The Number of Man— The Climax of Civilization
1910 Anno Domini
Excerpt (pgs. 250-255):
Thus far, our attention has been directed mainly to the economic side of Socialism, contrasting it with the existing order of Capitalism, which it aims to supplant. But, as has been stated, Socialism does not propose merely a fairer distribution of the products of human effort. It also embodies definite religious principles. The basis of the whole movement is the profound belief in the “Solidarity and Independence of Humankind”; that “each should work for all and all for each”; that “the will of the People is the Supreme Law, and its Voice the Mandate of God,” etc.
These are articles of religious faith. They embody, moreover, the essence of ideal or pure Democracy; and from them we may more clearly learn the drift of the various New Theology movements which give so prominent a place to the principles of Democracy, openly adopting them as religious principles.
Again, attention has been called to the very important fact that the doctrines of Socialism are being espoused and propagated very largely by men who have been ordained as Christian ministers. This fact tends to emphasise the religious aspect of Socialism. Although these “Christian Socialists” do not advocate all of the religious doctrines of Socialism, their advocacy of the system itself necessarily aids in establishing it as a whole.
It is the cardinal doctrine of Socialism that individual human beings are but members of one homogeneous body, namely “Society,” or the Race, to which body they owe everything, and from which they receive everything. This practically means that Society, or the Race, or Man, is the true god from whom all benefits flow to each individual, and whom each individual is bound to serve. Hence it is the duty of Society to care for, protect, and supply the needs of all its dependent members and devotees. But, according to the teachers of Humanism and other new theologies, Man has so recently, and thus far so imperfectly, come to the knowledge of his own Divinity, that he has yet to perfect himself in the discharge of his Divine duties and responsibilities. The “Evolution” of Man is therefore as yet incomplete; but the progress of that process is so rapid that the complete Consolidation of Man, and his ability to carry on the business of a god, may be confidently expected at an early day.
Mr. H. D. Lloyd, in Man the Social Creator, thus speaks of the progress that is being made in this direction:—
“Man is being slowly revealed to himself. The word the world waits for will come from those who disclose to Humanity that the perfections it has been attributing to its gods are sparks struck out of the goodnesses it feels stirring within itself. Mankind, struggling up out of the mud, has not dared think of itself as the nebulae in which is contained shining star-stuff. But it is coming to feel that it does not need to be Divine by proxy any longer.”
The thought contained in this passage is floating everywhere in the atmosphere of Socialism, and is, in fact, of the very essence of that system. Moreover, we have seen that all the new theologies and progressive religious movements of the day are charged with it. Mr. Newman Smith speaks of it as “one of the profoundest and most vitalizing faiths which are now permeating and renewing the Protestant world,” and as being also the inspiring faith of the Modernists. From this it may be clearly seen that society as a whole is not far from that predicted state wherein Divine honours and worship shall be paid to a man. That man need only be set up as the representative of the Race in order to be the realization of the religious programme of Socialism. In the foregoing passage from Mr. Lloyd’s book, we have Man as Creator, and in other characteristic utterances of the day, he is extolled as his own Saviour.
A few more quotations from Mr. French’s book will be useful in showing how openly the religion of Humanism exalts Man to the place of God.
“We believe in the Religion of Humanity, whose God is Love, and in which Love is the fulfilling of the Law.”
“We believe that Capital—the dead inert material thing—is the Creation of Labour, the living God, the co-ordination of Force and Matter, the marriage of the Head and the Hand. And we believe that the product, the thing created, is the inalienable property of the Producer and Creator.”
“We believe in the UNIVERSAL TRUST in which every Child, Woman, and Man shall hold one, and only one, non-transferrable share of Common Stock, and in which there shall be no preferred stock.”
“We believe in the Gospel-of-the-Gift, and that whoso giveth Life in hits highest Effort to the Service of Humanity, shall liver for ever.”
“We believe in the Federation of the World, the Fellowship of Nations, the Motherhood of Nature, the Sisterhood and Brotherhood of Humankind, and in ‘The dear love of Comrades.'”
“Socialism is the religion of Humanity. It was begotten in Hope, conceived in Charity, and born in Honour. It was prophesied in the Past, it is being fulfilled in the Present, and it shall be the glory of the splendid Future.”
“Socialism is the evolution of the human race from cannibalism and savagery to fraternalism and philanthropy; from the infamy of the swine to the splendour of God.”
“Socialism is the Kingdom of Righteousness, wherein little children, emancipated from toil, ignorance, hunger, and exploitation, shall be raised by loving care,” etc.; “wherein women, absolved from shame, servitude, and inequality, shall be enfranchised, owners of themselves;…and wherein men, masterless and free, shall work gladly for family and home,” etc.
“Socialism is the Gospel of the Atonement of Humanity for ‘Man’s inhumanity to man.'”
“Socialism is the second coming of the Elder Brother.”
“Socialism is Faith in the Motherhood of God, Hope in the Comradehood of Humanity, and Charity for all the world.”
These definitions should be pondered and their significance apprehended by all; and especially do we commend them to the thoughtful consideration of “Christian Socialists.” For these doctrines and articles of faith are inherent in the system of Socialism. They spring naturally from its root principle—the Solidarity and Brotherhood of Man; and if humanity should ever commit itself to the desperate experiment of Socialism, it will speedily find itself subject to the operation of these principles and doctrines.