- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Barry, how will your socialism deal with religion,

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on February 06, 19100 at 19:53:05:

Barry I just realized another objection to fully socialized production, that I believe socialism must take into account. This will probably piss the hell out of you, because it involves religion as well as non-socialized production. Anyway, here it is.

In a society, socialist or otherwise, there are going to be people of different religions. Let's say that half the community is Catholic, and wants to spend some of their resources on ensuring that the functions of a Catholic priest are performed (let's say by a number of individuals, part-time; after all, there are LOTS of part-time priests in the world, e.g. missionaries.) The other half is Hindu, and they want to devotre some of their resources to getting Hindu rituals performed, etc. Now, this is not an argument for having an exclusive priest class. Instead of having one fulltime priest for each of the religions, we could have two guys who dig ditches half the days and pray to God the other half. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is society as a whole alloting resources in this regard- because Hindus provbably won't want to fund Catholic services with their labor, and vice versa. This means that on some decisions at least, decision sabout prosduction and labor CANNOT be made on a FULLY socialized basis, you will have to dissect society into smaller interest groups and let those groups make some decisions for themselves.

What solution do you see to this problem, Barry? Suggest any idea you have, but PLEASE don't say 'material abundance will naturally cause religion to evanesce', because that is 1) irrelevant, 2) undesirable, 3) unproven and 4) blatantly false.
1) This is a hypothetical, I want to know what WOULD happen if these WERE the condiitions
2) Religions' dispapearance is undesirable because I do not believe that a non-religious life can be quite as fulfilling as a religious one- one promises life for 70 years, the other for eternity.
3)Evidence that material abundance with religion? Please? Religion is big in the US and the former Soviet Union, to mention only two major industrialized nations, and many of the European countries still have established churches.
4) any attempt to do away with religion has had atrocious results. See "The Power and the Glory", Graham Greene's fictionalized account of the religious persecution under the aptly named Governor Canabal in Mexico. These guys were Liberal atheists, not communists, so you need feel no blame for their crimes. But I think we should still get Greene's point, that depriving men of religion is quite as evil as depriving them of food.

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