Two men were born in the 19th century. Millions upon millions have died in the 20th and 21st centuries because of them. They are two of the most wicked men in modern history. Yet they are two of the most influential thinkers in the Western world.
Both Germans, the first is Karl Marx and the second is Friedrich Nietzsche.
Marx taught that the world is divided between classes, the oppressor class and the oppressed class. The haves belong to the oppressor class. They have wrongly. The have-nots belong to the oppressed class. They lack because they are victims of injustice. According to Marx, the individual is subsumed in the class and disparity is due to injustice, flatly. History is the record of class conflict between the oppressed and oppressors. And the telos of history shall be the rising up of the oppressed class and the dethroning of the oppressors, bringing common equality to society. A good government, then, is one that aids this move of history by taking control of the means of production and distributing goods equally among the citizenry.
Nietzsche, whose work is known to all hip-hop lovers thanks to Kanye West (“That that that that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger”), had a basic framework for morality, one that is hideously contradictory. He attempted to throw off God. He is the “God is dead” guy. He threw off objective truth. And he claimed that all good was power, and all bad, all ill, was weakness.
Because God loves mocking idiot Wienerschnitzels, he ordains deep irony.
So Marx, who was against all private property, shunned free, state-provided options, and bought a private plot for his grave. And now his doting worshippers are charged cold, hard cash to visit the unholy site.
So Nietzsche died after years of drooling weakly in a wheelchair, completely dependent on the charity of others.
And because God really loves mocking the vast “wisdom” of men, he checkmates their wisdom, wisdom celebrated in all the big universities in Europe and North America today, with just one verse written by a Jew King.
Ecclesiastes 4:1 says, “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.”
Look at that! This verse deals with oppressors and the oppressed. Christians who like James Cone rejoice! This must support Marx’s worldview of class conflict, right? Wrong. Oppressors are in this verse. The oppressed are in this verse. And classes are nowhere to be found.
Solomon, the Jew King, points his finger at “acts of oppression” done by specific oppressors. Solomon condemns actual sins committed by specific people. The Marxist view doesn’t require any real repentance. It doesn’t require any real justice or atonement. It doesn’t require the law of God. It is successful as a philosophy because it feeds off of human envy and greed and jealousy. “Look. They have more than you. That’s wrong, isn’t it? They can only have gotten what they have through abuse, right? Don’t worry. We’ll fix this. We’ll take what they have so they no longer have more than you. Here, hold this ‘EQUALITY’ sign.”
The Bible rejects this thinking. Disparity is no ill; for God made the world full of disparities. He made some good looking and some not so much. He made some smart and some not so much. He made some places full of rain and some places full of oil and some places full of pygmies. The Bible demands real wrong to be done, and not just difference to exist, in order for condemnation to be valid. Wrong can only be rightly identified by the standard of God’s Word. When wrong and the wrongdoer are specifically identified, an oppressor guilty of a tangible act of oppression, then, and only then, may there be righteous condemnation. Then, and only then, can actual victims get actual justice.
Yes, the world is full of oppressors and oppression. But the finger of blame cannot be pointed at a class. In God’s world, it’s pointed at sinners.
Nietzsche is even more easily brushed aside by this verse. Power is good, right? “Might makes right”? Don’t be a Hitler. Who has power in this verse? The bad guys. And this guy is supposed to be one of the greatest thinkers ever to live in Europe? Are you kidding me?
“Nice shoes. Now they’re mine. Might makes right, sucker.”
“Don’t be a crybaby, you crippled wussy. I dumped you out of your wheelchair because I wanted to, and strength is good. Weakness is bad.”
“Your house? Mine. Your car? Mine. Your dog? I shot him. Your life? I snuffed it.”
This isn’t a legitimate philosophy. It’s prison bullying.
Power isn’t bad. God is all-powerful. But, obviously, bad guys use their power to do bad things. Duh.
So, should we listen to Karl Marx? No. Ecclesiastes 4:1.
Should we listen to Friedrich Nietzsche? No. Ecclesiastes 4:1.
On this Lord’s Day, one Bible verse fries two Wienerschnitzels. Die Wurst ist verkocht.