MARXIST AND CHRISTIAN ESCHATOLOGIES
THE most important variation on modern progressive faiths is Marxism. The snarling hostility between bourgeois liberalism and Marxism cannot conceal the presence of common assumptions. Both affirm the major idea that history moves toward its own redemption. No supernatural forces, no heaven-sent salvation are required. Human efforts--or often the inexorable process of history--will answer the problems of history.
The progress of history, as the Marxist sees it, is not smooth. Against the generally comfortable progressive view of the nineteenth century, Marx reacted with his message of conflict, crisis, and violence. Finding the Hegelian dialectical philosophy of history "standing on its head," as he put it, Marx turned it "right side up" and made it a "dialectical materialism." Instead of a gradual historical evolution Marx shows us a history driven by economic forces through the determined sequence of conflicts to the final classless society. From the viewpoint of twentieth- century man, harassed by a history that is too much for him, Marx's optimism would be decidedly comforting, if it could be believed:
Therefore, mankind always takes up only such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation.1.