Marxism and Post-Modern radicalisms as false science and counterfeit religion
For those Christians who have been concerned about the blurring of the lines between the gospel and politics, whether through the mixing of Marxist ideology and religion in some circles, or when President Trump became almost a messianic figure in the eyes of many American evangelicals, this book will provide much food for thought — as well as plenty of controversy. No matter your political perspective, you will certainly be provoked to think and respond as you read.–Dr. Michael L. Brown, host of the Line of Fire radio broadcast and author of Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope.
William De Arteaga (Author)
This is a chapter from my forthcoming book, “America in Danger: Left and Right”
Part III Countering counterfeit religion
- Marxism and post-Modern radicalism as false science and counterfeit religion
Science or religion?
Marxism arose in an era of Positivism – a European philosophical fashion that believed that humanity was progressing to a utopian future of freedom, happiness and material prosperity. This belief was fueled by the rapid progress in the 19th Century of the newly developing sciences such as physics and chemistry which were making life less disease-filled and easier for many. Trust in science and its progress to bring human happiness and freedom was at its height during the late 19th century and the first decade of the 20th. This was before World War I (1914-1918) showed how science could also invent mustard gas and lead to mass destruction. Before that war, several new movements had arisen that naively claimed they were “scientific” and appropriated the prestige of science. Three of these falsely labeled movements: Freudian psychoanalysis, Marxism and Christian Science made tremendous impacts in the 20 Century and continue to influence to this day.
Marx made claims that his philosophical/economic system was scientific because it was materialistic, systematic and gave definite predictions. This was how science was understood by many in the 19th Century. It was also misleading and untrue. A more valid understanding of science was pioneered by the philosopher Karl R. Popper, in his seminal work, The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Popper understood that science was a methodology for expanding knowledge by testing and refuting hypothesis. It does not matter if the original discipline has much misinformation and mythology, if testing and hypothesis rejection is allowed a science may develop. For instance, the science of chemistry developed out of alchemy, which was a mythology mixed with some valid (but misunderstood) chemical procedures. Modern medicine underwent a similar shift from the “established quackery” of the 18th Century.
Popper saw that every true scientific theory had to contain a provision whereby it could be tested and disproven if false. He called this “falsifiability.” Any idea, no matter how cleverly presented, that cannot be tested to be proven or disproven is not science. Popper’s understanding of science, or some variety of it, is now accepted by the scientific community.
Regarding the bundles of humanitarian yearnings, insights, fierce hatreds, philosophy and myth that Marx presented in The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, they never developed the essential scientific process of testing its multiple hypotheses and rejecting those that failed. For instance, Marx asserted that Communist revolutions would be led by radicalized industrial workers. To this end Lenin carried on a war against Poland (1919-1920) intended to create a land bridge to Germany and unite with the radicalized German industrial workers, and then conquer the rest of Europe. But historically, Marxism has succeeded in taking power mostly when led by intellectuals relying on peasants for support.
Early in the history of Marxism, Eduard Bernstein, a socialist thinker and politician, understood that certain of Marx’s predictions were not coming true, and he sought to correct Marxist theory (i.e., discard disproven hypothesis). The Marxists movement denounced him as “revisionist” and he was expelled from the movement. The term revisionist became within Marxism what heresy was to medieval Catholicism, being something worthy of excommunication and death. In the Soviet Union, the first country where Marxists came to power, the slightest deviation from established doctrine, i.e., “revisionism,” led to torture and death by a judicial system inferior to the courts of the infamous Spanish Inquisition, there at least some of the accused were found innocent. Lenin was able to get his modification of Marxist doctrine, “imperialism,” to stick because it rationalized Marx’s error. Lenin had a government and police apparatus to back him.
Marxism never was, nor is now, a science, as its adherents have claimed. Rather, Marxism may best be understood as a highly motivating, linguistically sophisticated mythical/religious system that gives the individual believer hope, faith, and a sense of purpose. Marxism demonically mimics Christianity in several ways that attempt to fill the “God hole” and spiritual yearnings in the soul. 
Marxism came into being in an era when Christian churches were highly doctrinal in their claims but had lost their ability to verify their base doctrinal claims with miraculous “signs and wonders” and healings as shown in the book of Acts and defined in Hebrews 2:1-4. Marx, Lenin and the other founders of Marxism, as well as their contemporary anarchist radicals never saw a healing miracle in any church because the awful theology, cessationism, held by Protestants claimed such thigs were impossible. This theology broke the faith needed for the occurrence of such miracles. Catholics (and Orthodox churches) fell into the same error by believing that healing and the miraculous could be done only by great saints, thus making those things so rare as to be dismissed as myth by atheists. Had Marx or Lenin been able to see miracles of healing and other supernatural events common in Pentecostal and charismatic churches today they never would have come up with the slogan that Christianity was “pie in the sky.”
Marxism as counterfeit religion
St. Augustine remarked that human beings are made with a hole in their souls that is meant to be filled by God. He also knew, via his experiences with various occult religions of his age, that false religious can fill that hole and make a person largely unaware of his or her deficit. In Augustine’s life, as in many of us, it was grace that exposed that falsehood and led him to the true Gospel.
Traditional Marxism, “cultural Marxism,” and Theory radicalism are best understood as mimics of Christianity. They are twisted by demonic forces acting on the minds of their adherents to be especially destructive. The huge numbers of murdered and tortured persons in various Marxist states of the 20th Century support this conclusion. As I cited in chapter two, a fox was indeed in the chicken coop, and the devil has indeed acted in history. The present forms of radicalism in America have not yet held total political power to enable mass murder and torture as their predecessors did, but their meanness, intolerance and lack of mercy for their enemies points to a similar cruel future.
The Marxist tyrant dictators like Stalin and Mao were of course totally oblivious to the demonic forces operating on their minds. The experienced Catholic exorcist, Malachi Martin, in his famous work, Hostage to the Devil gave a hint as to why that is so. He speculated that some persons are “perfectly possessed” by the Devil. That is, these persons are unaware of their demonic status, and go to governments, businesses and institutions to bring destruction and further the demonic agenda until they are removed or die.  That makes sense of most dictators. We can see this form of “evil to the bitter end” working out in Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
The cult of the counterfeit Messiah
The most obvious and obnoxious example of Marxism as a religion is apparent in its development in North Korea. In that unfortunate country, the founder of the Communist party and its first dictator Kim Il-Sung (1912-1994) followed the pattern of government party apparatus and security services established in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin.
Kim developed Stalin’s cult of the personality and self-glorification to new heights. When Kim Il-sung died in in 1994 North Koreans all prostrated themselves in front of the thousands of statues of him found all over North Korea. There was a mandatory three-year mourning period, and persons suspected of not mourning sufficiently were subject to imprisonment and hard labor.
Kim was given the title of “eternal leader.” Even now it is common for North Koreans to speak to Kim as if he were still living in conversations that are quasi-prayers. Sociologists consider the North Korean system a religion melded with a political ideology that is closer to 1940s Japanese fascism than to the original Marxist pattern regardless that it began as orthodox, Stalinist Marxism. In North Korea the demonic had free rein to develop Marxism as pure idolatry clothed as a counterfeit religion. This was because the Christian church, which was flourishing in all of Korea, even under Japanese occupation, was systematically and brutally exterminated by the Kim dynasty in North Korea.
Although North Korea was the most extreme, Communist states have invariably formed some sort of cult around its leaders. More correctly, its leaders, not subject to a free press, public reproof, constitutional constraints, or spiritual counseling, give way to their vanity and create a cult about themselves. This tendency is helped by demonic forces that wish to do with every communist state what the Kim family did in North Korea. Stalin was well on his way to this when he died, and this was repeated in Fidel Castro’s Cuba (“maximum leader”) Romania’s Nicolae Ceaușescu, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, and is developing in today’s China under the dictatorship of Xi Jinping.
The counterfeit Holy Spirit:
That Marxism’s fall into a pattern of deification of its leaders is related to Marx’s foundational belief in the “Spirit of history.” This is a perfect and destructive counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. Marx accepted this counterfeit spirit theory from his readings of the most famous and influential philosopher of the 19th Century, Georg Friedrich Hagel (1770-1831). Hegel was most famous for identifying and popularizing the processes in history, as in a social or political movement, whereby something new provokes opposition, and the ensuing conflict results in the creation of a new amalgam – the process of the “dialectic.” This makes sense in the history of ideas, but in the history of human society it is not so accurate, as old trends tend to live on and take new life and names. For example, the idea of an absolute hereditary monarchy became the “dictatorship of the proletariat” under communism, i.e. various dictatorships as in the Kim Family in Korea, or the Castro brothers in Cuba. In any case, Marx used Hegel’s understanding of history to predict changes in history that would result in a socialist utopia where the class struggles would cease, and governments would “wither away.” All of this is deeply ironic as in fact Marxist governments have been the most vast, intrusive, and totalitarian in history.
Hegel postulated that the spirit of history often operates through select individuals and governments that move history forward towards increasing human freedom and utopia – the Positivist’s dream. In a move of vanity and nationalism, Hegel believed that the Prussian government of his day, with its efficient civil service, was such a government. For Hegel, the individual reached his fulfillment by being a loyal citizen. At any given point in time the spirit of history continued to manifest through some individual who will lead humanity to a higher level in the dialectic. Hegel saw Napoleon Bonaparte as such a person, Napoleon controlled much of Europe for a time and, in fact, brought important reforms such as the abolition of serfdom and a universal code of law that abolished aristocratic privilege. Hegel personally saw Napoleon at the height of his power and prestige and wrote:
I saw the Emperor – this world-soul – riding out of the city on reconnaissance. It is indeed a wonderful sensation to see such an individual, who, concentrated here at a single point, astride a horse, reaches out over the world and masters it.
Napoleon was defeated in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, and this short-circuited the further development of a cult of personality that had already developed around him. But his glorification was a prelude to other figures in Communist and Fascist regimes that became so common in the 20th Century and reached much further extremes. Many of them in fact did accomplish some good, as in ensuring economic stability, while bringing long-term evil. Nazi Germany, for instance, was the first country in the world to develop an anti-cigarette campaign – while of course preparing for war and conquest.
We should call these persons who are deified through the cult of the personality “counterfeit messiahs,” for they mimic the messianic prophecies of the Bible as a person who brings salvation and righteousness to the world. We should also not be reluctant to say that such cults of personality have diabolical energies that assist their development.
Marxism as conspiracy theory
Much of the energy that Marxists feel about their movement is largely fueled by the demonic energies of hatred against the bourgeois. In a similar way that the energies of Naziism were fueled by a demonic hatred of the Jews. Here is a small sample of what Marx said about the bourgeois in his famous Communist Manifesto (1847):
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors” and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers. The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.
Marx’s hatred of the bourgeois was not original, just more systematic than before. Anti-merchant ideology has been around since at least the ancient world. Roman upper classes, based on landed wealth and slaves, would not dirty their hands with business enterprises. Unfortunately, this attitude was picked up by some of the Church’s early theologians, including the most influential of all, St. Augustine, who said of merchants:
Let traders hear and change their life; and if they have been such, be not such … let them not approve, not praise [trading]; let them disapprove, condemn, be changed, if trading is a sin. For on this account, O thou trader, because of a certain eagerness for getting, whenever you shall have suffered loss, you will blaspheme; … But whenever for the price of the goods which you are selling, thou not only liest, but even falsely swearest; how in your mouth all the day long is there the praise of God?
This is not Biblical. The Bible treats being a merchant neutrally, exhorting honest weights and measures, and in the letter of James, counsels against presumption. (Jas 4:13). Persons like Lydia, the trader of purple dye, are favorably depicted because of their generosity to the cause of Christ (Acts 16).
It would be more accurate to say Marx was a traditionalist in his disdain of the bourgeois – more medieval than modern. Marx completely missed the bourgeois’ legitimate and necessary role in innovation, quality control and distribution in a market economy. Let me again cite the History Channel series “The Foods that made America.” This low budget documentary series highlights many of the innovators that made fresh foods available year-round, such as Clarence Birdseye’s invention of the quick freezing of foods, the manufacture of shelf stable cheese by the Kraft brothers, and many other innovations by bourgeois Americans that made food much better for all of us. They were not villains, but thoughtful people who brought humanity much good.
More significantly we should notice that when Communist or former Communist countries and their leaders decide that it is time to leave the poverty extending economic system of Communism, they do so by allowing free markets (i.e. capitalism) with a banking system similar to that of capitalists countries, and most importantly, allow the development of a new “bourgeois” that will bring about innovation, manage quality control and increase employment.
Note the moral implications Communism’s century old anti-bourgeois crusades, Communist tyrants (and anarchist mobs) have murdered, marginalized and exiled millions of bourgeois, thinking economic prosperity would flourish and utopia would result. These genocidal murders and sins were for no benefit, and indeed caused economic suffering. If you consider the case of Cuba, the only benefit was to the United States, who received the Cuban bourgeois with open arms. They quickly adopted and brought their innovation and managerial skills in Florida and other regions of the United States.
Marxism’s counterfeit moral system
Among the moral consequences of Marx’s and other radicals’ hatred for the bourgeois is that they continuously sin by rash judgments, by affirming that the bourgeois and capitalists are evil by their very existence. This is really a false CT. Now of course, some bourgeois and capitalists are indeed greedy and evil, but certainly not all, and many are decent persons who try their best to look out for the welfare of their employees and produce innovative and quality goods. In my Christian life I have met many such good “bourgeois” businessmen.
An aspect of the Marxist’s moral delusion is the vanity that many Marxists believe that they are righteous because they are “non-bourgeois” – i.e., because I do not work in commerce, but at a university, at an NGO or as a social worker, etc. This is a spiritual delusion which limits their true moral growth through its negative attitude towards others and with its stream of constant rash judgements. It is the demonic counterfeit to what Christian’s experience when they accept the Lordship of Jesus and accept His righteousness in front of God in spite of their sins.
A negative consequence of Marxism has been that in glorifying the role of the workers as sinless, and denigrating the functions of capitalist and bourgeois, Marxist countries consistently have had problems of innovation and quality control. The present youth in America have no memory of this, and many would have to ask their parents or grandparents about the issue. From the 1950s to the 1990s no one in the United States or Europe ever said, “I am saving my money to buy a Russian TV, a Romanian radio and an East German Car.” Rather they bought brands made in free-market (bourgeois-staffed) economies that assured good quality control, such as Japanese electronics, and West German cars.
When I worked at GE, I had a conversation with an older, visiting engineer who had worked for a Communist plant in East Germany producing electronic goods. He said it was a pleasure working for a company like GE that had such good quality control. This contrasted with his experience and frustration as an engineer in East Germany. There the workers could not be fired for either laziness or incompetence (the myth of the sinless worker) and this degraded the general performance of all workers. More seriously, the factory continuously shipped out deficient produces that were designed and engineered well but poorly manufactured. This dysfunction is the sin of junk production, as it robs the buyer of well-made products, but has never been extensively studied in academic literature.
The sin of bourgeois hatred was repeated in Venezuela in recent decades. Before the Chavez/Maduro regime, which is a mix of Marxism and anti-American populism, Venezuela had a mixed economy with much manufacturing as well as its important oil producing industry. Its economy was one of the most prosperous in Latin America. Under Hugo Chavez the capitalist and bourgeois were shamed, intimidated out and replaced by Maduro loyalists who knew little of the industries they were suddenly given control over. The factories failed one after the other because of mismanagement. In its oil industry 20,000 of its skilled workers and managers were fired because they were politically suspect and replaced with technically ignorant loyalists. This began a steady decline in oil production due to ignorance and faulty maintenance, and a near shutdown. That was hardly noticed at first by most Venezuelans because high crude oil prices meant that consumer goods could be imported to make up for the things no longer produced in Venezuela, and the decline of oil production was not apparent at the local gas pumps. But then, the price of crude went down and they could no longer import the goods that were once manufactured locally.
There are several other embedded sins in Marxism that I do not have the space to discuss in this chapter. But the bottom line is that Marxist ideology produces a demonically energized false moral structure, giving its adherents the sense that they are the protectors of the poor and oppressed (virtue signaling) and the focal point of historical progress to a utopian future. Their mono-critical attitude that everything in the West is deficient by reason of exploitation, etc., blinds them to the achievements of free-market societies. This gives them a sense of self-esteem as superior moral persons when in fact Marxism has made them morally and spiritually deficient.
In communist countries the false righteousness by way of their ideology wears down after several decades as people become fatigued by the false promises of moral and economic utopia. Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, and until he retired, dictator of Cuba, made an important speech in which he castigated the Cuban people for their lack of morals, as exhibited in vulgarity, stealing metal form public places, urinating in public, lack of deference to the elderly and pregnant women (on and on). Indeed, Marxist religion proves a poor substitute for Christian morality and manners.
For today’s radicals “right ideology” is either the original Marxism (less commonly, anarchism) or the newer Theory radicalism, all of which replace the Ten Commandments and the biblical awareness of sin. He or she consider themselves fine moral persons if they think and talk progressive thoughts regardless of his or her personally immoral behavior. Often the normal codes of behavior, such as not lying, not stealing, etc., are derided as “bourgeois morality.” An historical note on this: in the first years of the Soviet Union divorce was legalized and made easy because the traditional family was considered a bourgeois institution. Soon many people were divorcing on a weekly or monthly basis to have more sex partners. This of course created chaos for the children and was stopped.
Recently, a great brouhaha arose in American universities when two prominent academics dared suggest that the traditional bourgeois way of life, as in hard work, truthfulness, raising children in two parent homes, etc. was actually better that the freewheeling mores of today’s generation. The politically correct Marxists and Post-Modernists were outraged. For them, those assertions were totally unacceptable and unworthy of discussion, period.
 A classic Christian commentary on Positivism is Henri de Lubec’s, The Drama of Atheist Humanism (London Shed & Ward, 1949). Modern reprints available.
 I show in my work, Agnes Sanford, how Christian Science was both a heresy and a stimulant to the Christian healing ministry. Of course, it was not science.
 (London, Huchison, 1959). Published in German a decade earlier. This work can be understood only by those with a math or philosophy degrees, as much of the text is written in equations. For a layman’s understanding of his work see Conjectures and Refutation: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (New York: Harper & Row, 1968).
 On this see V.I Lenin’s, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917) chapter 6, “The Vulgarization of Marxism by the Opportunists.”
 For an excellent article on how Lenin and Stalin consciously molded Soviet Communism after Russian Orthodox Christianity see Eugene Voldolazkin’s, “At Lenin’s Tomb,” First Things, (Posted Feb. 2022). https://www.firstthings.com/article/2022/02/at-lenins-tomb
 I discuss the issue of the missing gifts of the Church and its tragic consequences in several of my works, especially, Agnes Sanford, chapters 3-5.
 (Reader’s Digest Press, 1974).
Thomas J Belke, Juche: A Christian Study of North Korea’s State Religion (Bartlesville: Living Sacrifice, 1999). See also the brief article on this from Adherents.com at http://www.adherents.com/largecom/Juche.html
Michael R. Pompeo, “China’s Catholics and the Church’s Moral Witness,” First Things, Posted Sept. 18, 2020. https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/09/chinas-catholics-and-the-churchs-moral-witness
 A must read work for Christians in the humanities and social studies is Karl R Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies, 2 Vols. Vol1 The Spell of Plato, Vol 2, The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx and the Aftermath. (New York: Harper & Roe, 1963). First edition, London in 1945.
 For a critique of Hegel’s system, see especially Popper’s work Open Society, volume 2.
 Hegel, letter of 13 October 1806 to F. I. Niethammer, no. 74 (p. 119) in Briefe von und an Hegel ed. Hoffmeister, vol. 1 (1970), cited after H. Schnädelbach in Wolfgang Welsch, Klaus Vieweg (eds.), Das Interesse des Denkens: Hegel aus heutiger Sicht, Wilhelm Fink Verlag (2003),p. 223; trans. Pinkard (2000:228). Cited in the Wikipedia article on Hegel.
 Napoleon believed he had the right to sleep with the wives of his generals any time he wished, and they meekly agreed to this “great man’s” wishes.
 Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto. Online in many sites.
 St. Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, Psalm 71, v14-15, available online at multiple sites. St. Augustine’s view was first pointed out to this author in the fine article by Lauren F. Winner, “The Most Satisfying Trade,” Books and Culture posted 10/28/10. https://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2010/novdec/mostsatisfying.html
 In my direct experience with Communist true believers, they have this perpetual dour look and never seemed to have peace or joy – a mark of demonic oppression on their minds.
 The East German car, the Trabant was a piece of junk. It had a two-stroke engine which was a smoke- emitting and an environmental disaster.
Uri Friedman, “How Populism Helped Wreck Venezuela,” Atlantic Monthly, Posted June 4, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/venezuela-populism-fail/525321/
 Sheyla Urdaneta, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Isayen Herrera, “Venezuela, Once an Oil Giant, Reaches the End of an Era,” New York Times (Oct 7, 2020). It should be noted that there has been a particular wickedness to the Chavez-Maduro regime in that it has bought off the armed services with large amounts of narco money from the state sponsored drug trade.
 “Raúl Castro rages against Cubans’ sloppy habits and decaying morals,” The Guardian (July 7, 2013). https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/08/cuba-raul-castro-sloppy-habits
 Beckie Supiano, “Students Cheat. How Much Does it Matter?” Chronicle of Higher Education. Posted Oct. 21, 2020. https://www.chronicle.com/article/students-cheat-how-much-does-it-matter?cid2=gen_login_refresh&cid=gen_sign_in
 Jesse Singal, “Is U.S. Declining because America Abandoned “Bourgeois Values”? Intellingencer. Posted Sept. 9, 2017. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/09/can-an-embrace-of-bourgeois-values-revive-america.html