Instructor: Martin Ley Formal Paper #4 By: Valerie A Perron Date: 10-25-10 Paulo Freire, a Christian-Marxist In this paper, I will be addressing the topic of how Christianity and Marxism cannot be yoked together. Let me first state that the kind of Christianity Paulo Freire says he believes in, is Catholicism. The Catholic Church tends to have beliefs that are not completely true to the Word of God because they take some scripture out of context.
I do not claim to be of any certain doctrine of Christianity; however, I do claim that I am a Bible believing Christian. Everything I believe comes directly from the Bible and without distorting its words; I believe exactly what it says. For this reason, I have a problem with Freire’s belief system. I believe Freire must pick either Christianity or Marxism. I think he is “riding the fence” on his choice of beliefs. If he continues to say he practices both, then he will always be questioning himself in more areas than one.
When someone hears the combination of a Christian-Marxist, their first reaction will usually be “that’s an oxymoron,” or “that’s impossible. ” How can they actually say they are Christian-Marxists, knowing that all they believe in is constantly contradicting itself? Freire will always, in my opinion, be questioning himself if, unless he looks into either one of the beliefs. Perhaps he will change his mind completely. After doing some research on Marxism, I do not believe Freire understands the full extent of it, which is why he believes himself to be Christian as well.
In the article The “Banking” Concept of Education, Freire believes in the individual fighting against being robotic, but Marxism (like communism) has the belief of controlling the free choices of the people’s individualism. In other words he believes that the students can be individuals, which contradicts his Marxism beliefs, which is a “group effort. ” So how can he call himself a Marxist if he doesn’t fully agree with the ideology of Marxism itself? Marxism has no firm foundation; it was founded on atheism, communism, humanism, and socialism.
Those four beliefs all contradict the Biblical faith of Christianity. Moreover, historically Marxism has been shown not to work. After all, Karl Marx was an Atheist. “Marxists deny any morality based on God’s character and commandments. ” (The Illustrated Guide to World Religions, Halverson, 162). If that is what a Marxist believes, then that is one way Freire cannot be a Christian as well. He would be going against his beliefs as a Marxist. Marxists also do not believe in the existence of a Creator. Atheists believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Therefore, if Freire is a “true Marxist,” then he must deny God as being the Creator, but then he would be denying his beliefs as a Marxist. Even more so Marxists have always opposed the ideas of religion, after all Marxism was founded by an atheist. As we have seen over and over from history, Christianity and Marxism do not mix. One well-known (but corrupted) Marxist was Josef Stalin. He was leader of the communist party in Russia, and responsible for the deaths of many innocent lives. “He instituted the most brutal form of totalitarian rule.
It is estimated that he was responsible for the liquidation of twenty million people. ” (The Illustrated Guide to World Religions, Halverson, 158). How can a Christian be associated with the same belief as a man such as Stalin? Freire says he is a Christian-Marxist; however, he can be one or the other, but not both at the same time. Furthermore, the whole idea of Marxism contradicts itself in many ways. Marxists believe in individualism, but they also believe in communism, which leaves no place for a person to be an individual.
In addition, the following quote explains that “The humanistic Marxists drew from Marx’s earlier writings the idea that the goal of socialism was to liberate humankind from a state of “alienation,” and to enable people to fulfill their potential. ” (The Illustrated Guide to World Religions, Halverson, 158). I can see where this area of Marxism could reflect Freire’s point of view, “…they utilize this same instrument of alienation in what they consider an effort to liberate. But one does not liberate people by alienating them. Authentic liberation – the process of humanization – is not another deposit to be made in men.
Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it. ” (The “Banking” Concept of Education, Freire, Norgaard, 245-246). Is this Marxism? Yes and no. Even though Marxists believe in the individual, the dominant power of communism does not play a part in what Freire says. If I was reading his article without knowing what religion or belief Freire was, I would probably think he was a Humanist. His article seems to reflect more of a humanistic point of view than a Christian or Marxist point of view.
In Christianity, mankind’s only hope is to be found in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. In Marxism, mankind’s hope is found in political revolution through their humanistic, atheistic, and communistic ideologies. I don’t know how Freire yoked these two beliefs together. I’m still puzzled! The whole idea of Marxism cannot hold together because of its contradictions; on the other hand, Christianity stands on a solid foundation. History has proven that when Christian principles are applied, they produce a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious society.