Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Reality of Desire

Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud were huge proponents of atheism in the early part of the Modern Era. Karl Marx spoke of religion as the “opium of the people.” He alleged that the need for religion derived from socioeconomic problems and if these problems were alleviated religion would no longer be a need of the people. His proposal, as most know, created communism as the solution. He proposed that a class-less society would fix the problem and create a utopia. History records a tragic bloody result of his philosophy.


Freud on the other hand decried religion as being a result of a psychological need to project one’s childhood father relationship to a God being as an adult. In contrast, Freud had a horrible experience with his own father and yet he never developed any philosophy concerning a psychological reason for his denial of God.


Both Marx and Freud agreed that humanity had a deep desire for God. Marx linked it to economic injustice and thought that government leaders could enact the change to end the need for God. Freud thought that we would evolve past our need for God as we matured as humans and that we would see God is dead and we have killed him by rising above such childish fantasies.


However, here we are in the year 2008 and most of the planet still seeks to fill their deepest need for God and many seek to fill that need by various world religions. Christianity has a unique claim that God came down to earth as a man, the Son of God, and paid the debt of sin for us so that the way to Him is Christ and not by any penance, works, religions, mantras, rituals etc. He is the answer to our deepest need. He appeared in history, had a lineage, in a time and place that can all be verified. Even these men who are so famous for their denial of Him acknowledged the need of humanity to know Him. I don’t think there are valid needs without valid fulfillments. If you are hungry you can eat. If you are thirsty you can drink. If you are tired you can sleep. If you desire to fill your soul you can do that too, with the only One who can satisfy. There are drinks that won’t quench thirst and there are foods that won’t satisfy hunger, likewise there are religions that won’t meet the needs of the soul and there is Christ who can and will. The awesome think about finding Christ is that you can still enjoy the desire and have that desire filled at the same time. It’s as if you are drinking from the best water imaginable that isn’t to quench your natural thirst, but the thirst of your soul. Jesus said of Himself that He is that living water.

19 comments:

CyberKitten said...

karla said: His proposal, as most know, created communism as the solution. He proposed that a class-less society would fix the problem and create a utopia. History records a tragic bloody result of his philosophy.

Actually Lenin & Trotsky created soviet style communism by extrapolating the ideas of Marx. So you can't really blame him for soviet communism - at least not wholly. The major flaw in the plan that it was indeed Utopian and probably unachievable even with the millions of lives destroyed in an attempt to bring the future into fruition.

Marx was definitely right about religion being an opium though. It's *very* useful for keeping a subject people quiet as they suffer. He was also right with much of his criticism of 'naked' capitalism.

karla said: Even these men who are so famous for their denial of Him acknowledged the need of humanity to know Him.

Well, they thought that we had a twisted and deluded need for a father figure that we could run to in times of trouble.... and anyway the rather bizarre (IMO) 'need' for God is no proof that there actually *is* a God there to be 'needed'.

karla said: I don’t think there are valid needs without valid fulfillments.

That's a pretty meaningless statement. You appear to be saying that the *need* for God has a strong relationship to the *existence* of God - as someone to fulfill the need. But if I (or anyone else) came up with a counter example you could just say that it wasn't a *valid* need - which you are assuming the 'need' for God to be. As I do not regard this need as valid then I can say that it cannot be fulfilled in a valid manner.

Anonymous said...

"He appeared in history, had a lineage, in a time and place that can all be verified."

For a student of history, you seem to be wholly ignorant of what actually happened and what can be verified.

Name one contemporary source for Jesus...just one. You can't do it. The evidence that you seem to think you have is rather scant.

fatblue said...

Karla,

Have you ever read Marx's "Capital"? Have you ever read anything that he wrote? You haven't.

'But here you are, speaking like you're the authority Marx and history, -"History records a tragic bloody result of his philosophy". Communist Russia was not Marxist.

You probably haven't read Freud either.

"However, here we are in the year 2008 and most of the planet still seeks to fill their deepest need for God and many seek to fill that need by various world religions."

Well, here we are in the year 2008 and most of the planet is still living below the poverty line.

You probably have no experience with other religions either. You decided you were a Christian when you were a kid and so now you know everything. Isn't that great?

Karla said...

No I haven't read either Marx or Frued. I am reading a book about them. I am no expert on them. I am reading someone who has studied them. Have you read them? I'm not sure Lenin and Trotsky would have the foundation to their philosophy if it Marx hadn't paved the way.

"Religion" in it's corrupted nature distinct from Biblical Christianity is oppresive and keeps people in bondage. I agree. I don't like religion. I don't consider true Christianity a religion at least not that kind of a religion.

I appreciate all your comments and thoughts.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: No I haven't read either Marx or Frued. I am reading a book about them.

I'm sure we'd all be interested to know which book(s) you have been reading on the subjects we are debating here. Maybe then we could suggest alternate titles you might want to try out?

I've tried to read Marx. Its not exactly light reading! [laughs]

Mike said...

Hi folks,

As I've read and watched the debate it seems there is a predisposition (IMHO) to focus the greater part of this debate on what I would call 'external' factors. Does he exist, doesn't he exist..? Proof..? History, Science, Culture, etc...

I would offer that the real differences here lie in the depths of the human heart and soul - mind, genetics, likes, dislikes, passions, emotions, etc...

I would offer that upon close examination, the issues presented in the Bible, and the history that we all witness and experience proceed at some point from the internal workings of people.

I heard one of my professors say once that "Mental creation precedes physical creation" and he suggested that it was in immutable principle of the universe.

So, while we can debate forever the historical facts (or not), the culture wars, the scientific gains, etc., this issue (again IMHO) is really a personal, very personal issue for every person. We of course like to highlight behavior as it tends to illuminate what is on the inside, but these questions aren't easy to discuss without that filter - because it leaves to many 'why's - why did this happen, or why is this this way, etc.?

Does that make sense?

So I would like to ask why you think all of these great men (and women) came to the conclusions that they did? Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Jesus, Marx, Hitler, etc... And more so, why do we as peasant serfs (just kidding) seems to so easily fall into one or another of these prevailing world views?

Am I running to deep? If so, just tell me to shut up and move on... ;) MM

Anonymous said...

"So I would like to ask why you think all of these great men (and women) came to the conclusions that they did?"

Argument from authority. Simply because Plato or Hitler believed in a god doesn't make it right or wrong.

Karla said...

Mike, I'm not sure what your getting at. But Jesus is verifable history. Even Peter Jennings did a broadcast about the historical Jesus -- he did it poorly, but even his skeptical presenation didn't suggest Jesus didn't live and die. So we do have to look at evidence. We don't want to rely on subjective needs alone. Yes, I posit that we need God. But if that was the only argument I could make it wouldn't be very substantial.

The only reason to believe something is truth is because it lines up with reality. It may not always be able to be proven to line up with reality 100%. If it is true it goes on being true even if we can't prove it. Truth is what is no matter what is believed, agreed, etc.

cyberkitten, at the moment I am reading Twilight of Atheism by Alister McGrath. In it, even though he is a Christian, he is critical of Christian philosophy throughout history along side atheistic thinking. If you haven't heard of him, he's an Oxford Professor and an ex-atheist.

I do prefer to read primary documents. Often times I'll read something in a secondary document and then go to the primary myself especially if it is something in question about it. My post wasn't intended to be an authority on either Marx or Lenon only a very simplistic summation of their theories which I know is by no means a scholarly one. It was just some thoughts.

I just recently bought Thus Spoke Zarusthra to read original Nietzche. So I'm getting there. I do like the heady deep stuff and writers of the past who write with antiquated eloquency.

Mike said...

Anonymous,

Good point. Were they influenced by others, or just their own experiences? Did they come to their own conclusions, or were they conclusions based on others' work, with their own thoughts and experiences added in per se..?

I'm just fascinated by all of this. It would seem that there must be a beginning somewhere. All of the prevailing world views, philosophies, etc., came from somewhere; and they all seem to draw a following...

Logic would posit that all truth originates from one central root and branches out, morphs and becomes what we are experiencing today - but why..? What is it deep within us that seems to influence us toward one or another?

In my strange imagination, I can only conclude that at some point, there was a small group of people that thought they had the corner on 'truth'. All people seem to operate out of their own version of it. The power of the human psyche seems to set us up to protect to the death that which we believe...

So how can we be absolutely sure that we are all subscribing to the right one, or the one that is most right..? MM

Anonymous said...

"Logic would posit that all truth originates from one central root and branches out, morphs and becomes what we are experiencing today - but why..?"

If this is true, it is most likely that Xianity is not true. Xianity branched off from Judaism (while borrowing from other cults of the time), while Judaism itself was heavily borrowed from earlier Summerian religions.

"So how can we be absolutely sure that we are all subscribing to the right one, or the one that is most right..? MM"

Good question. You can't. And, the vast sea of choices that you have suggests that you most likely are not right.

William Fenholt said...

I love how you casually threw in the "time and a place that can all be historically verified" crap as if it's true.

Sure most historians believe jesus existed but the time lines given for his arrival and circumstances are dubious at best.

Karla said...

cyberkitten, I just wanted to add that my post was not a regurgitation of the book I am reading. It just got me thinking about the subject and I wrote from my thoughts on it. So any errors are my own.

Karla said...

Anonymous, are you the same "anonymous" that conversed with me over a period of weeks in the past?

Also, the Christian history starts with the creation of the world and it will never end for it continues past the life of the earth. Christians are grafted into the Jewish history so to speak. We share the same heritage, but we share it as ones who are grafted in to the rich heritage they lived.

As for Mike's post about truth. I'm not sure I follow exactly. I agree that there is one truth and that it has gotten distorted in different cultures and religious beliefs and even still that one truth shines through when you have eyes to see it. Once you know what is true you can see all else more clearly. If I know what a real $20 bill looks like, I mean really really know, I can spot a counterfeit $20. If I don't know both could look just as valid to me. Or if all I knew was the counterfeit and I had never seen a real $20 bill I would think the real to be the counterfeit and never be the wiser unless I went to the authoritative source/ maker of the money to determine what was real.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I just recently bought Thus Spoke Zarusthra to read original Nietzche. So I'm getting there. I do like the heady deep stuff and writers of the past who write with antiquated eloquency.

I'm studying Nietzsche myself ATM on a 10 week course. We've looked at 'Beyond Good & Evil' and are just moving onto 'The Geneology of Morality'. I do find him fairly easy to read but far from easy to understand! Good luck with him.... [grin]

It is always good to go back to the original source for things. I do like to read later analysis first though to get a flavour and a general understanding of what they were talking about.

Anonymous said...

"We share the same heritage, but we share it as ones who are grafted in to the rich heritage they lived."

I.E. it's an off-shoot. You're also ignoring that Xianity stole some of the mythologies of the other cults around.

"Or if all I knew was the counterfeit and I had never seen a real $20 bill I would think the real to be the counterfeit and never be the wiser unless I went to the authoritative source/ maker of the money to determine what was real."

And, if there were no authoritative source, or if you believed the counterfeiter was the authoritative source, then what?

And, how do you relate $20 bills to the supernatural?

Karla said...

"I.E. it's an off-shoot. You're also ignoring that Xianity stole some of the mythologies of the other cults around."

The mythologies were just a shadow of what was visible in nature already pointing to the truth that was soon to be revealed. Christianity didn't take from mythologies. Mythologies and other religions reflect some truth--some better than others and some more distorted than others. But the similarities show there is a real truth to know. Christianity isn't myth, it's the real deal. The myths were a shadow of truth.

The analogy of the $20 bill was just to show that the existence of many religions does not negate the existence of one truth. You can have many different counterfeits but you can't have any unless there was a real to counterfeit.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Christianity didn't take from mythologies.

I think you'll find *clear* antecedents to Christianity in the Ancient world. Are you aware of the Mithras story? It is *very* similar to that of Jesus - especially at the end...

karla said: But the similarities show there is a real truth to know.

No they don't. The similarities show that similar cultures come up with similar ideas - whilst different cultures come up with different ideas. It doesn't mean that *any* of them are approaching to the truth of things.

karla said: Christianity isn't myth, it's the real deal.

Presumably a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Hindu could assert exactly the same thing and (again) assert that it was Christianity that was the shadow of *their* religion. You are just expressing a belief from your point of view. If you had been born in a different place you would be asserting the opposite of what you are saying now with equal fervour.

karla said: the existence of many religions does not negate the existence of one truth.

It does not follow that because many people believe in different supernatural beings that some such beings *must* exist. It just means that early man didn't come up with a better way of explaing things than inventing beings that make things happen. Unfortunately early magical beliefs later become codified into religions which we are still dealing with. None of them in any way prove (or even indicate) that the supernatural realm actually exists - just that lots of people *believe* it exists.

Karla said...

I often hear the argument that early man was less knowledgeable about the world than modern man. Historically it's really not true. One of the things that come to mind is the common myth that people in Columbus day thought the earth was flat and were afraid to ride over the end of the earth. The almanacs from those days say differently. It's part of the revised history everyone is taught in school. I thought for years that this was true until I read some research about it and found it was not.

Anonymous said...

What Cyberkitten said.

Plus this. You can't seriously claim that earlier mythologies that claimed resurrections after three days were somehow reflective of nature that would somehow later become true with Jesus. That's simply absurd.

Also, to emphasize something ck said, you can't show that the counterfeits are counterfeit and that a real god exists. Simply because people are religious doesn't mean god exists.

"I often hear the argument that early man was less knowledgeable about the world than modern man. Historically it's really not true."

You are flat wrong here. Although your example of the flat Earth vs. spherical Earth is true, it doesn't mean that we aren't more knowledgeable now. C'mon. Please tell me that you didn't type that with a straight face. (Oh, and for the record, they didn't believe in a spherical Earth because of the Bible.)