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Religion According To Marx Essay, Research Paper

?Religion comes from the oppressed, but benefits those at

the top? Lenin: ?Religion

is a kind of spiritual gin in which the slaves of capital drown their human

shape and their claims to any decent life.? Religion dulls the pain caused by

oppression. It does nothing to solve the

problem; it is a bad attempt to make life more bearable. Salvation from bondage and misery by promised

after-life Promises people will be rewarded for their

virtue Offers hope of supernatural intervention to

solve problems on earth Often justifies social order and a persons

place within it Helps people at the bottom accept their situation. Marx: ?Religion

is an opiate of the masses? Prevents any form of revolt, as

it threatens eternal damnation, good for social control Helps produce false consciousness Diverts people?s attention away from real source of oppression and keeps

ruling class in power Criticisms of Marxist Theory Turner argues there is no single, dominant ideology; there is a different

ideology for each class Engels argues he saw early Chrisitian

sects as radical challenge to authority of Roman Law. LIBERATION THEOLOGY (Neo-Marxist) Maduro: ?Religion

is not always a conservative force? Religion one of the few things

that can stimulate revolt Recently, Catholic priests have

acted against interests of bourgeoisie Interpretations of religion can show it is critical of rich and powerful Turner: Religion

rises from a material base Relates to physical and economic

aspects of social life Religion doesn?t have universal role, not important part of ruling-class ideology. Families no longer

hold the wealth ? multinationals etc: Religion less needed, for passing money

down etc. Religion is an

optional extra in capitalist society. Criticisms of Neo-Marxist ?

Little evidence

to show WC were ever especially religious. ?

Religion can

act for change (radical/political) . But theory

still credits mass of population with little independent action. Religion acts as a tool of social

control, maintaining the existing system of exploitation and reinforcing

the existing stratification order. Paul Tillich Religion

encompasses that to which people are most devoted or that from which they

expect to get the most fundamental satisfaction in life. Putting Tillich’s and Luther’s

definitions together, it is possible to see that religion does not necessarily

have to be involved with shrines, temples, churches, or synagogues. It does not

need complex doctrines or clergy. It can be anything to which people devote

themselves that fills their lives with meaning. Consequently,

religion provides adequate answers to the basic questions posed above.


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