Revolution #177, September 27, 2009
Celebrating the Publication in Spanish of Away With All Gods!
(This letter was written in Spanish and translated into English by Revolution newspaper)
Letter from a reader
In this letter I want to share with you the impact of the event celebrating the publication in Spanish of the book Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, which originally was published in English, written by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—a book that makes a significant contribution toward the emancipation of humanity, with its very well-developed critique, based on Bible texts, of the damage caused by religions and belief in gods. Attending the event were proletarians, intellectuals, students, atheists, communists and religious people of all ages looking for answers. This activity took place in the Librería Martínez Books and Art Gallery in Santa Ana, California.
In this event there was a brief introduction by Heriberto Ocasio of Engage! A Committee to Project and Protect the Voice of Bob Avakian in which he spoke of the importance of exchanges such as this one, how damaging religion is. To illustrate this point he gave an example (which had a big impact on me) of a young Iraqi girl who was stoned to death for having fallen in love with someone who did not follow her religion, and that’s not all. The women and girls of the village were forced to watch as they dragged the mutilated corpse of this young girl through the streets. Heriberto read from “The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have, A Message and a Call from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA”: “Some say this is all ‘god’s will’ and we just have to ‘put it all in god’s hands.’ But it was not some god that got us in this situation... and it won’t be some god that will get us out of it. The truth is, there are no gods... and we don’t need them!”
Later, various people read from parts of the book: “Liberation Without Gods; Why Do People Believe in Different Gods?”; “The Growth of Religion and of Religious Fundamentalism and Religion, Patriarchy, Male Supremacy and Sexual Repression.” For example, parts were read on how Christian scripture and traditional morality based on biblical laws have been used to enslave and subjugate the masses, including the oppression of women with different expressions, always devaluing and condemning women since “the fall of mankind” in the Garden of Eden, always keeping them in an inferior position to men. Forcing humanity to endure all these injustices, making them believe that worldly authorities have been ordained by god and how according to Jesus: if you don’t follow or accept these teachings, you will NOT go to heaven and will be condemned to suffer for eternity in hell, which is ridiculous and untrue. Another reading told us why people believe in different gods and a good example are the conquests in which various cultures were subjugated by force such as the Aztecs and Mayas, under the pretext of religion or evangelizing these peoples while the conquistadors plundered these lands and extended their oppressive tentacles.
Then there was a discussion of the sections that were read and of questions about communism and how to transform the world. In this, there was active participation of people of different social strata in the audience. I want to share with you the main questions, responses and thoughts that came up. For example, one person asked: How would a modern communist system be different from the communist governments we have seen? A person exposed very passionately how the capitalist system has “covered up and falsified” the great example of the revolutions in Russia and China and challenged everyone to “look for the truth” and not let themselves get caught up in the idea that “communism has failed and capitalism is better.” Another person emphasized the contributions of Avakian to communism, based on the breakthroughs and shortcomings of previous communist revolutions, to adapt to modern times and make steps forward and reach communism.
When the question “what’s the harm in people believing in religion” was raised, one person said that religion has been responsible for the murders of innocent people, and gave the example of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, how they were persecuted by Christianity. And they added “why continue believing in something which has done so much damage to us, that has oppressed us and continues oppressing us?” Other points raised were the idea of sin, secularism versus communist morality, liberation theology, human nature, communism as a science, how are we going to bring forward the youth?
At the end of the program Rubén Martínez, the bookstore’s owner, expressed the enthusiasm that he felt about his bookstore being the scene for an event of this kind. He said, “In the 15 years since this bookstore came into being, we have never had a conversation like the one we had today.”
It impressed me a lot that people from different social settings engaged in a discussion of issues of real importance to the development and future of humanity. And it made me think that all this would not have been possible without the valuable contributions of Avakian and his book that beyond removing the dark veil that religions and superstitions create in people, goes much further in seeking human emancipation to create a critical, ideological and scientific atmosphere, and thus radically transform the world for the common good. It is a very inspiring book. Imagine for a moment how that society would be where, as like in this event, people come together not focusing on social differences but engaging in debates in search of a transformation for a better road for humanity to benefit everyone and not for the few. The good thing is that you not only can imagine it, but it is possible. At the same time, I extend an invitation to religious people, atheists, agnostics, or those who aren’t interested who have not read this book: fearlessly dig into this valuable contribution that provides us with a very broad and critical picture of how our reality has been manipulated, discover yourselves all those truths that have been hidden from us and how we can initiate the transformation of our reality that is not good like many already realize. In conclusion, the ignorance of some is the wealth of others.
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