[Marxism] RE: Interview with Paul Buhle

Paul H. Dillon illonph at pacbell.net
Tue Mar 9 17:14:13 MST 2004

  Has anyone read Zizek's book, " On Belief" on Christianity?

  Paul Dillon

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: "Mark Lause" <MLause at cinci.rr.com>
  To: "'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
  Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 3:06 PM
  Subject: RE: [Marxism] RE: Interview with Paul Buhle

  Let's be very clear about the kind of Christian radicalism, Paul's
  discussing in this interview...

  Historically, American churches and congregations that embraced the
  fellowship of slaveholders faced an anti-institutional revolt of the
  "come-outers" who rejected that fellowship and established their own
  free congregations or rejected clerical authority on any level.  The
  abolitionist movement would have never happened without it.  By the
  1850s, many of these gravitated towards spiritualism (ie., spirit
  mediums and séances) as a mass movement.  After the Civil War, these
  groups and persons continued to pursue what became known as "the social
  gospel."  Some dissenting ministers (and even a handful of heroic
  priests) stayed in organized denominations and faced the wrath of the
  hierarchy for taking up the "social gospel".

  All in all, an admirable and gutsy lot.  When I found myself in a combat
  zone in Nicaragua with a bunch of Euro-Communists on one side and
  radical Catholics on the other, I felt a much greater kinship with--and
  trust in--the latter than the former.

  Still, the emphasis on bearing an individual moral witness sometimes
  conflicts with a political strategy aimed at a mass social impact.  This
  sometimes diverges sharply from Marxism.  Crudely put, while I want to
  make a point with the masses, they are making their point with the Holy
  Ghost.  I can respect and defend their views, but I'm interested in a
  different set of questions and addressing a different set of problems.

  Certainly, the reason there has not been a convergence between Marxism
  and Christianity isn't simply the fault of Marxists, a numerically
  rather minor current by comparison.

  Mark L.

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