A Warning From Karl Marx
However much we in the West dislike Karl Marx, he probably influenced the 20th century the most along with Darwin and Freud. Reviewing some notes from my Western Political Philosophy II class, I saw a warning in the life of Marx. He was a man who lost touch of reality, forgetting his life, his family, and his wife. His obsession with ideas compromised his ability to relate to other human beings, and he died a sad and lonely man.
The problems I have with Marx’s philosophies are endless, and unsurprising. However, I was struck by the way he formed his philosophy. Marx sat in his living room and formulated his opinions based on what he could see from the limited vantage point of his window and the immediate town. He never traveled (with the exception of several deportations from countries incensed by his philosophy), never sought to apply his doctrine, never looked past the pane of glass in front of his eyes to see the world as it really worked. He thought himself to be a very capable scientist, who correctly reduced complex political processes down to a scientific formula. And yet to anyone reading his writings, his juvenile understanding of how the world works is readily apparent. Marx imagined himself to be a genius, but in reality misinterpreted the entire world because he never experienced the world himself.
Emulating Marx is all too easy. He was a pure theoretician, not caring to seek out the application of his doctrine. He became enamored with ideas, and cared little about those around him. Marx developed a reputation as an irritable, miserable man who quickly alienated anyone close to him.
There is always the constant danger of doing the same with Scripture. I am growing in knowledge daily, but that does not mean I am growing in godliness. Knowledge without wisdom only leads to disaster. Solomon was the most knowledgable man who ever lived, and was given great wisdom by God. Yet he regressed in wisdom as his heart was turned astray by the gods of his wives. As Marx grew in knowledge, he regressed in wisdom as his ideology grew farther and farther out of touch with reality. Is it any different with theology? If I can only speak systematic theology, am I really pleasing the Lord? “Knowledge puffeth up.” I find this to be truer than I originally thought.
The Gospel—the Doctrine of God come down to rescue sinful men—intersects with real life. It is real life. The souls of men are at stake; it is no game. There is nothing theoretical in “God is holy and cannot tolerate sin. You are a sinful man, and His justice condemns you to hell. But, He sent His Son to take your place.”