The Human Dialectic of Absolute Premises: Christianity and Marxism (Part I)

Date: Sat 03 May 2003 - 03:44:17 GMT

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    The Human Dialectic of Absolute Premises: Christianity and Marxism

    By Joe E. Dees

    I. The Fundamental Contention

    In the comparative analysis of two systems of belief, one immediately encounters problems as to the validity of one?s methodology. If the belief systems in question are not amenable to correlation, one has three choices: (1) to bias the analysis by assuming one belief system?s methodology over the other?s, (2) to render the analysis non-relational by choosing a methodology foreign to both, and (3) to beg the question by synthesizing the methodologies of the two systems prior to the comparative analysis.

    Since a comparative analysis cannot take place without two distinct belief systems to compare, the question arises whether or not such an inquiry is possible. Certain pairs of systems, however, are indeed correlative and at the same time distinct. This occurs when two belief systems directly oppose one another; they are then relational as correlative opposites, and mutually contradict in their conclusions as a result of the operation of a single logic upon mutually exclusive premises. Two belief systems bearing this relationship may be viewed as thesis and antithesis and compared dialectically.

    Such is the relationship between Christianity and Marxism. One asserts primordial Mind as the ground of being for the presence of matter, while the other asserts primordial Matter as the ground of becoming for emerging mind. One sees history as the temporal manifestation of transcendent intention, while the other sees it as the temporal evolution of immanent action. Both are absolutist, both are deterministic, and both accept deductive logic as valid and the principle of noncontradiction as sound.

    If these are indeed systems of belief, the basic premise of each must lie outside the purview of knowledge. This means that neither premise may be undeniably demonstrable by example, nor may either be unequivocally denied by counterexample. Furthermore, induction proceeds from empirical data to statistically probable conclusions. The presence of a single measurable and repeatable datum would, due to their mutually antithetical nature, render one of the premises untrue while placing the other within the realm of probability, which is not belief, but statistical knowledge. Our two systems thus must be grounded upon absolute and not relative premises. This entails that neither premise may be statistically probable, in other words, neither may be either empirically verifiable or empirically falsifiable. This of course means that neither system may proceed from induction.

    This is true of Christianity and Marxism. Our sciences, which proceed by induction according to the Verification Principle, are sciences of matter and energy. The sine qua non (condition in the absence of which they would not be what they are) of matter and energy is that they be sensorily perceivable phenomena. These immanent objects of perception are then measured by relating our perceptions of them to our perceptions of intersubjectively agreed- upon standards of measurement which are themselves physical. These quantified perceptions must then be amenable to repetition at will by means of any duplication of the conditions under which they appear. This method cannot be used to either verify or falsify the presence or absence of transcendent nonphysical Mind. Our sensuous perceptions, our technological augmentation of them, our devices of measurement, our method of repetition are all immanent and physical; they are categorically incapable of this task. We cannot prove God is anywhere, and neither can we prove that there is anywhere God is not. Induction is useless with respect to either Christianity of Marxism; the basic premise must be believed in, rather than known, and in either case, conclusions must follow by means of deduction from the basic premise, not induction from empirically obtained data. This explains why both belief systems accept the principle of noncontradiction as apodictically (self-evidently) true.

    [/b]They both proceed by means of deduction from assumed a priori postulates.[/b]

    What is this concept of Being, however, about the existence of which these two dogmas incessantly contend™ It is a concept of absolute Wisdom, Justice, Goodness, Beauty, Power and Unity existing both a priori to and simultaneous with the temporal universe. It is the concept of a universal Creator, Circumscriber and Subsumer who provides source, impetus and goal for every act, passion and inspiration, and in whom is found the purified synthesis of all that is, was and will be, the common essence of apparent multiplicity in space and time.

    Capitalize any human virtue and it becomes an attribute of God, the Perfect Mind.

    Ludwig Feuerbach™s analysis of humanity™s relationship to this concept proceeds according to the Hegelian dialectic. Declaring religion to be anthropology and its evolution to be the history of humankind, he states clearly and the three movements of this dialectic and what is being moved. They are:

    (1) The animal, becoming human by becoming aware of the humanity emerging within it (which is part of it and yet still controls it), purifies and projects this awareness into an absolute and transcendent realm; emerging mind becomes crystallized in Mind, an Other Mind. This objectification of self as Other, Feuerbach contends, is necessary for the humanization of humanity in abstract terms.

    (2) Now, however, nothing is left to the human. It has all been invested in the Other. Humanity finds that it has bankrupted itself by giving the Other all that was recognizable in it as more-than- animal. Humanity finds itself an object, having given its subjecthood away.

    (3) Humanity now œreally emerges, or rather finally merges with itself. Seeing that it has alienated itself from its own soul, which it has called God, Humanity shreds the veil of self-delusion and reclaims its own heart from the transcendent altar-prison that it had itself built. This synthesis of animal and God becomes the new thesis, the thesis of the human.

    However, the movements of the human dialectic are not at an end, Feuerbach notwithstanding. The God of Absolute and Perfect Mind has been disputed, true, and by a premise both as basic and as absolute. œGod is found itself facing œGod is not. But then, what is to be held holy? We must have some common unity or we must call ourselves nothing, and, for the great majority of us, that is existentially unbearable. But an understanding once achieved could not in good faith be forgotten, and once our eyes had been opened, we could not close them again. Personhood had been fragmented non-relational persons; what God could reclaim the altar, to replace the God whose throne humanity had usurped, the God whom humanity had conquered, and therefore lost?

    The new God-concept was provided by Karl Marx, and was both as absolute as the old God-concept and antithetical to it. In fact, it was not addressed by the name God but by the name Reality. The geist of Apollo was met by the geist of Dionysius. Jesus? God was a God of Mind; Marx™s God was a God of Matter. Jesus? God inhabited our souls; Marx™s God constituted our bodies. The invisible God promising the invisible Heavens was faced with the visible God promising the visible Earth. Dialectical idealism was opposed by dialectical materialism, and contemplation by action. The doctrine of immanence as illusion was no longer an imperative, but an alternative; now another alternative existed; the doctrine of transcendence as illusion. The slave was to spend nights no longer in pursuit of a justification of slavery and the justification of self as slave in the higher order of things. Instead, both days and nights were to be spent correcting the injustice that forced the worker, the producer, and the priest at the altar of the Material God, into servitude for the sake of parasitic inferiors, the bourgeois masters.

    Philosophy™s task was finished, and now its products must be implemented. There was work to be done. The thesis, Christianity, through Aquinas, Kant, Hegel and Feuerbach, had finally spawned its antithesis, Marxism.

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