Karl Marx Theory of Religion

Topics: Karl Marx, Marxism, Sociology Pages: 3 (432 words) Published: January 6, 2015


Student’s Name: Nadine Abdallah ID: 71330150

Course: Introduction to Sociology Code: SSCI200

Instructor’s Name: Dr. Jamal Quadoura

Topic: Karl Marx Theory of Religion

Karl Marx
“Religion is the sigh of the exploited creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”

Marx’s theory states that religion was created to help control the non-superior class. Karl Marx viewed religion as a social control used by the bourgeoisie to keep the proletariat to maintain the status quo in a given society. Example: Many types of people, whether they are Catholic, Muslim, or Jewish, are expected to follow their family’s religion as a social norm. From Marxist perspective, these expectations become part of religion’s ability to control society and maintain the status quo.

Religion as Ideology
For Marx, ideology is a belief system that changes people’s perception of reality in ways that serve the interests of the ruling class. In Marx’s view, religion operates as an ideological weapon used by the ruling class to justify the suffering of the poor as something expected and God-given. Religion misleads the poor into believing that their suffering is good and that they will be favoured in the afterlife. Such beliefs create a false consciousness.

Religion and Alienation
Alienation involves becoming separated from or loosing control over something that one has produced or created. Alienation exists in all classes, but is more extreme under capitalism. Under capitalism workers are alienated because they do not own what they produce and have no control over the production process. Thus, Marx sees religion as the product of alienation. It arises out of suffering and acts as a support for it, but fails to deal with its cause it is namely class exploitation. Religion acts as an ideology that justifies both the suffering of the poor and the power...
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