The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

Communists Against Religion -- Part 6 November 21, 2003 by RedStar2000

And yet another installment of posts on the subject that will not die...not even on a "left" message board.

It really makes you wonder, doesn't it?



"People who spend a lot of time practicing zazen are no longer impressed with the notion, 'When you're dead your body and brain rot and that's the end of you.' It soon becomes clear that this view of reality is not the whole truth. Buddhists and others notice that children, whose personalisites are popularly thought to be the twin affects of nature and nurture often show strong personality traits that seem to have come from neither source."

A perfect example of "religious" writing which appears to say "something" and actually says nothing!

1st sentence: who gives a rat's ass about impressions? Where is the evidence?

2nd sentence: In what way does it "become clear"? Where is the evidence?

3rd sentence: "often notice"? Do they indeed? So what? Because science at this point is still woefully ignorant of the precise determining factors that form human personalities, people can (and do!) say anything with an attitude of certainty that is totally unjustified.

Strong personality traits are not "evidence" of the existence of a "soul".


Look, all your theory, which is all it is, is based around the material.

Indeed it is...that is what is real. And do not sneer at "theories"...good ones are useful descriptions of reality.

Religion is not competent to develop theories of reality, just mythology and word-play.


Can you materially explain this: Two years ago my uncle died at 3.32 in the morning. Myself, my mother, and my aunty (his wife) all woke up suddenly at 3.32 AM. Why? Can all your jargon about cells being the be all and end all explain this?

All in the same time zone, were you?

And everyone had presence of mind enough to note the exact time? All of the clocks were accurate to the minute? None of you had engaged in any unusual behavior such as to cause early wakefulness? None of you were actually in the habit of waking up at that hour?

None of you had ever done that before and simply never made a note of it because nothing happened?

Everyone has anecdotes of odd coincidences. But the plural of anecdote is not data.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 12, 2003


....Well you can't prove that rocks don't converse using soul power.

Just because it seems outrageous to you doesn't mean it's outrageous to everyone.

Socialism and Communism is an outrageous idea to some, but not to others.

All beliefs are subjective

That is so lame.

Reality is not a matter of "belief" and "outrageousness" has nothing to do with the matter.

Where is the fucking evidence?
First posted at Che-Lives on October 12, 2003


...turn to science, right? Since science proves everything...

A better way to put it is that good science does not say anything positive on a subject unless there is pretty clear evidence to support what it says.

Thus for science to say that, for example, "God exists", there would have to be compelling evidence in favor of that statement.

Since there isn't any, the polite scientist says simply "there is no evidence to support that statement" and the blunt scientist says "it's a load of crap".

Scientists, both polite and blunt, will freely concede that there is much that remains unknown and undiscovered about the universe and everything in it.

How do we learn more? From the latest evangelical charlatan with a new revelation to relieve the gullible of their cash? Or from the sustained efforts of serious scientists to actually understand the material causes of things?


The resulting data suggested that the variable group finished the puzzles 20% faster.

Lots of possible explanations for this one, including, most likely, coincidence.

Coincidence is remarkably common and it would be a very strange universe if that were not the case. Low probability events happen frequently, if the "pool" of events is sufficiently large.

Someone wins the lottery almost every week, inspite of the huge odds against any particular ticket.


Where is the proof that Democratic Communism, the kind I know me and you both strive for redstar, would work? How can we continue to fight for it if we don't know that the elimination of states, police, military won't lead to utter chaos?

There is no "proof". There is evidence that supports what we want to do, but it is fragmentary and far from conclusive.

We fight for democratic communism because that's what we really want.

The people who are ideologically opposed to us do not want that--what they really want is a variation on what we have now with them in charge.

All of their arguments about "practicality", etc. are just a verbal smokescreen to disguise their own vaulting ambition...and their contempt for the masses of working people.

Fighting for democratic communism is not a matter of proceeding from "proven" hypotheses; it is an attempt, based on limited and fragmentary evidence, to achieve something that has never been done before.

We could be completely wrong! The reactionary "evolutionary psychologists" could be right. The human species could be condemned to hierarchy and tyranny forever...or at least until it becomes extinct.

I've actually said as much: in a post last summer I said that if there are no proletarian revolutions and classless societies by 2400 or so, then it would be pretty clear that the central Marxist hypothesis is wrong.

Which doesn't rule out a new revolutionary hypothesis, of course, but which would certainly strengthen the position of those who argue that some form of class society is "inevitable".

And it is indisputable, at least to people who've actually thought about the matter, that the present class society--monopoly capitalism--is intolerable.

So, we try...and time will tell if we were right or not.


By the way, I'm not particularly religious. If anything, I'm agnostic. I'm merely arguing the possibility of the existence of some supreme being.

I must have missed something there. I didn't perceive an argument either way.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 13, 2003


Reality does have to do with beliefs. How I interpret reality is different than how you interpret reality. We don't see the world as exactly the same despite the fact that we are existing on the same earth.

Reality has everything to do with beliefs, what you believe affects how you see reality.

Yes, but who sees more clearly?

Sure, you can "believe" any damn thing you please, but the question here is what beliefs actually reflect the world as it really is?

If you're going to argue that "all beliefs are equal" and "none are more right or more wrong than any other", then that means Hitler was "right" too!

Why exclude him? Or anyone?

Is there an objective reality and can we know it? If the answers to those questions are affirmative, then it logically follows that all beliefs are not equal. Some will perceive reality more clearly than others.

If there is no objective reality or if there is but it is inherently unknowable--the post-modernist perspective--then Christians, Nazis, Capitalists, Communists, and everyone else all stand on the same ground with packages of assertions that cannot ever, not even in principle, be verified.

In this view all opinions are equally true and also equally false. Our response to every idea is that new American slang that seems to readily drop from almost every mouth...


That is total philosophical bankruptcy...and a highly useful opinion to the capitalist class as well.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 13, 2003


I believe that God created the world because this just can't happen randomly. There is not such a thing.

Why not? The temporary emergence of order from disorderly conditions is, in fact, commonplace in this universe.

We've already found nearly 100 planets that circle other stars besides ours. It's clear that worlds are common.

We have no reason to believe that when "earth-like" planets are discovered, that life will not also exist on seems to be one of those things that naturally happens when conditions are appropriate.


And man isn't able to create life.

Actually, we've already created new forms of life; a bacterium that makes human insulin, for example.

It is obviously only a matter of time until we "create" a living organism from completely dead matter.

Some people call this "playing God"...but it's actually pretty hard work.


How can't a God who created human rise him from dead?

Well, the technical answer is that brain cells are very sensitive; after four minutes or so of oxygen deprivation, they start to die in large numbers. "Raising" someone "from the dead" even after only ten minutes or so would simply result in a living body with a dead would never recover consciousness.

The common sense answer comes from one of the old British utilitarians, who said: "When I am told that Jesus rose from the dead, two things occur to me. The first is that I have never known a man to rise from the dead. The second is that I have often known men to lie."

You've been lied to.


Again, people chose the wrong way.

Are you suggesting here that AIDS is "God's punishment" for "sin"?

And, if so, just how do you square that with all that "love" crap that you were speaking of earlier?


This is why it has always bothered me that certain people on this board are perennially claiming that you are either religious or communist but not both. I'm just not sure the two are necessarily at odds with one another.

Why wouldn't they be "at odds with one another"?

You have, on the one hand, a hypothesis about human societies that excludes "supernatural" causes altogether. The implication is clearly that the "supernatural" does not exist.

On the other hand, you have a hypothesis that postulates the "supernatural" as the "central cause" of human existence...and much else besides. According to the Christian "holy book", our rulers are "appointed by God" and rebellion is "sin".

This seems to me to be about as clear an "either/or" choice as can possibly be imagined.

To be sure, there are those who take refuge in the more esoteric faiths (deism, buddhism, taoism) and claim that those religions are "different". In some ways, they are different from the monotheistic faiths that we are most familiar with.

But let's be honest here. Either there "is" some kind of "supernatural realm" that interacts with the material world in which we live...or there isn't.

If there "is", then compelling evidence must be shown for its existence, the mechanism(s) by which it interacts with the material world must be demonstrated, we have to be shown how it works.

And works reliably.

They never do that. They can't do that...because what they're talking about doesn't exist.

What they can do is make up stories...miracle stories, tales of marvelous deeds, strange and inexplicable events, bizarre coincidences, blah, blah, blah.

None of which can withstand critical examination.

Thus I maintain that any supernatural belief is in total contradiction to communism. You can be one or the other...but not both.

If that seems "harsh", well, the universe we live in is harsh. Those who believe in the "power of prayer" to heal sickness get to watch their kids die, for example.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 13, 2003


Please explain in great length and detail just what you would consider compelling evidence? I mean do you want a National Enquirer article? A personal one on one interview with God? Or perhaps you would like Jesus to take his show on the road, performing miracles all the time?

Options one and three are out, for obvious reasons. Option two I would consider convincing.

But surely you have some knowledge of what constitutes compelling evidence in the context of scientific effort.

The most obvious requirement is that you can repeat the experiment and get the same results.

I said in an earlier post that if any religion were true, it would show. There are lots of possible ways it would show, none of which have ever been observed.

The pious believers in the "true faith" would exhibit symptoms of "divine favor" that others rarely or never display. They would be "happy" and "healthy" all the time. They might never be rich, but they would never be poor. Unfortunate accidents would never be a factor in their lives; somebody else's plane would crash, not theirs. The earthquake that destroyed ten thousand homes would leave theirs standing, undamaged. War and disease would "pass by" without ever touching them. Traffic lights would turn green when their vehicle approached.

And so on.

In the extreme cases, having lived for well in excess of a century, they would not even die like ordinary mortals, but would bodily ascend into "Heaven" to the astonishment of atheists and false believers alike. It would be televised!

Use your imagination! What would the world be like if the "supernatural" existed and interacted with the material world? Everything would be unpredictable, perhaps wildly so. With angels and devils, gods and goddesses, ghosts and vampires and werewolves, etc. running loose, anything might happen. Tomorrow the sun might rise in the west...or you might be seduced by an elf-maid...or fatally gored by a unicorn.

The National Weather Service might issue "dragon warnings".

If the "supernatural" existed, you'd expect to see at least some of these things happen, but they never do.

The compelling evidence, at this point, is that the reason none of those things ever happen is that the "supernatural" doesn't exist.


But the conditions needed for Sentient life to evolve? Conditions have to be completely on point.

How "Terra-centric" of you! Are you some kind of "species-ist"?

I think a contemporary astro-biologist (yes, they exist now) would say something to the effect that intelligent life can probably evolve on any planet that can support multi-cellular life at all. Perhaps this applies to one out of 1,000 planets or only one out of 1,000,000 doesn't really matter. Our own galaxy probably contains 400,000,000,000 stars...we are not alone...though our nearest intelligent neighbors may live 1,000 light-years away or more.

Of course, if living bacteria are discovered on Mars or in the oceans of one of the Jovian satellites, then the conclusion is inescapable: life is common. Once could be a wild act of pure chance...more than once, in nature, means it happens all the time.


...but hey let's give [the faith healers] the benefit of the doubt.

First posted at Che-Lives on October 13, 2003


You are very naive.

Yes, in some ways I am indeed naive. It seems quite obvious to me that a "good God" would proceed to alleviate human pain and suffering at once...indeed, that "He" would not allow such a thing at all, much less create a special place called "Hell" where human souls can be tortured for "eternity".

What sort of "love" is this? When humans behave like this, we call it hate, do we not?

How then do you avoid concluding that either "God is evil" or "God does not exist"?

If you accept the premise that the supernatural "exists", then the logical conclusion is that "God" is evil.

Surely you won't fall back on that old bullshit that pain and suffering "is good for the soul"? If you've ever seen real pain and suffering, then you know that all it does is reduce a human to the level of an animal, screaming in distress.

How many billions of "souls" are in that condition at this very moment in your "God's" "Hell"?

Do you really understand the logical consequences of your own beliefs?

A universe without the supernatural is a far better place, harsh though it is in many ways.

If there are no "supernatural" causes of evil, then it follows that humans can overcome evil, if they wish to do so.

We can do what your "God" never bothered with...alieviate at least some pain and suffering.

If you indeed have a conscience, the choice should be obvious.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 14, 2003

What can one say to something like this?


The reason you break down that Zen master's writing is because, I can assume, you have never experienced satori, or even zazen. Therefore your critique is non-authoritative.

The Christian would say that because I've never accepted "Jesus" as my "Lord and Saviour", my criticisms of the "Bible" are "non-authoritative".

The Muslim, the Mormon, the Moonie, etc., etc., etc. would all have variations on the same have to really believe in this stuff to actually experience it and then it will all "make sense".

The ex-members of all the various religions tell a different tale--how they were lied to, abused, manipulated, suckered out of their money, etc., etc., etc. They "really believed" and tried to "really experience it" no avail.

Those are the people who make sense to me.

Consequently, I think that proletarian revolution and communist society will put an end to all these cons once and for all.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 14, 2003


God created man to live in peace with others and the nature. He saw that man was evil and wanted to give a change (Jesus).

In other words, "He" fucked up.

That is, "He" created a sentient entity (human) that was imperfect. Just as if we made an airplane that always crashed on takeoff.

Is "He" incompetent? Did "He" do it out of spite? Does "He" enjoy the idea that most of "His" creatures are going to scream in agony forever?


People are just really stupid, greed[y] and selfish.

And that's a good illustration of where the religious outlook takes you in the end.

People are shit...and all the rhetoric about "loving" them is just camouflage. To be religious is to hate, at the deepest level, your own species.

It's a form of mental illness.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 16, 2003


..the evidence that people want more than bread is in the large numbers of people who believe in superstitious twaddle from all the different churches and mosques...

Well the numbers have always been large; are they, in fact, growing or shrinking?

Real evidence is difficult to gather in this area; people know what the "acceptable" answers are to public opinion polls and usually give them. Those who hold "unacceptable" opinions usually refuse to be polled at all.

My subjective impression--which could very well be wrong--is that the influence of religious views is continuing its historical decline.

The actual numbers of different religious groups seems to be increasing...perhaps suggesting the misleading impression of a "religious revival". I think it's actually a symptom of decay; the serious believer feels himself threatened on "every side" and becomes ever more rigorous in his faith as his actual influence declines.


...and in the larger numbers of people who, disenchanted by both superstition and 'socialism', can believe in nothing but materialism , with the consequences where I am of rampant community crime, and a breakdown in the community generally...

I believe there are studies that indicate that crime was far more prevalent in the late 19th century (in America and the U.K.) than is the case now; though as conditions in the 21st century come to resemble conditions in the 19th century, crime will certainly increase and the "community" decline.

For all but a few, the mindless and unending acquisition of material goodies (which is what I think you mean by "materialism"...) is indeed an empty way to spend one's life and leaves one looking for "something more".

But "more" what?


...19th and early 20th [century] socialism offered a communal socialism (in fact heavily influenced by christian values if not a belief in a socialist god), that is totally lacking today...

But was that not a reflection of the era? When people were still influenced by village/small town social expectations and values? When people were not that far removed from the peasantry, in fact.

It's difficult to see how that could be revived...who would be interested?


...religious revivals / football culture / clubbing and E...these to me are all examples of people trying to find that something fact I would slightly argue that the BNP revival can be linked in...people wanting that extra thing this case nationalism.

True enough. But do they actually find that "something extra"?

I don't think very many of them do...which explains why many go from "belief system" to "belief system" (or club to club or drug to drug, etc.).

I don't know if there is any real "inevitability" about people finally seeing through all the "old shit"--and the "new shit"--or not...but I very much think it's worth our while to encourage them to do that.

And then we'll see...
First posted at Urban75 on October 18, 2003

Dipping a toe into the murky waters of "how do we know that we know", the "common sense" approach is based on personal experience and a body of knowledge generally thought to be "true".

Of course, our personal experience can be misleading (the holder of a winning lottery ticket assumes s/he won because of some inner virtue) and the "body of knowledge" can be rotten with falsehood (capitalist ideology).

Even time does not "always tell"...or, more precisely, time takes a long, long time to tell truth from falsehood. How many thousands of years did everyone assume that slavery was "inevitable", part of the "human condition" like sickness and death?

So "we do the best we can", knowing that the best of one era may turn out to be far inferior to subsequent eras. Whatever appears to conform to our present knowledge has the "highest truth probability".

When a new opinion is offered, the test that it must pass is to explain everything that the old opinion explained and do it better...which usually means simpler. If the new opinion can explain other things that the old opinion couldn't, that strengthens it even further. The conviction grows that the new opinion is a more accurate reflection of objective reality.

With regard to this thread, the "existence" of the "supernatural", like slavery, was an accepted part of the "body of knowledge thought to be true" for many thousands of years...people argued and even killed each other over the "shape" of the "supernatural", but true atheists are extremely rare in recorded history before the 19th century. No one could explain the natural without invoking the "supernatural" in one form or another.

It was only when scientific opinions really began to "pay off" in the 19th century in real changes in people's lives that we had a way to evaluate opinion "objectively".

Does it work? became the surgeon's blade to separate the "true" from the "false".

And that's just as true for abstract "ideas" as it is for physical objects like machines. In light of what we have already learned, does this new idea "make sense", does it "work"? Is it actually "better" than the old ideas on that particular subject?

When you are sick, you do not visit a "faith healer" know better. When some chance misfortune comes into your life, you do not go looking for a "witch" to know better. When some oily politician says "vote for me & I'll set you free" you do not believe know better.

If "faith healing" really worked, doctors would go broke. If witchcraft really worked, the new governor of California would be known as "dickless Arnie". If the promises of bourgeois politicians meant anything, we'd certainly be living in a very different kind of nation in a very different kind of world.

As I understand it, many contemporary philosophers and most scientists reject the idea of "absolute truth" or "absolute certainty". I have no problem with long as it's understood that reasonable approximations of "truth" and "certainty" are achievable and, in fact, have been achieved.

When I say "the supernatural does not exist", I'm making a statement in conformity with all the existing evidence on that subject of which I am aware. In fact, since the "evidence" in favor of the "supernatural" consists entirely of personal testimony while the evidence against it consists of millions of hours of research that have never turned up any evidence of the "supernatural" at all, I say therefore that I know that the "supernatural" does not exist.

If the Rev. Moon "really is" the incarnation of the "Christ", then I'm wrong.

But you and I both know better.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 18, 2003


I'd really like to see more respect for other people's beliefs, sure if you can prove they are wrong kudos to you, however if you ridicule them then what good does that do? The point isn't to humiliate your opponent but to teach them.

I'm not sure that "respect" is quite the right word to use in this context.

Take the matter of racism. Some people would sit down and carefully draw out the racist's views, patiently explain why those views are contradicted by both scientific research and practical experience, etc.

Others would just turn away in disgust, muttering under their breath "stupid fucking racist asshole".

And still others would "kick ass"--verbally on a message board and physically in real life.

Reactions to religious beliefs are similar. You know that I actually try to convince people with logic and evidence that religion is a really bad idea.

Others are not so patient, and write one-line posts like "it's all bullshit", etc.

Perhaps that kind of response reveals "arrogance", but then the same could be said about the person who replies to a racist post, "fuck you, asshole!".

You have to remember that just as some people have had really bad experiences with racists and are not disposed to be tolerant or patient or "respectful", some folks have had really bad experiences with religion and react just as you would expect them to.

Here's a story. Once I happened to be in criminal court (not a defendant, for a change), and before the case I came to watch was called, they did the prostitute cases. From a door in the side of the courtroom, a dozen or so women were led, in chains, into the courtroom. Their wrists were chained, ankles were chained, and there was a master chain that kept them all together.

I looked at this and thought to myself...except for skin color, eye shape, hair texture, I could have seen this in New Orleans in 1860. This is "Christian morality" in practice.

Some things are very difficult to "respect".
First posted at Che-Lives on October 20, 2003

There are two kinds of "wrongness" in the Bible.

The first kind consists of errors of fact...places where the Bible contradicts known historical or scientific knowledge.

This is generally "excused" by the fact that the various writers, editors, compilers, copyists, etc. were not "historians" or "scientists" in the modern sense and therefore can't be legitimately held to modern standards of accuracy.

The second type of "wrongness" is much more serious. The moral code of the Bible is, in most respects, evil by modern standards.

Some "literal Christian" who advocated slavery on the basis of Biblical quotations would be widely denounced all over the world...even by most other Christians. But the quotes are there in black and white.

Christians try to "soft-pedal" the "embarrassing stuff" by not mentioning it or by saying, if pressed, that those are not really moral teachings...just cultural artifacts of the time.

Yet it is interesting to note that Christians will rigorously defend those "cultural artifacts" to the last possible way only when it becomes impossible to defend those "words of God" any longer.

When the bill to abolish the laws against witchcraft was laid before the English parliament (1821?)...only the clergy defended the old laws to the bitter end.

So it is in our own day. Whenever the repeal of some reactionary or repressive law is proposed--particularly relating to "morals"--the various brands of Christianity will be found defending the old law to the bitter end. At this moment in Italy, for example, they are finally beginning to remove the crucifixes from public schools...and the church is screaming like a stuck pig.

What is really "wrong" about the Bible is what its defenders claim as its strength: its moral code.

The bottom line is that it is an evil book.
First posted at Che-Lives on October 30, 2003


Redstar, workers regardless of their beliefs are still workers. You don't convince people by blatantly attacking them; if an honest catholic had read an article where he felt the writer was personally attacking him, he would automatically jump to the defensive.

Would you say the same thing about racism? Or misogyny? Or homophobia?

Don't those ideas deserve to be attacked as vigorously as possible?

If your answer is yes, then why get "mushy" about religion? What's so "special" about one more reactionary set of ideas?

Let's face reality here: all of our ideas are offensive to a lot of people right now. To suggest that we will "score points" with people by faking "public respect" for what we privately hold in contempt is not only dishonest and manipulative but, worse, doesn't work.

A genuine, communist respect for workers is shown by telling them the blunt truth as best we know it...relying on their intelligence to grasp our ideas and make them their own.

Trying to "fool" people into "supporting" us never works.


You are a reasonably clever person but you have no idea on how to engage people, very 'ultra-left'

Yes, I am "ultra-left" and proud of it.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 6, 2003


Who the hell are any of you to say what "never works"?

Readers of history. There have been thousands of books written about revolutionary movements, parties, and governments around the world. Many of them written by participants; many written by contemporary observers; many written by historians.

I haven't read all of them, of course, or even most of them...but I have read a significant sample of them (perhaps as many as a thousand).

I have also lived long enough to actually see with my own eyes various kinds of political strategies put into effect, some of which I participated in directly...others in which I knew some of the people involved and got some of the "inside dope".

It's a fair criticism of me that I sometimes (often?) dismiss certain ideas in a rather curt fashion...what seems "obvious" to me is not necessarily obvious to the people reading my posts.

And I don't mind at all being called upon to explain at greater length...people have every right to expect reasons for what I say.

But who am I to say it? Somebody that knows.


You don't need to agree with the common man's homophobia, or racism, or religious beliefs. But insulting them won't make them give up their beliefs. You guys do very little educating and a lot of ridiculing.

Try actually educating the working man instead of just belittling him.

I don't think anyone here has ever suggested that the "correct" way to talk to working people is by way of insult, ridicule, or belittling.

Of course, it does happen. People are impatient with stupid and reactionary ideas and often let that show in a less than useful way. That probably applies to me too, even though I am a "model of patience" in my own eyes.

But let's not obscure the central idea here: should reactionary ideas be openly fought or should we let "some" of them slide (which ones?)?

I know that I have, on occasion, alienated people on this board by bluntly challenging what I thought to be their "wrong-headed" ideas. That's the risk you take when you openly confront whatever you think is wrong. People "don't like" to be shown that they're wrong (I don't like it either). They especially dislike it (and you) when you "pound away" on them with argument after argument, evidence after evidence, reason after reason.

But what else can we do? How will we ever "educate" anyone if we fear to tell the truth?


It is even more conducive to our plan to understandingly guide the working man into the light...

Here's an alternative to my approach! The "enlightened ones" will "guide" (at gunpoint) the wretched "children of darkness" "Moses leading the Hebrew children out of bondage".

How does that sound?
First posted at Che-Lives on November 8, 2003


I happen to be both Communist and Religious. Are you saying that I am uneducated? A member of the "great unwashed"?

Usually people who say this are confused...they don't really understand what communist ideas actually are and what they are not.

In fact, what I've noticed is that people who say they are both "communist and religious" really mean they are "pro"-communist.

There's a difference...and it's a big one.


...and I don't see how Religion can be presented as a "tool of the bourgeoisie". If anything, it was more a tool of the feudal system in the way you describe.

Actually, religion has been a "tool" of all ruling classes in history...the underlying thread running through all religions is obedience to authority.


But individual belief (such as mine) presents no challenge to the aims or ideals of Communists.

No, your challenge is methodological. Since you must, by virtue of being a believer, assert that the supernatural both exists and interacts with the real world in ways that are inherently unpredictable, you leave a "doorway" through which any assertion, no matter how reactionary, may enter.

You could, for example, say "Jesus spoke to me and said communism is righteous and we should kill all the Jews".

Your "vision" would be firmly within the "prophetic tradition"...and no one could challenge you on supernatural grounds. It's strictly one "prophet's" word against another's.

A real communist cannot make such assertions...cannot demand that people simply "take his/her word" for it that something "is true". Because communists consider the real material world to be the only world there is, we are required to produce real evidence and argument for anything we say.

An isolated believer is, of course, an extremely trivial obstacle to communism...but it is an obstacle.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 8, 2003


I think the major flaw of the Marxist regimes is that they have placed too much emphasis on the need to destroy the ruling class, on class struggle, and this causes them to encourage hatred and to neglect compassion.

This is actually quite a typical comment of someone who is "pro-communist" but not actually communist. Class struggle is, of course, at the heart of Marx's analysis of human is the mechanism for the change from one form of class society to another, and ultimately to a classless society.

It also has the merit, of course, of actually can be observed and even participated in, unlike the nebulous alternatives.

An old hustler like the Dalai Lama can appeal to "compassion" and seem like "a good guy" without changing anything at all...ever. (Except perhaps his personal wealth and prestige.)

Religious leaders like that kind of costs nothing, upsets no one, and they can always blame the nonexistent results on human "sinfulness" or "lack of enlightenment".

I can't imagine why anyone would be fooled by such transparent and empty rhetoric.


For this reason I still think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist.

"Except when I pay a visit to the west--then I'm half-capitalist, half-Buddhist."


In the USSR for example, religion was persecuted, virtually outlawed by the "Communists". Its teaching was prohibited, churches were burned down, and priests publicly ridiculed. The church (yes, this is actually true!!!) was driven underground.

No, that is actually not true...and I'll see your three !!! and raise one!

A few churches were demolished, some were closed for various periods of time, and religion largely disappeared from official discourse. At the same time, however, the government kept a couple of seminaries open to train Orthodox clergy (at government expense), the clergy were all on the public payroll, and, in the run-up to World War II, Stalin quietly allowed appeals to "religious patriotism" to re-emerge (see the film Alexander Nevsky).

It's interesting to note that both Gorbachev and Yeltsin, who were born in the mid-1930s, were both duly baptized in the Orthodox church eight days after their birth...Stalin must have been napping.


And after the fall of "Communism" in 1991, religion spread like wildfire. It served no class - it was being used for no political means - and yet worship grew exponentially. To this day, religion in Russia is a HUGE aspect of the people's culture. NOT because it is used to indoctrinate them, NOT because priests are money-grabbing conmen, but because millions of Russians believe in God and in his teachings.

Oh really? Well, I confess that I'm not an expert on current Russian affairs. But as I recall, when the believers crawled out from under their rocks, they were carrying large icon-style pictures of "St. Nicholas the Martyr"...formerly known as Bloody Nicholas II, the last Czar of the Russian Empire.

I would imagine that the religious people in Russia, like elsewhere, are the most reactionary elements of the population and support the most reactionary political parties there.

As to their "sincere belief in God and his teachings", what does that have to do with anything? Ardent Nazis "sincerely believed" that Hitler "was sent by God to deliver Germany". So what?

Sincerity is a greatly over-rated sentiment, in my opinion. By itself, it proves nothing. I'm sure that Geo. Bush & Co. "sincerely believe" that they are doing "God's work" on earth.

Who gives a shit what they "sincerely believe"?


I believe that someone's personal religious views need to be respected and it can definitely serve a productive purpose in people's lives.

I changed your words because I think this is what you actually meant to say. Correct me if I guessed wrong.

But I do not see why anyone's reactionary ideas deserve to be "respected" nor can I imagine anything "productive" coming from reactionary ideas.


Personally, I like to say that I don't believe in religion but rather "spirituality."

What's the difference? True, there is no formal "spiritual" church hierarchy (yet), but there are certainly hordes of "spiritual guides" out there hustling for your patronage (and your money, of course).

Once you allow the supernatural to become an acceptable premise in your thinking, you're in deep trouble.

How deep depends on a lot of other considerations...
First posted at Che-Lives on November 9, 2003


I happen to believe that a "deity" does exist. Therefore, can I not serve my God as well as Marxism? I don't really see where the conflict lies...

Surely you should know that a man cannot "serve two masters"...

Seriously, the conflict lies in modes of thinking. Marxism is rational; believing in the supernatural is irrational.

You can't sustain both approaches any more than a nation can be "half-slave and half-free".


However, personal belief - in any God - surely cannot interfere with Marxism? Anarchism possibly... Well, nuts to you anyhow. I shall continue to believe in God AS WELL AS Marxism.

Exactly. Belief is the basis you really operate on...the rational thought processes of Marxism are unknown to you.

"Belief" in Marxism does not make you a communist; Marxism is not a religious faith.

As I said before, you and others who try to "mix" religion and Marxism just end up with a muddle. I don't deny that you perhaps "mean well"...I just think such an approach misses the point.


I agree but I think it's counter-productive to prosecute someone who just prays in their own home and has no influence whatsoever.

I quite agree and have never suggested otherwise in any of my posts on this subject.

I have no desire to "prosecute" believers as such...merely to keep them from making a public nuisance of themselves.

But that doesn't mean that I think people who go around telling people that they are "Marxists" and also believers in superstition should be allowed to pass uncriticized.

I'm "intolerant" of nonsense.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 11, 2003


Are you suggesting that having faith prevents me from thinking in a logical way?

That's close...but what I really think it prevents is rational thinking.

Theologians are (now and then) capable of drawing logical conclusions from irrational premises.

But as I noted earlier, once you accept the (irrational) premise that the supernatural "exists" and "interacts with the real world in necessarily unpredictable ways", then you have a perfectly "logical" excuse to assert anything you please without any evidence except your own word.

That's unacceptable.


What annoys me is that you feel that because I have this belief, it makes all other aspects of my intelligence "irrational". Which simply isn't true...

So you say...but why should I believe you? You have admitted that with regard to the universe you hold an irrational conviction...on what grounds could I legitimately conclude that any other conviction that you may hold is not likewise irrational?

Do you see the contradiction here? If you've taken advanced courses in maths and physics, then you are familiar with the requirements for making a "true" statement.

If you disregard those requirements--just toss them out as unnecessary--with regard to the entire universe, then who knows what other odd notions are rattling around in your brain?

You might, at any time, say anything...based not on observation, evidence, logic, etc., but on your "inner conviction" or, for all we know, a total hallucination.

And when challenged, you'd say "Jesus told me"...and be mightily pissed when we laughed in response.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 11, 2003


I can reach a verdict any way I choose.

Of course you can anyone.

What you cannot expect is any respect for a verdict reached by irrational methods.


Even if this were true, and a person was either logical or spiritual/emotional... I would choose the latter.

You already have.


You are imprisoned with no chance of escape.

The guards are sadistic types, and love to torture their victims.

They take you to a room, and sit you next to a young child.

"Unless you kill this child with your bare hands," they say, "we will kill you both".

"If you kill the child, you will be free to go and will not be pursued."

Logically, you would kill the child. He/she is doomed anyway; you may as well save yourself. This is the obvious, and indeed the only, logical conclusion.

But no-one would kill the child. (I hope)

This demonstrates man's capacity to see beyond logic, and to think along spiritual or emotional lines. There is a degree of logic in all of us; just as there is a degree of spiritualism in us. ALL of us.

Nonsense. It demonstrates only the ingenuity of those who try to "demonstrate" the "spiritual" in real life.

The real reason not to kill the kid is that the guards are lying. They are not going to "let you go".

Where do I get that conclusion from? From real world experience with prison guards. No one but an idiot would trust the word of a cop/guard about anything!

You were asking earlier about the possibility of us coming to the same conclusion about something. Well, there's one example.

Now, here's another...


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment...Romans 13:1

Will you bet on "God" here? Or on Marx?
First posted at Che-Lives on November 11, 2003


The choice is whether or not you should take a life in order to preserve yours.

Then why did you "fancy it up"? Why didn't you just ask the question in a straightforward fashion?

You know why. Sticking in the sadistic guards, the impossibility of escape, and the child to be killed allowed you to obscure the real question and drag in a lot of irrational crap in the process.

Very typical!

In real life, the dilemma of "kill or be killed" is rarely encountered...and almost always in circumstances where the correct choice is obvious: someone is trying to kill you and you kill them in self-defense.

"Spirituality" is about is relevant to this kind of question as the surface temperature on Mars.

I notice that you didn't like that little question I asked about the verse from Romans.

Will you respond...or not?
First posted at Che-Lives on November 11, 2003


I do not follow the Bible word for word. No-one does; it contradicts itself. But do you follow the Commie Manifesto word for word?

No, obviously not.

But here's where it gets interesting. When people quote the Communist Manifesto as if it were "scripture", I can offer rational arguments why I think this or that wording is now obsolete.

When I offer you a clear and direct quotation from the "New Testament"--the reactionary content of which is indisputable--you slide on by with hardly a word.

Perhaps that's acceptable behavior in religious circles these days; it's not here.

Was "Saint" Paulos of Tarsus lying? Was he just an ignorant wanker? Is the letter a forgery?

What's going on here?


Although you have still managed to avoid my question. You just decided to insult it. The last resort, eh?

I beg your pardon, I did answer your question, once all the ridiculous stage-dressing was stripped away. In the real world, when your life is threatened by another, it is both logical and rational to take his life in order to preserve your own.

You may not like the answer, but you can hardly deny that it is an answer.


I believe in God for spiritual reasons.

Fair enough...though you should put the word "reasons" in quotation marks. Real reasons are subject to confirmation through observation and argument. Your "reasons" simply float in the mists of your mind...vague shapes in the night and fog of unreason.


In the end, the only authority I follow or respect is God's.

Which turns out to be, after all, yours. You just pick out the portions of "the word of God" that suit you and reject the rest.

And if, one fine day, it suits you to "proclaim a crusade" (for example), you'll do it with a "clear conscience". You're simply obeying "God".
First posted at Che-Lives on November 13, 2003


The situation, however improbable you think it to be, pertains to the "logic", or "rationality" of killing an innocent in order to preserve your life.

Since I have never been in such a situation nor can I plausibly imagine such a situation, I simply have no idea what I would do.

I might not kill the innocent simply because I have already lived long enough to be a bit weary of life anyway--getting old turns out not to be a whole lot of fun.

However, in real life, when I was threatened with conscription and being ordered to kill innocents in Vietnam, I refused...and made it stick. I also helped others to dodge the draft.

But "spiritual" motives had nothing to do with the matter.


If we lead devout lives, and believe, the worst that can happen is that we would be proved incorrect...

That's Pascal's wager, as you probably know, and--as defenders of religion usually do (like that fake "question")--he is dishonest in setting the terms.

First of all, if you lead a "devout life", you lose out on most pleasures of the flesh that you might otherwise have enjoyed.

Secondly, you set yourself against the idea of learning about the real world in a scientific is like performing a pre-frontal lobotomy on yourself. (Pascal did no further scientific work after hooking up with the pious.)

Thirdly, sooner or later you find that you have become an enemy of human freedom.

And finally, as Pascal himself admits, you don't "really" have to just have to publicly act as if you believed. Go to mass and confession, observe the fasts and feasts, tithe, etc.

You actually give up quite a lot--including your integrity--if you accept Pascal's wager.

And for what? A "Heaven" the existence of which is totally unproven.

No serious gambler would accept such a lousy bet.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 13, 2003


Yes, I admit, I am incredibly against drug use. This does not mean I am against personal freedom, or that I am a "fascist". I simply believe that using drugs harms others as well as yourself; therefore should not be allowed.

Indeed? Well I "simply believe" that being a Christian "harms others as well as yourself" and "therefore should not be allowed".

I'd much prefer universal heroin addiction to universal "religion-addiction".


I live in the UK. Yes, we still have a "system" and a "society". There are class barriers; I observe them every day. However, a Marxist revolution is not about to occur in Britain. Or indeed, in the U S of A. Therefore, I have no shame in wanting to prevent our society from "degenerating" further.


It's not a matter of "class barriers"'s a matter of a class society.

The fact there is no "Marxist revolution" that is imminent does not allow you to identify with the old order, using words like "our". It isn't ours, it's theirs!

The use of the word "degeneracy" with regard to societies is obsolete--the kind of thing Spengler, Chamberlain, Toynbee, etc. used to whine about.

One of the claims of early fascism was that it was going to "stop degeneracy". The anti-drug laws fit into that paradigm seamlessly.

In seeking to put people into prison for seeking harmless physical pleasures, you are well within the paradigm of clerical fascism.


Science isn't that great. And most of it's wrong anyhow. It contradicts itself more then the Bible!

The babble of a barbarian.


I am not a fascist. You are incredibly narrow minded if you think so.

I'm often accused of being "narrow-minded" for the habit I have of taking what people say at face value.

If someone expresses fascistic opinions, then I assume that those opinions actually reflect their "world-view" of things...and that that "world-view" is a fascist one.

That doesn't mean they own a drawer full of brown shirts, have a picture of Adolph on the wall, or would even recognize a swastika if they saw one. There are plenty of fascists today who couldn't find Germany or Italy on a map.

It's the underlying assumptions that differentiate a Marxist from a fascist...not simply the costumes, slogans, or stage-settings.

Thus though you are not technically a member of any fascist group and even have some views that would conflict with traditional fascism, I think your willingness to imprison people for the crime of seeking pleasure is fundamentally fascist.

Pleasure is a great crime to the convinced fascist; life is meant to be a stern and harsh struggle for survival and supremacy. The search for pleasure is a "deadly weakness" which must be eliminated by any means necessary, no matter how cruel.

It sort of resembles the way believers feel about "sin", know what I mean?
First posted at Che-Lives on November 14, 2003
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