Fighting Capitalism for Jesus? Comments on Atheism and Socialism


“I’m fighting capitalism for my own children, their children, and all future generations. Jesus compels me.” FB status 7/15/16

So, the above FB status drew a somewhat common response from an acquaintance. I’m posting the comments here.

ACQUAINTANCE: Religion is the opiate of the masses. I would like a socialist society because I believe there is only one other option–tyranny!

ME: Religion is the original form of societal cohesion, predating class domination. Much as science and art have been subordinated to class rule, religion has always been conflicted about merely accepting class rule or fundamentally protesting it. Marx said religion was the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. The opium remark is usually taken out of context. The original founders of modern communism were not Karl and Fred, but Etienne Cabet, Gerrard Winstanley, and Wilhelm Weitling.

The true interpretation of the gospel of Jesus is proto-communistic as established by liberation theologians in the 70s & 80s. The Christian Socialist tradition was eclipsed by Marxism, but never completely suppressed. Atheist socialism is a minority within a minority. I embrace my atheist comrades, but the majority of the next communist revolution will be Christian and Muslim.

I have learned and continue to learn a great deal about communism from atheists who carried on great work under the onslaught of modern capitalism.

A: i think survival itself was “the original form of societal cohesion” as hunter-gatherers evolved. not sure religion had much to do with it but i’m sure it came along soon after. Marx went on to say, “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.” My point is you don’t have to have religious beliefs to desire justice (or socialism) and i think it actually does more harm than good (as far as creating artificial divisions) so why continue it? But hey, this is your page so i shouldn’t have “interfered” 😉

M: My political goal is to unite theists and atheists in a movement for socialist revolution. Your comments are welcome here.

I’m somewhere between Christian and atheist, and there’s a long story behind that. I know wonderful atheist socialists and horrible atheist capitalists. Neither atheism nor theism guarantee revolutionary consciousness.

I do see many deeply revolutionary atheists in the world, and that’s part of the reason I’ve moved beyond Christianity. However, there aren’t enough atheists carry out the revolution we need. The revolution needs class conscious Christians and Muslims in order to overturn capitalism on a global scale. There are decades of solid work in developing the resources for both Christian and Muslim socialism.

Two things need to happen, Christian and Muslim socialists need to struggle within their respective religious contexts to greatly expand the influence of socialist ideas. Such work is far more important than pushing them towards atheism.

The next step is for atheist and religious socialists to unite into a comradely alliance to overthrow capitalism. Atheist socialists have done powerful work and all of that work needs to be incorporated into the larger project of fighting capitalism. Socialism cannot win without its atheist comrades.

Though I said, “Jesus compels me” to fight capitalism, I could just as easily have said that Marx compels me. I consider myself a follower of both Jesus and Marxism, though how I integrate them together would make this already lengthy comment into an essay.

A: a worthy goal. i believe the revolution is occurring right now, and i’m just debating on whether to participate “with maximum effort” or the half-hearted way i’ve been for the last 30 years. in a way, i feel like sitting it out and let the young ones make it happen as i’m getting old and tired…

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