Of course there are revolutions in religion!

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Mon Sep 2 08:55:27 MDT 1996


Louis G writes:

>Bogus theories continue to exist,  despite contradictory experiments and
>observation,  until a better theory comes along to replace them.    It is
>this series of "anomalies" that produce a "crisis" that leads,  eventually
>to the "shift" of "paradigms" (or "revolution" in T.S.  Kuhn's words) within
>science itself.    No such phenomenon occurs in the religious sphere,  and
>it is specious to compare the two.

If this is true, how come there are so many different religions, with such
diverse historical and social roots?

Hegel was brilliant on the dialectical development of different religions,
and Marx followed him on this. Religions too have their anomalies and
crises. In Hegel's view, religion is a natural and necessary step on the
path of consciousness towards science.

Louis is off the mark when he says:

>Rather,  I would,  in our modern age,  compare a belief in God with,  say,
>Mesmer's theory of a special "fluid" in mammals that accounted for a sort of
>"animal magnetism".
...

>Similarly,  today,  a belief in the supernatural more properly falls into
>the category of "fringe" or even "pathological" science.

The reason is he forgets the psychological roots of belief in what Jukka
over on m2 calls the Big Other. All those giant, hugely powerful parents
around us when we're terribly impressionable -- we're completely at their
mercy and understand nothing of their motives. And we never discuss our way
through it as we get bigger. The feelings remain, while the reality
recedes, and the result is often a belief in the greater reality of the
'religious' impressions of early childhood.

Belief in the supernatural is more 'natural', especially in our alienated
society, than accepting the validity of science -- just ask any science
teacher! It may be fringe science, but it's a core subject for sociology.

This is in no way to agree with Karl's equating religion and science, but
rather to point out the much greater position occupied by the supernatural
in general workers' consciousness (including fatalism especially) than a
lot of this discussion seems willing to admit.

Cheers,

Hugh




     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---




More information about the Marxism mailing list