Christopher Caudwell on the struggle against religion

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Jan 2 08:58:50 MST 2001

Christopher Caudwell, "Further Studies in a Dying Culture" (MR Press):

"Since the criticism of religion becomes, to Marxism, the criticism of the
concrete social relations which produced it, the struggle against its
errors and its distortions can never be a struggle against religion as
such--a kind of armchair atheism--because such a struggle is not a real
one--it is ideal truth fighting ideal religion and both, when abstracted
from action, are unreal. The very criticism of religion, as soon as it
becomes criticism of concrete religion, becomes criticism of the social
relations that engendered it, and when this criticism emerges creatively as
a struggle, it will not be an ideal struggle against religious ideas but a
concrete struggle against real social relations. There is no absolute truth
to set against fantastic lies, but fantastic reality whose fantastic
content is exposed in real living."

(Christopher Caudwell was born Christopher St. John Sprigg in Putney,
England, in 1907. After working as reporter, editor, and publisher, he
began devoting himself to freelance writing in 1934. Under his pseudonym he
wrote his major works: Illusion and Reality, The Crisis in Physics, Studies
in a Dying Culture and Further Studies in a Dying Culture. The last two are
packaged in a single book from MR Press and are highly recommended for
their perceptive views not only on religion but on psychology, love and
beauty--topics that rarely get such sensitive treatments by Marxists. In
December 1936, Caudwell joined the International Brigade to fight against
fascism in Spain. He was killed on February 12, 1937.)

Louis Proyect
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