We have discussed this kind of issue here several times, but more along the lines of a radical Xtianity, with a suggestion that Xtians might consider the (radical) issues of communism, just as (radical) Xtians once considered the issue of abolition.
This article speaks for itself, as if an Alternet rewrite of our often chaotic posts, and our take here is a bit too far left for most: Alternet has produced a simpler take on the place of religion in the realm of activism.
It is quite ‘radical’ to suggest this, given the classic left’s foundations in Feuerbachian atheism, historical materialism, and the brands of secular humanism that were the mainstay of the nineteenth century activist movements.
We have commented many times on the way that the classic left, post-Hegel, became in some ways the completion of the Reformation (consider Munzer beside Luther), and yet, somehow, it failed to truly do that job, the nature of its stance on religion (and the same can be said for the new atheism) being to crude to actual liberate anyone from religion.
And then there is the issue of the Nietzschean right expropriating (or trying to) the field of secular humanism. Thus the ironic possibility of a leftist spirituality arises in the wake of a conservative atheism.
The world of Marx in the era of 1848 revolution would find that a strange future to their projected hopes! But the future is always strange, and religion seems to have a staying power that surprises people. And the problematic of the Leninist activism simply revives religious activism all over again. The problem, if it is a problem, is that the ‘religion’ of atheism/secular humanism will itself have that kind of staying power. We need a metareligion that can be shared as a commons of the religious progressive and secular humanist.
We can see from the first Progressives at the end of the nineteenth century (and via Jennings Bryan) or MLK the strength of the religious factor in social change activism, and that includes the Gandhian stream flowing into the progressive stream.
One point we made here with our ‘gedanken experiment’ of radical Xtianity is that the conservative takeover of religion is false, and has no basis in spiritual reality. But unfortunately spiritual reactionaries do have a strong control of much religious tradition, from Tibetan Buddhism to Sufistic zones in Islam, to, of course, the degenerate Reformation ideology of the ‘market Christians’ and Bible Belt republicans. They represent nothing real in true spiritual life, and the phantoms of god the authoritarian are simply hallucinations.
It is clear that Xtianity at its several peaks was a radical revolutionary initiative, and was able to challenge the Roman Empire, and was at the core ignition point of the modern revolutionary tide. And such children of the Reformation spearheaded abolitionism.
We should nonetheless consider that potential of a truly revolutionary Xtianity that can handle a communist legacy, if only as a virtual starting point, for the age of the crash of capitalism, and the environment, at the end of market civilization.