Monday, October 19, 2009

From Marx to Christ


Trevin Wax has posted an interesting interview with Marvin Olasky about his journey from Marxism to faith in Christ.

This week, I am posting an interview with Dr. Marvin Olasky, provost of The King’s College in New York City, and the editor-in-chief of World magazine. We will be discussing Dr. Olasky’s journey from Marxist philosophy to Christian faith, his contributions to the idea of “compassionate conservatism,” and the political involvement of evangelical Christians.

Trevin Wax: During the past few months, you have been writing a series in World that tells about your philosophical journey from Marxism to Christianity. What are some ways in which your past experiences have helped form your current perspective?

Marvin Olasky: I was recently in Minneapolis at a conference hosted by John Piper in celebration of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. Someone there said that it was Calvin’s difficult life experiences that gave him an acute awareness of the significance of the questions of his day. Had he not seen the persecution of the early Protestants in France, he might not have had the same sense of urgency.

I suppose that (in a much smaller way) my life experiences have also shaped me. I was able to see the Left in action. I saw Marxism in action. Had I merely read about Marxist philosophy in history books or considered it in the abstract, I doubt I would have had the same sense of the reality of this evil.

Trevin Wax: What was initially appealing to you about Marxism? What took you there first?

Marvin Olasky: I was an atheist looking for a purpose in life. During the late 1960’s, it seemed that Marxism was a good purpose. In some ways, it was a good purpose. The goal of peace was good. The goal of fighting poverty was good. But if you think that everything relies on you, and that you should seek peace by any means necessary instead of by relying on God and doing what he commands, then you are ready to go to all kinds of extremes.

In Communism, the goal in the abstract may sound good, but the particular means that people adopt to get there are extreme and murderous. They have to be. Why? Because human nature is not plastic in the way that Marxists think it is.

So Marxists are constantly frustrated. They think: If only you set up this certain type of environment, then people will respond. But because of human nature, people do not respond in the way that some idealistic Marxists may want. Sin has to be reckoned with.

The appeal of Marxism was idealistic. But the practice quickly becomes ruthless because it doesn’t take into account the nature of man. It doesn’t understand who God is.

Read the entire interview HERE.

1 comment:

Harley A. said...

Is it possible that we see the [Communist/Socialist/Marxist] vs. [Free-Market/Capitalist/Democratic] argument too simply, as if the latter is explicitly taught in scripture. I see portions of both ideals contained in scripture, but both have one common denominator in this world – and that is man’s sinfulness. I suppose that in a perfect world free of sin, either system could work really (that may sound crazy to some but I believe it). However, in reality, man will take ANYTHING and make a disaster of it. And, given that reality, I do believe the latter gives us the best shot at a manageable earthly political/economic framework where our sinfulness is most dampened so to speak, and the power of despots is most diminished. Ultimately, the trick is to set up a system that can function best given the reality that human greed and self-preservation will necessarily be the engine that drives it. Free-markets tempered with the rule of law seems to be the best system at this point. But, I wonder, is there something inherently righteous about it ?