Socialists are hostile to all religions. Yet there is a difference between the socialist attitude towards religion and that of the secularist or atheist. The secularist tends to treat religion simply as a set of beliefs which he seeks to demolish by rational and logical criticism. To the socialist this seems a pointless exercise (as pointless as religion itself). Like the atheist we think that religion is irrational and unscientific, but we also think that the important thing is not simply to subject it to abstract criticism but to attempt to show why it arose and what its role in society is. To do this we apply the materialist conception of history.