Revisions – Socinian Socialism

The worst thing that can happen to most idealists is to realize their ideals: they have no one to blame the consequences on–except themselves. This is the figure Mi­chael Harrington cuts in The Poli­tics at God's Funeral: The Spiritual Crisis of Western Civilization (New York; Holt, Rinehart & Winston). As a "democratic Marxist" and atheist, Harrington realizes that he is part of a long line of thinkers who have prayed for the end of religious faith. "God," he observes, "has been a leading conservative in Judeo-Christian society." His fu­neral was supposed to be a joyous event ushering in a new age of equality and justice. That religious faith, if not God himself, is dying, Harrington documents all too well. Although recent sociological sur­veys indicate that America is as religious as it has ever been, rela­tively few Americans (especially among the elite) now attempt to conform either their lives or their thinking to any well-defined set of religious doctrines. When almost half of the clergymen admit to hav­ing made no attempt to convert anyone in the last decade, devotion is in serious trouble.

But now that leading theologians and clerics are cheerfully providing God with "a Christian burial," Har­rington is beginning to have serious misgivings. The disappearance of faith sought by Marxism has not produced properly Marxist results. On the one hand, Harrington...

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