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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 11, 1985

Frank G. Verges
Pages 589-610

On Having Your Marx and Deconstructing Him Too

In this paper I examine some logical features of Marxist/Christian compatibilist projects. I use Arthur McGovern’s Marxism: An American Christian Perspective as my chief stalking horse. As an heuristic device, I distinguish the views in Marx’s early writings (Marxist humanism--M-I) from the more mature theory of historical materialism (M-2), where the latter is construed primarily as a social scientific method for the explanation of historical change. I also distinguish C-1, the moral teachings of Jesus, from C-2, Christian theology. I argue that the logic of Christian compatibilism requires the acceptance of C-1, C-2, and M-2, while it must reject or downplay M-l, Marxist humanism. Similarly, the logic of a Marxist compatibilism requires the acceptance of M-1, M-2, end C-1, while it must reject C-2, Christian theology. I conclude that, while Christian and Marxist compatibilists can work together in seeking to overcome capitalism and imperialism, it is more difficult to see how the disagreements over Marxist humanism vs. Christian theology could ever be transcended.

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