In his lifetime, Karl Marx named himself the voice and mind of the working class. He claimed to stand against the tyranny of the upper class, the oppressive class structures of europe and the alienating factories of the early industrial revolution. He cried, “The workers have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to gain. Workers of the world unite!” Despite his gallant words and radical theories, he had one staggering problem: he didn’t like working class people. In fact, he hardly had any significant contact with the working class.
For instance, most of Marx’s “data” about wealthy business owners oppressing workers did not come from first hand experience or personal investigation. (Most of it was outdated data, collected by government officials to irradiate inhumane conditions in factories.)
When the workers Marx sought to “unite” attempted to join his organization, Marx strongly resisted their influence. Marx’s biographer Paul Johnson writes,
Marx always preferred to associate with middle-class intellectuals like himself. When he and Engels created the Communist League, … Marx made sure that working-class socialists were eliminated from any positions of influence. … His motive was partly intellectual snobbery, partly that men with actual experience of factory conditions tended to be anti-violence and in favor of modest, progressive improvements. … Some of Marx’s most venomous assaults were directed against men of this type.
For instance, William Weitling, the son of a single mother, who by sheer hard work and self-education became a tailor’s apprentice and garnered a small communist following. Marx put him on trial to test his communist “doctrines”; he made a fool of the man, calling him ignorant, and an “open-mouthed donkey”. By the end of it Weitling was humiliated, and Marx was described as striding up and down the room in a violent rage. Marx wouldn’t even allow his daughters to marry working class men, or communist revolutionaries.
As if this isn’t enough, Marx was a raging anti-semite. I cannot repeat what he wrote about Jews, because it is so foul – but he see Jews and their banking as a key problem in Europe.
Marx’s was goal to unite workers and create lasting equality, but Marx himself wanted nothing of equality with others. Johnson tells of one prussian officer who said that “the dominating trait of his character is an unlimited ambition and love of power … he is the absolute ruler of his party.” Marx wanted to rule by violence, power, and absolute authoritarianism. Not too surprisingly, the countries that eventually implemented his philosophies in the Soviet block were ruled by power hungry, totalitarian, haters of the lower class.
So while Marx preached one thing: equality between the classes, he practiced another: oppressive power and hatred. His philosophy lacked the power to achieve its aims. Yet, one man achieved what Marx could not: he taught a message and lived a life that eradicated the walls of class, race and age between his followers. His name was Jesus.
Unlike Marx, Jesus – though being God – humbled himself and “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:8). Jesus died to save the creatures he created: human beings, regardless of class, gender, race, age or power status. He humbled himself for the sake of the rich and the poor. Jesus began a revolution with self-sacrificial love. Love that requires all humans, blue collar or white collar, to mutually admit their need for God’s grace. Love that endows all humans, upper class or lower class, with the supreme worth of God’s glorious love!
We can read about this truth living and working about 140 years after Christ’s death. Athenagoras, an early Christian, wrote that,
among us you will find uneducated persons, and artisans, and old women, who if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of our doctrine, yet by their deeds exhibit the benefits arising from their persuasion of the truth: they do not rehearse speeches, but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go to law; they give to those that ask of them, and love their neighbors as themselves.
That truth continues today in many churches.
By his blood, Christ humbled the proud, and made fools wise. By his blood he made a bridge between the rich and poor. By his blood he reconciled man to God, that man might be peaceably reconciled to man.