Letters: Religion and Socialism

(Views put in letters in the correspondence column do not necessarily represent the Party’s attitude).

Religion and Socialism

If the existence of religion is not enough proof for God’s existence, does Mr. Jarvis hope to find any more powerful evidence than this? If so, I would like to hear it. Mr. Jarvis’s own proposition, that religion could not exist without a belief in God proves this right up to the hilt. For the logic of this proposition could only mean that a belief in God determines the existence of God and religion, for without this belief neither God nor religion would exist. Now when Mr. Jarvis asked his religious opponent for further proof of God’s existence, than his own boomerang proposition, I claimed he was talking in riddles. And now he asks me: “What’s wrong with this?” I answer: “The logic of your own proposition.” It is true that the belief in Socialism does not prove that Socialism exists, but who said it did? Socialist Parties could exist knowing full well that a Socialist society did not exist, but a God-religion could not exist while knowing full well that God did not exist. Therefore, from this it would be true to say that the Socialist believes in a society that does not exist, while the religious man, on the contrary (if belonging to the Christian or Islam religion), must believe in a God who does exist. Socialists believe that man must go through a purgatory of historical periods before he can finally reach his salvation, while the religious man believes that men could be saved in any historical period, if they carry out the will of God.
R. Smith.

It is a sheer waste of time to discuss religion, as there are so many facets to the subject. One man says that Jesus was a poor man and condemned the rich, but the churches seem to have made a good business out of it, especially in our own time, when it is investing its assets in stocks and shares on the Stock Exchange.

I would like to know what is the value of his religious experience to us. As far as I can ascertain it consists of a confusion of ideas, much of which is illusion and wish fulfilment. Millions of people have such delusions, he says, and that may well be the case.

Surely our task is not to concentrate on dispelling illusions, but in spreading a knowledge of Socialism, for light dispels darkness, and both ignorance and illusions will fade away when enlightenment is achieved. How many people now believe that the world was created four thousand years ago, or that it is flat, and down below there is hell and up in the sky, somewhere, there is a heaven. Very few now, so why worry about illusions. Spread Socialism.
I. Flower,

In his letter answering John Wyatt and R. Smith on “Socialism versus Religion,” H. Jarvis makes a number “of telling points, but his reference to “. . . the pacifism of the New Testament” needs some elaboration.

True, Socialists are not pacifists; that is they do not “turn the other cheek” when the employer attempts a wage reduction, neither do they tell workers to “resist not evil.” But Socialists are opposed to war and violence —all wars! But what of the alleged “pacifism” of the New Testament?

Much is made by Christian pacifists of the alleged sayings of Jesus concerning the love of enemies and the blessing of peacemakers, but little or nothing is said about those sayings attributed to Jesus which are the complete opposite of these sayings, such as:
“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (Luke XIX, 27.)

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“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt, x, 34.)

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“ Suppose ye that 1 come to give peace on earth? 1 tell you, Nay; but rather division.** (Luke XII, 51.)

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“And he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy.” (Luke XXII, 36.)

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And was there not war in heaven, when “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon.” (Revelation, XII, 7). And have not the Christians been fighting each other, and supporting their masters’ wars ever since?

So much for Christian pacifism!
Yours fraternally,

The Editor.
Dear Sir,—Being a subscriber to SICIALIST STANDARD, I must comment on articles in the June 1957 issue on pages 86-7.

I am a Catholic and have long been a believer in Socialism. I will remain both, despite Comrade Jarvis and others of his ilk who will confuse religious with economic and political problems.

Established Socialism would, I believe, constitute that Kingdom. He spoke of and showed us how to achieve. The lessons of His crucifixion and “popping back to life again” need not be gone into here.

To say He is admired as a “great man” is so much bull-dust. In the eyes of the world He was a weakling as a man. As St. Paul puts it: “The weakness of man is the strength of God.” He condemned the “great man” idea as much as you. Such “great man” egotism as Comrade Jarvis showed in trying to make an enemy of a friendly Mr. Barr, was absent from His character. He was a friend to all and loved all, even His murderers. A lesson to be learned and an example to be followed by Socialists, Catholics, and all who hope for a better way of life.

The greatest, in my opinion, of the Holy Fathers, who, incidentally, was a father and never denied it, speaks of the ideal of owning all things in common and explains why it cannot be as yet. Namely, St. Augustine in “City of God.”

Finally, please convey comradely greetings’ to Comrade Jarvis, who, despite his total ignorance of Christianity and its message, is no doubt a good and honest worker for the common cause of humanity, albeit in vain.
Yours sincerely,
C. W. Reilly.
N.S.W., Australia.

Dear Sir,—I don’t know where your correspondent, Henry Myers, gets his information from, but the plain records of the Gospels state that Christ was hounded to death by the chief priests and scribes of that time. (Mark, 14-1). They paid Judas, a disciple of Christ, to betray him, and he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Being occupied by the Romans, the scribes and chief priests had to hand Christ over to the occupying power. But the Roman Governors, Herod and Pilate, both saw that they were dealing with an innocent man and attempted to free him. The people, however, whipped into a frenzy by the church authorities, declared that Christ was not the long expected Messiah, and clamoured for his death. Can any story be plainer?

As for Mr. Myers’ contention that Christ’s last words: “Why hast Thou forsaken me?” are blasphemous, is just plain silly—besides being in bad taste, as these were the words of a dying man.

By the way, if Mr. Myers will consult a dictionary (as well as the New Testament), he will find that the word “ambiguous” means having two meanings—not necessarily untruthful.
Yours truly,
Geoffrey Sharpe,

P.S.—May I add a word in favour of your correspondent, Mr. John Wyatt, who stated that the New Testament could be found to support a better economic system than our present one?

Other Letters
Letters are in hand from C. Luff, Canada; R. L. Rhodes, Trowbridge; and D. Anderson, Glasgow.


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