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George Bernard Shaw: Religion as antidote to war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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George Bernard Shaw
From a speech in Covent Garden, London, 1921

Are you going to tolerate secular education which for the last fifty years has meant the grossest materialism – are you going to allow what is called Neo-Darwinism to be taught to your children in schools at a time when their minds are being formed? There must be a state religion as a cultural institution. You will never have a Socialist state until you take education in hand, and education must have a religious basis.

All our vital and fundamental laws are religious at root, religion being the foundation of the essential duties. If you have people legislating without any religious foundation, you will get the sort of thing we have had from 1914 to 1920. When irreligious men control affairs the danger of war is greatly increased, especially now that the implements of war are so cheap. That is why Ireland is such a fearful danger to the British Empire. The only remedy for war is conscience, and you won’t have conscience until you have religion carefully taught and inculcated.

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