From the March 1963 issue of the Socialist Standard
A man who believes that when he is dead and gone, that is the end of him, is possibly going to try and save his own life to the neglect of his duty. Lots of people have been helped by a belief that if they were killed by a bullet that was not the end of it.
(Daily Telegraph, 9.12.62).
Thus says Colonel Peter Vaux, a British Army Staff Officer, advocating the indoctrination of the troops for several hours weekly in the Christian myth—the belief in a life after death. Religious instruction will be an “extra” in the life of the rank and file, a further up-to-the-minute technique in the annihilation of the enemy, wherever he may be found. Once they gave them rum before sending them over the top—now its going to be religion.
He says that the troops should be coaxed into taking an interest in religion —into the belief that though they may be killed, they will not really be dead. If they can be convinced of this, it will provide them with what many have missed in the past, that “inner strength,” which in the wars to come, will be an essential, according to St. Peter Vaux. It will enable survivors to overcome the horrors they encounter and “coolly fight on without orders and with very little information.” Lucky soldiers.
Religion always was the handmaiden of private property, and Colonel Vaux’s remarks should serve to remind us of this. Here is a man under no delusions about the prospects for a third bloodbath, and the part which religion can be made to play in getting workers to slaughter each other in their masters' interests. Enough said.