Klaus Bockmuehl : The Challenge of Marxism (1980)
Klaus Bockmuehl (1931-1989)
1. I am re-reading some 20 to 30 books that have a formative influence on me during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Among the books is Klaus Bockmuehl's The Challenge of Marxism: A Christian Response (1980).
Klaus Bockmuehl (1931-1989) was professor of theology and ethics at Regent College here in Vancouver.
2. One of my undergraduate subjects was Economics.
A highlight of my economics studies was taking a 3rd year course on Comparative Economic Systems.
The semester I took the Comparative Economic Systems course it was taught by a visiting professor from Hungary.
The course had over 100 students the semester I took it and the professor was favoring some form of Democratic Socialism.
Not one shy in asking questions, I asked the visiting professor many embarrassing questions about Democratic Socialism during the lectures that he was not able to answer.
But I was very impressed with the professor in that he treated my questions honestly and he said he did not had an answer when he did not.
The mid-term was a take home essay exam and for my essay, I contrasted certain views of Karl Marx and Milton Friedman from their respective Capital: Critique of Political Economy (original 1867-1894) and Capitalism and Freedom (1962).
Not only did I get a handsome grade for the mid-term, the professor invited me to his office for a discussion about my paper afterwards.
3. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Marxism as an ideology was passe.
I was never seduce by Marxism, but I was puzzled why many intelligent people find it fascinating and convincing.
Klaus Bockmuehl was originally from Germany and his book has mainly the Western intellectuals in view.
But Marxism was not only a Western phenomenon.
Many Chinese intellectuals from the 1910s to well into the 1950s were also seduced by it.
The Challenge of Marxism (1980) was written before the dissolution of the Soviet Union and it explained for me why many people the world over find Marxism fascinating.
Bockmuehl thesis was that Marxism was a secular religion and it advocated a secular counterpart of Christianity's Kingdom of God.
There were many structural similarities between Christianity and Marxism because both are forms of ideologies.
Like Christianity, Marxism was not only an academic theory but it also had a program to bring about the Marxist utopia.
As the famous Thesis 11 from Karl Marx's 1845 essay "Theses On Feuerbach" said: "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."
20th Century history took a big detour with Marxism and Marxism was buried with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Bockmuehl, Klaus. 1980. The Challenge of Marxism: A Christian Response. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.