by N.S. Lyons
Monday, 20
December 2021
Spotted
07:00

The CCP gets religious about Karl Marx

The largest atheist organisation in the world has started using Godly language
by N.S. Lyons
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in Shanghai, China.

Last week a curious article appeared in the pages of People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. Titled “Seek the Power of Faith in Marx,” the piece is framed as a review of a newly published book, written by a professor at the Central Party School in Beijing, on the subject of “Why to Believe in Marxism.”

Oddly, for an article published by the largest officially atheist organisation on the planet, it seems to get rather, well, religious. Bubbling over with enthusiasm for the book’s alleged ability to convey to readers “the significance of belief in Marxism,” it celebrates Marx’s ability to serve as “the fire of the spirit, the fire of hope,” and exults in the apparently self-evident fact that “belief in Marxism indicates that the Chinese nation is destined to a bright and beautiful future.”

Recalling the “warmth” he still feels after finishing this study of Marx, a “warmth [that] comes from spiritual excitement, spiritual joy,” the reviewer concludes with an account of the “deep sense of inner satisfaction and happiness” he has gained, before declaring himself, with the cry of a convert, “a Marxist believer!”

At this point, you might be wondering why Communist Party media apparatchiks now sound a bit like mid-2000s American Evangelicals. But it’s worth knowing that the CCP recently discovered — to its shock and horror — that many of China’s people have been gripped by a deep sense of nihilism about their society rather than by boundless love and appreciation for the Party’s leadership. Among the online youth, for example, “sang culture” (roughly the equivalent of “doomerism” in the West) has proliferated. This has kicked off a scramble, led by top Party political theorist Wang Huning, to “create core values” to fill this uncomfortably God-shaped societal hole with the comforts of a synthetic ideological alternative.

The Communist Party has of course long held a deep antagonism toward religion. This drove Mao’s ruthless campaign to eradicate it (including killing an estimated 500,000 believers of Christianity, whose influence in China he likened to “poison”), as well as Xi Jinping’s more recent attempts to forcefully suppress it. All this, however, has only left a void for the many seeking spiritual meaning in their lives — one that the Party continues to struggle desperately to fill.

Hence why the article’s author takes the time to gravely note that, “For a nation to thrive, it cannot for a moment be without ideals and beliefs,” and to enthuse that, “Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era, we will build a solid foundation of faith” for the nation.

Meanwhile, it is perhaps not coincidental that the estimated 97 million Chinese Christians currently preparing to celebrate Christmas (above or below ground) not only represent potentially the fastest growing flock of religious believers in the world, but now outnumber the ranks of the Party itself. 

N.S. Lyons is the author of The Upheaval on Substack.

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David McDowell
David McDowell
9 months ago

Smart move. They’ve clocked the ability of faith to change attitudes and behaviours and will use the west’s abundant supply of fifth columnists and useful idiots to promote it to undermine their enemies. They won’t practice Marxism themselves of course.

Last edited 9 months ago by David McDowell
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  David McDowell

They are not Marxist, they are ‘Cult of Personality’ Totalitarianism – and they take it very seriously.

At one time in the ending time of Mao a great many were converting to Christianity (underground) as they saw the difference in the Western Society where science, philosophy, Just Rule of Law, Classic Liberalism – Freedoms, Social Justice, Fairness, Duty, Charity, Industry, Wealth, Democracy, end of Slavery, Intellectualism – were all the products of Christian Society, Christian Morality coupled with the intense Christian Intellectualism, making a just and prosperous society. Chinese history had none of these. China was a fly frozen in amber -2500 years of perfecting the same perfection by refusing any change, called Confucianism where any thinking outside the orthodoxy was death, and cruelty and backwardness was the norm of the common man.

I believe this to be exactly true – and a great many did as well. Believing Christianity was the way to make China, and themselves, better.

Xi has understood this, and so he tries to make a simalrcum of Christianity in a sort of Dawkins Secular Humanity Marxism….. doomed to failure I think as it will not have real soul behind it – but who knows. The Western Postmodernism is exactly the reversing of Christianity – and its adherents are growing exponentially – But then they are utter Nihilists too, and thus full of self loathing, and a very much dead end track….

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

No doubt your many other comments will follow. And your kind “yawn” for my single entry. Try writing a book?

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt B

I apologize Matt,

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Accepted of course. And now back to the fray …

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Peter LR
Peter LR
9 months ago

I must admit that even the most derogatory descriptions of the bible by secularists make it sound more interesting than “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era”!

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter LR
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter LR

I still have my ‘Little Red Book’ of Mao, given to me in Italy long ago during a Communist Party rally, written in English as my guess is they could be bought for pennies that way – A funny thing, feeling so different from any other book, thickish, but tiny, like a deck of playing cards – thin paper, cheap red plastic cover, printing off a bit…. a memento of the distant past….

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

dl

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt B

I am studying the 1200 page 2017 NEC book at nights – (Electrical Code) to pass my commercial Electrician Test – and hate is so, so I come here and bore you all, to not study…..

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Gawd. That must be even more of a jaw ligament-straining yawn than Mao’s plastic order book. But, at least it is useful. Fortunately, there are fewer red live wires …

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
9 months ago

Although brought up in religion, I fell away for decades. I went back when I realized that the religious have it broadly right. It doesn’t mean they’re more fun or more interesting, it was just an acceptance that the tired old cliché about there being nothing much worth having in the material world was pretty much correct. Whatever answers you’re looking for, you won’t find them on Amazon. And you damn sure won’t find them in the pages of a lazy, adulterous, narcissistic, pseudo-intellectual parasite like Karl Marx.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago

Zuckerberg and ‘Meta’ is likely pure Gold Calf worshiping, and is so twisted one wonders if he and his other 4 horsemen are the Antichrist.

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

dl

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
9 months ago

To have a belief is very important because it makes life easier to live. If you share that belief with others, you have something to discuss; maybe you even have discussion groups.

It helps if you have a religious book to study; even better if that book is obscure and difficult to read. Then you can have interpreters of the book, those who bring its message to the multitude – let us call them priests. The book would be written in one language and then translated so that the translators also become interpreters. Even better if there are good quotations: ‘God said that we should see our bosses as evil men’ unless they are members of the CCP.

All religions are spoiled by the interpreters. Before Luther (and a couple of others) the bible was in Latin and that was a translation. So the priests were all-powerful because only they understood. Islam could, arguably, be the best religion in the world but can each Imam be trusted? Can you trust the views of Rowan Williams if you are Christian?Marxism could be the solution to our problems – but then I would have to read it myself and not trust anybody else’s interpretation. And there lies the problem. I lack the motivation because it is just another religion.

Last edited 9 months ago by Chris Wheatley
Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

But is fatally hindered by two things
– that Marx and Engels intended it as a body of theory about economics and politics, not as a religion
– it doesn’t deal with the question of Death, or what lies beyond, which is the main focus of any religion.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Small correction. That’s what religions have been in the past. My point is that all these things are totally subjective.

For example, if I have grandchildren I could believe that they are my life after death, that they are what I have have lived for and worked towards.

If I believe in Marx as a god, then it is my duty to leave behind a society devoted to Marx.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Very few people can believe still in Marx even as a political theorist or economist.

If they want to believe in him as a god, I can only wish them the best of Chinese luck.

As for the individual submerging his or her hopes and dreams in hopes and dreams for his descendants, or the future of China – it doesn’t work; individuals may wish to submerge themselves in the collective like that.

But they can’t – they’re human beings, not insects, like bees or termites.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

In point of fact, the civic religions of ancient cities like Rome or Athens, were very much communal religion of the type the CCP is trying to encourage.

But are extinct. The public didn’t want them any more
No Roman augurs still sacrifice to the Roman gods, for instance.

And the title of Pontifex Maximus – Chief Priest – is no longer held by the Roman Emperor, but by the Christian Bishop of Rome, currently Francis by name.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Rome went from 600 BC to 1400 – 2000 years, the Roman Gods lasted from ancient Greece to AD 300 or so – a very long time indeed – till supplanted by Christianity, not that the old gods just lost interest as you infer, but were replaced by a superior religion –

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

dl

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

“– it doesn’t deal with the question of Death, or what lies beyond, which is the main focus of any religion.”

But remember Confucianism is not a Theos, or god based religion. Some vague Confucianism Transcendence, but not an afterlife, not a god – yet a religion….Shintoism either….

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

dl

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I doubt whether either Confucianism or Shintoism can be classed as a religion, rather than a philosophy with religious overtones.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“I lack the motivation because it is just another religion.”

cool story, deep….

The problem is that such a cop-out is thought to be just fine by modern, vacuous, secular society,’ who has time to learn about spaghetti-monsters and such foolishness, when ignorance is so much easier’… ‘Whats on Netflix? Have you seen my new Warcraft Game?’

Even though Religion, and later Marxism (which, although, may have cheap analogies to religion, is not one) are the largest forces in all world history – and have basically created all society, and our society, and us, and how and what we think, and our intellectualism and so science, politics, philosophy – who can be bothered to read all that junk?……

Well the Chinese do, they are very intelligent indeed (not so creative, but very logical), and they will try to use what they learn, but as a Party, will try to warp it, even as some of the people try to actually grow from it….

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

dl

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago

Marxism has always been a substitute religion for many, with proxy trappings if not trappists (and no less inclination to human sacrifice of sorts)

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt B

yawn

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

What’s your name today? Weren’t you going by the name of Sanford Artzen recently, or some such nom de plume for writing monologues about your brilliance whilst calling everyone else sheep?

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt B

I have no idea who I am on the best of days, but your image of a bunch of Trappist Monks out doing human sacrifices just did not reconcile with my experiences with them – because oddly enough I have been in a couple of their monasteries as guest and visitor and nothing seemed further from what they actually get up to.

The common way people want to label so many completely secular things as religion tends to bother me, but I went back and removed the down arrow I had given you.-

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Nor my experience. The ref is not to them. Marxists, however…a belief system with so many trappings of religion it’s hard to count. Humans are hard-wired for religion, which is why so many hijack and further weaponize its content and methods (which does inc sacrifice, figurative or real per JC).

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt B
Iris C
Iris C
9 months ago

The belief in some influence outside human experience has been with humans since the beginning of time so it is not surprising that the communist state is looking for something to fill the atheist void..

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
9 months ago

Having one of the biggest killers in history as the founder and hero of your national order has to be creating a kind of cognitive dissonance for the Chinese and a necessary distortion of truth within the country that would make any demand for liberty hard to come by. To be able to accept all of that killing as necessary and being for a good purpose, you’ve got to fervently believe Marx was right.

Last edited 9 months ago by Emre Emre
Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
9 months ago

Sadly, it’s often religion, not patriotism, that is the last refuge of fools and scoundrels.

Matt B
Matt B
9 months ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

It’s hard to separate them sometimes. Whichever is the most powerful on the day may well draft and twist the other. Neither, in themselves, are a priori negative – and certainly no more than atheism. The first two can both be a force for good and bad. The latter thinks of itself as pure, which is very debatable after the C20th. Certainly no further beyond good and evil…