1990s >> 1991 >> no-1044-august-1991

Book Review: Fairy tales

Does God Exist? and What is the Bible?. By Carl Lofmark (Rationalist Press Association)

Commendably clear and straightforward, these two small books are a thorough demolition job on the whole idea of god and the bible as a store of wisdom. For some, this kind of criticism is beyond the pale. But Lofmark brings out the absurdities and dangers of religious belief. For socialists these books provide valuable ammunition in the struggle against the ideology of religion which is still the “opium of the people”.

Like many other humanists. Lofmark accepts the dogma that overpopulation “causes poverty and war and now threatens our world with ecological disaster”. This is somewhat ironic as it was an Anglican clergyman, the Reverend Thomas Malthus, who became famous for proposing the idea that population growth tended to exceed the increase in food supply. The result, he claimed, was a periodic check in population growth by famine, disease and war. This remains a popular apology for capitalism. Yet how is it that in every country a privileged minority manage to escape the curse of poverty?

There exists the means for producing enough to satisfy the needs of the world’s population. Is it then more rational to lay the blame at the feet of the poor masses who cannot afford enough food, or with the system of production? Similarly with the environment and war. Is it more reasonable to say that the cause of these problems is to be found in population size or in a competitive world economic system bent on reducing costs and maximising profits?

Lew Higgins