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I recently read a controversial book by Richard Wurmbrand called "Was Karl Marx a Satanist?", and I found it very thought provoking.

There are many historical facts that indicate that Marx was a Satan worshipper, the most convincing one for me was that roughly 50% of his writings still have not been published. Why would they want to hide it? Albert Camus was also baffled by this.

Was Karl Marx a satanist?

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    I’ve always had difficulty with the concept of satanism as Satan, in the commonly understood sense, is an invention of Christianity and so it seems that a would-be satanist would need to be to some degree on board with Christianity in order to believe in Satan in the first place. It seems to be something that people are accused of rather than actually doing.
    – Frog
    Mar 4, 2023 at 22:50
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    @Frog, a brief internet search would show you that there are, in fact, people who call themselves Satanists. Mar 4, 2023 at 23:51
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    Although I provided an answer to the OP based on my reading of Wurmbrand's arguments, I am now voting to close on the ground that this question is missing context. What I mean by that is that without specifying what "Satanism" as a word is supposed to actually refer to, when used by whoever, the OP doesn't provide for any philosophical way to approach the question. Is "Satanism" meant in the naively overpious way of the witch-hunter? Or the sense of antitheism? If Marx wrote a many things, then is for his writings to include horrible things worse than when the Bible includes horrible things? Mar 5, 2023 at 0:17
  • What we need to know: The emotional state of Marx when/if he was a Satanist?
    – Hudjefa
    Mar 5, 2023 at 6:21
  • You just happened to find pseudohistory
    – user64708
    Mar 5, 2023 at 6:57

2 Answers 2

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I'm reading Wurmbrand's Marx and Satan on academia.edu right now, and so far it seems like the author has conflated heretical remarks and descriptions (frequently literary or poetic!) by Marx, with the alleged doctrines and practices of a (likely fictitious) cult of Satan-worshipers. He says, for example, that initiation into this cult means explicitly intending to commit sin for its own sake, but the Catholic Church has taught that this is impossible even for the rebel angels, much less a foolish mortal.

So a priori we can tell that this book is wrongheaded, at least in this section. A metaphorical Satanism might still be reasonably attributed to Marx, however, or something else demonomaniacal (maybe Marx was "possessed" by Apollyon instead; Marx's supposed preoccupation with universal destruction, that Wurmbrand is trying to showcase in this first chapter, is thematically more resonant with the spirit of Apollyon, not Satan).

And also, empirically/historically, this practice of reading literal Satan-worship into (arguably) metaphorical discourse by heretics and infidels has proven tragically misguided. I would be surprised if Wurmbrand was one of the few witch-hunters who managed to "turn out right in the end," here, but we'll see as I go through the book some more. (For what it's worth, a lot of the reviews said that it's "unintentionally funny" as a piece of Cold War lunacy.)

EDIT: OK, even just a little further in, it's hard for me to take this book seriously. Wurmbrund is saying that "inversion" as a literary device is symptomatic of Satan-worship (e.g. saying "the law of the city, the city of the law" is to write an inverted phrase, and it's "Satanic" to write this way(?!)), and arguing that Marx's hairstyle has to do with some random priestess and her cult of ghost whisperers. It's sending me so much that I had to use the Gen. Z phrase "it's sending me" to adequately convey my reaction to this text.

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Roughly 50% of my novels have never been published, and I am not a satanist, so if the publication rate is the most convincing aspect of the proof, I am happy to assume that Marx was not a Satanist, and that perhaps Richard Wurmbrand had his own agenda. That said, Marx might have worshipped Satan, and I couldn't care less either way.

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  • I am not sure you're not a satanist
    – user65071
    Mar 6, 2023 at 0:28

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