Not for nothing did William Z. Foster, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party of the United States, say that religion is "a buttress for capitalism." (William Z. Foster, The Twilight of World Capitalism)
Idealism and materialism are locked in mortal combat. Frederick Engels once wrote that idealists are "those who assert the primacy of spirit to nature," while materialists, including Marxist-Leninists, "regard nature as primary." (Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach, 1886)
And, V.I Lenin said, the fight against religious idealism is "subordinated" to a Marxist's "basic task--the development of the class struggle of the exploited masses against their exploiters." (Lenin, The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion, 1909)
In this, we can unite with religious folks for working class struggle and the fight for social progress. Gus Hall said this in Karl Marx: Beacon for our Times. And none other than V.I. Lenin pointed out that religious workers should be recruited to join the Marxist Party! On the other hand, religion can not set the terms of the struggle.
"Religion," a Soviet writer pointed out, "is a distorted, fantastic reflection of reality." Afanasyev continues by quoting Frederick Engels: "...All religion, however, is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men’s minds of those external forces which control their daily life, a reflection in which the terrestrial forces assume the form of supernatural forces, Engels wrote." (Engels, Anti-Duhring)
"Religion," Afanasyev said, "arose only at a definite stage in society’s development. The origin of religion can be traced to ignorance of the true causes of natural and social phenomena, to the awe-inspiring power of nature’s spontaneous forces and social oppression.
"The crux of religion is belief in the supernatural. Being dependent on nature’s forces, men endowed them with supernatural properties, made them into gods and spirits, devils and angels...
"(Then came the rise of classes and exploitation and) the working people sought in religion salvation from the suffering inflicted on them by exploiting society.
"It (religion) is an instrument of spiritual oppression, ideological enslavement of the working people, a means of strengthening the rule of the exploiters....Being an element of the superstructure, religion in an antagonistic class society seeks to reinforce the economic basis on which it rests, to strengthen the exploiting system....
"(With stories about a better life in Heaven), religion diverts the working people from the...revolutionary struggle against exploitation and for a just, genuinely humane social system...
"The reactionary role of religion is also manifested in its deep hostility to science, to a scientific world outlook....Science and religion are irreconcilable. Science gives man true knowledge of the world and the laws of its development. It helps him master natural and social forces and to organize production. Religion distorts the essence of the world, gives the wrong interpretation of it, stultifies the mind and will of man and deprives him of confidence in the triumph of science and progress." (Afanasyev, Marxist Philosophy, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow)
"The class struggle," William Z. Foster said, "and the development of the revolutionary movement of the workers, guided by Marxist dialectical materialism, (will) weaken the grip of religion upon the people's minds." (William Z. Foster, The Twilight of World Capitalism)