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The Marxist View of Religion

            Since the beginning of time, many have sought to explain the nature of religion, religious beliefs and the reasons religions exist in the first place. There have been many theories as well as theorists who have tried to offer their insights on the nature of religion and why it continues to evolve through human existence. One popular German theorist who has expressed his thoughts is Karl Marx. According to Marx, "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." Religion is an illusion whose chief purpose is that of providing reasons and excuses to keep society functioning just as it is. Hence, the poor becomes misguided and economic realities prevent them from finding true happiness, and so they become taken with the fantasy that religion is the opiate that dulls the pain produced by oppression. Upon being injured one receives relief from opiate-based drugs, similarly, when people are in distress religion gives solace. Lenin (1970) concurs by stating that "Religion is a kind of spiritual gin in which the slaves of capital drown their human shape and their claims to any decent life." Subsequently, it takes our highest ideals and aspirations and alienates us from them.
             From the Marxist perspective, most of the religious movements in the world originated from oppression endured by classes. This oppression results in the growth of new religions. One such religion that is said to be formed by this is Christianity as it first appeared as the religion of slaves and emancipated slaves, of poor people deprived of all rights or people's dispersed by Rome. Marxist's theory states that religion can dull the pain of oppression by helping to prevent societal uproar as religion seeks to offer men and women the consolation of a life after death. From the beginning of human existence, man has resisted the idea of one-day ceasing to exist and entering the realm of nothingness.

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