Religion and the Modern State

By Christopher Dawson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
COMMUNISM AND THE CHRISTIAN INTERPRETATION
OF HISTORY

CHRISTIANITY and Marxism are both of them historical faiths: that is to say beliefs founded on history and implying a definite theory of history.

The Christian interpretation of history is inseparable from the Catholic faith. It is not a philosophic theory which has been elaborated by the intellectual effort of Christian scholars. It is an integral part of the Christian revelation; indeed that revelation is essentially an historic one, so that the most metaphysical of its dogmas are related to historic facts and form part of the great dispensation of grace in which the whole temporal process of the life of humanity finds its end and meaning. In this respect Christianity and Communism agree, in spite of the absolute contradiction that characterizes their several interpretations of history. For Communism is also an historic faith and the Materialist Interpretation of History is no less fundamental to Communism than is the spiritual interpretation of history to Christianity. The economic doctrines of Marxism are based on history to an almost greater extent than the theological doctrines of Catholicism; and a Socialism which professes Communism and Materialism without the Marxian theory of history has no more right to be called Marxism than a religion which accepts the ethical and theological teachings of Christianity while rejecting the historic elements of the faith has the right to the name of Catholicism.

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