Parallels between socialism and religion have frequently been drawn, and the diffusion of Christianity throughout the ancient world compared with that of Marxism in our time. The expression 'secular religion' has become a commonplace. The Marxists of the second or the third International are quite ready to allow that religion is a private affair, but they regard the organisation of the commonwealth as the only serious concern. Communism is an ideology which, through the cult of the Party, the interpretative scholasticism manipulated by the revolutionary State, and the training and discipline enforced on the militants, has been transformed into a dogmatism of words and actions. The militant has taken the decisive step and accepted the discipline, while the sympathiser remains on the threshold. The intellectuals of France were the first to undertake the search for a substitute religion.