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Thread: Is Communism a Religion?

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    Veteran Member Valjean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    ... There are lots of other similarities...
    But what are the all-important distinctions?

    For one thing, religion's a metaphysical appeal to the whole entire universe for an answer to existential questions/crises. The belief-system of a religion is cosmic in scale. Usually nature's perceived as the problem to be solved (it has a lot of suffering in it) and so the answer entails transcending it.

    Does communism do that?
    I think you've overblown the role of religion. Some may be metaphysical and cosmic, but, basically, religion's just a belief or set of beliefs that manifests an ethic in adherents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valjean View Post
    I think you've overblown the role of religion. Some may be metaphysical and cosmic, but, basically, religion's just a belief or set of beliefs that manifests an ethic in adherents.
    Is secular humanism a set of beliefs that manifests an ethic in adherents?

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    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valjean View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    ... There are lots of other similarities...
    But what are the all-important distinctions?

    For one thing, religion's a metaphysical appeal to the whole entire universe for an answer to existential questions/crises. The belief-system of a religion is cosmic in scale. Usually nature's perceived as the problem to be solved (it has a lot of suffering in it) and so the answer entails transcending it.

    Does communism do that?
    I think you've overblown the role of religion. Some may be metaphysical and cosmic, but, basically, religion's just a belief or set of beliefs that manifests an ethic in adherents.
    Beliefs are beliefs, right? I mean what is a belief without a behavior? So religion isn't so much a set of beliefs as it is a set of behaviors, something we can quantify. We can quantify what a person says his beliefs are but we can only quantify the belief by documenting behavior.

    If one can get past the need for magic when it comes to religion, communism is very much a religion in its behavior.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Beliefs are beliefs, right? I mean what is a belief without a behavior? So religion isn't so much a set of beliefs as it is a set of behaviors, something we can quantify. We can quantify what a person says his beliefs are but we can only quantify the belief by documenting behavior.
    But a theist that loses his faith can still exhibit the behavior, though his beliefs are atheist.

    And Jews living in Soain during the Inquisition...

    Witches living in Salem...

    Christains in throw-them-to-the-lions Rome....

    Biologists at a creationist museum....

    Communists at a fascist school board meeting...

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    What are the dominant beliefs that shape human behaviour? Wealth/power, property, social standing, family, friends, various interests (including religion)...not necessarily in that order?

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    What are the dominant beliefs that shape human behaviour? Wealth/power, property, social standing, family, friends, various interests (including religion)...not necessarily in that order?
    What sort of speculative silliness is that? Humans don't all have the same motives from day to day, let alone guiding directives as a species.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Egads!!! The role of religion overblown?

    Listen to our politicians profess faith and how god guides them. The ongoing global religious conflicts.

    This forum.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Egads!!! The role of religion overblown?

    Listen to our politicians profess faith and how god guides them. The ongoing global religious conflicts.

    This forum.
    Can an argument be made that government itself is a religious exercise?

  9. Top | #29
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    Any authoritarian government is going to have some core similarities to religions, especially to monotheism, due to it's inherent authoritarian power structure (one unquestionable, unelected authority). Neither can maintain their existence and control if people are free to think for themselves and act in their interests, or even the majority long term interests. Thus, they must use a blend of emotional manipulation, coercion, and force. Both will promote the virtue of obedience and blind loyalty, punished with violent threats. The facts will sometimes not favor what is in the interests of the authority. Both will seek to limit liberty of action and of thought (and thus attack "intellectuals"), b/c maintaining their control will require denial of at least some facts. Similarly, both will demand that loyalists ultimately just "have faith" in the authority (either "the state" or "god/the church"), even when their own rational mind says the authority is wrong. Both will tend to demean and promote bigotry against those not loyal to their authority, which includes towards other religions. Their need for blind allegiance makes allegiance to anything else a threat. Communism is confrontational to religion, but only 1 more religion than most religions are, which is all religions but itself.

    Note that Marx himself advocated open critique of religion (not violence) to move people rationally away from religion, b/c it's authoritarian and controls people against their own interests. He was correct. The more aggressive and sometimes violent attack of religion by the Communist state is a byproduct of the fact that communism in a large industrial society cannot possibly be maintained without aggressive authoritarian control. That made organized religious authorities a direct threat competing for mindless loyalty. It had nothing to do with anything inherent to atheism. They could have done what most other authoritarian governments do, which is to take control of the dominant religion and eliminate others. The communist rulers' goal was to preserve their own power, but since they were pretending to follow Marx's philosophy and to care about the interests of the people, they couldn't support any one religion over others.

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    What are the dominant beliefs that shape human behaviour? Wealth/power, property, social standing, family, friends, various interests (including religion)...not necessarily in that order?
    What sort of speculative silliness is that? Humans don't all have the same motives from day to day, let alone guiding directives as a species.
    Is that so? There is no sex drive? The desire for family, to have children? People don't invest in property for the long term? Invest or trade in the stock market? Wars are not fought over land and resources? We are as random as flies flitting about our daily lives without purpose?

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