Karl Marx on criticism of religion
Karl Marx Wrote:The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. 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.

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. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.

It is, therefore, the task of history, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world. It is the immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked. Thus, the criticism of Heaven turns into the criticism of Earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law, and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics.


I essentially agree with the sentiment expressed by Marx in the above passage from his A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Criticism of religion should not be the end all of all criticism, but should extend towards the criticism of this existing world itself. Religion basically posits the existence of some worlds external to our own without providing any evidence for them, but in the development of these religions, the basic driving force behind the creators of these religions was to find a way to basically "escape" from the miseries of this real world. As Marx suggests, the way to get around this relgious creation of mythical worlds and esoteric mystical doctrines of religion is to ruthlessly criticise it. However, as he suggests, this criticism should not stop at this point, but should extend into a general criticism of this real existing world as well.

Any thoughts on this?
Great quote and great explanation. Criticism of religion is what we're doing anyhow.

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  A documentary on the relation between religion, terrorists and financial organization fall13vox 2 6,878 17-Nov-2012, 11:21 PM
Last Post: fall13vox
  How can religion be made to finally disappear? madhav 8 12,458 12-Jul-2012, 06:48 PM
Last Post: nick87
  Freethought, Atheism and Religion discussion from Delhi Freethinkers fb group Ajita Kamal 1 8,101 21-Apr-2011, 07:52 AM
Last Post: Ajita Kamal

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)