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Book Cover
Author Smith, John E. (John Edwin), 1921-2009.

Title Quasi-religions : Humanism, Marxism and Nationalism / John E. Smith
Published Basingstoke : Macmillan, 1994


Location Call no. Vol. Availability
Description viii, 154 pages ; 23cm
Series Themes in comparative religion
Themes in comparative religion.
Summary The growing secularisation of many societies has led to the proliferation of quasi-religions that seek to replace the religions proper. A quasi-religion is a position or movement which turns some finite, limited object or ideal into an object of absolute devotion. This book examines three such quasi-religions - Humanism, Marxism and Nationalism - for the purpose of explaining their appeal and at the same time for showing the idolatry and corruption inherent in all attempts to deify something finite. Humanism of the anti-religious type makes mankind or human beings the object of absolute worth, the centre of the universe; Marxism elevates the communist ideal of the classless society and the dialectic of history to the position of absolutes commanding absolute loyalty; Nationalism declares the nation-state and its supposed 'mission' in world history to be the object of ultimate concern for all its citizens. From the standpoint of Biblical religion, these quasi-religions are seen as idolatrous, a worshipping of false gods. While both Christianity and Judaism assign the highest dignity to human beings, they both oppose a position that ignores our capacity for self-assertion or the misuse of our freedom and finds the source of most evils in the social environment and not in any perversity in human nature itself. The communist ideal represented by the Communist Party drew many converts, as can seen most vividly in the experiences of Arthur Koestler and the other contributors to The God that Failed, but, lofty as were the ideals, these representative intellectuals all repudiated the means. From the Christian standpoint, it is naive and demonic in the end to believe that even though people are turned into liars, informers, even murderers, in a 'good' cause, they will be transformed when the ideal is achieved. Nationalism is the turning of a native patriotism into a special ideology about the supremacy of the nation. Christianity and Judaism are together in rejecting the elevation of the nation over God. The author draws upon the work of Corliss Lamont and Paul Kurtz for the presentation of Humanism; upon the writings of Marx and the experiences of Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Richard Wright and others with the Communist Party for the presentation of Marxism; and upon the studies made by Carlton Hayes, Hans Kohn and Ernst Cassirer for the presentation of Nationalism
Analysis Humanism
Notes Bibliography: p144-145. _ Includes index
Bibliography Includes bibliography (pages 144-145) and index
Subject Communism and religion.
Humanism, Religious.
Nationalism -- Religious aspects.
Philosophy, Marxist.
ISBN 0333539826 (paperback)