July 14, 2024

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July 14, 2024

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In-Depth: The Dark Spiritual Roots of Global Socialism — Communist Strategies Before Marx

It should be around here somewhere, I thought, scanning either side of the tree-lined path. Almost 200 years ago, a certain man had been buried here in Paris’ Montmartre Cemetery. No way could I miss seeing his grave as part of my backpacking journey to trace the history and consequences of Marxism.

This man—along with his fellow utopian socialist, Robert Owen—had been advocating even before Karl Marx for the abolition of marriage and family on socialist grounds. Together, these early socialists’ writings illustrate how the attack on family unfolding in today’s culture is nothing new but is a manifestation of a much older agenda with documented links to spiritual darkness.

Marx, whose thinking helped inspire this attack on family in its modern form, frequently referred to the name on the gravestone I now sought: Charles Fourier. What did Fourier and Owen believe, and why does their thinking matter for understanding our culture today?

The Utopian Socialists

Charles Fourier (1772–1837) and Robert Owen (1771–1858) were famous “utopian socialists,” meaning they believed that a reorganized form of society would redeem humanity from its core problems and usher in a type of heaven on earth. They recognized the world as a broken place filled with poverty, abuse, and suffering. But they attributed this brokenness, not to human sinfulness beginning with Adam as Genesis reveals, but to “arbitrary deviations from the ‘eternal principles’ of ‘natural law,’ justice, and reason.”

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These deviations supposedly included marriage, which the utopian socialists viewed as an “unnatural” institution that restricted free sexual expression—and therefore, supposedly supressed happiness, authenticity, and productivity. Clearly, these ideas run opposite to a biblical worldview. Jesus, for example, quoted Genesis when questioned about marriage, stating that “he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” (Matthew 19:4–5).

According to a biblical worldview, departures from this God-ordained institution are the real unnatural deviations. But Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), loves to switch labels, calling evil “good,” good “evil,” freedom “chains,” and chains “freedom.”

The utopian socialists bought and sold such lies without restriction. Fourier and Owen both devised new schemes for society which, if only humans adopted them correctly, promised freedom, peace, and harmony. But first, the current social systems would have to be abandoned—a feat which would require overturning the pillars of present civilization.

What are these pillars? In answer, Friedrich Engels, who coauthored The Communist Manifesto with Marx, observed, “Three great obstacles seemed to [Owen] especially to block the path to social reform: private property, religion, [and] the present form of marriage.” While Marx and Engels believed these institutions would dissolve after a communist revolution, Fourier and Owen thought the very act of “redeeming” humanity through socialism would require abolishing the family.

Marx and Engels criticized utopian socialism for lacking the supposed rigor of their own “scientific socialism,” which they believed provided a more realistic framework, grounded in historical economic analyses. Even so, as one philosophy professor has remarked, “Marx and Engels explicitly and repeatedly stated that they owed a great debt to the utopian socialists, who, according to Engels, are to be ‘reckoned among the most significant minds of all time.’”

Connection to Today’s Critical Theories

If Marxism owes such a debt to utopian socialists, then it’s no surprise to find themes from these socialists’ thinking in today’s neo-Marxian-informed “critical theories.” These theories view societies in terms of oppressed and oppressing classes. Oppressed groups, according to critical theories, must awaken to their oppression, stage a cultural revolution, and overthrow their oppressors (typically, Christian European males) to create a more equitable world.

These ideas are nothing new. For instance, Fourier anticipated a theme of later Marxian feminists by calling men the “oppressing sex” and revering women who “resisted the oppressive system necessitated by the bond of marriage.” Fourier stated, “It is women who suffer most from civilization; it was up to them to attack it.” However, he blamed women for not sufficiently awakening to the need to revolt against civilization. If these ideas sound familiar, then it may come as no surprise that Fourier has been credited with coining the term feminist.

A Three-Part Strategy

Further unsurprisingly, three key strategies which utopian socialists proposed for overturning their own societies reflect the same phenomena we see unfolding in culture today:

  1. Undermine marriage and family.
  2. Target young people, especially through the education system.
  3. Subvert the church and state, making these institutions agents of revolution rather than sentients of the status quo.

We’ve already seen how the utopian socialists wished to undermine family and marriage. But what role would the institutions of education, church, and state play?

In answer, historian Richard Weikart explains that both Owen and Fourier “vigorously touted the superiority of the communal education of children and the removal of children from parental control and influence.” Feminist political scientist Leslie Goldstein adds that in Fourier’s proposed socialist society, “Education was to begin by age two, and to be handled by skilled experts (rather than haphazardly qualified parents), at community expense, for all, regardless of economic status or gender.”

In other words, Fourier understood that the key to controlling society is to control the youth who represent society’s future decision-makers. For Fourier’s plan to succeed, the job of discipling youth must belong, not to the family or church, but to the state.

Furthermore, the state and church themselves must be recruited to become agents of the socialist agenda. Robert Owen believed these institutions, as the current “powers that be,” must be persuaded to help install a new system of global socialism. In a pamphlet entitled The Future of the Human Race, Owen admonished,

Therefore, convince the authorities of the world in Church and State that there is another mode of human existence than the present, and one now easily attainable . . . in which they . . . shall enjoy greater advantages and happiness . . . than it is possible they can attain amidst any circumstances which men can devise under the existing false and irrational system.

Written in 1854, Owen’s pamphlet strikingly illustrates the way lies from bygone centuries are resurging in today’s culture—and the dark spirituality behind these lies. So, let’s look closer at this telling document.

The Future of the Human Race

Reflecting strategies 1–2 above, Owen’s pamphlet predicted that humanity would attain a state of pure happiness “when law-made marriages shall be abandoned.” In this state, according to Owen,

children can be relieved from the evil effects of false and unnatural parental associations, from the evils of family training and education, and from being made family-selfish, and unjust to all other families. It is only thus that a true equality, according to age and personal qualities, can be attained. It is only thus that men and women can be trained and educated from birth to become truly good, wise, and happy, and that the human race can become superior citizens of the world, and be united to form one cordial brotherhood.

Basically, Owen believed the overthrow of marriage, family, and education by parents would be required to bring about a new globalist era founded on his version of socialism. Owen also thought this state of utopic globalization would be incompatible with private property, which he viewed as serving no purpose except to grant power and privilege to oppressors. Instead, he asserted, “Under a rationally arranged system of public property, each one will feel himself to be sovereign of the world, with all its immeasurably increased advantages . . . ever open to his use and enjoyment.” In other words, Owen declared that in the new global socialist system enabled by the overthrow of marriage, “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy.”

Dark Spiritual Connections

How did Owen believe this global system would come about? Here’s where some interesting history comes in. Back in 1817, Owen had publicly professed atheism. But by the time he wrote The Future of the Human Race, Owen had converted to spiritism—the occult. In fact, Owen devoted a lengthy portion of this document to describing communication he received from “spirits” who advised him on how to distribute the document.

Owen believed that establishing the envisioned new global system would require assistance from these spirits. He wrote, “The wisdom of refined, good, and superior spirits, could alone suggest to mortals this new view of society—this high order of our future existence—this final redemption of the human race, from ignorance, sin, and misery.” According to Owen, this spirit-assisted socialist “redemption” was now within reach if governments could “compel everyone in future to become good, wise, and united” by means of “the most pleasant unperceived force.” Owen also claimed the spirits told him not to worry if others rejected his message, because the spirits would gradually compel humanity “to believe in this new mode of re-creating the character of man, and of re-constructing society over the world.”

Strikingly, Owen further remarked, “It is most gratifying to observe how uniformly they [the spirits] discountenance all divisions of class, sect, colour, or country. Their object is to permanently benefit all of humankind equally, without reference to divisions of any kind.” Again, the parallels between this message and today’s culture are hard to miss. While the restoration of human unity is a biblical theme (see Galatians 3:28; Acts 17:26; Revelation 7:9), God’s Word clearly communicates that this reconciliation comes through Jesus, on Jesus’ terms.

Attempts to establish “equality,” “inclusivity,” and “harmony” in a fallen world on human terms contrary to God’s Word can never lead to utopia—quite the opposite. Correspondingly, experimental societies which attempted to enact utopian socialism throughout America and Europe consistently failed, reaping frustration instead of satisfaction. Satan, as we saw earlier, loves switching labels.

How do we know Owen’s contacts were satanic? Although Owen believed he was communicating with the spirits of deceased “superior men and women,” Scripture clearly forbids such dabbling as an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 18:10–12). The Bible also exhorts believers,

1 John 4:1–3 KJV – “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

So, did Owen’s spiritual contacts confess Jesus? Not at all—in fact, they blasphemously told Owen to begin his pamphlet with the statement that Jesus was “an inspired medium” rather than the Son of God. Biblically then, Owen was fraternizing with spirits which were against Christdemonic forces. And according to Owen, these forces fully endorsed the teachings he had spent his life propagating. He wrote, “The spirits . . . [have] come to advise me as to further proceedings for the benefit of the human race, and to encourage me in the continuance of the measures which I have been impelled and deeply impressed to pursue from my youth upward.” He later reiterated, “The principles and practices herein advocated, are those which from my youth upward until now, without ceasing, I have endeavoured to place before the human race for its everlasting adoption.”

Considering that the measures, practices, and principles Owen had spent his life promoting centered on communism, The Future of the Human Race stands as direct documentation that a pioneering socialist—whom Engels called one of history’s most eminent minds —associated his political views with a globalist agenda endorsed by “spirits.”


But not surprising. Any system, from any side of the political spectrum, which attempts to overthrow the institutions of marriage and family which God ordained in Genesis clearly cannot be of Christ. And Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me . . .” (Matthew 12:30). Neutrality is not an option. Whether in nineteenth-century utopian socialist writings or twenty-first-century popular culture, any system of thinking which contradicts God’s Word is against Jesus—in other words, antichrist.

A Grave Realization

In the end, the writings of early utopian socialists like Owen and Fourier offer far deeper insight into today’s culture than we may have bargained on unearthing. These writings illustrate how attempts to reinvent civilization by overturning family, targeting youth, and subverting the church and state are nothing new. Rather, they are centuries-old strategies that multiple voices had been promoting even before Marx and Engels declared that a “spectre of Communism” was haunting Europe. Given Owen’s claim that these strategies were central to a global-scale agenda endorsed by spirits, “spectre” may have been a more accurate description than Marx and Engels realized.

That’s not to say nothing good came from the utopian socialists’ projects; for instance, Owen helped reform factory conditions. But these individuals sought to fix the world’s real brokenness by starting from the wrong foundation, leading—as the failed experimental socialist communities illustrated—to faulty solutions.

In contrast, God’s Word offers a true foundation for understanding and addressing the world’s brokenness. Not only does a biblical worldview provide a solid basis for concepts of human value, morality, and justice in the first place, but Scripture also points to Jesus, who alone offers the hope, peace, and abundant life the utopian socialists sought.

For these utopians, an eternity with or without this abundant life has already been decided. That much was clear as I stood beside the grave I’d finally found bearing the name Charles Fourier. But while Fourier and Owen may be buried, many ideas they promoted live on, intoxicating a new generation with deceptive promises of freedom.

As Christians alive today, we have the opportunity and responsibility to offer this generation what no other worldview—including utopian socialism—can deliver, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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