Oh! One more question for the night. Religion under communism. Some religions have a system of hierarchy, such as Catholicism with the pope and bishops and whatever, but these are practically governments. Would a communist future require dismantling huge faiths? Or do you think we can just kinda, come to an agreement for religious leaders to tone it down and be strictly religious and not use their following to create political and social power?
Speaking for myself, I don’t particularly believe in god. However, I can safely answer that when I was still a believer, a few years ago, I still didn’t think that any singular religion (or multiple religions even) should have hegemony over any group of people. And I definitely didn’t/don’t believe that however we choose to organize ourselves in the future should be done so on the basis of religion, or along religious lines.
However, with that being said, there are and always will be many many people who are motivated to do good for others, and in service of others, because of their religious conviction. There are, and always will be, many individuals for whom their faith is inseparable from their drive to dismantle problems of injustice that are brought on by systematic racism, anti-blackness, sexism. There are many activists who view the struggle to get rid of institutionalized poverty through an entirely religious lens, while simultaneously refraining from advocating that every one should adopt their belief system alone.
As for whether or not a communist future would require dismantling huge faiths–I don’t really feel comfortable answering this question. I think that this is best answered by people who are religious themselves who are involved in the movement. Not to mention, this question doesn’t exactly take into account that historically speaking, some religions have been more persecuted than others. And some denominations of particular faiths have been far more persecuted than others, on the basis of religious differences.
I’m purposefully trying to leave this vague, rather than giving specific examples of religious conflict, because it’s really easy to get carried away by the specifics of whether or not a given religious faith is “really” oppressing another or not, and that’s not the point of this conversation. But it is safe to say that these patterns of oppression don’t look the same around the world at all, and to try and equate them all under one group just because they happen to be religious faiths, when we know for a fact that some faiths don’t have anywhere near the same sort of institutionalized power that others do, is a one dimensional analysis. Looking at it from that perspective is going to do a lot more harm and reinforce a lot more negativity and persecution against those who are historically discriminated against on the basis of their beliefs.
Not to mention, this sort of analysis continues to reinforce the double-standard that exists within leftist movements as well when it comes to talking about religion, in a way that enables a heck of a lot of leftists to continue to fall back on some fairly anti-semitic/Islamophobic/racist prejudices when it comes to their “critique” of religion. So not only is any sort of discussion around religion that doesn’t take into account its immense complexities going to be lacking, it’s also going to be actively endangering large groups of people who are already vulnerable, and making them targets for further marginalization and prejudice.
At the end of the day, you can’t boil down your options to just “dismantling huge faiths” vs. “asking them to tone it down.” The only people who are best equipped to discuss the ways in which religious beliefs are amenable to a communist future and how that would look for each religion are the people who belong to those belief systems. And the answers to these things aren’t going to be simple–they’re going to be complex, and we have to allow for that. The onus on the rest of us who aren’t a part of these communities is to create an environment that facilitates these discussions (with all of their depth and often contradictory nature), while still actively fighting against any sort of oppression on the basis of religion.
- Mod A