Reply on Religion and Marxism: 2

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Sun Dec 31 17:13:27 MST 2000

Greetings Comrades,

Mervyn Hartwig writes in reply to Jim Famelant,

My own view is that there is epistemological stalemate re 'materialism'
vs 'idealism', atheism vs theism, etc ie re the existence of God or not.
And that, given stalemate, it is rational to trust your own experience,
i.e. if you have religious experiences, to believe in God; if not, not.

I would have two sorts of questions, the first Gary answers well enough,
which side are you on, the workers, or the bosses?  So that if you can at
least unite with Materialists in general about what to do then your
religious views have little direct impact upon the general direction of the
discussion.  If on the other hand your religious views pull you toward the
bosses, then I would want to know why?  How your religion thinks that way.

Secondly, Marxism arises out of a materialist point of view, and from
science in general.  Idealism cannot answer many kinds of materialist
questions.  So in that sense there is no stale mate between the two
positions, materialism is dynamic with respect to understanding brain and
human consciousness, while idealism has to remain stagnant in the face of
such changes in materialist thinking.  An idealist can't rely upon their
ideals to invent television.  Can't use their ideals to advance computing.
Have no means to understand physics, etc., etc.

The primary strength I see in religious experiences is in living in some
sort of community of like religious beliefs.  Having religious views that
are socially isolated for someone is a big problem.  Much of the technical
growth in how religions are manifested symbiotically come from how new
resources are created in the non religious sphere, and then are adapted to
the needs of religious communities.  Television is a good example of how
religions have been quick to use the tool if they are a large organized
network, but there is little resource there for small sects.  Hence for
example, Wicca beliefs have little visible television presence.  Large
religious communities have the resources to adapt themselves to those
material changes, but small churches and religions have a great deal of
trouble with the constant change in the culture of capitalism.

Religions that are mostly just a personal experience get lost and die out
quickly enough in relation to the large on going systems that everyone is
familiar with.  In that sense the concept of stalemate you are using is not
accurate.  I could say more, but elaborating would not change the basic
weakness of your position as I note above.
Doyle Saylor

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