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Religion is Religion, Communism is Scientific

A Leap of Faith and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods This article was written by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, in response to a letter that sent to him. In addition to attacking communism, that letter also argued against the scientific viewpoint and method and insisted that atheism is just another form of religion. This article by Chairman Avakian speaks to a number of points in that letter but focuses on the fundamental difference between a communist and scientific outlook and method on the one hand and, on the other hand, a religious worldview which relies on "leaps of faith."

Religion is Religion, Communism is Scientific

But what I want to focus on here?because it is a very important point of distortion which not only characterizes this letter but is much more broadly promoted, particularly by religious fundamentalists, and is the source of considerable confusion and misunderstanding?is the insistence that communism (and atheism generally) is actually just another form of religion and that in fact not only communism but all scientific thinking involves just as much a "leap of faith" as does religion. In this article, I will discuss how this is completely wrong and will examine the crucial differences between religion and "leaps of faith," on the one hand, and science and the scientific method?including communism, with its thorough, systematic and comprehensive scientific outlook and method?on the other hand.

This claim that communism (and more generally a scientific outlook and method) is just another form of religion is concentrated in the following from this letter:

"I hope you're not offended that I call your atheism faith. I'm sure you realize atheism is a faith system too. And since you've pinned you're [sic] hope on its truthfulness, we can call it your religion. How about that!? Bob Avakian is a religious man!

"You probably realize what most evolutionists don't since no one was there to record the Big Bang, it too is just as much a leap of faith as the biblical version of creation. But no worries, you can always make your case stronger by stating forcefully, 'Evolution is a fact!' "

The heart of the matter here?and what is fundamentally wrong in the viewpoint of the writer of this letter?is the attempt to distort what is involved in the application of a scientific method and approach, in the process of scientific investigation and analysis and in the drawing of scientifically based conclusions. More specifically, what is fundamentally wrong is the attempt to say that the actual leaps that are involved in arriving at rational knowledge of things ?including through the application of the scientific method?somehow amount to the same thing as "leaps of faith" that are characteristic of religion. In fact, these are profoundly and radically different kinds of "leaps," and digging into the difference will not only further expose the confusion and outright distortions and misrepresentations in this letter, and in the method of thinking of its author, but much more importantly can help clarify the fundamental difference between a scientific and a religious approach to reality and to changing?or not changing?reality, including human society.

The rest of this article can be found at http://rwor.org/a/010/avakian-leap-faith-leap-rationale.htm

rule of law-GOOD, rule of man-BAD 31.Jul.2005 18:56

TheTroll

The problem with communism is the same problem capitalism has. People in positions of authoruty granting special privilage to a nobility class. when law insures that rights are respected equaly, either systom CAN work out to everyone's advantage. When law becomes a good old boy network, things fall apart. Since that is the case in the US, you can watch and see what I mean. "a more perfect union", no, they go for unions of a cast systom.

You know, there is room for both faith AND science 31.Jul.2005 20:00

Sephiroth

While I don't consider myself to be religious, I definitely don't consider myself an atheist either. I can't say for sure that a higher power doesn't exist, only that I haven't seen any tangible (scientific) evidence of it.

Traditional science is limited to the five basic senses. Spirituality seems to evoke a sixth sense. I consider myself a socialist, but my belief in socialism is largely based on moral justice, which in itself is impossible to define scientifically. You just "feel it in your heart." Especially in the face of our slowly-emerging feudalist totalitarianism.

It was moral conscience, every bit as much as scientific, that led to the American Revolution and the ideas of liberalism, freedom and democracy. Granted the American experiment ended up falling far short of its ideal: the Constitution originally defined five slaves and three free people as having equal rights. Soon afterward, the slaves' de facto rights were reduced to virtually zero. And don't forget the brutal legacy of Manifest Destiny. Despite wonderful liberal ideas in the Founders, they were not perfect: Jefferson owned slaves, and many of them supported white colonialism in the West. But to blame the American ideal of freedom for America's own flaws is just like blaming Karl Marx for the atrocities of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

Indeed, modern capitalism is destroying all the truly good things about America. Exploitation, poverty, workplace authoritarianism, class hierarchy, political plutocracy, lack of progress on racial/gender/sexual equality, the swelling prison population, none of these are "good things" about America. Yet they are being promoted by a group that claims to represent what America is all about. How Orwellian can you get?

I defend socialism on the simple idea of FREEDOM from capitalist tyranny and DEMOCRACY on the job. This derives from an inner sense of morality, which may grow out of spirituality. Of course, demagogues continue to abuse the concept of spirit and morality for twisted ends, but we can do better if we, for example, focus on the 90 percent of the Bible that contains wisdom instead of the 10-percent dogma, and if we learn to search for God(dess) on our own. You can't hear the true message of the divine from the mouth of a mortal.