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kowalskil
08-07-2013, 22:30
TWO KINDS OF MORALITIES, MARXIST VERSUS THEOLOGICAL

I am reading interesting comments about communist morality, in a book devoted to Judaism, published in 1975. The authors are two rabbis, D. Prager and J. Telushkin. A Christian theologian would probably make similar observations.

Marxists and theologians, they write, "are both motivated by the desire to perfect the world and establish a utopia on earth. ... Both promote all-encompassing worldviews. But they diametrically oppose one another in almost every other way." The authors remind us that communists rejected "all morality derived from nonhuman [i.e. God] and nonclass concepts," as stated in 1920 by Lenin. ... "Marxist morality sanctions any act so long as that act was committed in the interest of [economic and political] class struggle." Nothing that Stalin, and Mao did was immoral, according to such ideology.

Theologians, on the other hand, hold "that morality transcends economic, national, and individual interests." God's commandments are objective rather than subjective. Evil human acts are condemned, no matter what economic or political gains are derived from them. That is the essential difference. Greed in human nature, they emphasize, "may have helped create capitalism, but capitalism did not create greed in human nature."

Theologians also deplore social injustice. But they reject brutal proletarian revolutions because "the roots of evil and injustice lie not in economics or society but in man himself." This has to do with the concept of freedom. "For Marxism, which conceives of the world in materialist terms, bondage is defined solely as servitude to external sources such as slave owners, capitalist bosses, or other forms of material inequality. Freedom is liberation from such servitude." People, as stated in the Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels, must get rid of economic chains binding them. Then they will automatically cease to be evil.

Theologians, on the other hand, see two kinds of liberation, from external and from internal bonds. "Once liberation from external servitude takes place, one must then liberate oneself from internal domination, the domination of one's life by passions, needs, irrationality and wants." The conflict between theologians and Marxists "is not economic, it is moral." Proletarian dictatorship was practiced in several countries; the results show that "when Marxist revolutionaries attain power they are at least as crual as their predecessors."

Philosophical differences about morality, among different kinds of theologians, are minimal, as far as I know. But attempts to impose morality are not very successful. Why is it so? What can be done to improve the situation, to bring our reality a little closer to "utopia" dreams?

Ludwik

Sana
08-07-2013, 23:46
I incline to respect Theological theory of course rather than the Marxists one. Marxism as it was correctly stated does not presume morality inside a human's soul. Our Russian proletarian past influenced on our people's perception of morality - it does not basically exist in modern Russia. What we have now is "utopia", which those proletarians were striving to achieve and finally achieved.

How to improve the situation? I think there are no ways to improve it.
It will take us a very long time before the generations change. Until then we have to at least try to get used to living in the practically immoral society... Very many people got used to it years ago and are living happy lives from their perspectives.

Matt24
08-07-2013, 23:55
...How to improve the situation? I think there are no ways to improve it.
It will take us a very long time before the generations change. Until then we have to at least try to get used to living in the practically immoral society... Very many people got used to it years ago and are living happy lives from their perspectives.

I don't know enough about the first bit you wrote to sensibly comment, but this second half makes a great deal of sense to me, good job.

Sana
09-07-2013, 17:33
I don't know enough about the first bit you wrote to sensibly comment, but this second half makes a great deal of sense to me, good job.

Thanks. But no matter how immoral the world around us, being moral is very important. I see loads of immoral acts of my society, but I know that I won't act like that.

rusmeister
12-07-2013, 05:18
I find this dichotomy of Communists vs (unidentified) theologians to be rather strange.

Why only theologians? Why not the Church? More specifically, the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, the institutions that really were openly and consistently attacked by Communists in the lands where the latter came to power, Russia and China especially, and against which they directed most of their destructive efforts. (It was the German fascists, conversely, that really consistently targeted the Jews.) Persecution of Jews was much more sporadic, by comparison. But in any event, a religion, be it Christian or Judaic, consists of far more than only theologians.

"Theologian" is an excessively narrow category, as all believers oppose godless ideology, and intellectual challenge is dealt with by apologetics, not theology, as the latter is based on the proposition that the initial claims of the faith are true, whereas the former (apologetics) is not.

So such a comparison seems out of place. It's like opposing democracy and Hinduism. Certainly there is a theoretical dissonance; at least when karma is held as a dogma, then the brotherhood of man and the reponsibility of free will
are indeed inconsistent. But in practice the two concepts have not openly opposed each other and most today imagine India to be a rather democratic nation.