Communism is one of the great ideologies to have arisen on the earth. Spanning across cultures as diverse as Russia and China, Cuba and North Korea, it is truly a global movement. It has enjoyed, and still enjoys, wide appeal because of its concern for the suffering and oppression of the lower classes of society. Ironically, the system (and others close to it, like Fascism) has spun out so much misery and oppression for the very people it has claimed to deliver.
I reflected on the falsehood of this system while reading The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. As a worldview, Communism is opposed to Christianity in at least three areas:
- A materialistic view of history: All of history is a result of the conflict of economic forces. Our thoughts, ideas, culture are all products of the mode of production in our society. This is what drives everything. God does not exist. Neither is there any spiritual reality behind man. Given all this, it is not hard to see how leaders in communist nations could have resorted to all kinds of inhuman torture and oppression. If man is a mere material entity, then there is nothing really significant about him. This view flatly opposes the Christian belief in a spiritual being who created all things, including man, and presently governs and rules over his creation.
- Ethical Relativism: The Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, observed, ‘If there is no God, everything is permitted’. In the absence of God, right and wrong disappear. You can do whatever you want, of course, so long as you can get away with it. Communism’s denial of God destroys the basis for moral absolutes. The Christian worldview, on the other hand, grounds all moral principles in the nature of God himself. Honesty, truth, justice, love are all obligatory because they are expressions of God’s nature.
- Political totalitarianism: Under communist rule, the individual is subordinated to the state. True, communism is supposed to result in a classless society where property and all resources are held in common. However, in practice, communist ideology has always raised up oppressive dictators who will use any means in quenching protest or opposition. Under the system, individual rights and liberties become secondary. All that matters is the will of the state. As Marin Luther King puts it, ‘man becomes a depersonalized cog in the wheel of the state’. The Christian worldview by contrast liberates the individual by limiting the power and authority of the state. Man is made in God’s own image and therefore he has intrinsic worth. No one is little. The rights of each are sacred and inviolable. This outlook forms the basis of the democratic system of government.