Christianity and communism: parallels and differences
It is characteristic of the human conception of social things that currents of thought, built at different levels against each other, often have many basic ideas and starting points that are largely similar. This also applies to various religions and denominations, which, misused for the interests of the rich and powerful, cost millions of human lives, although some of them differed only in insignificant details. Enlightened philosophers and religious thinkers, after all, point to the equivalence of all religions and the folly of any religious dogmatism and fundamentalism. As the prominent Indian guru Saji Baba claimed: " All paths are true "...
Parallels of Basic
The Good News of Christianity
Christianity, whose central legend (forming the content of the New Testament) is the birth, action, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ , grew out of older legends about the historical journey of the Jewish people described in the Old Testament.
The allegorical messages of the Old Testament and especially the New Testament (good news - the gospel of Jesus Christ) reflected the desires of ordinary people for an honest life and a just order in society. The early Christian church was very revolutionary for his time and "leftist" (as we would say now) - it promoted the equality of all people , at least before God. Therefore, she was initially cruelly persecuted by the ruling class.
"Rather camel pass through the eye of a needle, than a rich man goes into the kingdom of heaven."
"The chasm that separates a rich man from his neighbors in life will separate him from God forever."
"It cannot be said that the rich exhale more air or consume more light. Everything really important is evenly and evenly distributed" ( St. John Chrysostom ).
Ideas of freedom, democracy, socialism, communism
Also, the ideas of freedom, democracy, socialism, and communism (though not initially called that) were expressions of the age-old innermost desires and dreams of ordinary people, oppressed and humiliated. However, these ideas could not be formulated and promoted by these simple people themselves for a long time. They were kept in ignorance, subordination and "fear of God" (ie in obligatory respect for the nobility, in superstitions and religious darkness - lords and rulers are here from God). Their thoughts and desires only timidly "sprouted to the light" and were more accurately expressed by enlightened scholars whose "hearts is inclined to the people." They were, on the one hand, those who did not forget their simple origins, and, on the other hand, some educated people from the richer classes, who had a more noble nature and took seriously Christian love and compassion for their neighbors.
These efforts for a more just world order culminated in France in 1789-1794 with the Great French Revolution under the slogan equality, freedom, brotherhood . This revolution, while costing many lives (often unnecessarily) and temporarily suppressed, has played a crucial role in modern history: it has triggered the fall of feudal domination and paved the way for the development of society in the spirit of freedom, democracy, scientific and technical progress and social progress.
Progressive thinkers of the 19th century increasingly felt that the ideas of the Great French Revolution needed to be taken even further: not to be satisfied with the formal civil liberties and democracy of a capitalist society that could in fact be enjoyed by only a small proportion of middle-class and upper-class property. The ideas of universal democracy and classless society were pregnantly formulated in their works by K. Marx and B. Engels in particular (the relevant philosophical-social direction is referred to as Marxism). The parallels with Christian ideas are obvious here: add the fictitious " equality of people before God " to the real (authentic) " equality of people before people ".
Deformation and Abuse
When feudal rulers realized that the Christian religion could be used as a means of controlling the masses for "voluntary" devotional service to the ruling class, not only did it cease to be persecuted, but Christianity gradually became state religion for almost 1,000 years. and the Catholic Church gradually took over the role of ideological patronage of the feudal dominion . This was accompanied by the abuses and distortions of the Christian faith, the decline of the morals of the high Catholic clergy, greed, dogmatism , intolerance and cruel crimes against free-thinking people.
Simple-minded pious people tend to believe that God is on their side and is against those "others" who profess faith in another God, or just another way of believing in the same God. This foolish idea , misused by the rich and powerful, has cost many millions of lives in religious wars. The promotion of "only and right gods" is accompanied by streams of blood, murder , and unfortunately even children, who do not even know how senseless gods their parents, respectively great-great ...- grandparents, they invented.
Classical religion deprives a person of common sense, makes him an idiot who must believe in unsubstantiated and illogical phenomena and legends - a frightened man to whom he forces the illusory crutches of some afterlife hopes.. In this sense, religion appears to be a characterless demagoguery of cunning hypocritical heralds of the "words of God," often in the service of oppressors ...
A certain redress in the Catholic Church could begin only after the fall of feudalism , when the church gradually lost its privileged position. This helped to inspire the Church and return to some of its original values. The Second Vatican Council in 1962-65, convened by the enlightened Pope John 23, advanced the furthest in this direction. At this council, progressive tendencies to overcome dogmatism, "opening to the world" ("aggiornamento ") and ecumenism were enforced.
Deformation of the
ideas of socialism and communism
Deformation progressive ideas of socialism and communism (these deformations often resulted in totalitarian deviations from democracy) have their roots already in the program formation of these ideas: it was a struggle with hostility of the rich and powerful who are unscrupulous means trying these ideas suppress already in the very begining. Thus, the pronounced antagonism and desire for retaliation that erupted with each uprising or revolution gradually developed .
The next stage of deformation of progressive ideas came only in the period of heroic attempts to implement the ideas of people's democracy and socialism in the 20th century in some countries. It was first in Russia afterThe Great October Socialist Revolution , which resulted in the emergence of the Confederate Soviet Union, after World War II, also in some countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Here, after the tragic experience of the war, people longed for a fundamental change in the social order, and therefore political confidence was given to the socialist, workers' and communist parties. These parties, made up mostly of politically inexperienced and unprepared people, often "did not carry" the suddenly acquired power, and their leaders committed many setbacks and personal disputes, which sometimes resulted in crimes (such as judicial murders *). Later, in the 1960s and 1980s, incapacitated, selfish, and beneficial people often held leading positions in all spheres of social life and the economy; they were then one of the driving forces of the coup in 1989.
*) The other side sometimes resorted to simple (non-judicial) murders; it is a disgraceful filth, now that some "heroes" are trying to defend, for example, the vulgar murders of innocent people committed by the Maines in our country!
Hostility between the
Catholic Church and the Ideas of Socialism
The deep-rooted hostile relationship between the Church (especially Roman Catholic) and the ideas of socialism and communism has the same origins as the aforementioned antagonism with the rich and powerful in feudalism and capitalism. With the exception of the progressive period of the early Christian Church, the church hierarchy was for many centuries completely sold out to the interests of the rich and powerful . Especially in the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church served as an ideological patron of the feudal dictatorship, for which it received abundant material pleasures. It was, of course, completely contradictory with the true mission of the Church and with the teachings of Jesus Christ, who preached poverty and fought against selfishness and greed: "My kingdom is not of this world"; "It is more a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to go to the kingdom of heaven!"
There were also many honorable , selfless, and humble priests in the Catholic Church who truly took their spiritual vocation as a service to their neighbors and thus to God. Many of them accepted progressive ideas because they were in accordance with the true teachings of Christ and promised them a healing of the spiritual life. However, they were "not heard", they were not allowed to publicly announce their thoughts, otherwise they were harshly persecuted.
One of them was Bernardo Bolzano (* 1781), a prominent professor, mathematician, philosopher and priest, from whose thoughts we can quote a short quote: "Rather, doubt any other truth - the divine origin of our holy faith, the immortality of the soul, or even the existence of God in heaven - to question for a moment the essence of the equality of all people and the eternally unchanging obligation that follows: to love everyone as oneself! The time will come, and I say with complete confidence, when people will loathe war, the senseless attempt to prove their right by the sword The time will come when all the thousands of differences in rank and dam between people who cause so much evil will be brought to the proper limits, when everyone will treat their neighbor like a brother with a brother .... The time will come when no one will think that he deserves respect and honor because he has taken away so many possessions for himself as an individual that would be enough to satisfy the needs of thousands. ... A person who parasitizes on human society, even if he is of the most noble origin and occupies the highest position, deserves only our contempt. ... "
For his humanistic and enlightenment ideas, he was persecuted, censored and expelled from the university by the authorities and the Church.
Even after the fall of feudalism,
the Church could not free herself from dogmatic prejudices and
claims to government, prosperity, and supremacy; Church leaders
were generally hostile to all ideas of equality and a fairer
organization of society. More recently, Pope Pius XII was
especially notorious in this regard. (pontif..1939-1958)
, which became very treacherous his
mission - he even supported Hitler's fascism *) and, together
with some similarly oriented church dignitaries from the Curia,
sharply opposed any peace or dialogue between the Catholic Church
and new currents of thought, especially the newly emerging
people's democratic institutions. After the end of World War II,
the "Cold War" soon began, in which the conservative
circles of the Vatican under the leadership of Pius XII. very
actively involved (including "excommunication" from the
church of all persons who sympathized with the socialist
movement). This then-ruling dogmatic set of the Vatican has a
large share of complicity in the animosity
between church and state in some countries (along
with undemocratic practices in these countries)., which was paid for by a number of priests who had to
go to prison or exile. Fortunately, the successor of Pius XII, John
XXIII. (pontif. 1958-1963), on the contrary, was one of
the most enlightened popes in modern history,
which significantly improved the relations of the Roman Catholic
Church with the progressive world.
*) Pius XII supported fascism as Cardinal Pacelli before the war, when he was the Vatican envoy and the apostolic nuncio in Germany **). Then he was elected pope, during the war in 1941 he welcomed the aggression against the Soviet Union, which claimed the most millions of lives (he considered the offensive war against the USSR as a campaign to "defend Western Christianity"). Some representatives of the Catholic Church was then at the end of World War II. connected to a conspiratorial network of SS members, which helped war criminals to flee from justice; in the Vatican, these nazis were then issued with false passports. The driving force behind these and other shamefulness , which persisted until the end of the pontificate of Pius XII, was the distinct right-wing orientation of the then pope and his prelates from the Catholic clergy, their opposition to social progress and the resulting sympathy for Hitler's fascism against communism (and Western democracy, which also does not favor dogmatic clericalism). At the same time, they did not mind that the Nazis murdered millions of Christian believers, as well as several thousand Catholic priests. These clerical circles considered the communist and socialist movements to be the greatest threat to ecclesiastical domination (greater than fascism) and were willing to unite with anyone to liquidate it ...
**) More precisely, Pacelli-Pius did not support the original left-wing (pseudo) socialist and measures the atheistic part of Nazi teaching, but only the right-wing part , which turned to anti-communism ("anti-Bolshevism"). He also supported the great german pangerman belief in the hegemony of the German nation and its right to expansion and domination above other nations. In such an oriented "strong" Germany, he saw a counterweight to the spread of influences from the East. The anti-Semitism and silence on the Holocaust that he is often accused of is not entirely clear (he did not even have to have enough objective information about the horrific extent of these crimes). Based on indoctrination and partly on personal experience from Germany (where he met with the rampage of revolutionary militias), he considered the socialist and communist movements to be the greatest enemy of the church estate and was willing to support anything to destroy it. And maybe in the belief that it serves the church, which is to be entrusted to run ..? ..
In summary, the political decision-making of Pius XII. it was subject to a simple formula: it supported all what recorded anti-communism and the conservative "values" the organization of society; he hated and severely repressed everything connected with the ideas of progress, socialism, communism, and similar social reforms. In other matters, perhaps he followed the principles of Christian teaching. And because he was a skilled diplomat, many people admired and recognized him ...
It is therefore not surprising that when the socialist or communist parties came to power in some countries, these contradictions turned into open hostility between church and state (in our country it was especially in the 50s). This time the tasks were exchanged: "representatives of the people" settled accounts with the church. However, this was not against the real perpetrators of the church's crimes in the past (most of whom had not lived for a long time, their followers were abroad, such as the Vatican) and foreign practitioners of political intrigues, but often persecuted by priests and members of the orders, who they did not directly quilty ...
What is compliance
From the point of view of the above-mentioned parallels of basic ideas, the marked contradictions between the Christian Church and the socialist movement (which is now in decline - perhaps it can be hoped that only temporarily) seem unfortunate and paradoxical. Some agreement and reconciliation could perhaps be achieved if both sides abandoned dogmatism, prejudice and the escalation of controversial points, and rather emphasized what united them and how they could complement each other :
Both parties and all people
of good will would benefit from this harmony . That such
harmony is possible is shown, for example, by the work of popular
priests in South America, who, in the spirit of " liberation
theology ", sought not only evangelization but also
the social upliftment and social awareness of Native Americans in
the spirit of progressive ideals of equality, freedom and
brotherhood. In Czechoslovakia, in addition to the
above-mentioned ideas of Bolzano , in recent times, have
been interesting from this point of view, for example, the ideas
of P. Josef Plojhar (1902-1981) (if
we disregard some controversial points of his political work ), who for many years was chairman of the peaceful
association of clergy "Pacem in terris"
§ Twice a bright light came from the East, which shone into the hearts of mankind. For the first time, the time has come for the darknesses of reason and heart to be frightened and to touch heaven and earth. This was the first time the light of the Ex Oriente lux shone from the East when the star of Bethlehem heralded the birth of supreme love. And for the second time, the wonderful light of Ex Oriente lux came to human society when the glow of the Great October Socialist Revolution appeared. Some would like to tell us that these two lights, these two fires, must absorb each other. No! The flames combine in a rich heat and in this heat of both flames from the East we forge a new slogan: Ex oriente Pax- Peace from the East! All people of good will must shake hands for this work to save human happiness. If we succeed in this work, then in the new dignified and socially just world, the ideal, life- oriented word of the Psalmist of the Lord will take place: " Justicia et Pax osculate sunt " - "Justice and peace to kiss". §
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RNDr. Vojtech Ullmann