Marxist theories of religion

View mindmap
  • Marxism
    • Marxists see all societies as divided into two classes, one of which exploits the labour of the other.
      • The capitalist class own the means of production and exploit the working class.
        • This creates class conflict.
    • For Marxist, ideology is a belief system that distorts peoples perception of reality in the interest of the ruling class.
      • The class that controls economic production also controls the production and distribution of ideas, through institutions such as religion and the media.
        • Religion operates as an ideological weapon used by the ruling class to legitimate the suffering of the poor as something inevitable and God given.
          • Religion misleads the poor into believing they will be rewarded in the afterlife.
            • Such ideas create a false consciousness - a distorted view of reality that prevents them from acting to change their situation.
          • Lenin - describes religion as a spiritual gin that confuses the working class and keeps them in their place.
    • Marx sees religion as the product of alienation - becoming separated from or losing control over something that one has produced or created.
      • Under capitalism, workers are alienated because they do not own what they produce, have no control over the production process and they work endlessly repeating the same monotonous task.
        • In these dehumanising conditions, religion is a form of consolation - it is the opium of the people.
          • Religion acts as an opiate to dull the pain of exploitation.
            • Its promises of the afterlife distract from attention from the true source of suffering.


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Religion and beliefs resources »