Liberation 101

  It's back to school month, and across the nation Christian students have headed off to college—where many will face courses that reflect all the latest political fads. Today's typical course catalog includes a hodge-podge of liberation ideologies based on race, gender, or sexual orientation—from Stanford's course on "Eco-Feminism" to UCLA's "Chicana Lesbian Literature" to a Brown University course called "Black Lavender: A Study of Black Gay/Lesbian Plays." How can Christian students keep their faith on today's politicized campus? The answer is to learn to analyze worldviews, and it starts by understanding that Christianity itself is a worldview. The basic elements of the biblical message—creation, fall, and redemption—are not merely theological doctrines. They also represent the basic questions that every worldview must answer. Creation—where did we come from? Fall—what's wrong with the world? Why is there evil and suffering? And finally, Redemption—how can it be fixed? How can we create a better world? By applying these categories to any worldview, we can test how well it answers the basic questions of life. For example, when you probe deeply, the worldview that underlies all the liberation ideologies woven throughout the college curricula today is Marxism. The original concept of the oppression of the proletariat has merely been replaced by the oppression of women, homosexuals, or minorities. And that means we can critique all these ideologies by applying a worldview analysis to Marxism itself. What does Marx say about creation—ultimate origins? In Marxism, the ultimate creator is matter itself. Lenin went so far as to call matter "the supreme being, the cause of all causes, the creator of heaven and earth." And since humans derive their identity from their relationship to the creator, in Marxism our identity comes from our relationship to matter—the way we shape and produce material things: the means of production. All is reduced to economics. Marx's counterpart to the Garden of Eden is a state of primitive communism. The original sin is the creation of private property, which caused humanity to fall from a state of innocence into slavery and oppression. Redemption will come from rising up against the capitalist oppressors to reverse the original sin and restore paradise. As theology professor Klaus Bockmuehl writes, "Marxism is a secularized vision of the kingdom of God." How well does this secular utopianism stack up against reality? Not well at all—as everyone knows since the fall of the Soviet Union. The promise of a classless society has never been fulfilled, despite countless Marxist-inspired revolutions around the globe. And the reason Marxism fails in the real world is that it fails conceptually to give adequate answers to the questions of creation, fall, and redemption. Beginning with matter as the creator, it leads to hopelessly unrealistic definitions of human nature and of the human dilemma. The vast network of contemporary liberation movements that adopt Marxist categories are equally flawed—and equally dangerous. Christians are often baffled by the clash of worldviews in today's culture. But by learning our own Christian worldview, each of us can be equipped for the worldview battle—whether on campus or in the world.


Chuck Colson


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