Marxist—Leninist atheism

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Marxist–Leninist atheism (Russian: Марксистско-ленинский атеизм) is a part of the wider Marxist–Leninist philosophy (the type of Marxist philosophy found in the Soviet Union), which rejects religion[1][2] and advocates a materialist understanding of nature.[3] Marxism-Leninism holds that religion is the opium of the people, in the sense of promoting passive acceptance of suffering on Earth in the hope of eternal reward. Therefore, Marxism-Leninism advocates the abolition of religion and the acceptance of atheism.[4][5] Marxist-Leninist atheism has its roots in the philosophy of Ludwig Feuerbach, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin.[6]

Some non-Soviet Marxists opposed this antireligious stance, and in certain forms of Marxist thinking, such as the liberation theology movements in Latin America among others, Marxist-Leninist atheism was rejected entirely.[7]

Influence of Feuerbach and Left Hegelians[edit]

Marx, from the earliest times in his career, had been heavily involved in debates surrounding the philosophy of religion in early-19th century Germany. Bitter controversies surrounding the proper interpretation of the Hegelian philosophical legacy greatly formed Marx’s thinking about religion. The Hegelians considered philosophy as an enterprise meant to serve the insights of religious comprehension, and Hegel had rationalized the fundamentals of the Christian faith in his elaborate philosophy of spirit. Hegel, while being critical of contemporary dogmatic religion, retained an intellectual interest in the ontological and epistemological beliefs of Christianity.[8] His philosophy was compatible with theological views, and religious explanations of the deepest questions of being were considered unquestionably valuable by him, but needing additional clarification, systematization and argumentative justification.[9] His philosophy worked as a conceptual enterprise based upon the truths of his faith. His legacy was debated after his death in 1831 between the ‘Young Hegelians’ and materialist atheists, including especially the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. Marx sided with the materialist atheists in his rejection of all forms of religious philosophy, including the most liberal forms of such, and Feuerbach greatly influenced him. Feuerbach wanted to separate philosophy from religion and to give philosophers intellectual autonomy from religion in their interpretation of reality. Feuerbach objected to Hegel’s philosophical notions that he believed were based on his religious views.

Feuerbach attacked the conceptual foundations of theology and wanted to undermine religion by introducing a new religion of humanity by redirecting fundamental human concerns of dignity, the meaning of life, morality and purpose of existence within an invented atheistic religion that did not hold belief in anything supernatural, but which would serve as an answer to these concerns. Feuerbach considered that the antithesis of human and divine was based on an antithesis between human nature generally and individual humans,[10] and came to the conclusion that humanity as a species (but just not as individuals) possessed within itself all the attributes that merited worship and that people had created God as a reflection of these attributes.[11] He wrote:

But the idea of deity coincides with the idea of humanity. All divine attributes, all the attributes which make God God, are attributes of the species – attributes which in the individual are limited, but the limits of which are abolished in the essence of the species, and even in its existence, in so far as it has its complete existence only in all men taken together.[12]

Feuerbach wanted to destroy all religious commitments and to encourage an intensive hatred towards the old God. All religious institutions needed to be eradicated from the earth and from the memory of coming generations, so that they would never again find power over people’s minds through their deception and promotion of fear from the mystical forces of God.[13] It was this thinking that the young Karl Marx was deeply attracted by, and Marx adopted much of Feuerbach’s thought into his own philosophical worldview. Marx considered that the higher goals of humanity would justify any radicalism, both intellectual as well as social/political radicalism in order to achieve its ends.[14][15]

Marx[edit]

In his rejection of all religious thought, Marx considered the contributions of religion over the centuries to be unimportant and irrelevant to the future of humanity.[16][17] The autonomy of humanity from the realm of supernatural forces was considered by Marx as an axiomatic ontological truth that had been developed since ancient times, and he considered it to have an even more respectable tradition than Christianity. He argued that religious belief had been invented as a reaction against the suffering and injustice of the world. In Marx's view, the poor and oppressed were the original creators of religion, and they used it as a way to reassure themselves that they would have a better life in the future, after death. Thus, it served as a kind of "opium," or a way to escape the harsh realities of the world.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.[18]

Furthermore, in his view, atheistic philosophy had liberated human beings from suppressing their natural potential and allowed for people to realize that they, rather than any supernatural force that required obedience, were the masters of reality. Marx’s opposition to religion was based especially upon this view in that he believed religion alienated humans from reality and held them back from their true potential. He therefore considered that religion needed to be removed from society.

The decomposition of man into Jew and citizen, Protestant and citizen, religious man and citizen, is neither a deception directed against citizenhood, nor is it a circumvention of political emancipation, it is political emancipation itself, the political method of emancipating oneself from religion. Of course, in periods when the political state as such is born violently out of civil society, when political liberation is the form in which men strive to achieve their liberation, the state can and must go as far as the abolition of religion, the destruction of religion. But it can do so only in the same way that it proceeds to the abolition of private property, to the maximum, to confiscation, to progressive taxation, just as it goes as far as the abolition of life, the guillotine. At times of special self-confidence, political life seeks to suppress its prerequisite, civil society and the elements composing this society, and to constitute itself as the real species-life of man, devoid of contradictions. But, it can achieve this only by coming into violent contradiction with its own conditions of life, only by declaring the revolution to be permanent, and, therefore, the political drama necessarily ends with the re-establishment of religion, private property, and all elements of civil society, just as war ends with peace.[19]

Marx came to see that religion was determined by the economic superstructure and therefore he believed abolishing class society would lead to an end to religion. He wrote much about these things before he had much developed his ideas concerning the abolition of private property and communism. Hostility towards religion was in fact the beginning of Marx’s philosophical career and it preceded dialectic materialism. It became critically fused with his economic and social ideas in his claim that religion, along with all other forms of thought, was the product of material conditions and the distribution of property. When the economic structures that created religion were destroyed, religion assumedly would disappear with it. He therefore believed that religion needed to be combated through a pragmatic approach of attacking the economic base of religion and to attack the causes of religion. He considered that religion was an opiate that people needed in order to support themselves in harsh conditions of life, and he furthermore held the view that these harsh conditions were kept in place with the support of religion. In order to eliminate religion, he therefore held that he needed to eliminate the harsh conditions that caused people to hold illusory superstitions that comforted them, and in order to eliminate these conditions he concluded that religion, since it supported the existence of such conditions, therefore needed to be eliminated.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.[20]

In this way he transformed Feuerbach’s attack on religion from a mainly philosophical critique into a call for physical action. He therefore held that atheism was the philosophical foundation stone of his ideology, but in itself was insufficient.

Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction.[21]

The intellectual atheism held by Feuerbach and others of his time, was transformed by Marx into a more sophisticated consideration and critique of material conditions responsible for religion.

Feuerbach starts out from the fact of religious self-alienation, of the

duplication of the world into a religious world and a secular one. His work consists in resolving the religious world into its secular basis. But that the secular basis detaches itself from itself and establishes itself as an independent realm in the clouds can only be explained by the cleavages and self-contradictions within this secular basis. The latter must, therefore, in itself be both understood in its contradiction and revolutionized in practice. Thus, for instance, after the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be destroyed in theory and in practice.

Feuerbach, consequently, does not see that the “religious sentiment” is itself a social product, and that the abstract individual whom he analyses belongs to a particular form of society.[22]

Dialectical materialism had the task of offering itself as an alternative to religious views of creation. Human beings were the natural products of the interplay of material forces and there was no room for supernatural interference in human destiny. Religion had originally come about, according to Marx, as a kind of escape of the exploited classes from the harsh realities of existence and an illusion that comforted one in the hope of a future reward. Although this was its origin with the oppressed classes, the ruling classes had taken control of religion and used it as a tool of emotional and intellectual control of the masses. Marx considered Christianity to have been like this, in its origin as a religion for slaves hoping for a reward after their harsh existence, but in later becoming a kind of deceptive ideology that the ruling classes used to maintain the status quo.

It is self-evident, moreover, that “spectres,” “bonds,” “the higher being,” “concept,” “scruple,” are merely the idealistic, spiritual expression, the conception apparently of the isolated individual, the image of very empirical fetters and limitations, within which the mode of production of life and the form of intercourse coupled with it move.[23]

The Christian religion had begun as spiritual protests against the conditions of life, wherein lower classes believed that they were supernaturally favoured over the richer ruling classes. However, it had deteriorated from its original goals into a kind of false consolation for people who accepted their subjection. This degeneration was viewed negatively in the later Marxist-Leninist tradition, as a kind of perversion of the original noble goals of religion by the social and cultural elite. This view that Christianity had been perverted by the elite partly justified revolutionary action in order to abolish it and replace it with atheism.[24]

Marx’s hostility towards religion lessened in his later career when he wrote less about the subject and showed less enthusiasm about combating religious belief. He came to consider later in his life that religion would disappear naturally through the richness of ideas that would emerge from a rationalized order of communistic social life. This idea, however, would later be attacked by Lenin and the succeeding Soviet establishment even to the point of violence and purges directed at proponents of this ‘rightist’ or ‘mechanicist’ idea of religion disappearing on its own.[25]

In his later life he wrote only about a need to separate religion from the state, but he was still hostile to religious belief. He believed that belief in the existence of God was immoral and anti-human.

Near the end of his life, Marx adopted the views that Christians offered human sacrifices and consumed human blood and flesh.[26][27] He believed that knowledge of these practices had dealt a deathblow to Christianity.

The atheistic element of Communism would be intensified in some Marxist movements after his death.

Engels[edit]

Friedrich Engels wrote, independently of Marx, on contemporary issues, including religious controversies. In his works ‘Anti-Dühring’ and ‘Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Ideology’, he engaged in criticism on the idealistic worldview in general, including religious outlooks on reality. He considered that religion was a fantastic reflection in the mind of the powers which caused miserable conditions in earlier stages of history. He believed that increasing humanity’s control over its existence, would eliminate these fantasies that were produced as a result of humanity’s desperation with the world it lived in. Since belief in God came about as a result of a need in people for there to be some control over their existence, he therefore reasoned that by eliminating this need, religion (the reflection of this need) would gradually disappear.

And when this act has been accomplished, when society, by taking possession of all means of production and using them on a planned basis, has freed itself and all its members from the bondage in which they are now held by these means of production which they themselves have produced but which confront them as an irresistible alien force, when therefore man no longer merely proposes, but also disposes — only then will the last alien force which is still reflected in religion vanish; and with it will also vanish the religious reflection itself, for the simple reason that then there will be nothing left to reflect.[28]

Engels considered religion as a false consciousness, and incompatible with communism. Engels, in his lifelong contacts with leaders of Social Democratic and Communist parties in Europe as well as the founders of the First International (the 19th century political union of communist movements), urged them to disseminate and cultivate atheism.[29] He also called for scientific education on a massive scale in order to overcome the fears and illusions of people who required a religious explanation for the world around them. He believed that science would provide an explanation for things that people had formerly required religious concepts to fulfill, and by providing this explanation, people would no longer feel a need to have religion for this purpose. He wrote much about contemporary great scientific discoveries and used them to support the principles of dialectical materialism in all his popular works intended for the ordinary masses in the Communist movements. These included discoveries in biology, physics, chemistry, anthropology and psychology, all of which Engels used to argue against a need for religious explanations of the world.[30] He believed that science would make humanity confident of its own self and to embrace its proper lordship over reality. It would give humanity the ability to control the world he lived in and therefore to overcome the harsh conditions that produced a need in people to believe in a God who controlled the universe. In his view scientific advancement in his time was justifying the materialist and atheistic outlook on the world that dialectical materialism held. Speculative philosophy and rational theology became obsolete in light of scientific advancement.

The real unity of the world consists in its materiality, and this is proved not by a few juggled phrases, but by a long and wearisome development of philosophy and natural science.[31]

He also believed that scientific advancement required atheistic materialism to be changed as well and to become scientific rather than being a philosophy apart from the sciences.

This modern materialism, the negation of the negation, is not the mere re-establishment of the old, but adds to the permanent foundations of this old materialism the whole thought-content of two thousand years of development of philosophy and natural science, as well as of the history of these two thousand years. It is no longer a philosophy at all, but simply a world outlook which has to establish its validity and be applied not in a science of sciences standing apart, but in the real sciences. Philosophy is therefore "sublated" here, that is, "both overcome and preserved" {D. K. G. 503}; overcome as regards its form, and preserved as regards its real content.[32]

Engels’ views on the need for scientific education and the need for materialistic atheism to rely on science, spread widely among Communists and it would later become a fundamental position of Soviet education, which was hostile to religious belief.

Lenin[edit]

Vladimir Lenin followed this tradition, and considered religion as an opiate that must be always combated by true socialists.[33] He adapted the ideological ideas of Marx and Engels to the particular context of Russia and his interpretation of Marxism and its anti-religious doctrine was influenced by the intellectual tradition of his own country. Lenin considered that religion in Russia was the chief ideological tool of the ruling classes to exploit the masses in that it taught subjects to be submissive to their exploiters and it assisted the conscience of the exploiters to believe that acts of charity would merit eternal life.

Boris Kustodiev's 1920 painting "Bolshevik," depicting a revolutionary with the red flag, glaring at an Orthodox Christian church.

Religion is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which everywhere weighs down heavily upon the masses of the people, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by want and isolation. Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters just as inevitably gives rise to the belief in a better life after death as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.[34]

Since religion was the ideological tool that kept the system in place, Lenin believed atheistic propaganda to be of critical necessity. To this effect, before the revolution Lenin’s faction devoted a significant portion of their meagre resources to antireligious propaganda, and even during the civil war, Lenin devoted much of his personal energy towards the anti-religious campaign. The influence of the Orthodox Church especially needed to be weakened in order to undermine the Tsarist régime. The populace also needed to be prepared in order to make a transition from religious beliefs to atheism, as Communism would require of them.[35]

Lenin considered atheism and theoretical ideas, not as important in themselves, but as weapons to use in the class struggle in order to overthrow the ruling classes that supported themselves with religion. For this reason he considered it important to maintain an intellectually enlightened Party that did not hold religious superstitions, and he considered that a true socialist must be an atheist. Theoretical debates and abstract philosophical or theological ideas could not be understood in isolation from the material conditions of society. Lenin did not believe in the existence of objective and neutral academic research, because he considered, in the tradition of historical materialism, that all intellectual activity was perpetrated and maintained by class interests. He believed that philosophical debates were always partisan, and his 1909 work ‘Materialism and Empirio-criticism’ was written from this perspective and he also kept extensive notes from the works of Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and Hegel, in which he believed questions concerning the ideological class struggle could be answered.[36]

Lenin had no tolerance for any trace of idealism in the views of either his opponents or his collaborators, and considered that anything short of a fully atheistic materialist outlook was a concession to the ideological dominance of the ruling classes and their religious beliefs. He considered religion to be political by nature and the primary target of ideological attacks. Lenin considered militant atheism to be so critical to his faction that he went beyond the Russian atheist tradition of Belinsky, Herzen, and Pisarev and organized a systematic, aggressive and uncompromising movement of antireligious agitation. He founded a whole institution of professional atheist propagandists in the USSR who spread all over the country after 1917 and who were the ‘foot-soldiers’ of the antireligious campaigns meant to eliminate religion so as to make the populace atheists.

Lenin’s unequivocal hostile intolerance towards religious belief became a distinctive feature of ideological Soviet atheism, which was contrasted with milder antireligious views of Marxists outside the USSR. His hostility to religion allowed no compromises, such that it even alienated leftist religious believers who sympathised with the Bolsheviks. It even alienated some leftist atheists who were willing to accommodate religious beliefs.[36] Attacking religion became far more important for Lenin than it had been for Marx.

A prominent Bolshevik leader and later USSR Commissar for Enlightenment, Anatoli Lunacharsky, was attacked by Lenin for attempting to accommodate pseudo-religious sentiments in the world-view of Communism. Lunacharsky had carried ideas similar to Feuerbach’s notion of replacing religion with a new atheistic religion that had a place for the sentiments, ceremonies and meanings of religion, but which was compatible with science and possessed no supernatural beliefs (see: God-Building). Lunacharsky considered that while religion was false and was used as a tool of exploitation, it still cultivated emotion, moral values and desires among masses of people, which the Bolsheviks should take over and manipulate rather than abolish. These products of religion should have been transformed into humanistic values of a communist morality rather than abolished, when they formed the basis of the psychological and moral integrity of masses of people. By replacing traditional religion with a new atheistic religion wherein humanity was worshiped rather than God, socialism would achieve much better success, according to Lunacharsky. He believed this would have less confrontation and abuse of the culture and historical tradition of European civilization.[37]

Lenin was enraged with this idea of Lunacharsky, however, because he considered it a concession to religious belief, and therefore harmful in the extreme. He claimed it ignored the fact that religion was an ideological tool of suppression of the masses, and he claimed that Lunacharsky’s ideas were a dangerous and unnecessary compromise with the reactionary forces of the Russian Empire. Militant atheism became the testing principle of sincerity of Marxist commitment to Lenin, and it was a violation of the principles of socialism to compromise even in this way, wherein no supernatural beliefs were invoked, with religious ideas.[37]

Marx had earlier rejected Feuerbach’s proposal for an atheistic religion, and Lenin looked to it as his example. He believed that even the slightest compromise with religious belief would degenerate under intense political pressure into a betrayal of the cause of Communism altogether.[38] A true communist had to be an atheist according to Lenin.[39]

Soviet Union[edit]

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow during its 1931 demolition.

The policy that began with Lenin and continued for the course of Soviet history was that religion was to be tolerated by the state, but the Party was to do whatever it deemed necessary in order to gradually remove it from society.[40][41] Thus, the Soviet state and the Communist Party - which were two separate institutions - were supposed to have two different attitudes towards religion, with the first being neutral and the second being hostile to it. However, since the USSR was a one-party state, the distinction between Party and state became very blurred over time, with the result that religion was sometimes repressed and sometimes tolerated, to varying degrees.[42] When writing about the Party's anti-religious stance, Lenin did not see the replacement of religion with atheism as an end to itself, but wrote that it needed to be accompanied by a materialist world-view.

Marxism is materialism. As such, it is as relentlessly hostile to religion as was the materialism of the eighteenth-century Encyclopaedists or the materialism of Feuerbach. This is beyond doubt. But the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels goes further than the Encyclopaedists and Feuerbach, for it applies the materialist philosophy to the domain of history, to the domain of the social sciences. We must combat religion—that is the ABC of all materialism, and consequently of Marxism. But Marxism is not a materialism which has stopped at the ABC. Marxism goes further. It says: We must know how to combat religion, and in order to do so we must explain the source of faith and religion among the masses in a materialist way. The combating of religion cannot be confined to abstract ideological preaching, and it must not be reduced to such preaching. It must be linked up with the concrete practice of the class movement, which aims at eliminating the social roots of religion.[33]

Marxism as interpreted by Lenin and his successors required changes in social consciousness and the redirection of people’s beliefs. Soviet Marxism was considered incompatible with belief in the Supernatural. Communism required a conscious rejection of religion or else it could not be established.[43] This was not a secondary priority of the system, nor was it a hostility developed towards religion as a competing or rival system of thought, but it was a core and fundamental teaching of the philosophical doctrine of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[44] Marxist philosophy traditionally involved a thorough scientific critique of religion and an attempt to ‘demystify’ religious belief.

The membership card of the League of Militant Atheists (Soyuz Voinstvuyushchikh Bezbozhnikov) in the USSR

According to Marxist theory, religion was a product of material conditions and the organization of private property. Working with this premise, the militant atheism of the Soviet leadership initially considered that religion would disappear on its own through the coming of the socialist system. Therefore after the revolution, initially the Bolsheviks gave tolerance to religion, with the exception of Orthodoxy (which was subject to persecutions due to its links with Tsarism). When it became clear after the USSR was established that religion was not dying away on its own, the USSR began general antireligious campaigns.[45]

Combating religious beliefs was considered an absolute duty by Lenin.[46] The campaigns involved extensive amounts of antireligious propaganda, antireligious legislation, atheistic education, antireligious discrimination, harassment, arrests and also campaigns of violent terror.[47] Soviet leaders, propagandists and other militant atheists debated for years over the question of what approach was most pragmatic in order to eliminate religion. The state recruited millions of people, spent billions of roubles, and made incredible efforts towards this end, although it ultimately failed to achieve their goal.

The pragmatic nature of the militant atheism of the USSR, meant that some cooperation and tolerance could exist between the régime and religion when it was deemed to be in the best interests of the state or it was found that certain antireligious tactics would deal more harm than good towards the goal of eliminating religion (e.g. hardening believers’ religious feelings). These forms of cooperation and tolerance by no means meant that religion did not need to be eliminated ultimately.[44] Militant atheism was a profound and fundamental philosophical commitment of the ideology, and not simply the personal convictions of those who ran the regime.[48]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Василий Михайлович Лендьел (1965). "Современное христианство и коммунизм" (in Russian). Мысль. "Марксистско-ленинский атеизм является системой материалистических иаучно обоснованных взглядов, отвергающих веру ..." 
  2. ^ Институт научного атеизма (Академия общественных наук) (1981). "Вопросы научного атеизма" (in Russian). Изд-во "Мысл". "марксистско-ленинский атеизм всем своим содержанием «аправлен на развитие способностей личности. Религия лишает человека его собственного «я», раздваивает сознание, создает для него условия ..." 
  3. ^ Анатолий Агапеевич Круглов (1983). "Основы научного атеизма" (in Russian). Беларусь. "Высшей формой является марксистско-ленинский атеизм *. Он опирается на материалистическое понимание не только природы (что было свойственно и домарксистскому атеизму) , но и общества. Последнее позволило на ..." 
  4. ^ Vladimir Lenin, in Novaya Zhizn No. 28, December 3, 1905, as quoted in Marxists Internet Archive. "Religion is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which everywhere weighs down heavily upon the masses of the people, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by want and isolation... Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward... Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man."
  5. ^ Brad Olsen. Sacred Places Europe. CCC Publishing. p117. "Soviet policy toward religion was based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which promoted atheism as the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism consistently advocated the control, suppression, and, ultimately, the elimination of all religious doctrines."
  6. ^ Slovak Studies, Volume 21. The Slovak Institute in North America. p231. "The origin of Marxist-Leninist atheism as understood in the USSR, is linked with the development of the German philosophy of Hegel and Feuerbach."
  7. ^ Richard L. Rubenstein, John K. Roth (1988). The Politics of Latin American Liberation Theology. Washington Institute Press. ISBN 0-88702-040-2. "There were, however, Marxist voices that pointed out the disadvantages of such antireligious policies." 
  8. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 9
  9. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 9–10
  10. ^ L. Feuerbach, Essence of Christianity (New York: Harper Torch Books, 1957) pp. 13–14.
  11. ^ L. Feuerbach, Essence of Christianity (New York: Harper Torch Books, 1957) pp. 152.
  12. ^ Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, chapter 16 found at: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/feuerbach/works/essence/index.htm
  13. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 11 "… religious commitments should be intellectually and emotionally destroyed … the catharsis of an intensive hatred towards the old God … All previous religious institutions should be ruthlessly eradicated from the face of the earth and from the face of the earth and from the memory of coming generations, so that they could never regain power over people's minds through deception and the promotion of fear from the mystical forces of the Heaven."
  14. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 13 "It was obvious at this point that reading Feuerhach was not the only source of inspiration for Marx's atheism. The fascination with Feuerbach's war against Christianity was for young Marx nothing more than an expression of his own readiness to pursue in an antireligious struggle all the social and political extremes that materialistic determination required in principle. Yet, as David Aikman, in his most profound and erudite study of Marx and Marxism, notes, the clue to Marx's passionate and violent atheism, or rather anti-theism, cannot be found in an intellectual tradition alone. He traces Marx's anti-theism to the young Marx's preoccupation with the Promethean cult of 'Satan as a destroyer "
  15. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 11 "At this point young Marx was completely fascinated by Feuerbach's 'humanistic zest', and he adopted Feuerbach's open rebellion against the powerful tradition of Christianity unconditionally as an intellectual revelation. Very early in his career, Marx bought the seductive idea that the higher goals of humanity would justify any radicalism, not only the intellectual kind but the social and political as well."
  16. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 12 " Obviously Marx began his own theory of reality with an incomplete intellectual disdain for everything that religious thought, represented, theoretically, practically or emotionally. The cultural contributions of religion over the centuries were dismissed as unimportant and irrelevant to the well-being of the human mind."
  17. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 12 "The cultural contributions of religion over the centuries were dismissed as unimportant and irrelevant to the well-being of the human mind."
  18. ^ Marx, K. 1976. Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Collected Works, v. 3. New York.
  19. ^ Karl Marx, On the Jewish Question, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/
  20. ^ Karl Marx. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction, December 1843 – January 1844, Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, 7 & 10 February 1844, found at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm
  21. ^ Karl Marx. Private Property and Communism, found at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm
  22. ^ Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, http://marx.eserver.org/1845-feuerbach.theses.txt
  23. ^ Marx, The German Ideology, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm
  24. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 23 " It had been taken over, however, by the ruling classes, says Marx, and gradually turned into a tool for the intellectual and emotional control of the masses. Marx insists on perceiving the history of Christianity as an enterprise for the preservation of the status quo, as an elaborate …"
  25. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 24
  26. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 25
  27. ^ The Damascus Affair, by Jonathan Frankel. Cambridge University Press, 1997. Page 413. 'Daumer, Geheimnisse des christlichen Altertums. The 1923 edition included a speech delivered on 30 November 1847 by Karl Marx who said, inter alial: "We know that human sacrifice holds the highest place in Christianity. Daumer demonstrated that the Christians in actual reality slaughtered human beings, they consumed human flesh and human blood in the Eucharist" (p. v).'
  28. ^ Anti-Dühring, Friedrich Engels, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch27.htm
  29. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 16
  30. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 17
  31. ^ Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/index.htm
  32. ^ Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring, 1,13, Negation of a Negation, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/index.htm
  33. ^ a b Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion. Proletary, No. 45, May 13 (26), 1909. Found at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1909/may/13.htm
  34. ^ Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Socialism and Religion Found at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/dec/03.htm
  35. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 18
  36. ^ a b Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 18–19
  37. ^ a b Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 20
  38. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 21
  39. ^ Essays in Russian and Soviet History: In Honor of Geroid Tanquary Robinson, by John Shelton Curtiss. Brill Archive, 1965. Page 173.
  40. ^ Gerhard Simon. Church, State, and Opposition in the U.S.S.R., University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles (1974) pg 64 “The political situation of the Russian Orthodox Church and of all other religious groups in the Soviet Union is governed by two principles which are logically contradictory. On the one hand the Soviet Constitution of 5 December 1936, Article 124, guarantees 'freedom to hold religious services'. On the other hand the Communist Party has never made any secret of the fact, either before or after 1917, that it regards 'militant atheism' as an integral part of its ideology and will regard 'religion as by no means a private matter'. It therefore uses 'the means of ideological influence to educate people in the spirit of scientific materialism and to overcome religious prejudices..' Thus it is the goal of the C.P.S.U. and thereby also of the Soviet state, for which it is after all the 'guiding cell', gradually to liquidate the religious communities."
  41. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 34
  42. ^ James Thrower. Marxist-Leninist 'Scientific Atheism' and the Study of Religion and Atheism in the U. S. S. R., Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin (1983) pg 118 “Many of the previous - and often tactical - restraints upon the Party's anti-religious stance disappeared, and as time went by, the distinction which Lenin had earlier drawn, between the attitude of the Party and the attitude of the State toward religion, became meaningless as the structures of the Party and the structures of the State increasingly began to coincide. Whilst the original constitution of the Russian Federal Republic guaranteed freedom of conscience and included the right to both religious and anti-religious propaganda, this in reality meant freedom from religion - as was evidence when the decree proclaiming the new constitution forbade all private religious instruction for children under the age of eighteen, and when, shortly afterwards, Lenin ordered all religious literature which had been previously published - along with all pornographic literature to be destroyed. Eventually - in the Stalin constitution of 1936 - the provision for religious propaganda, other than religious worship, was withdrawn."
  43. ^ Douglas Arnold Hyde. Communism Today, University of Notre Dame Press, South Bend (1973) pg 74 "The conscious rejection of religion is necessary in order for communism to be established."
  44. ^ a b Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 8
  45. ^ Sabrina Petra Ramet, Ed., Religious Policy in the Soviet Union. Cambridge University Press (1993). P 4
  46. ^ Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, On the Significance of Militant Materialism, March 12, 1922. Found at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/12.htm
  47. ^ De James Thrower (1983). Marxist-Leninist Scientific Atheism and the Study of Religion and Atheism in the USSR. Walter de Gruyter. p. 135. ISBN 90-279-3060-0. 
  48. ^ Dimitry V. Pospielovsky. A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory, and Practice, and the Believer, vol 1: A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Anti-Religious Policies, St Martin's Press, New York (1987) pg 8–9

Further reading[edit]

  • Husband, William. "Godless communists": atheism and society in Soviet Russia, 1917-1932 Northern Illinois University Press. 2002. ISBN 0-87580-595-7.
  • Marsh, Christopher. Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival, and Revival. Continuum International Publishing Group. 2011. ISBN 1-4411-1247-2.
  • Pospielovsky, Dimitry. A History of Marxist-Leninist atheism and Soviet antireligious policies. Macmillan. 1987. ISBN 0-333-42326-7.
  • Thrower, James. Marxist-Leninist scientific atheism and the study of religion and atheism in the USSR. Walter de Gruyter. 1983. ISBN 90-279-3060-0.

External links[edit]