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Communists Against Religion -- Part 8 March 13, 2004 by RedStar2000


Is there anything more to be said on this subject than I have already written?

It's not as if the godsuckers ever raised any "fresh" arguments; it's just "the same old shit" over and over again.

I have a really strong temptation to make up a "boiler plate" post and each time someone raises the "arguments" for religion, just slot it in and be done with the matter.

It's getting boring!


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quote:

Is ALL religion the opium of the masses?...All I'm wondering is are there exceptions to the rule?


Actually, it's worse than that. After all, a communist could smoke real opium and still be a communist after the drug wore off.

Putting aside the matter of organized religion and its nearly universally reactionary track record, there's the matter of how you look at the real world.

A world that has supernatural entities in it is inherently unknowable...and, consequently, unchangeable by any purposeful human activity except prayer, ritual, sacrifice, or magic (they don't work either, of course).

On the other hand, if the real world is all there is, then -- at least in principle -- we could both understand and change it!

Of course, some believers can convince themselves that "God is on my side" and therefore "my efforts to change the world will succeed". Usually it's reactionaries that hold this position (Hitler, Bush, etc.), but now and then you will find "progressives" that adopt this stance.

John Brown is a good example. If you ever read any detailed accounts of his rebellion at Harper's Ferry, it quickly becomes obvious that he was waiting for a "sign from God" to proceed to his war of insurrection.

Having captured the armory at Harper's Ferry, he and his forces remained there instead of proceeding at once into the mountains. It was almost as if he "wanted" to be a martyr...instead of a guerrilla leader.

He got his wish and his martyrdom...as did the poor fools who followed him.

But that's what religion gets you -- even "unorganized" religion. You fuck up because you're self-blinded from the real world.

A different kind of case is that of Dorothy Day -- the "Catholic-anarchist". She was kind of a left-wing "Mother Teresa"..."good works" (charity) gets you a free pass into "Heaven".

Of course, if there's an anarchist revolution in Europe, she will get promoted to "sainthood" in 48 hours (the Vatican probably already has the paperwork ready to go).

Otherwise, she will completely disappear from the history of "Mother Church".

Now consider this: before many people can ever overcome their childhood conditioning and actually become openly atheist, they practice their religion "as a hobby". "Church" is a social occasion...not terribly different from a meeting of the Elks Club or the Kiwanis Club or the Tuesday night bowling match or the Wednesday afternoon bridge club.

Many such people act "as if" they were atheists...they don't take religious concerns "into account" when making decisions in their daily lives. Believers in other religions or no religion at all "don't bother them"...it's not really important any more.

This has been a "long running trend" in the capitalist world since the late 18th century. It "ought" to continue...but I'm not so sure it will.

As long as someone is still "nominally" religious, they remain vulnerable to the appeal of a charismatic fundamentalist. And we know (or ought to know) what they will do if they succumb to that appeal.

Along with that, it's necessary to remember that, historically, superstition often thrives when a social system is "in trouble" or "heading for a crisis". That was true in the late Roman Empire, the break-down of feudalism, and I think there are signs of it now.

Things could get pretty "hairy" if a really well-organized clerical fascist movement emerged. I'm not saying they'd "win"...in fact I'm pretty sure they'd lose.

But they could give us an awful lot of grief.

Religion? Foe!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 2, 2004
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quote:

The Amish work very hard. Religion has undoubtedly been a good thing for them.


Yes, it has taught them that backbreaking toil and a strenuous effort to remain mentally in the 16th century as much as possible is "the Lord's Will".

Just think: if only the ruling class could convince all of us to eat that shit & like the taste!

It's a ruling class "wet dream".
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 3, 2004
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quote:

They're working hard, responsibly maintaining the land around them, and taking only what they need! What's your problem with that?!


In a phrase from Marx, my problem is "the muck of rural idiocy."

Would you like it if the world lived "like the Amish"? Do you have a secret lust for traditional patriarchy, beating your kids "into shape", and 16th century "rural idiocy"?

Perhaps you do.

The worst thing about groups like the Amish is that they brainwash their kids into believing that this sort of "life" is the only one that's consistent with "the Will of the Lord".

It's one thing if someone 14 or 15 or older chooses this kind of existence; it's completely different when you've been raised from infancy to believe that anything but rural toil is "sinful" in "the Eyes of the Lord".

quote:

Too lazy to do a little farming...? Or too proud, maybe?


Too lazy!

In my view, it's a really shitty way to live. (And it's not just "a little farming", it's a lifetime of sheer drudgery! "God" does not allow them to use modern farm equipment, nor does "God" allow the women in those places to use modern kitchen appliances. Unless there's been a "new revelation" lately, "God" does not permit the use of electricity.)

But also too proud! Much too proud to shovel shit for a 16th century mind-set based on a collection of 3rd century fables.

As I say, it's one thing if you or other adults choose to live in the 16th century...or the stone-age, for that matter, "because God commands it".

Inflicting that crap on helpless children is child abuse!

After the revolution, we'll see how long their precious pocket of rural idiocy lasts when they are no longer permitted to inflict it on their kids.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 3, 2004
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quote:

There are quite a number of people who believe in God, Jesus, reincarnation or whatever and it affects others in no way at all.


Indeed?

What is the mental climate of a society where superstition prevails?

What is the quality of public life and public discussion where appeals to superstition can be seriously made and seriously considered?

Remember, in this kind of situation, ordinary rational arguments are irrelevant; either "God" commanded "man" to abstain from alcoholic beverages or "He" didn't.

In such a "controversy", the views of secularists don't count.

You may well claim that "some forms" of religion are "unacceptable"...but what is your view worth compared to that of "Almighty God"?

If some religious sect believes in human sacrifice, all you can do to stop them is to say, in effect, "My God is bigger than your God...and if you don't stop human sacrifice, then my God gives me divine permission to kill you."

As Napoleon I is supposed to have noted: "God is on the side with the heavy artillery".

So it's not really a matter of "well, they haven't burned any witches lately, so 'live and let live'."

In a "demon-haunted world" (the title of a pretty good book by the late Carl Sagan), any proposition that claims divine approval goes on the agenda and can always be adopted.

No matter how barbaric.

(And, by the way, religion does "pick your pocket" if you ever pay any taxes at all; they don't.)

quote:

Or are we going to suddenly introduce thought-crime?


Hasn't that "red herring" started to smell pretty bad by now? Believers always drag it out whenever anyone suggests that superstition be confined to one's personal space.

Maybe we should call it "thought-disorder" instead.

quote:

We need spirituality, just not an organised religion.


Be realistic. If there were no organized religions at all, how long would it take for the "spiritualists" to set one up? Complete with "holy buildings", a priesthood, one or more "holy books", a liturgy composed in a dead language, an utterly cruel and irrational "moral code", and appropriate provisions for the expulsion of heretics and the burning of atheists.

"Spirituality", like "the road to Hell", is paved with "good intentions".

It leads to the same destination.

quote:

The Amish don't force anything on anyone. They are very lenient about their children's' religions and beliefs. Most modern Amish communities contain at least one, usually several homes fully equipped with electricity, cable and the like.


Yes, actually there are several different kinds of Amish. Perhaps you have come into contact with the "black bumper Amish" -- they are allowed to use cars but only after they have carefully covered all the chrome with black paint. (Yeah, I'm not making that up.)

quote:

They [Mennonites] are easily confused with the Amish because of the fact that both groups lead an "old-fashioned" lifestyle. But the two groups are completely different. I can't stress that enough.


Perhaps some are and some aren't. Another branch of the same tree is the Hutterian Brethren, called the Hutterites by the infidels. They actually practice "Christian communism"...and they do so very successfully. They have no "hang ups" about modern technology.

Of course, their settlements are terrible places to be female...but, "aside" from that, not so bad if you can stand the religious rhetoric.

All of these folks, by the way, are distant offshoots of the great peasant rebellion in early 16th century Germany, Switzerland, etc....the one that Engels writes about in The Peasant War in Germany.

As refugees from the defeat of that war, they went to Holland and from there to "the new world". They were among the very first "Americans" to oppose slavery (in Pennsylvania); in fact, if you didn't sell or emancipate your slaves, they'd kick you out of their churches-communities.

But, when all is said and done, they are "living fossils"...people for whom the 18th century enlightenment never happened.

As one of them was quoted only a few years ago said, "We are peasants; that is good enough for us." (He said it in German, of course...what some people call "Pennsylvania Dutch".)

quote:

The Amish are completely devoid of greed, and work only for "the good of the community." Sound at all familiar?


Very familiar indeed! As long as the "left" has existed, there has been a current of thought that equated leftism with "self-sacrifice". It's always appealed, as far as I could ever tell, to people who feel like they have something to sacrifice and suffer pangs of guilt for that.

But the truth is, none of us have our freedom in class society...and what meaning do the differences in our trivial possessions have, compared to that?

Contrary to the superficial impression of many, the purpose of communism is not "self-sacrifice" -- it is emancipation from wage slavery...the material equality is just a happy by-product.

That seems "really hard" for a lot of folks to grasp...but it's true.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 3, 2004
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quote:

While you may be able to stop someone building a church; without being rather too draconian, you can't stop that same person and a bunch of others meeting in a house and having an orgy (or praying for that matter).


Nor would I have any particular reason to...unless you're fucking over kids.

Therefore, fuck or pray according to your own desires...you'll get no grief from me.

quote:

The worst thing about groups like the Communists is that they brainwash their kids into believing that this sort of "life" is the only one that's worthwhile/sustainable/etc.


Well, you would say that, wouldn't you?

To the godsuckers, teaching kids that there are no gods is brainwashing. To communists, teaching kids that gods exist is brainwashing.

So who's teaching kids the truth and who is deliberately lying to them?

I guess you'll have to figure that one out on your own.

Keep in mind the wrenching lament of this comrade...

quote:

See, I was raised in a Christian home. My brain was programmed to believe in Christianity and God. When I was about 12 or 13 I began to reject that stuff, fully renouncing everything I had believed in by the 8th grade (14 years). For the last 6 or 7 years I have been grappling with what I believe. On one hand I want to believe, but then I realize that it's just my programming kicking in. On the other, I see that there is nothing to support this faith, but my programming keeps that fear of hell and all that in the back of my head. When it comes down to it, whether I believe in it or not, thinking that there is a God and an afterlife makes me feel better. When I worry about death, or my loved ones dying, I find solace in the thought that there is an afterlife where I will see them again. It's irrational, I know, but it makes me feel better. It most likely is a bunch of shite, but then again, it could all turn out to be real.


After many thousands of years of tormenting people like this, your days are coming to an end.

Like it or not!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 4, 2004
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quote:

Whose days are coming to an end, those who "tormented" that guy?


And millions, perhaps tens of millions of others...yes, "the end is nigh" (as they like to say) for them!

quote:

Don't hold the actions of one...against the entire idea of "spirituality."


Why the hell not? Crap is crap, isn't it?

quote:

Also, you keep bringing up the fact that the Amish are living in the 19th century...


Actually, 16th-17th century would be more accurate. The 18th century enlightenment never took place for them.

quote:

But what is your issue with that?


What is your issue with cannibalism? Or witch-burning? Or any other custom that you regard as "primitive", "backward", or "uncivilized"?

quote:

Is it not admirable to you that they live without the comforts of modern life?!


Having been without some of those comforts myself (fortunately for only brief periods), I see nothing "admirable" in "discomfort for the sake of discomfort".

But it's not simply the gadgetry that they renounce, they renounce the very way in which a modern human being thinks! Critical thought itself is completely unknown to them.

To them, the "Bible" is the "literal word of God", period.

quote:

The Amish are ruled by no one but themselves and "the Lord." I would hardly call the Lord "ruling-class" or "oppressive." Since when has "God" actually ordered anyone to do anything or oppressed anyone by his own will?


From what I've read, I think it most likely that the Amish and similar groups are ruled by a formal or informal council of patriarchs (old guys who take religion more seriously than most) -- that's the norm for such social formations. The Hutterian Brethren are probably the most democratic (not counting women, of course).

I see that like many believers, you are poorly informed as to the contents of your own "holy book".

Bob Dylan had a nice example...

God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son";
Abe said "God, you must be putting me on."
God said "No".
Abe said "What?"
God said "You can do what you want to, but
the next time you see me coming,
you better run,"
Abe said "Where you want this killing done?"
God said "Do it out on highway 61!"


Now, go read your "Bible".
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 4, 2004
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quote:

Do you not see the admirable qualities in a group of people that choose to live a life of back-breaking work without modern luxuries?!


No.

For people raised in that culture, it's not a real "choice". From childhood, they've been raised to believe that their wretched life-style is "the will of the Lord".

If you go and join them, that's different...you know what you are choosing (or at least think you do).

Critical thinking, by the way, is not a "luxury"...it's what separates us from very bright primates who don't make messes on the floor and who "will work for food".

Capitalist societies strenuously discourage critical thinking among the masses; the Amish don't even know what it is.

quote:

The Amish aren't stupid, just pious.


"Cro-magnon Man" was just as bright as we are...just wretchedly ignorant.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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quote:

First of all, to be Amish is a lifestyle choice.


It is for you! Not for them.

Are you aware of the "dirty little trick" they play on their young males?

When the young guy reaches 18 or so, they force him to go "out into the world".

Naturally, he's completely unprepared for this -- he has an 8th-grade education, no skills, no understanding of the complexities of modern society, etc.

Those poor bastards "return to the fold" positively whimpering with relief...and are never "tempted" by the "devil" again.

Some choice, eh?

quote:

the entire family gathers around to read about Philosophy and American History by candlelight...


Yeah, right.

I'm at least trying to take this thread seriously; why are you making jokes?

quote:

The intelligence of the Amish people as a whole far surpasses the intelligence of the "modern" American.


I have no idea what you mean by this. Are you saying that the Amish have "higher IQs" than non-Amish?

Or that they "know more" about the real world?

Either assertion is completely absurd, of course. As is this one...

quote:

"Cro-magnon Man" was proven to have literally less brainpower than the modern human being.


"Proved" by who?

To all intents and purposes, we are Cro-magnons (if we're Europeans)...same size skull, same size brain, same build, same stature, etc. Cro-magnons were "modern human beings"...just terribly ignorant ones.

Like the Amish.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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quote:

Look at the statistics for the amount of overweight Americans. Americans as a whole have become apathetic and lazy. The general "sharpness" of the American people is decreasing rapidly.


So maybe the Amish should open "fat farms"?

Or perhaps all Americans will drown in their own blubber...except the Amish, who will "inherent the earth" because they work "really hard".

I don't even understand what you're actually trying to argue any more. This was a thread about "religion: friend or foe" and you have made it into a referendum on the "virtues" of "the simple life".

Instead of arguing with me about it, go try it out for yourself.

I'm not going to jump into that barrel of shit no matter what you say...but if you really want to do that, go ahead.

"Experience is a hard school, but a fool will have no other." -- B. Franklin
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 6, 2004
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Well, a museum is not a church. Religious artwork that is presently located in churches could be removed to museums (most of it, by the way, is crap and not worth saving...even according to those who are "fans" of such genres).

Some things are simply too large and awkward to relocate; so perhaps holographs could be made of them and then the originals (usually built in to some religious structure) would be destroyed.

Communists in western Europe will have a long and tedious task in removing religious architecture from public life -- the landscape is littered with churches and cathedrals.

When you have to pick up and dispose of a thousand years of trash, it will take a while.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 19, 2004
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quote:

I didn't even know there were people here who wanted to destroy the great works of art that contributed so much to history...


Do you consider cathedrals to be "great works of art" that "contributed so much to history"?

I think the opposite: they are monuments to ignorance, superstition, servility, and barbaric cruelty.

So yes, I want them totally destroyed.

quote:

...but that doesn't mean we should destroy all the things that so many people find inspirational and beautiful.


By the time the working class is actually capable of proletarian revolution, most people will see them as neither "inspirational" or "beautiful".

Just an ugly reminder of "slave-times".

quote:

If there were a movement to destroy art, I would most proudly fight against the ignorant morons who want to eliminate the heart of people.


Heart? How is religious architecture the "heart" of anyone but "an ignorant moron"?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2004
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quote:

Red star, would [you] also want to destroy stone henge or the ruins of Mayan temples?


No, that would not be necessary in my view...the really ancient stuff has no more religious significance or meaning.

Stonehenge should probably get a good fence around it; there's a bunch of "new age idiots" that try to use it for superstitious ceremonies a couple of times a year.

Nor, by the way, would it be reasonable to destroy a modern building that didn't "look religious" -- "propaganda in stone". There are some churches that all you'd have to do is take down the exterior crosses and remodel the interiors for useful purposes.

quote:

So under the despotism of Red Star are we even allowed to hold our own opinions or more to the point not his/hers?


A "serious" question deserves a "serious" answer: if you disagree with me, my "despotism" will scoop out your brain and feed it to my cat!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 6, 2004
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quote:

The total destruction of all that is religious is a fanatical waste of time, people will not be enriched by it.


Well, that's a matter of opinion, isn't it?

Revolutions have traditionally destroyed symbols of "the old order"...it was felt to be a "liberating" experience. Why should proletarian revolution be any different in that regard?

Religion has been closely identified with ruling classes throughout the history of class society. Why should it not then suffer "the usual penalty" at the hands of those who wish to abolish class society?

Of course, it's "fanatical"...in the eyes of the old order, revolutions are always "fanatical".

quote:

Do you advocate the destruction of churches and other like religious buildings if they sill exist as places of worship? As without worship they lack religious significance.


Their very existence is "propaganda in stone".

Anyone who looks at such a building, whether or not it is still being used for superstitious purposes, knows what it stands for and what it means. It's an on-going reminder of the assertion that the supernatural "exists" and must be "worshiped".

That cannot be permitted...if we are at all serious about deleting this idiocy from the human species for all time.

So...down they come! Perhaps to be replaced with some nice public parks. Cities don't have enough green spaces and can always use more.

Trees are better than gods.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 6, 2004
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quote:

...so why don't you attack the causes of religion?


Oh, we will, have no fears on that account.

But one of the things that "legitimizes" religion in society is its constant public presence. Travel across an urban landscape and what do you see? Fucking churches!

It's an "in-your-face" phenomenon that is literally unavoidable.

(Rather like slavery was before the fall of the Confederacy. In the anti-bellum American South, you saw slaves everywhere you went. Slavery was "natural", just "part of the background", etc. When you see enough people in chains, you tend to think that the idea of people in chains is "acceptable".)

quote:

Destroying churches will only antagonise Christians, so what's the point?


They are already antagonistic...even when they "say" otherwise. Religion has nearly always enthusiastically sided with ruling class repression...it is "naturally" reactionary.

One of the side-effects of destroying religious architecture is that it will demoralize the believers.

"If God permits the destruction of His own House, perhaps He's not all-powerful. Perhaps he doesn't even exist."

That's a "good result" of our work.

quote:

They might go 'underground' but would be firmly opposed to our cause.


The really fanatical Christians are already opposed. (Not just to communism; you should see the venom the Catholic hierarchy pours on the head of Chavez in Venezuela...a simple populist reformer.)

I want them underground...I want them scared to death to make a public appearance of any kind. When they are deeply hidden from the public eye, they can make no new recruits (suckers)...and when they die of old age, their religion dies with them.

The big mistake that 20th century "socialist" countries made (Cuba is still making that mistake) was thinking that you could "control" religion by setting up a bureaucracy to "regulate it".

The churches just "hunker down", continue to privately spread their poison, and eventually come out openly in favor of counter-revolution (Poland, etc.).

We should not make that mistake.

quote:

Should we shoot them all? I don't think so.


Nor do I. But the serious godsuckers believe we intend to "shoot them all"...and will act accordingly.

quote:

I know many who like the 'nice' aspects of Marxism, yet are somewhat repulsed by the prospect of demolishing churches.


Ain't it the truth!

You talk to them about communist society and they have to admit that it sounds a lot better than what exists now.

You tell them what has to be done to get there...and the squealing begins.

"You can't do that!"

Yes we can. And we will.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 6, 2004
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quote:

As a communist you should not underestimate the power of underground movements.


That's an extremely complex question. Some underground movements have flourished, eventually emerged openly into the public eye, and triumphed.

Others have simply withered away.

"Being underground" is not a "magical" path to victory that works in all cases at all times, just as being "above ground" is not a "magical" path to either victory or defeat.

My contention is that as religion vanishes from public eye, its "underground component" (composed of the most fanatical true-believers) will have a shrinking pool of "potential recruits"...there will be fewer and fewer people who are even interested in the subject.

"Pssst, wanna read a holy book?"

"Get lost, you creep!"

quote:

Art's a part of our history. Nobody said that every single little piece of art had to be optimistic...


There's one thing that communism won't help...folks who can't be bothered to read the whole thread before commenting.

Here's what I actually wrote about religious art...

quote:

Well, a museum is not a church. Religious artwork that is presently located in churches could be removed to museums (most of it, by the way, is crap and not worth saving...even according to those who are "fans" of such genres).


So whatever the art historians regard as "good stuff" goes into a museum and all the crap goes to a landfill.

Then the building comes down.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 7, 2004
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quote:

People will always look for something to believe in; their pool won't shrink into oblivion.


Is that like "people will always be greedy and want more"?

Since all we have to work with is our knowledge of past and present class societies, I don't think we can assume very much about "what people will always look for" in classless society.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 7, 2004
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quote:

Why is religion so taboo in a communist state?


To begin with, there's no "state" in a communist society.

Nevertheless, there wouldn't be any public presence of religion either...for hordes of reasons. Here are just four of them.

1. It's just plain wrong...a completely discredited "theory of everything".

2. It is strongly biased in a reactionary direction..."Heaven is not a republic", etc.

3. Because of that bias, it acts as an attractant to political opponents of communism...and even organizes counter-revolutionary activity.

4. Its "moral codes" are barbaric and inhumane...particularly towards women and children.

There are many more reasons...it sometimes seems like I never get the chance to stop having to post on this subject.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 4, 2004
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quote:

For the most part, when people use the term 'state' to describe living under communism, they are trying to imply 'state' as in: 'in a communist state of living (as in condition of living)'.


You may be right.

But the word "state" has a specific meaning in Marxist circles -- "an executive committee of the ruling class", an apparatus of organized repression of the exploited classes, etc.

Leninists use the word to describe their version of "the dictatorship of the proletariat" (they mean their party, of course).

Real communists are against all that...we intend to smash the capitalist state apparatus after the revolution and not replace it.

We think that one of the essential conditions of a classless society is the absence of a "political center of gravity" where a potential new ruling class could concentrate.

So, yeah, I get kind of testy when people blithely say "communist state"...there's no such thing!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 5, 2003
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quote:

I disagree with your reasons for not having religion in a communist society.

Simply on the basis that the reasons you give lead inevitably to a totalitarian form of government that set[s] the moral standards.


And this after I just emphasized that there would be no state or "government" in communist society. (!)

quote:

One of the freedoms I think of [in] a capitalist country is a toleration (ostensibly) of views which are wholly different and in some cases abhorrent to some people.


I noticed that you slipped in that word "ostensibly". Did you think I didn't know what it means?

quote:

1. Appearing as such but not necessarily so; 2. Represented or appearing as such; pretended.


In other words, you just shot down your whole paragraph by inserting that truthful qualification.

Whenever capitalist society feels seriously threatened, it is completely intolerant of anti-capitalist views and imprisons or kills those known to have them.

That's history!

quote:

You live in a country where your beliefs are allowed and accepted...


You, on the other hand, live on some other planet.

quote:

...yet you advocate a society which not only condemns other peoples religious views (and logically this turns into any anti-communist views as no.3 suggests) but would seek to eradicate them.

I think this is wrong.


Then stick with capitalism; you can wallow in any superstitious muck that you like...and do it tax-free.

And "pray" that proletarian revolution will come after your lifetime.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 6, 2004
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quote:

I don't think you have really answered my challenges.

1. That your views lead inevitably to a totalitarian form of government.

2.That you live in a country where these views are accepted yet you advocate a society which not only condemns other peoples' religious views but would seek to eradicate them.


1. There is no "government" -- "totalitarian" or otherwise -- in communist society.

2. Communist views are not "accepted" in capitalist societies whenever capitalism feels seriously threatened.

If you think the end of religion is "totalitarian", then stick with capitalism.

quote:

If you live in a capitalist country you are allowed various forms of protest about issues you think are important.


Right up to the point where they refuse you a permit...then, they drop the mask and bring out the guns.

Ever hear of Kent State?

quote:

Imagine there are a group of capitalists wanting a say, your rhetoric suppresses their right to freedom of speech and any other 'counter-revolutionaries' for that matter; and I'm sure the definition of counter revolutionary activity will be blurred as it was and is in communist countries.


Fuck the capitalists and their "freedom of speech"! The capitalist class has had freedom of speech for centuries. After the revolution, it's our turn.

If you think that's really "terrible", then, I repeat, stick with capitalism.

quote:

No one has the right to tell you what you can and can not think or believe in.


People do that constantly, whether or not they have the "right".

When you were a little kid, your teacher told you that 2 + 2 = 4, all the time; no exceptions.

If you want to "believe" that 2 + 2 = 5, go right ahead. But people will laugh at you and they won't let you teach little kids.

Quite rightly.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 6, 2004
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quote:

There's a big difference between saying someone is wrong and denying them the right to be wrong.


Indeed there is. Those who believe that burning people for "witchcraft" is in accordance with the "Will of God" are not only stated to be wrong but are actually denied "the right" to be wrong. If we catch them even trying to do it or trying to gather a following so they can try to do it, we'll shoot them, period.

Many superstitious practices will fall under that provision.

Private superstitious beliefs that have no public dimension are different; what goes on inside someone's head is not something we can do anything about.

People are always free to "think whatever they please".

It's what they do about it that is problematic.

quote:

We are not talking about kids but grown men and women.


Who were brainwashed with superstition while they were kids...and who now want to do it to their kids.

No.

quote:

We are not within the confines of a scientific method but without.


The scientific method is the only method that the human species has come up with to reliably distinguish between truth and falsehood.

It's not and will never be "perfect", but its "track record" is pretty impressive...especially compared to all forms of superstition.

quote:

It is not written into law that 2+2=4 and much less that you will be jailed for creating an organisation that holds something else to be true.


I don't anticipate that there will be much in the way of "laws" in communist society and jails will probably be pretty rare.

In your case, I expect people in your community will decide your fate on the basis of 1. is he a harmless superstitious nutball?; or 2. is he a real asshole who gives us a lot of grief?

The more obnoxious your superstition and the more vigorous your proselytizing, the more the second option will look like the right choice and your fate will doubtless be an unpleasant one.

If that bothers you, like it does some, then, I repeat once more: stick with capitalism!

You won't like communism at all!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 6, 2004
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quote:

Tell me Redstar2000, would you shoot people for celebrating mass or perhaps wearing a cross?


No. But if they did it in public, I might "pie" them.

quote:

Not that you wouldn't try. I can see it now, Redstar2000 captain of thought police.


Why ask what I would do in this or that situation if you've already made up your "mind" (such as it is) that I'm evil incarnate...

quote:

What of people who were not raised up to be religious but became so? The undeniable truth is that you treat people with contempt, unbelievable arrogance. No, you don't own the truth and even if you did you could not impose it.


Certainly not on you...some tasks are beyond even my abilities.

quote:

See, in science you have to prove your conclusions be they positive or negative.


No, that's wrong. In science, the burden of proof is always on the person who makes the positive assertion; s/he must put forward evidence that the assertion is true.

The negative is the "default option" -- something is not considered true until positive evidence is forthcoming.

Among other faults, religion is on the same level with fortune-telling, astrology, etc. If you take money for it, you're guilty of fraud.

quote:

So, there is no government and there are no laws, but if you go to church Redstar will shoot you.


No, you're wrong again. Didn't I mention it? In communist societies there will be no churches.

The Cathedral and the Wrecking Ball

quote:

I'll "stick" with something else altogether then.


Excellent! As some have emphasized, capitalism offers the freedom for a wide variety of superstitions (supernatural and political) to flourish.

May your choice be a happy one for you.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 7, 2004
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quote:

Something has not been proven. is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the same as its contrary has been proven.


Well, pretty close to that...at least in practical terms.

For example, the absence of evidence for the existence of supernatural entities is pretty convincing evidence for their non-existence...especially since verifiable evidence has been sought for many thousands of years without success.

Of course, a new hypothesis that has only recently been tested might still be proven true with better testing. Time is a relevant consideration.

Another example: if capitalism continues to successfully exist over the next two or three centuries, I would conclude that the Marxist hypothesis of proletarian revolution and communism has been effectively falsified.

Just another "good idea" that didn't "pan out".

quote:

The fact that you can not grasp this fully exposes your intellectual bankruptcy.


I sure have been on the receiving end of a lot of insults lately and I'm beginning to think it's time to start replying in kind.

quote:

What I can say is that in my world, in the real world, people have free will and exercise it extensively. No two people agree on the color of green.


Differences on the color of green being equivalent, I gather, to the difference between rational thought and superstition.

Have you checked your own "intellectual bank balance" lately? I think you might be overdrawn.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 7, 2004
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quote:

What that means, I think, is that we are a long way off [from] a society where everyone will agree on everything and behave in acceptable (acceptable to themselves) manner. So much so that no government, laws or jails will be required.


Well of course we are! Did you think I was talking of measures to be taken next week? Or next decade?

I don't expect proletarian revolution before the second half of this century at the earliest.

By that time, I expect most people to be atheists and to agree with the kinds of things I have proposed to remove religion once and for all from the public landscape.

Of course there will be sharp struggles with the remnants of the believers, especially the "die-hard" fundamentalists. They will undoubtedly squeal like stuck pigs; they always do whenever they sense a threat to their dirty little racket.

But the image that some people here seem to have -- grim-faced Red Army soldiers holding back thousands of sobbing faithful as the great wrecking ball smashes into the ancient cathedral -- is false.

I think people will come watch the cathedral imploded as an entertainment; they'll bring their kids and a picnic lunch.

It will be a celebration.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 7, 2004
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quote:

I also think your brand of communism verges more on authoritarianism...This is sad as it has historically led to millions of deaths.


"Think" what you please...you've already claimed that there's "freedom" under capitalism (and also millions of deaths, mind you).

quote:

...any attempt to eliminate spirituality will fail. It has failed before.


I guess we have to try harder.

quote:

...but I would be uneasy in a society where I was not allowed to even contemplate religious matters or exercise any kind.


What is the source of your "unease"? Do you have a secret lust for human sacrifice? Or ritual cannibalism? Or do you have a "moral code" that you think people really ought to be made to observe "for their own good"?

It is quite odd to be "accused" of being "authoritarian" for wanting to suppress the most authoritarian institution in recorded history -- religion!

It's like being accused of being a fascist for wanting to suppress Nazism.

Very strange.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 8, 2004
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quote:

However, we must remember that to believe in a religion is a self-made decision; I choose to believe in Christianity and so therefore am not being 'restricted' by it; I choose to live my life like that because I want to.


I see. You were raised with no contact with religion at all. Upon reaching the "age of reason", you carefully examined all the world's religions and freely decided that Christianity was "the one that was true".

No kidding! *laughs*

quote:

I don't think religion can be seen as authoritarian...but I would accept that it has been used in the past like this. It isn't within its nature though.


*scornful laughter*

quote:

...perhaps I'll cut to the chase and ask are you an authoritarian communist much in [the] style of Stalin or modern China?


Even if I denied it, you wouldn't believe me...so why ask?

Besides, from the standpoint of the godsuckers, I'm worse than Stalin.

Why? Not because I've killed anyone or even have any particular desire to do so...but because I intend to kill religion itself.

The "ultimate crime" in your eyes.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 9, 2004
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quote:

There is no reason in certain things, religion is one of them.


Actually, I think there are reasons behind everything...even if we don't know what they are or how they work.

In other words, I think the world is knowable...at least in principle.

This case is a pretty simple one; he was raised Christian, well-indoctrinated, and now defends it against "Stalinists" like me.

It's part of his "psychological identity" now, and he can no more consider a rational argument against it than he can consider living on Pluto...at least for the time being. Life experience can change that, of course. But it doesn't happen very often.

Once people really get "comfortable" in religion, they rarely abandon it.

That's why churches set up their own schools or want to play a big role in public schools; if they can get the kids, then their success is "automatic". They'll lose the really bright kids, of course...but they've become used to that anyway. They'll keep most of the "sheep"...the ones that will keep giving them money (supporting their racket).

And they'll recruit some bright (but not overly scrupulous) adults...who want to get on the "money-train".

I've even toyed with the idea myself...setting up a religion is one of the easiest cons in the world.

But somehow, I just never got around to it...I like to think I was "too decent" to do that to people.

Or, it must be admitted, too lazy.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 10, 2004
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quote:

I like to think I keep a very open mind about things and to suggest I have somehow been 'indoctrinated' is absurd and wrong. Regardless of this fact though, the continued unanswered question of your authoritarianism still lingers ever present.


Many claim to be "open-minded" -- few live up to that...probably because over-hauling your own world-view is a lot of work and we'd rather not do that on a daily or even yearly basis if it can be avoided.

In fact, people who change their views frequently are regarded not so much as "open-minded" but rather as "unserious".

The only times that I think we are really "open-minded" is when we're young enough to have not yet "put all the pieces together" or when some tragedy or disaster strikes that challenges the world-view we developed in maturity.

After the holocaust, a great many Jews completely abandoned the religious aspects of their ethnic-cultural identity. A "God" that permitted mass murder was a "god" that either did not exist or was unworthy of worship.

Someone like this guy may still be young enough to escape his childhood indoctrination...but it's unlikely, in my opinion. His claim of "open-mindedness" is belied by his insistence that I "must" be some kind of "Stalinist" because I wish to eliminate religion from the human species.

Someone who would casually throw his own precious superstition into history's dumpster must be "evil"...and Stalin was the most "evil" guy he could think of.

In fact, the general consensus of Stalinists on the internet who are familiar with my posts is that I am "an anarchist masking as a communist".

Because I reject the "transitional workers' state" and propose that we begin creating communism on day one after the revolution, the Stalinists claim that I have abandoned Leninism (correctly) and Marxism (incorrectly).

Of course, that means nothing from where you stand (or kneel, more likely).

Your definition of "authoritarianism" is simply "intends to abolish the true religion -- Christianity".

So to you and other godsuckers, I am indeed worse than Stalin. Stalin, after all, did not abolish religion or even try to; he put the Russian Orthodox priesthood "on the payroll" of his "worker's" state. He thought religion was something you could "regulate"...like the Securities Exchange Commission "regulates" the stock market in the United States. Didn't work.

So there's your answer. To real authoritarians, I'm an "anarchist". But to you and those like you, I'm "worse than Stalin".

Some answers depend on who you ask.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 11, 2004
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quote:

Firstly it ignores how religion is not always conservative, and in fact in some places has caused social progression.


The exceptions are rare, brief, and sporadic.

"Liberation theology" (there are Christian, Jewish, and Muslim versions) may indeed articulate a wish for "social justice"...but they do not and cannot challenge the fundamental class structure of existing societies.

Why? Because they cannot really recognize class differences at all; those who believe in the "true faith" (whatever it is) are "saved in the eyes of God" regardless of class.

Thus, "liberation theology" can only appeal to the benevolence of the wealthy believer to share more with the poor believer. They can't ever say to the poor believer: "expropriate the rich believer and if he resists, kill him".

They can't ever be revolutionary.

Also, one must take note of the fact that the "liberation" theologians and their followers constitute a very small proportion of the total number of believers in the major religions.

It's "too radical".

quote:

And in fact it also doesn't take into account an entire category of religious belief - individualist religions. Those that do not have either organisations from which belief is guided, or a common core of values imposed upon believers.


Probably because "individualist religions" had little social significance in Marx's time or, for that matter, our own.

A "private faith" is, by definition, private. It's only when you begin to write stuff down, start communicating your beliefs to others, etc. that you've taken the first steps towards founding a new religion in a social sense.

You may, for all I know, pray daily to the "Great Pumpkin"...but that doesn't mean anything until you start telling other people that unless they also pray to the Great Pumpkin, they will be reincarnated as nettles and thistles.

quote:

While those that follow Christianity might hold the value that class equality, for example, is not something to aspire to, in the Bible itself, the main religious text, these values are present.


There are a great many "values" expressed in the "Bible"...what counts is the weight given to each.

In the Marxist view, "holy books" are written and reinterpreted to support the existing class structure of any given society.

Thus the predominate weight in "holy books" is always deeply reactionary. Indeed, the biggest challenge religion always faces is bringing its teachings "up to date" with the more recent version of class society.

But, since they've had a lot of practice at this, they're pretty good at it.

quote:

And finally it could be that religion is necessary, and needed in any society.


Why? What social purpose does it serve?

You know the answer. It is to "justify" injustice as "the Will of God". That's its only real purpose...and religious hierarchies are very conscious of that.

They know who's really paying them and what they're being paid to do.

quote:

Even in Marxist ideology based countries such as the Soviet Union, religion was present; how Lenin and Stalin were idolised and treated as sacred, the communal worship demonstrated in parades, etc., and the hammer,sickle treated like a religious symbol. So even in a country meant to be aware that religion is a conservative force (according to marxism not me), it still is present.


The old Soviet Union was a culturally backward country and it's thought that the leaders deliberately copied religious symbolism so that the people would be more "comfortable" with the new order.

As a Marxist, I don't think that was "a good thing" to do...but they didn't ask my advice.

quote:

What all religions give is a suggestion at some kind of afterlife or spiritual world, above science. This being something that a lot of people look for, and with no other avenue of finding it, religion is needed.


But why do "a lot of people look for" that? What are the social reasons?

What is it about the world as it is that causes people to seek for something "beyond"?

"It is the cry of the oppressed; the heart of a heartless world. It is the opiate of the masses."

And "to criticize [religious] illusions is to criticize a world that requires illusions."
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 12, 2004
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