The very criticism of religion

Hinrich Kuhls kls at SPAMmail.online-club.de
Tue Jan 2 12:48:11 MST 2001



>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. (Christopher Caudwell)

"Every history of religion, even, that fails to take account of this
material basis, is uncritical. It is, in reality, much easier to discover
by analysis the earthly core of the misty creations of religion, than,
conversely, it is, to develop from the actual relations of life the
corresponding celestialised forms of those relations. The latter method is
the only materialistic, and therefore the only scientific one." (Karl Marx)

Marx' quote in its context:

"Before his time, spinning machines, although very imperfect ones, had
already been used, and Italy was probably the country of their first
appearance. A critical history of technology would show how little any of
the inventions of the 18th century are the work of a single individual.
Hitherto there is no such book. Darwin has interested us in the history of
Nature's Technology, i.e., in the formation of the organs of plants and
animals, which organs serve as instruments of production for sustaining
life. Does not the history of the productive organs of man, of organs that
are the material basis of all social organisation, deserve equal attention?
And would not such a history be easier to compile, since, as Vico
says,  human history differs from natural history in this, that we have
made the former, but not the latter? Technology discloses man's mode of
dealing with Nature, the process of production by which he sustains his
life, and thereby also lays bare the mode of formation of his social
relations, and of the mental conceptions that flow from them. Every history
of religion, even, that fails to take account of this material basis, is
uncritical. It is, in reality, much easier to discover by analysis the
earthly core of the misty creations of religion, than, conversely, it is,
to develop from the actual relations of life the corresponding
celestialised forms of those relations. The latter method is the only
materialistic, and therefore the only scientific one. The weak points in
the abstract materialism of natural science, a materialism that excludes
history and its process, are at once evident from the abstract and
ideological conceptions of its spokesmen, whenever they venture beyond the
bounds of their own speciality."

Karl Marx, "Capital Volume One, Chapter 15: Machinery and Modern Industry,
Section 1: The Development of Machinery", London: Lawrence & Wishart
(1954), p. 352
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch15.htm#n4
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch15.htm






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