Post Author: Bill Pratt
I am not a political science expert, so I can’t say for sure how strong the link between socialism and atheism is. I’m sure some of you can think of examples of people you know who are atheist and not socialist or socialist and not atheist.
For Fyodor Dostoyevsky, writing in the late 1800’s, the linkage was clear. In his book The Brothers Karamazov, considered to be a literary classic, Dostoyevsky’s narrator has the following to say about the main character, Alyosha, a strong Christian:
In the same way, if he had decided that God and immortality did not exist, he would at once have become an atheist and a socialist. For socialism is not merely the labor question, it is before all things the atheistic question, the question of the form taken by atheism to-day, the question of the tower of Babel built without God, not to mount to heaven from earth but to set up heaven on earth.
Any ideology which has as its goal to set up a completely human-constructed utopia on earth is certainly not derived from Christian theology or from any other religious theology that I can think of. Most religions envision a heavenly paradise, but not one created by man alone.
If socialism is truly characterized by this aim, to create heaven on earth by man pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, then Dostoyevsky’s point holds – atheism and socialism are bedfellows. There may be socialists who disavow this aim and would declare allegiance with theists. Any socialists out there who want to speak up?