of your consciousness) that you have put a good colour and a sugary coating on the idea of the clericals, the Purishkeviches, Nicholas II and the Struves, since in practice the idea of God helps them keep the people in slavery. By beautifying the idea of god, you have beautified the chains with which they fetter ignorant workers and peasants. There -- the priests and Co. will say -- what a good and profound idea this is (the idea of God), as even "your " leaders recognise, Messrs. democrats: and we (the priests and Co.) serve that idea.
It is untrue that god is the complex of ideas which awaken and organise social feelings. That is Bogdanov idealism, which suppresses the material origin of ideas. God is (in history and in real life) first of all the complex of ideas generated by the brutish subjection of man both by external nature and by the class yoke -- ideas which consolidate that subjection, lull to sleep the class struggle. There was a time in history when, in spite of such an origin and such a real meaning of the idea of God, the struggle of democracy and of the proletariat went on in the form of a struggle of one religious idea against another.
But that time, too, is long past.
Nowadays both in Europe and in Russia any, even the most refined and best-intentioned defence or justification of the idea of God is a justification of reaction.
Your entire definition is reactionary and bourgeois, through and through. God = the complex of ideas which "awaken and organise social feelings, having as their object to link the individual with society and to bridle zoological individualism".
Why is this reactionary? Because it falsely colours the idea of "bridling" zoology preached by priests and feudals. In reality, "zoological individualism" was bridled not by
the idea of God, it was bridled both by the primitive herd and the primitive community. The idea of God always put to sleep and blunted the "social feelings", replacing the living by the dead, being always the idea of slavery (the worst, hopeless slavery). Never has the idea of God linked the individual with society": it has always tied the oppressed classes hand and foot with faith in the divinity of the oppressors.
Your definition is bourgeois (and not scientific, not historical) because it operates with sweeping, general, "Robinson Crusoe" conceptions in general, not with definite classes in a definite historical epoch.
The idea of God among the Zyrian savages, etc. (including semi-savages) is one thing. With Struve and Co. it is something quite different. In both cases class domination supports this idea (and this idea supports it). The "popular" conception of God and the divine is "popular" ignorance, degradation, darkness, just like the "popular conception" of the tsar, the devil and dragging wives by the hair. I completely fail to understand how you can call the "popular conception" of God "democratic".
It is untrue that philosophical idealism "always has in view only the interests of the individual". Did Descartes have the interests of the individual more in mind than Gassendi? Or Fichte and Hegel as compared with Feuerbach?
That "god-building is the process of the further development and accumulation of social elements in the individual and society" is simply terrible!! If there were freedom in Russia, the entire bourgeoisie would praise you to the skies for such things, for such sociology and theology of a purely bourgeois type and character.
Well, that's enough for the time being: this letter is too long as it is. Once again, I shake your hand and wish you good health.