Monday, August 22, 2016

Christianity, again! (1980)

Letters to the Editors from the May 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard

To the Editors

The article ‘Christianity Confidence Trick’ (March Socialist Standard) is an ignorant parody of Christianity. I am a Christian and a socialist. I am also a member of the ‘Christian Socialists’, who are proud to include in their number Donald Soper, who has endured years of opposition to his socialist views in his church, and some support. Similarly, a host of priests like Camillo Torres have led the opposition to repressive governments. It is so easy for the Socialist Standard to flaunt its white sheet, while remaining comparatively aloof from the dirty world of political life.

I don’t believe in the literal truth of myths like the Virgin birth, or of the gross parody of Genesis presented in ‘Confidence Trick’. Has the Standard never heard of poetic truth? I suggest that the author of the article does some research into the involvement of chapels in the fight for better conditions of work, and the continuing fight to ensure that men, of no matter what colour or nationality they may be, are treated with the dignity and respect that is their due, as brothers in Christ.
David Fraser, BA 
Newton, 
Rugby 

REPLY
David Fraser searches desperately for some way of linking his Christian superstition with a commitment to Socialism. Donald Soper (who was given a peerage as a reward for his efforts in the service of distorting socialist ideas) is cited as a ‘Christian Socialist’, and so is Camillo Torres. All that these Christians have done is to have adapted their religious twaddle to fit in with the popular liberal sentiments of their day. Religious leaders have usually been forced to re-interpret their dogmas as conditions have changed, but Christianity has only been accepted by the establishment because it serves to defend. the status quo, even if some Christians might favour a reform or two. If Lord Soper is a socialist why is he a member of the Labour Party, which has always been committed to the continuation of the capitalist system?

Mr. Fraser does not believe that ‘myths like the virgin birth’ are literally true, but that they have something to do with ‘poetic truth’. If he means by this that they are stories which are symbolic of some deeper meaning he ought to tell us what the deeper meaning is (and how he knows what it is) — and while he's about it he had better inform the millions of gullible people who have been taught by churches, schools and missionaries that the Bible contains the words of unquestionable truth. We note that Mr. Fraser has failed to dispute the three criticisms of Christianity which were contained in the article, ‘Confidence Trick’: that there is no such thing as human nature; that supernatural forces (gods) should not be believed in; that the legendary character of Jesus Christ was an unattractive one.
Editors.

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