Communism, Djilas tells us, is not a religion. It is a movement concerned with ideology and power. Religion is something more basic, the perennial, stubborn faith in “an insubstantial and ageless justice” that keeps man from becoming a determinate link in a nature-continuum and enables him not only to know reality but to judge it—and find it wanting.
It is a useful distinction. But by the same token, early Christianity, the militant protestantism of the Reformation, or Jesuit Catholicism were not religions either. They too were movements concerned with ideology and power, though in their case the connection with religion is clearly visible. All start with that perennial vision of a cosmic right and wrong and then transpose it from eternity to time. The Kingdom of God ceases to be the ageless ideal by which we measure the ways of men, and becomes something quite definite to be built in history. Religious leaders were invariably convinced they were living at the e...
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