Thursday, June 23, 2005

Socialism and religion

Yesterday was a nice dialogue between colleagues of mine on the question of religion and the "existence of God". I did not join the exchange of ideas with the only statement that "I respect your belief in your religion". At least to that effect. Period.

In an article "Socialism and religion" by Lenin, he said that

"...No number of pamphlets and no amount of preaching can enlighten the proletariat, if it is not enlightened by its own struggle against the dark forces of capitalism. Unity in this really revolutionary struggle of the oppressed class for the creation of a paradise on earth is more important to us than unity of proletarian opinion on paradise in heaven.

That is the reason why we do not and should not set forth our atheism in our Programme; that is why we do not and should not prohibit proletarians who still retain vestiges of their old prejudices from associating themselves with our Party. We shall always preach the scientific world-outlook, and it is essential for us to combat the inconsistency of various “Christians”. But that does not mean in the least that the religious question ought to be advanced to first place, where it does not belong at all; nor does it mean that we should allow the forces of the really revolutionary economic and political struggle to be split up on account of third-rate opinions or senseless ideas, rapidly losing all political importance, rapidly being swept out as rubbish by the very course of economic development."

I remember my father said "In a socialist country, religion is a luxury." He added that "under socialism, everyone has the right to believe or not to believe."

Lenin finished the same article as follows:

"The revolutionary proletariat will succeed in making religion a really private affair, so far as the state is concerned. And in this political system, cleansed of medieval mildew, the proletariat will wage a broad and open struggle for the elimination of economic slavery, the true source of the religious humbugging of mankind."

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