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Commentary :: Human Rights
Avakian: Religion is Religion, Communism is Scientific
31 Jul 2005
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."
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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.
See also:
http://revcom.us

This work is in the public domain
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