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Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed and a Conversation with a Marxist

Monday, October 27, 2008

I had to do a short paper for one of my classes in where we had to choose a passage from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed and then read it to a non-Christian (my age) and then answer a question of that passage by the person. As it reflects my views of Marxism and theology pretty well I decided to post it.

“The Holy Spirit, the Lord and life-giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is together worshipped and together glorified, Who spoke through the prophets.”
Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

The person whom I read this passage to is a community organizer for the Pilipino-American community in San Francisco and is an agnostic Marxist.  The question that led us to this particular text was:

As a fellow Marxist how can you believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through prophets?  What I mean to ask is how can one tell if the Holy Spirit is speaking through a person, as there can be no discernable way for humans to see if the Holy Spirit is indeed speaking through a person?

As a community organizer who is steeped in Marxist and post-structuralist thought it is obviously very important for me to use a dialectical method of “scientific” thought; that is, a tool for discerning the past and current situation of the world and a tool to critically look at, ask questions of, and seek “truth” of certain philosophical beliefs and epistemological theses and outlooks.  Not only that, but, as a Christian, it is also important for me to discern what the Holy Spirit is telling me and how God “perceives” the present situation that we are in today.  How are Christians supposed to relate to the world?  Are they supposed to retreat (as the Dontatists) and create sanctuaries amongst themselves to emulate God’s love or are we supposed to actively change the world (as Augustine argued) to better emulate God’s love?  Not only that, but if we do want to actively change the world what type of world do we want to come out of our struggle to change what we view as an oppressive (and thus, ungodly) society.

The text here explains the Holy Spirit as the “life-giver” which comes from God, the Father.  So all life is indebted to the Holy Spirit, through “God’s breath.”  Since God is the one who wants to give life then it is reasonable to say that God wants all humans to live a full and just life in order to live up to their full potential as human beings; as God intended through creation.  God wants her/his creation to live in a state of unmolested exploitation from sources that try to limit life and thus limit God’s creation.  Any restraints and injustices that are perpetuated onto humanity in turns denies the life-giving spirit that God granted us and therefore denies God’s will in this world.  So to worship the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit is to make sure that that humanity, human beings, are free from the chains of oppression, slavery, imperialism, and exploitation.

As organizers ourselves whom organize the working class through union work and the working class and immigrant Pilipino population through grass-roots organizing, the way in which we fight for full and just equality and freedom (to live) is through organizing on Marxist grounds.  The way I look at the world is very much influenced by Marxist thought and post-structualist though; as a Christian this has lead me to use the analysis of liberation theology in order to discern what God wants for this world and what God sees as oppression and injustice.

Those who deny the life-giving spirit of God and who deny God’s ultimate purpose for creation are the ruling class elites of the Western Imperialist world.  As we have done in the past and continue to do to this day is to fight the overall subjugation of human beings by capitalism and the machinery of the ruling capitalist class.  As Marxist Antonio Gramsci has pointed out the way the ruling capitalist class does this through “ideological hegemony” which legitimizes bourgeois cultural thought as “common sense” and “just the way the world works.”  While there are many who accept capitalism as “natural” and in turn accept lines of thought that originally come from the white bourgeois circles of post-enlightenment Europe there are others who reject this line and in turn have tried to organize the working class against not only the system of capitalism but the ideological system that supports it.

This, lastly, brings me to your question on how you can discern if the Holy Spirit is speaking through a prophet.  While you say “there can be no discernible way” to detect the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, coming from a person’s mouth I would say, based on my previous interpretation of Holy Spirit as the “life-giver,” I say you can discern.

If the systems of capitalism and bourgeois elitist thought are essentially the “ideological weapons of death” (as Franz J. Hinkelammert puts it) against the people it is also the “ideological weapons of death” that are used to deny God’s will in this world.  Thus anyone who speaks against these ideological weapons of death, speak for the poor, speak for the hungry, and in turn speak for their liberation are in turn speaking what is merely the Word of God.  And speaking for the Will of God, whether one is conscious of it or not, is in turn speaking for the life-giving spirit of God and thus being a vehicle for the Holy Spirit which will speak some hard truths to those who hear what they are saying.

That is not to say that those who speak out against capitalism and the elite are not to be critically analyzed and that they are speaking the unadulterated truth (as they are fallible human-beings) but it is to say that their fallible human will is speaking of something greater then themselves and through their fallibility an infallible God is trying to be heard.

  1. Friday, November 7, 2008 7:49 pm

    How do you know 100% for sure, without a doubt, that you would go to Heaven
    1John 5:3. “These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”
    Who is good? Romans 3:10, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.”
    Who has sinned? Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
    Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (one man–the first man, Adam)
    Revealation 20:14, “and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death (the word death in this verse means hell)
    Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”
    4. OUR WAY OUT
    Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,”
    Romans 10:13, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believe unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
    Hebrews 11:16, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”
    Ask Jesus to Save You Now. (Sample Prayer)
    “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner; if I die now in my sin, I would go to hell. Right now, by faith, I am trusting you as my personal Saviour and my only hope for Heaven. Thank you for dying on the cross for me and for saving me from eternity in hell. In Jesus name, Amen.”
    if you did say this prayer and really meant it, God says you can be 100% sure you will go to heaven.

  2. Saturday, November 8, 2008 3:10 pm

    Uh…Armand…how DO YOU know that scripture in the New Testament was actually inspired by God and how do you know that what is said in that is true?

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