H. W. Davey

The Forum

Shall We Combat Religion?

A Reply to Baldwin

Source: The Communist Review, June 1924, Vol. 5, No. 2.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Dear Comrade,

With reference to Comrade Baldwin’s letter under the above title in the April number, I do not think that any economic system can represent a complete outlook on life, but I have no doubt that, as Comrade Baldwin says, Communism will profoundly modify many other human activities.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that the main essential for obtaining a complete outlook is a clear recognition that religion —which in any view should be defined, as “belief in supernatural beings” (Tylor’s definition) is intellectually untenable. The grounds for this statement are broadly (1) that science discloses to us a universe wherein the endless and inevitable chain of cause and effect completely discounts any “spiritual” agency, and, (2) that the whole structure of supernaturalism has been traced to its origin in the ignorance of primitive man.

Further, I am convinced that preoccupation with supernaturalism—even when freed from all capitalist influences—will absorb a certain amount of human energy, which should be exclusively devoted to the reconstruction of life on this globe.

In conclusion, it is only fair to you and your readers to point out that I am not a member of the Communist Party, but merely a sympathetic reader of your literature, with a distinct leaning towards much of the Marxian philosophy.