The Scale of Perfection, Book 2, Part 1 – Chapter 1

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SECTION I: That a Man is the Image of God after the Soul and not after the Body; and how he is restored and reformed thereto that was misshapen by Sin
SECTION II: That Jews and Pagans and also false Christians are not reformed effectually through the virtue of the Passion through their own Faults

These are chapters 1 to 3 of The Scale of Perfection – Book 2 in Middle English:
This chapitle scheweth that a man is seid the image of God aftir the soule and not aftir the bodi.
Hou it nedide to mankynde that oonli thorugh the passioun of oure Lord it schulde be restorid and reformed that was forsaken bi the first synne.
That Jewes and paynymes and also fals Cristene men are not reformed effectuali thorugh vertu of this passioun for here owen defaute.

basic respect

From time to time it is necessary for me to put on a moderator's hat and remind everyone that there are forum guidelines which demand respect for posters even when they are in disagreement. This includes prohibitions against name-calling, insults, and general degradation. If I could ban arrogance too I would :). Repeated violations of the forum rules result in restrictions and/or permanent banning.

I'm not speaking specifically to you, jnwarren. I'm speaking to the entire group, whosoever may be guilty. I know that your post is one in a long chain of conversation.

Taking off my moderator's hat, as a student of religion at Berkeley, I'd have to say that in my limited knowledge, it is a stretch to call Marx the most important religious thinker in the last 200 years. He was an important theorist and trailblazer, but historical events since his writings have outstripped a lot of what he anticipated--for instance, he expected an imminent revolution that never took place. And the atheistic endeavors of soviet Russia, which were indeed modeled on Marxian theory, failed to eliminate the "mind-numbing" opiates, but rather led to religious diversification and entrenchment (There's a book called "The Plot to Kill God" which you might find interesting). And there has been a hefty amount of sociological work done which undermines several of his arguments regarding the importance of religion among various classes--after all, he failed to account for a wider distribution of wealth throughout a religiously diverse free market. Marxian theory makes the most sense in a political system of stark contrasts between rich and poor, religious and irreligious, which aptly describes the European environment of Marx's day but does not describe much of the modernized world today. (I'm not saying wealth is now equally distributed; I am saying that the booming success of the middle class in post-industrial economies across religious lines would have stunned Marx.)

"The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance."

Does this quote make sense in a free market where all classes have access to intellectual capital, where the exchange of ideas religious and political are theoretically unhindered by a ruling class? The structures of many societies today do not blend with the original theories of Marx, although many of his concepts are salvageable when we accept that he was limited by the sociological and political ideals of his own era, and that our own sociological models are intrinsic reactions to his own theories--the creation of the theory changed forever the structure and application of that theory.

Anyway, I'm painting with a broad brush and I shouldn't pretend to be a Marxian expert. I know he was a genius and a great intellectual, and I'd love the opportunity to study him more.

Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life;
And these are they which bear witness of me;
And ye will not come to me, that ye may have life. (John 5:39-40)