Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Seven - The Church of the Social Revolution

The Desire of Nations

So the churches, like all the rest of the world, are caught in the great revolutionary current, and swept on towards a goal which they do not forsee, and from which they would shrink in dismay: the Church of the future, the Church redeemed by the spirit of Brotherhood, the Church which we Socialists will join. They call us materialists, and say that we think about nothing but the belly - and that is true, in a way; because we are the representatives of a starving class, which thinks about its belly precisely as does any individual who is raving with hunger. But give us what that arrant materialist, James, the brother of Jesus, calls "those things which are needful to the body," and then we will use our minds, and even discover that we have souls; whereas at present we are led to despise the very word "spiritual," which has become the stock-in-trade of parasites and poseurs.

We have children, whom we love, and whose future is precious to us. We would be glad to have them trained in ways of decency and self-control, of dignity and grace. It would make us happy if there were in the world institutions conducted by men and women of consecrated life who would specialize in teaching a true morality to the young. But it must be a morality of freedom, not of slavery; a morality founded upon reason, not upon superstition. The men who teach it must be men who know what truth is and the passionate loyalty which the search for truth inspire. They cannot be the pitiful shufflers and compromisers we see in the churches today, the Jewetts who say they used to believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Rather than trust our children to such shameless cynics, we will make shift to train them ourselves - we amateurs, not knowing much about children, and absorbed in the desperate struggle against organized wrong.

It is a statement which many revolutionists would resent, yet it is a fact nevertheless, that we need a new religion, need it just as badly as any of the rest of our pitifully groping race. That we need it is proven by the rivalries and quarrels in our midst - the schisms which waste the greater part of our activities, and which are often the result of personal jealousies and petty vanities. To lift men above such weakness, to make them really brothers in a great cause - that is the work "personal religion" in the true and vital sense of the words.

We pioneers and propagandists may not live to see the birth of the of new church of Humanity; but our children will see it, and the dream of it is in our hearts; our poets have sung of it with fervor and conviction. lines from "The Desire of Nations," by Edwin Markham in which he tells of the new Redeemer who is at hand:

And when he comes into the world gone wrong,
He will rebuild her beauty with a song.
To every heart he will its own dream be;
one moon has many phantoms in the sea.
Out of the North the moons will cry to men:
"Baldur the Beautiful has come again!"
The flutes of Greece will whisper from the dead:
"Apollo has unveiled his sunbright head!"
The stones of Thebes and Memphis will find voice:
"Osiris comes: Oh tribes of Time, rejoice!"
And social architects who build the State,
Serving the Dream at citadel and gate,
Will hail Him coming through the labor-hum.
And glad quick cries will go from man to man:
"Lo, He has come, our Christ the artisan,
The King who loved the lilies, He has come!"

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