William Montgomery Brown.

Communism and Christianism online

. (page 6 of 15)
Online LibraryWilliam Montgomery BrownCommunism and Christianism → online text (page 6 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

could be a Jew and an Englishman as conscientiously as a Christian and
an American. Many of the early Christians were also Pagans, worshippers
of other Gods than Jesus.

Nor is this all or even much more than half of my religious and
political levelism.

On the one hand as a religionist I can be any and everything but an
orthodox sectarian. This orthodoxy is a libel against humanity. The
world owes to it a great part of all its unnecessary troubles - those
which are brought about by the triune devil of persecution, ignorance
and superstition.

On the other hand as a politician I can be any and everything but a
nationalistic sectarian. This nationalism is a libel against humanity.
The world owes to it a great part of all its unnecessary troubles - those
which are brought upon it by the triune devil of war, poverty and

Hoping that you will abandon Jesuine socialism for Marxian communism and
join me in an effort to banish the fictitious, superstitious gods from
the skies and the lying, robbing capitalists from the earth, I am with
every good wish,

Very cordially yours,

Brownella Cottage,
Galion, Ohio.


[D] This letter was written in July, 1919, and sent to the press in
September, 1920. In the interim several of its representations and
arguments were made more complete: therefore, some among the additions
bear the marks of dates belonging to later months.

[E] According to the showing of the science of biblical criticism there
is more than one Jesus of whom we have an account in the New Testament:
(1) a naturalistic, this-worldly, pacific, human Jesus, and (2) a
supernaturalistic, other-worldly, belligerent, divine Jesus, the Jesus
of orthodox Christians.

[F] This shall be true of Marxian socialism when it is triumphant, but
it will not be so while it is persecuted. Socialist Russia has asked for
peace after every war which the capitalist nations (England, France,
Italy and America) have waged against her, not because she could no
longer defend herself, but for the reason that her socialism, being
co-operative in its character, necessarily imposes humaneness; yet they
could not grant it, because their capitalism, being competitive in its
character, as necessarily imposes inhumaneness. The hand of the
capitalist world is aggressively against socialist Russia, and must be,
because the life of capitalism depends upon her death: and her hand is
defensively against all the capitalist nations. Capitalism and socialism
cannot occupy the earth together. Either the one or the other must have
all of it. Mankind in general is illustrating the truth of the proverb
which has been illustrated by so many families in particular - a house
divided against itself cannot stand.


By Helen Keller

The hour has struck for the Grand March! Onward, Comrades, all together!
Fall in line! Start the New Year with a cheer! Let us join the world's
procession marching toward a glad tomorrow. Strong of hope and brave in
heart the West shall meet the East! March with us, brothers every one!
March with us to all things new! Climb with us the hills of God to a
wider, holier life. Onward, Comrades, all together, onward to meet the

Leave behind you doubts and fears! What need have we for "ifs" and
"buts"? Away with parties, schools and leagues! Get together, keep in
step, shoulder to shoulder, hearts throbbing as one! Face the future,
out-daring all you have dared! March on, O Comrades, strong and free,
out of darkness, out of silence, out of hate and custom's deadening
sway! Onward, Comrades, all together, onward to the wind-blown Dawn!

With us shall go the New Day, shining behind the dark. With us shall go
Power, Knowledge, Justice, Truth. The time is full! A new world awaits
us. Its fruits, its joys, its opportunities are ours for the taking!
Fear not the hardships of the road - the storm, the parching heat or
winter's cold, hunger or thirst or ambushed foe! There are bright lights
ahead of us, leave the shadows behind! In the East a new star is risen!
With pain and anguish the Old Order has given birth to the New, and
behold, in the East a man-child is born! Onward, Comrades, all together!
Onward to the camp-fires of Russia! Onward to the coming Dawn!

Through the night of our despair rings the keen call of the New Day. All
the powers of darkness could not still that shout of joy in far-away
Moscow! Meteor-like through the heavens flashed the golden words of
light, "Soviet Republic of Russia". Words sun-like piercing the dark,
joyous radiant love-words banishing hate, bidding the teeming world of
men to wake and live! Onward, Comrades, all together, onward to the
bright, redeeming Dawn!

With peace and brotherhood make sweet the bitter way of men! Today, and
all the days to come, repeat the Word of Him who said, "Thou shall not
kill". Send on psalming winds the angel-chorus, "Peace on earth,
good-will to men". Onward march, and keep on marching until His Will on
earth is done! Onward, Comrades, all together, onward to the life-giving
fountain of Dawn!

All along the road beside us throng the peoples sad and broken, weeping
women, children hungry, homeless like little birds cast out of their
nest. With their hearts aflame, untamed, glorying in martyrdom they hail
us passing quickly, "Halt not, O Comrades, yonder glimmers the star of
our hope, the red-centered dawn in the East! Halt not, lest you perish
ere you reach the Land of Promise". Onward, Comrades, all together,
onward to the sun-red Dawn!

[Illustration: KARL MARX]

[Illustration: CHARLES DARWIN]




Christianism: A Supernaturalistic Other-worldly Gospel for the Passing
Age of Class Inequality and Economic Slavery - An Open Letter to a
Christian Theologian and Brother Churchman.

Revolutionize capitalism out of state and orthodoxy out of church.


The contradiction in terms known as the Christian Socialist is
inevitably antagonistic to working-class interests and the waging of the
class struggle. His policy (that of the Christian Socialist) is the
conciliation of classes, the fraternity of robber and robbed, not the
end of classes. His avowed object, indeed, is usually to purge the
Socialist movement of its materialism, and this means to purge it of its
Socialism and to divert it from its material aims to the fruitless
chasing of spiritual will-o'-the-wisps. A Christian Socialist is, in
fact, an anti-Socialist.

Clearly, then, the basis of Socialist philosophy is utterly incompatible
with religious ideas; indeed, the latter have been reduced to their
logical absurdity in what is called "Christian Science."

Moreover, the consistent Christian, if such exists, could look upon the
existing world only as an essential part of God's plan, to be accounted
for only through God, and modified at God's pleasure. He could regard
those who sought the explanation of social conditions in purely natural
causes, and who also sought to take advantage of economic development in
order to turn this vale of tears into a pleasant garden, only as men who
denied by their acts the very basis of his faith.


[G] From the Official Manifesto by the Socialist Party of Great Britain,
showing the Antagonism between Socialism and Religion.


Come over and help us. Abandon Reformatory for Revolutionary

My Dear Brother:

Your letter (April 1st, 1920) enclosing an essay, entitled, Is There a
God, came duly to hand and I thank you warmly for it. The essay is a
masterpiece and I hope you can let me keep this copy, or make another
for myself, for reference when I am writing or conversing on its lines,
as is frequently the case.


In the dispute between yourself and friend of which you speak, you are
altogether right and he is entirely wrong. In the last analysis it is a
disputation as to whether or not the Jewish-Christian bible contains an
infallible revelation from an omniscient being, a triune god, Father,
Son and Spirit. It does not.

As an objectivity there is no such divinity. He is a subjectivity
existing in the imagination of orthodox Christians. You do not agree
with me in this, but every day of thought and study deepens the
conviction that it is true. None among the gods of the supernaturalistic
interpretations of religion are objectivities. The lesser ones are
generally ghosts of dead men, and the greater ones are as generally
versions of the sun-myth.

The one god of the Jews and the triune god of the Christians, if taken
seriously, are superstitions; and the bible revelations of their
willings and records of their doings, if taken literally, are lies.

Both the Old and New Testaments are utterly worthless as history. The
twelve patriarchs of the Jewish God, Jehovah, are not historical
personages, but myths, and this is true of the twelve apostles of the
Christian God, Jesus.

Yes, the Old Testament is the Jewish version of the immemorial and
universal sun-myth, rewritten several times for the purpose, not of
telling any truth, but of imposing the fiction that Jehovah and his
people constitute the greatest procession that ever came down the pike
of supernaturalism. The New Testament is the Christian version of the
same myth, only with the view of showing that Jehovah and the Jews were
not, but Jesus and Christians are, this procession.

In itself, the sun-myth, as symbolism, is not only poetically beautiful,
but also scientifically true; yet, as literalism, it is in the case of
the ignorant, superstition, and in the case of the educated,

The sun is, in a very literal and real sense, the creator-god in whom
this world lives, moves and has its being; and he is the saviour-god who
was born of a virgin nebula, and every winter descends into hell and
rises from the dead (the southern solstice) by a new birth and ascends
into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the father (the sky) at
the northern solstice, and finally he is the illuminator god who
lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

And the apostles who preached the gospel of the redemption of the world
are the twelve signs of the zodiac through which the sun apparently
passes in its annual ascension to the summer solstice and descension to
the winter solstice.

Nor is this all: "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the
world" is the sign of the zodiac, Aries (sheep, ram) through which the
sun passes towards the end of March, when all the saviour-gods annually
died and rose again. The rising symbolizes the return of the sun towards
the northern solstice from the southern one, upon which return seed-time
and harvest are dependent, without which the world would perish, not
indeed by sin but by starvation.

Jehovah is the sun-myth rewritten to fit in with the ideals and hopes of
the owning, master class of the Jews.

Jesus is the sun-myth rewritten to fit in with the ideals and hopes of
the owning master class of the Christians.

The Christian god, Jesus, is an improvement upon the Jewish god,
Jehovah, because of the division of labor. The task of the owning master
class is a twofold one, the robbing of the weak owners by the strong
ones in wars, and the robbing of the slaves by the masters which under
the capitalist system is done in surplus profits.

Jehovah serves Christians as the god of war. In his name they wage wars,
either as groups within a nation having different commercial interests,
as in the case of the Civil War of the United States, or as nations
against nations with different commercial interests, as in the case of
the Revolutionary war of the Colonies with England, or the World War of
the Allied countries with the Central ones.

Jesus serves Christians as the god of slavery. When they have
successfully waged a war of conquest, as the Pilgrim Fathers did against
the Indians of America, or when they have appropriated all the means and
machines of production, as the capitalists have everywhere, they
reconcile the propertyless to a terrestrial hell of toil, want, sorrow
and slavery by preaching the Jesuine gospel of hope for a celestial
heaven of eternal rest, joy, plenty and freedom.

"Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum."

In remaking the Jewish god to suit their purposes of robbing and
enslaving, the Christian owning master class provided for a further
division of his work by creating the Holy Ghost, who devotes himself to
the giving of new revelations of the will of Jehovah and interpreting
the earlier ones as they are recorded in the bible.

It is generally supposed that the masters are the strong people of the
world, but they are not. Labor is really the giant, the Samson, and it
would be impossible for the pigmy, capital, to rob him, but for his lack
of knowledge. The Holy Ghost sees to it that the slave class is kept in

The English-German, or if you prefer, the German-English war has been an
eye-opener to the giant, labor, and capital is ruined unless he can get
him to sleep again.

Capital knows that Marx was right in characterizing the orthodox
interpretations of religion, including the Christian one, and especially
it, as a sleeping potion.

The churches were the dormitories in which the slaves slept through the
night of the dark ages of traditionalism, but the light of the age of
scientism is breaking upon the world and most of the slaves have left
the churches and are now beyond the reach of their care-takers, the

When I wrote the Level Plan for Church Union, I believed that the coming
together of the churches would prove to be a blessing to the world, but
I am now persuaded that it would be a curse, because the league of
churches would co-operate with the league of nations in its robbing and
enslaving schemes, the churches doing the lying and the nations the

We are living in the age of scientism and, in the case of its true sons
and daughters, only scientifically demonstrated facts count in any

From the scientific point of view it is seen that there is but one
universal Kingdom of Life, Nature. This kingdom may be divided into
three, perhaps four, states constituting the United States of Life: the
mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human.

Beginning with the highest, each of these states, except the lowest, is
dependent upon the next lower. The only independent autonomous state in
the kingdom is the mineral. This is the greatest both as to its extent
and importance. It is the common source of every supply of all the
states of life, and the seat of each of their governments.

All theologians and some metaphysicians postulate a fifth state of
life, the divine, placing it above the rest as their source.

Comte, who preceded Marx as a social philosopher, and who is the founder
of modern socialism of the reformatory type, as Marx is of the
revolutionary one, had this to say about the theologians, metaphysicians
and scientists, and he was right:

From the study of the development of human intelligence, in all
directions, and through all times, the discovery arises of a great
fundamental law, to which it is necessarily subject, and which has
a solid foundation of proof, both in the facts of our organization
and in our historical experience. This law is this: that each of
our leading conceptions - each branch of our knowledge - passes
successively through three different theoretical conditions: the
theological, or fictitious; the metaphysical, or abstract; and the
scientific, or positive. In other words, the human mind, by its
nature, employs in its progress three methods of philosophizing,
the character of which is essentially different and radically
opposed: viz., the theological method, the metaphysical and the
positive. Hence arise three philosophies, or general systems of
conceptions on the aggregate of phenomena, each of which excludes
the others. The first is the necessary point of departure of the
human understanding; the third is its fixed and definite state. The
second is merely a state of transition.

In order for a man who has reached the scientific stage in his
intellectual development to make anything out of the reasonings of those
who are still in the stage of theological childhood or in that of
metaphysical adolescence, it is necessary for him to use their
insubstantialities as symbols of his substantialities.

The only difference that I can see between a theologian and a
metaphysician is that, whereas the former personifies a generality
which is the creation of his imagination, calling it a god, the latter
objectifies a particularity which is the creation of his imagination
calling it an entity; but all such personifications and objectifications
(gods, things-in-themselves, vital entities, souls) are alike
fictitious, because the childish theologians and metaphysicians proceed
on the basis of philosophically assumed realities, not on scientifically
established facts which pave the way on which an adult proceeds.

Comte analyzes the difference between the intellectuality of theological
children, metaphysical youths and scientific adults as follows:

In the theological state, the human mind, seeking the essential
nature of beings, the first and final causes (the origin and
purpose) of all effects - in short, absolute knowledge - supposes all
phenomena to be produced by the immediate action of supernatural

In the metaphysical state, which is only a modification of the
first, the mind supposes, instead of supernatural beings, abstract
forces, veritable entities (that is, personified abstractions)
inherent in all beings, and capable of producing all phenomena.
What is called the explanation of phenomena is, in this stage, a
mere reference of each to its proper entity.

In the final, the positive state, the mind has given over the vain
search after absolute notions, the origin and destination of the
universe, and the causes of phenomena, and applies itself to the
study of their laws - that is, their invariable relations of
succession and resemblance. Reasoning and observation, duly
combined, are the means of this knowledge. What is now understood
when we speak of an explanation of facts is simply the
establishment of a connection between single phenomena and some
general facts the number of which continually diminishes with the
progress of science.

There is no science which, having attained the positive stage, does
not bear the marks of having passed through the others. Some time
since it was (whatever it might be now) composed, as we can now
perceive, of metaphysical abstractions: and, further back in the
course of time, it took its form from theological conceptions. Our
most advanced sciences still bear very evident marks of the two
earlier periods through which they passed.

The progress of the individual mind is not only an illustration,
but an indirect evidence of that of the general mind. The point of
departure of the individual and the race being the same, the phases
of the mind of men correspond to the epochs of the mind of the
race. How each of us is aware, if he looks back upon his own
history, that he was a theologian in his childhood, a metaphysician
in his youth and a natural philosopher in his manhood. All men who
are up to their age can verify this for themselves.

According to the scientific classification, there are only three
kingdoms or states of life, the mineral, the vegetable and the animal.

The life of the vegetable kingdom has arisen out of the life of the
mineral kingdom and is sustained by it.

The distinguished scientist, Professor Lowell, says, "there is now no
more reason to doubt that plants grew out of chemical affinity than to
doubt that stones did," and nearly all outstanding zoologists would say
as much of animals.

Sir J. Burdon Sanderson, one of the most eminent among biologists,
insists that "in physiology the word life is understood to mean the
chemical and physical activities of the parts of which the organism
consists." The renowned Sir Ray Lankester strenuously holds that
"zoology is the science which seeks to arrange and discuss the phenomena
of animal life and form, as the outcome of the operation of the laws of
physics and chemistry," and goes so far as to say that he knows of no
leading biologist who is of a different opinion. The prince of
biologists, the late Professor Haeckel, occupied this position and
impregnably fortified it in several great books, especially in his
"Riddle of the Universe."

There is no force that is not life, nor life which is not force; and
there is no life or force, about which we know anything, without a body
or chemical laboratory.

So far as is known, there is only one life - force. The difference
between lives is a question of the organism, the laboratory, which gives
embodiment to force.

The life that enables the wheels of a locomotive to go, the sap of a
tree to flow, the heart of an animal to beat and the brain of a man to
think is the same chemical potentiality differently organized.

During all historical time and over all the earth, under one name or
another, the whole world has kept days of rejoicing for life, especially
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Nothing is so wonderful as life and perhaps the greatest of its wonders
is that all of it is of the same kind.

Everything and every being is alive with the same life. The Thanksgiving
day sheaf of wheat, the Christmas day Son of Man and the Easter day Son
of God (if there are conscious, personal gods and they have sons) are
alive and their life is the same, the difference being wholly in the
form and degree, not at all in kind.

A proof of the oneness and sameness of all life, notwithstanding its
widely different forms and degrees, is the fact that a bar of iron, a
stick of wood, a piece of flesh and a section of brain respond alike to
the same electrical stimulus, and all may be poisoned or otherwise
killed so that they will make no response to it. Perhaps even a more
conclusive evidence is that the eggs (every form of both vegetable and
animal life develops from an egg) of some animals rather high in the one
tree of mundane life, which has a common root and a stump, but two
stems, the vegetable and the animal, can be mechanically fertilized by
chemical processes.

Even Sir Oliver Lodge, the most conspicuous among the comparatively few
men of science who hold to the theory that life comes to the earth as
vital entities of celestial origin and destination, makes this fatal
admission: "There is plenty of physics and chemistry and mechanics about
every vital action." On the theory of traditional Christianity there was
no physics, chemistry or mechanics connected with the vital actions
which originally brought the universe and all that therein was,
including the earth with its vegetable, animal and human kingdoms, into

Every representative of each form of life in these kingdoms (in the
vegetable: a grass blade, a wheat stalk, an oak tree; or in the animal:
an insect, a horse, a man) is a chemical laboratory for the production,
sustentation, advancement and procreation of a particular type of one
universal life. These laboratories have all the potentialities of their
respective lives within themselves, - no laboratory, no chemistry; no
chemistry, no life.

What life is, both as to its manifestation and character, is determined
by the form of organization through which force, all there is of life,
becomes a particular and differentiated vital phenomenon. This is as
true of states and churches as it is of trees and men, for a church or a
state is a vital phenomenon as really so as a tree or a man.

The trouble with every reformatory socialism of modern times is that it
undertakes the impossibility of changing the fruit of the capitalistic
state into that of the communistic one, without changing the political
organism; but to do that is as impossible as to gather grapes from

1 2 3 4 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryWilliam Montgomery BrownCommunism and Christianism → online text (page 6 of 15)