Date of Award

1991

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Second Advisor

Fernando L. Canale

Third Advisor

Jacques B. Doukhan

Abstract

This study analyzes and evaluates the humanist reconceptualization of the dogmatic-Marxist concept of religion by the Yugoslav philosopher Esad Cimic. The questions we address are: How did Cimic reshape the dogmatic Marxist criticism of religion? and What is the significance of this reshaping for both dogmatic Marxism and Christianity?

We begin with the broad outlines of the concepts of metaphysics and epistemology of both dogmatic and humanist Marxism because they provide the basic presuppositions for the understanding of the phenomenon of religion in Marxism. Then, we address those elements of Cimic's life and philosophy which define him as a man and as a philosopher of religion. These matters are of essential importance for the proper understanding of Cimic's concept of religion.

We analyze Cimic's reconceptualization of the dogmatic Marxist concept of religion. Cimic rejects the basic dogmatic Marxist concepts of religion as they existed in socialist societies contending that religious alienation is caused by the multiplicity of sources. In his view, religion is not a simple but complex phenomenon which possesses several dimensions.

Cimic argues that religion per se is an expression of human beings' natural desire for self-transcendence. Religion is also a socio-historical fact which is caused by the unjust socio-economical conditions. In addition, religion is to be seen as an anthropo-psychological structure which demonstrates that every person has a unique mental composition by which he expresses his religiosity. Cimic contends that the solution for the religious alienation is to be found in the "socially transforming atheism."

Cimic's contribution to the concept of religion is evaluated from three perspectives: that of dogmatic Marxism, that of inner consistency of his philosophical system, and that of Christian-theism. We conclude that Cimic is to be viewed as a revisionist who has reinterpreted and rejected most aspects of dogmatic Marxism although he has retained some of its features. He can be considered a post-Marxist in that his philosophy, in some respects, goes beyond the Marxist understanding of religion. In addition, Cimic has made a significant contribution to a creation of new conditions of religious freedom in Yugoslavia as well as in other countries. Thus, he is to be viewed as a forerunner of the present changes in Eastern Europe.

Subject Area

Socialism and religion--Yugoslavia, Ćimić, Esad -- Views on socialism and religion

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