very "lovable" for the most part--especially in class society. And while there is a certain satisfaction in seeing the oppressors receive long-overdue justice at last...from a historical standpoint, the fate of the "bad guys" is trivial.

My motivation is a very simple and even "selfish" one: I wish to be free of the chains of wage-slavery and class society. I realize that the only way that is possible is a society in which everyone is free of those chains.

I do not expect communist society to necessarily be one of "peace", "harmony", "love", etc. I expect it to be free of exploitation and oppression.

After that, we'll see.

quote:

This is exactly what you will be doing if you set out to demolish all the world's religious institutions. Criminalizing one type of ideology in order to foster the furtherance of another.


Once again, I repeat (for the 100th time?) that it is not the "ideology" that is being "criminalized"...it is behavior.

We communists do not care if someone is a racist, a sexist, or a god-believer in their heads. But some forms of racist behavior will be criminal; some forms of sexist behavior will be criminal; some forms of religious behavior will be criminal.

That's the case now as well; human sacrifice, no matter how important it may be to your religious beliefs, is murder under the law.

quote:

You people, as well as Marx, never acknowledged the various Eastern belief systems (Sikh, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Ruhani Satsang, etc.). None of these systems are oppressive. On the contrary, they stress that peace and liberation of body and spirit in this lifetime...please differentiate between Eastern and Western religions, as the two are light years apart.


Well, I don't live in the "east" and my remarks are admittedly "Euro-centric"...that's where I expect proletarian revolution to take place first.

If we had Japanese communists on this board, I'd solicit their views about what to do with regard to the "eastern" religions...for all I know, they may be just as bad as the "western" ones but in different ways. Or perhaps not...perhaps they are so passive and unobtrusive as to cause no difficulties. I note that the Communist Party of Vietnam has reported some difficulties with Buddhists there, so...

quote:

I'm sickened by the fact that some people, would consider abstinence a purely religious idea. Uganda is proof of how abstinence and being monogamous is actually beneficial to humankind; if this doesn't fit some of your "high and mighty" communist values, that's too bad. What works, works.


So the neo-puritan's banal irrelevancy is now elevated to the status of an "argument": abstinence and monogamy is not only "God's Will" but is actually "beneficial to humankind".

By that kind of "logic", AIDS is "God's Curse" on the "sinners", right? I mean if people would just quit all that fornicating and adultery, then they wouldn't get AIDS, right?

That is truly a contemptible argument!
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 20, 2003
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quote:

The Japanese and Vietnamese are not the only Buddhists on the planet. I was raised Tibetan Buddhist...


The very fact that you "were raised Tibetan Buddhist" destroys your credibility on this issue. You "believe" because you were "taught" to believe at an age when you were intellectually defenseless. You could just as easily have been taught that it was "right and proper" to fear and burn "witches"...and you would "defend" that proposition now without regard to the fact that no reliable evidence of witchcraft has ever been produced.

quote:

I have a sneaking suspicion that you were probably turned off by Christianity at a young age and through either laziness or ignorance haven't bothered to investigate any of the alternatives.


Well, I'll confirm at least the first half of your suspicion; between the ages of 6 and 8, I realized that supernatural "explanations" of anything were nonsense...science made more sense.

And, no doubt, I was influenced by the unpleasant personalities of those believers that I had the misfortune to encounter...the really serious ones are exceptionally obnoxious (as they often are on this board).

But I dispute your characterization of my young self as "too lazy or ignorant" to "investigate alternatives" to Christianity. In my view, that would have been like rejecting astrology in order to investigate kaballah...or "reading" the livers of ritually sacrificed animals.

Once you figure out that superstition is all crap, then there's little reason to look into the details of each particular one. (Of course, some folks have a scholarly interest in such things and find them fascinating in and of themselves...you know I have no problem with that sort of interest.)

It seems to me that the root of your disagreement with me is that "you were raised Tibetan Buddhist". How many "alternatives" did you "investigate"? You know, with an "open mind" and all that?

How does Tibetan Buddhism stack up against science in explaining the real world?
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 20, 2003
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quote:

I have however had certain experiences during what science knows as transcendental meditation and what I know as Sharadt Shabda Yoga that can not be effectively explained by science.


Fair enough, I suppose. Our knowledge of the human brain (the most complex form of matter we have ever discovered) is still in its infancy.

Naturally, I think there is an electro-chemical explanation. But whether there is or not, clearly a monumental "temple" or an elaborate religious hierarchy is totally superfluous to such meditative endeavors.

All you need is a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, right? I think we can manage that.

quote:

I was referring to your lack of investigation of alternative religions as an adult. This doesn't just include reading sacred texts or scholarly works, try actually visiting a monastery or temple.


To what purpose? I know what they look like. They are constructed with the intent, within the technological limitations of the time, to produce a sense of visiting "another world". You could, if you wanted to be cynical (like me), call them "spiritual disneyworlds".

In fact, I venture to say that all religious structures of any significance are constructed to "awe" or "mystify" the visitor into thinking there is "something" where there is nothing. Even liturgical language and titles serve the same purpose.

quote:

And just for the record, when I was 18 months old I was asking my parents questions like "Where is God, mommy?" and "Where did we all come from, daddy?"


All children are intensely curious about existence...and everything in it. All a small child has to do is hear the word "god" spoken--easy to do in most places--and they will ask questions about "god". If they never hear the word, they won't care.

You didn't, after all, ask mommy and daddy "where does Zeus live?" or "did I live with Isis before I was born?" or...well, you get the idea.

quote:

I was merely pointing out things might not come out how you plan. Yet you sound so convinced that it will....


Well, they might not. Who can say? If we don't try to eliminate superstition from the human species, will it go away all by itself? Did slavery go away all by itself?

quote:

Yes, I bet there will be a struggle, but what if people don't want to give it up? Why wouldn't you let it be. I mean if they give you this really big struggle wouldn't you understand they're happy like that?


Happy? Or just terribly upset that they are no longer entitled to propagandize for their favorite superstition or, worse, brainwash "their" kids into believing the same nonsense?

It seems to me that those who find "happiness" in the conceit that they are "saved" and the rest of humanity are "damned" are not really much different from those who find "happiness" in the conceit that they are "Aryans" and the rest of humanity are "subhumans".

That's a kind of "happiness" that we can do without.

quote:

I don't think that the only purpose of "religious architecture" is to propagandize, I doubt my sister or mother or anyone from my family see it as that. Just how I doubt they see other religious buildings as propaganda. I mean if the point of having buildings is for people to come in them because they are attracted, it certainly hasn't worked on my family...


It's not necessarily to simply "attract"--it's more along the lines of "we, the 'saved' exist and are rich and powerful; you cannot go anywhere and not find us already there".

quote:

And about the brainwashing, it is the parents' job to raise the kids how they want. If they want to raise ignorant fools, fine...


NO! Not "fine"! Why should a kid be punished by ignorance because of an accident of birth???

quote:

Yeah maybe it seems superstitious to you, but you have to respect if the others believe in that.


No again. I am not under any obligation to "respect" ignorance under any circumstances.

quote:

And just don't look at them [churches] when you leave...


I would have to be blind...there are half-a-dozen just between me and the neighborhood supermarket.(!)

quote:

If those buildings important to organized religion's dominance were converted to museums that document their history of oppression, the people would rightfully see this as an effort to strip away systems of control and simultaneously a method to educate them. They would then, not see it as an attack on community structure and progress but a step toward free thinking and a secular interactions in society.


The Russians tried that; it didn't work. I think it's really imperative to remove them entirely (except for the ones that don't "look" religious...those can be used for museums).
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 21, 2003
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quote:

One must always remember, MARXISM IS NOT COMMUNISM, marxism is a form of socialism. Marx did not invent communism, nor did he invent socialism. Religion has nothing to do with communism or socialism, these are political, social and economic; religion is religious. I don't know how many times this topic has come up but it is starting to piss me off.

(PS: hundreds of years before Marx Christians were practicing communism!)


Everyone is pissed off about something...must be the times we live in.

In any event, the thread title is "Marxism vs. religion"...the working assumption is that one cannot be a Marxist and also be religious.

Marx himself never suggested that he "invented" socialism or communism...although your assertion that "christians practiced communism" is completely without foundation.

When you attempt to place religion in a separate box isolated from politics and economics, you simply demonstrate that you're not any kind of a Marxist. What people believe has everything to do with how they live, how they are governed, etc. Far from existing off in the celestial spheres somewhere, religion reflects social, political, and, above all, economic realities.

Human social life is a package. We've inherited one package--that we don't much like. What's in the new package is up to us to decide.
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 21, 2003
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quote:

You seem to be much more opposed to religion in practice than in concept.


Well, I'm opposed to both: I really think it's terrible that people believe in things that don't exist. But, I have no "magic way" to get inside people's heads and delete the crap...so I have to settle for what I can observe and condemn: public behavior.

quote:

Were there not Christian socialists?


There have been, from time to time, groups of people who have called themselves Christian "socialists", Christian "communists" and even Christian "anarchists".

One of the most difficult problems in politics is opening the package to see what's inside...people are free to pick any label they want and the rest of us have to try and figure out if the label accurately describes the contents.

There is no "truth in labeling" law for politics. And no "consumer protection agency" either...you have to open the package or risk getting royally fucked.

For example, the Hutterian Brethren are devout Christian communists, no question about it. But their treatment of women is appalling. I suspect they beat their kids, too. They are not Marxists, not modern communists. In fact, their "vision" of communism is a patriarchal neo-puritanical nightmare...a 16th century living fossil that is slowly eroding under modern market pressures. It "works"...but would we want to live like that?

That's the "best" example (that I know of); others are much worse. In general, where religion has been overtly political, it's been almost universally reactionary.

There is a trend in Christian thought known as the "social gospel"...which asserts that Christians should "take up the cause of the poor and oppressed". But all they mean by this is that Christians should strongly urge capitalists to be "kinder" and "less exploitative". They think that exploitation is simply a matter of human "sinfulness" and have no understanding at all of the "laws" of capitalism which compel the capitalist to "eat or be eaten".

That's why all the varieties of "liberation theology" end up with little or nothing in the way of results: they want capitalists to "sin less" (be less greedy) when the survival of any given capitalist depends on his ability to "out sin" his competitors.

Believers have a serious problem...in a way, you can tell by the tone of their posts at Che-Lives. In spite of the "fundamentalist revival", the influence of religion over-all continues to decline. What can they do to reverse this trend?

One thing they can try is to "change their image", attempt to look "progressive" instead of reactionary, project an attitude of "caring" rather than smug satisfaction at their "saved" status, etc.

It's not going to work, of course, but you can't blame them for trying.

And you can understand why they howl with outrage at people like me; I'm one of the people who opens the "new package" to reveal the same old contents.

Worse, I tell other people what I found!
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 22, 2003
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quote:

you're probably not going to, but read Acts 2 and 4. This is communism.


Oh, ye of little faith! Here is your evidence of "communism"...

quote:

And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.--Acts 2:44-45.


quote:

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.--Acts 4:32


quote:

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.--Acts 4:34-35


What you have here, of course, is "communalism", not communism.

Here was a small group of people who shared their wealth with one another, certainly a good thing to do, but not communist.

Communism refers to an entire human society, not to a small group of "saints".

At no point in the "New Testament" is it ever suggested that all of human society should (much less must) be organized in the same fashion as the early Jerusalem church.

Indeed, there is no evidence that other early Christian communities even followed the example of the Jerusalem church...ever.

And finally, the Jerusalem church ceased to exist after 70CE. So the longest period of time that one Christian community could have practiced this communal arrangement is approximately 40 years. (It was probably less.)

You know what really happened there, in all likelihood. The first Christians probably found themselves in economic difficulties...perhaps due to hostility from those surrounding them. The passages don't even speak of earnings, but instead suggest that wealth was being liquidated to provide living expenses for the faithful...with the apostles themselves first in line for the goodies, no doubt.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Saulos of Tarsus (St. Paul) is the first Christian mentioned who actually has a job. (He was, I believe, a tent-maker by trade.)

quote:

I am not a marxist at all, of any type.


Thanks for that! I only wish some others here would recognize and admit that their views have nothing in common with Marxism. We would still have discussion and argument...but not with such gross misunderstandings getting in the way.

That would be nice.
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First posted at Che-Lives on August 23, 2003
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