An issue of the gravest spiritual, moral, and political implications has been forced on the Church and upon individual Christians.
What shall our attitude be to official communism, the Communist governments which control certain nations of the world?
To this momentous question, there can be no intelligent answer unless we know what communism is, and further, unless we can distinguish the peoples from the governments that control them.
What is communism? To answer this question is not as easy as some may think. From the politician comes one reply, from the economist another, from the theorist comes a third, and from the Christian there must come still another answer, though all these aspects should be taken into consideration.
For the Christian there is this inescapable fact: communism embodies a crystalized philosophy that denies the existence of God and persistently and ruthlessly attempts to destroy faith in and worship of God on the part of all who come under its control.
This attitude towards the Christian religion is a matter of record in the writings of theoretical and practical leaders of the party and is demonstrated wherever communism is in control today. In Russia a program is progressing whereby young people, denied access to or time for religious training and worship, are being brought up as a generation totally ignorant of God.
In China the Communist regime began with a superficial tolerance towards the Church, which progressed into a period of “education” for Christian leaders and church members and now has become an unending pressure to subordinate God and Christian principles to the complete domination of the State—the individual’s god.
A broader definition of communism has been made by Dr. Fred C. Schwarz, a native of Australia, who has been touring America warning against this monstrous evil towards which we seem to be becoming more and more tolerant.
Dr. Schwarz says: “Communism is a disease. It is a disease of the body, of people, and purposes to kill millions more.… More tragically it is a disease of the mind, because it is associated with systematized delusions, not susceptible to rational argument.… Terrifyingly it is a disease of the spirit, because it denies God … robs him of spirit and soul … reduces him to the level of a baseless creature.”
Recognizing the enormity of this thing called communism, the Christian’s concern must be one of honest evaluation and right reaction. And the material advances made in backward countries that are Communist dominated should not becloud the basic issue.
Rarely is an adequate distinction ever made between Communistic governments and the people which they govern. In Russia it was a handful of fanatical, dedicated Communists who seized power and forged an aggressive program for world domination. In China it was the same.
The Christian therefore faces the vitally realistic fact that in dealing with the governments of these countries we are dealing with the enemies of the peoples of those countries.
That many of these nationals seem unaware of this fact in no way invalidates the truth, for any government which imposes on the governed the philosophy inherent in communism is an enemy to those so subjected. Christians should have only love in their hearts for the peoples of Russia and Red China. But how can they temporize with the system and those who rule in these countries?
What should be the attitude of the Church towards communism?
If communism is the ghastly evil that evidence shows it to be, then the Church and the Christian should reject any effort that is directed towards “understanding,” recognizing, or cooperating with governments and groups controlled by Communists.
This is a strong statement and needs to be justified.
Editorializing on the action of the Fifth World Order Study Conference, in which it was recommended that our government give diplomatic recognition to Red China and that she be admitted to the United Nations, the Washington Evening Star made this comment: “It is very difficult to reconcile Christian concepts with what might be considered the political realities of this matter.” In dismay and even frank anger over this action, other newspapers have joined in registering surprise.
It must never be forgotten that communism has one long-range aim, and that is to dominate the world. To this end every known means of infiltration, subversion, perversion of truth, military domination, and violation of human rights will continue to be used.
There is no ground for mutual trust or honest discussion with communism. Speaking to an American general who spent months in negotiating with the Communists over a specific problem, the writer asked how it was he could stand the abuse, the lying, and the unbelievable trickery with which he was daily confronted? His reply was: “I knew from the beginning that their plans were evil, that they would only speak the truth if it served their purpose at the moment, and that every device would be used to further the Communist cause with no respect for right or justice. Starting on that principle I was able to withstand the emotional strain.”
One of the gravest dangers America faces today is its tendency to weaken or soften under pressure. None of us wants war. We want peace—almost at any price. We see the menace of communism, and reason that an attitude of conciliation on our part may be the part of Christian statesmanship and hope for some sort of peace in the world tomorrow.
The Psalmist warns against walking in the counsel of the ungodly, of standing in the way of sinners, and of sitting in the seat of the scornful. In the same vein Alexander Pope, in his Essay on Man writes:
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
There is likelihood that this process is taking place in America today. The object of an unrelenting foe, we find ourselves contemplating some kind of compromise in which we ourselves will be the ultimate victims.
A “policy of realism” in dealing with communism is the rising demand. But honest realism demands the opposite of that being advocated by some today.
The average American would rejoice if the man-erected barriers between nations were completely demolished. But this longed-for goal will not be achieved by recognizing forces that are the very spirit of anti-Christ.
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