The heart of a heartless world

In Polytricks on August 3, 2012 at 8:48 am

Marx has been roundly criticized for his statement “Religion is the opiate of the masses”. The full quote points to a more nuanced critique (and understanding) of religion.

Marx first said.. ‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.’ 

Sounds a bit different doesn’t it? Following that sentence he says.. ‘The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.’

To me Marx is saying that religion is used by the oppressor to sugar-coat the oppression of the masses. But he is also saying that while it is a crucial balm, it cannot heal the disease of oppression. I like his statement.. ‘a call on them to give up the conditions that requires illusions’. Remember Marx was talking specifically about Christianity.. probably about the well-known collaboration of the Catholic Church in supporting tyrants. And don’t even get me started on the Protestant Work Ethic!.. (that is for another post!.. ha..ha.. )

Karl Marx


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