Marxism and Religion: the reality is more complex in the international arena.

Louis R Godena louisgodena at ids.net
Mon Aug 26 10:02:05 MDT 1996


Mr Wei En Lin first finds a saving grace in an earlier age of religious
activism:

> ...The revolutionary upheaval in China's history (prior to 1911) was
intimately
>associated with an unorthodox form of Christianity propounded by Hong.

Throwing caution to wind,  Mr Wei then goes on to say such and such.   And
such and such is not true.   Like so many others on the Marxism list,  he
thinks it sufficient merely to assert.     For example,  he links on the
flimsiest of pretexts the fiercely nationalist (and quite revanchest)
Sarvodaya movement in Sri Lanka with the ill-starred Maoist revolutions of
the 1970s.    Aside from locale and a very few secondary personalities,  the
two struggles are innocent of each other.    No matter.    Mr Wei merely
echoes his earlier invocation of Taoism as the "basis" for Chinese
"revolutionary" movements.    Some have seen in,  say,  the development of
Mao's thinking a manifestation of traditional Taoist dialectics (*yin and
yang*),  while others have with equal certainty discerned in these same
properties the influence of Stalin.

 What of it?    One could point to the Protestant noncomformist background,
embedded in the American and British trade union traditions,  which at once
gave them its missionary zeal and fervor and,  at the same time,
accommodated a respect for liberal society and the rule of law;  the
prospect for winning concessions for the workers within those societies
mitigated its revolutionary prospects.   Does this mean that contemporary
Protestantism,  from William Sloane Coffin to Jimmy Swaggert,  is
inordinately "progressive" or the natural ally of Marxism?    To ask the
question is to answer it.   Mr Wei may be nostalgic for an earlier period of
history when certain theological currents--like much of capitalism
itself--bore a "progressive" flavor.    That time is now long past.
Religion,  as well as the capitalist system which it serves,  is in an
advanced stage of putrefication and decay.   This process is inexorable,
all efforts on the part  of people like our heroic Mr Wei to the contrary.

To view historical development as ambiguous and problemmatic is common among
Marxists,  even while retaining our "faith" in the continued forward
progress of the revolution (akin,  given our modern woes,  to a "miracle"
perhaps?).    Let us not succumb,  in our current travails,  to the alluring
but stultifying superstitions of an earlier age

The final and deciding point is that the class content of religious
thought--and this includes secularist outfits like "Liberation"
theologists--cannot in the modern age be compatible with the long term goals
of revolutionary Marxism.

And Mr Wei,  for all his historicist contortions,  knows it.





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