Sunday, March 1, 2009

Christianity and Communism

Christianity and Communism: One of Christianity's major tenets emphasizes the inherent sacredness and equality of a community. Whenever people gather in the name of Christ, He is present. This divine sacrality merits attention insofar as Christians comprehend the full implications of what they worship. Take the archetypal image of the Last Supper, for example. It highlights equality in a communal setting, as God Himself is effectively on the same level as His disciples. And in doing so, it lends itself to an ideology like communism, which understands the civic virtue of a community in a more secular, albeit atheistic, fashion. An image of the Soviet Politburo could just as easily be superimposed over the Last Supper. Given that Christianity is fundamentally antagonistic toward socio-economic hierarchies, it is essentially analogous to the classless society that communism endorses. In fact, Christianity, as an agent of inversion, seeks to level all hierarchical orders that inevitably rise from social constructions of knowledge like gender, race, and class. The True Levellers, who assumed their name from a passage in Acts of the Apostles, were a prominent social group during the English Civil War that called for a leveling of the property distinctions in England, which they perceived as the root of all class consciousness. This kind of thinking found its way into separatist Christian sects such as the Pilgrims. When they conceived of their Plymouth Colony in America through the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrims understood the necessity for equalizing social conditions among members in their community. The dire circumstances that befell them in early America forced the Pilgrims to put aside their petty differences and bind together in a collective effort to survive. The problem is, of course, communism ceases to function as a workable ideology in a society driven largely by notions of private property and individualism.

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