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Religion and Socialist Society

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Sympo
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Religion and Socialist Society

Can Socialism be established if most people still adhere to the religions of today (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc)?

One idea that I've considered is that it might be possible for a Christian (or whatever) to be in favor of creating a classless, stateless society of free access and democratic control of the means of production by society as a whole.

We've all heard that Marx quote on religion, the one where he says that it is the opium of the people and the sigh of the oppressed creature.

Let's say that the creature frees himself from his cage. Does the creature have to stop sighing whilst he is freeing himself, or can he stop after he is free?

Marcos
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Probably, this is the best answer to your question:

 

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pamphlets/socialism-and-religion

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/depth-articles/religion

Probably the expression used by Marx was applicable to his time when peoples were too much involved in religion. 

Our approach to religion is different to the secular atheists who think that the main problem of mankind is religion, and many of them support capitalism. 

Religion exists because the material conditions which motivated its emerge still exist in our society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sympo
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I am under the impression that some of the articles say different things.

Here's a quote from Socialism and Religion:

"Religion won’t disappear simply because Secularists and Freethinkers, or for that matter Socialists, refute it as untrue. It will only disappear when people are in a position to control the production of their means of life. This requires the end of the class ownership[...]"

Which to me sounds like it's saying that religion as a whole will only dissappear after the end of class ownership.

But here's what Religion: dying but not yet dead has to say:

"In order to grasp the urgent need for and the possibility of achieving major social change one must first be able to think clearly and to understand just how capitalism works – or, quite often, doesn't. This is something men and women are much less able to do if their heads are full of religious fantasy and their thinking is correspondingly irrational."

Which to me sounds like it's saying that religious people are incapable of becoming socialists, which implies that religion has to dissappear before we can establish Socialism.

Am I misintepreting what's being written?

What is your personal opinion on the subject of religion, Marcos?

Marcos
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Sympo wrote:

I am under the impression that some of the articles say different things.

Here's a quote from Socialism and Religion:

"Religion won’t disappear simply because Secularists and Freethinkers, or for that matter Socialists, refute it as untrue. It will only disappear when people are in a position to control the production of their means of life. This requires the end of the class ownership[...]"

Which to me sounds like it's saying that religion as a whole will only dissappear after the end of class ownership.

But here's what Religion: dying but not yet dead has to say:

"In order to grasp the urgent need for and the possibility of achieving major social change one must first be able to think clearly and to understand just how capitalism works – or, quite often, doesn't. This is something men and women are much less able to do if their heads are full of religious fantasy and their thinking is correspondingly irrational."

Which to me sounds like it's saying that religious people are incapable of becoming socialists, which implies that religion has to dissappear before we can establish Socialism.

Am I misintepreting what's being written?

What is your personal opinion on the subject of religion, Marcos?

They are referring to two different situations. Religion was something created by men based on materialistic needs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sympo
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Why can't a Christian, a Muslim or a Sikh be in favor of establishing a classless, stateless society where the means of production are democratically controlled?

Here's from a 2003 conference:

"Socialists hold that we live only once. Religious people believe in some afterlife. Clearly the two are incompatible.'"

If it said "Marxists" instead of "socialists" then I might've agreed, but I'm not sure it's correct to say that atheism is a necessary part of socialism.

What about the Diggers? Sure, they were utopians, but they still wanted to establish a type of egalitarian society. Why can't religious people today want to establish Socialism?

Just to make things clear: I'm an atheist.

Marcos
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Sympo wrote:

Why can't a Christian, a Muslim or a Sikh be in favor of establishing a classless, stateless society where the means of production are democratically controlled?

Here's from a 2003 conference:

"Socialists hold that we live only once. Religious people believe in some afterlife. Clearly the two are incompatible.'"

If it said "Marxists" instead of "socialists" then I might've agreed, but I'm not sure it's correct to say that atheism is a necessary part of socialism.

What about the Diggers? Sure, they were utopians, but they still wanted to establish a type of egalitarian society. Why can't religious people today want to establish Socialism?

Just to make things clear: I'm an atheist.

They are not talking about the individuals, they are talking about the conceptions. Socialism is based on the materialist conception of history, and relgion is based on metaphysic, both are not compatible. Most ahteists are not anti-captialists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sympo
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Marcos wrote:

Socialism is based on the materialist conception of history

What if I want to establish a socialist (or quasi-socialist) society but I'm a Christian? Would this be impossible? Then how does one explain the Diggers?

Marcos
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Sympo wrote:

Marcos wrote:

Socialism is based on the materialist conception of history

What if I want to establish a socialist (or quasi-socialist) society but I'm a Christian? Would this be impossible? Then how does one explain the Diggers?

Go to our website and read everything about religion 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sympo
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Marcos wrote:

Go to our website and read everything about religion 

lol I already have

Steve Coleman of the SPGB wrote that Gerrard Winstanley (a member of the Diggers) "can well be described as England's first articulate socialist." (source: Book Review: 'Left-Wing Democracy in the English Civil War' | The Socialist Party of Great Britain)

What's your personal view on the Diggers?

 

In case anyone visiting this thread hasn't heard of them:

Diggers - Wikipedia

Hud955
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Hi Sympo

The Diggers:  Yes, you are right. It all depends on whether we are talking about utopian socialism (which is theoretically compatible with religious belief) or Marxian socialism, based on historical materialism, which isn't. The Diggers, as you say were utopian socialsits and so had no issue reconciling their views with religion.

Religion and Marxian socialism: religious belief, underpinned by an idealist philosophy, and Marxian socialism, founded on historical materialism are theoretically incompatible.  You cannot hold an idealist and a materialist position at the same time without contradiction.  The fact is though, that people are not all philosophers and, individually, they are perfectly capable of holding contradictory beliefs.  So no, there is no reason why a Christian, or any religious individual, could not also believe in and work towards the establishment of a socialist society.  And if they were philosophically minded and bothered by the contradiction, there is nothing to prevent them taking the conclusions of Marx's materialist analysis and reinterpreting them ideologically,  so that their class interests end up bing expressed through an ethical or even a religious lens.   It would be a less secure foundation for their belief than Marxian materialism, but it would be possible.  It's very likely, in my view, that there will be individuals with religious beliefs, or the remnants of religious beliefs involved in a majority working class movement for socialism.

But as Marcos indicates, the means by which an individual might come to adopt socialism or explain it ideologicaly to himself is very different from an analysis of  the forces operating more generally upon society.  Marxian materialism presents socialism as the work of a class conscious working class who have identified  their class interests.  The more their minds are clouded by diverting ideologies like religion, however, the more difficult gaining that consciousness will be.  It doesn't mean that some religious individuals can't see through to the realities of their class position.  It just means that for the working class as a whole religion makes obtaining that consciousness harder.

The other passage you quoted argued that religion will only die when human being gain complete control over their environment.  I think there is some reality in this, though I suspect a claim like this over-eggs the pudding a little.  I think this is best understood as a process rather than as an achieved result.  In recent centuries, despite the ongoing chaos of the capitalist market,  our control over our environment has increased and religion has, indeed, receded.  In some places more than others. There is no exact rule operating here.  Personally, however, I doubt whether we will ever gain complete control over our environment, and, correspondingly,  I don't see any evidence to suggest that religion will die a final death even in a socialist society.  At least I wouldn't lay bets on it.   I don't think socialism will be fertile ground for religious belief, though, for the reason indicated - increasing control goes at least some way to removing the need for it.

 

Sympo
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Hud955 wrote:

Hi Hud955, thanks for contributing to the discussion!

"there is nothing to prevent them taking the conclusions of Marx's materialist analysis and reinterpreting them ideologically,  so that their class interests end up bing expressed through an ethical or even a religious lens."

It's interesting that you think that religious people can (illogically) combine their faith with the want to establish Socialism.

"Marxian materialism presents socialism as the work of a class conscious working class who have identified their class interests. The more their minds are clouded by diverting ideologies like religion, however, the more difficult gaining that consciousness will be."

Is religion inherently a thing that produces great class division? I totally see how Jihadism greately hinders socialist consciousness ("it is righteous to kill infidels"), but what about people like Nasser? To be clear, I don't think Nasser was a socialist. But would it be that hard for someone of similar religious beliefs to adopt a socialist mindset?

"It doesn't mean that some religious individuals can't see through to the realities of their class position. It just means that for the working class as a whole religion makes obtaining that consciousness harder."

Does this mean that you see Socialism as being established by a great majority of atheists?

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