Socialism, as the science of society, is an essential part of a scientific view of all phenomena regarded as an interdependent whole; and such a Monistic view of the universe, with each part in inseparable causal relation to the rest, can leave no nook or cranny for God or Gods. The concept of God as an explanation of the Universe is becoming entirely untenable in this age of scientific enquiry. The laws of the persistence of force and the indestructibility of matter, and the unending inter-play of cause and effect, make the attempt to trace the origin of things to an anthropomorphic God who had no cause futile. The physical laws of the known universe cannot logically be held to cease where our immediate experience ends, to make way for an unscientific concept of an uncaused and creating being. The Creation idea is unsupported by evidence, and is in conflict with every scientific law. Socialism is consistent only with that monistic view which regards all phenomena as expressions of the underlying matter-force reality and as parts of the unity of Nature which interact according to the laws of physics.
The consistent socialist, therefore, cannot be a christian, or moslem or jew or hindu. As a belief, religion is a manifestation of man’s ignorance of Nature’s working. The great theoretic weapon of the workers in their fight for emancipation is science, not religion; and religion and science are as incompatible as fire and water. Religion is an instrument of domination which cannot be used as an agent of emancipation at this stage of history and social development. The working class, moreover, though not as yet hostile to religion, are becoming increasingly indifferent to it. Workers find little basis for belief in divine interference.
The decay of religion is, indeed, a measure of the advance of humanity, for the height of man’s superstition is at the same time the depth of his ignorance. The socialist can see, accompanying the decline of religion, humanity emerging from the darkness of ignorance and fear into the clear daylight of science and power, spurning the priests who had duped them, dispossessing the class that had robbed them, and moulding society to their needs, ordering and perfecting the social forces they have inherited. Socialists can picture the people, no longer slaves, but free: no longer in fear of phantoms of their own creation, but looking proudly out upon a harmonious and rational social world, harnessing giant natural forces to industry, and intensifying their relationship with Nature by a wider knowledge of Her laws. Socialists see a social organisation adapted to give all people health and happiness by freeing them from wasteful drudgery and by stimulating healthy emulation in a new birth of science and the arts. And so the community of brothers and sisters, that christianity professed but could only retard, becomes at last a reality through the complete harmony of interests brought about by the co-operative commonwealth; a made inevitable, because the social organisation makes the highest welfare and happiness of each immediately dependent upon, and producible only by the promotion of the like well-being of all.