Marxism and Religion

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 06-11-14 16:59
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  • Marxism and Religion
    • 'The opium of the people'
      • Religion is an illusion
        • eases the pain produces by oppression and exploitation
        • It is a series of myths that justify and legitimate the subordination of the proletariat and the domination and privilege of the bourgeoisie
        • Forms the basis of ruling class ideology and false class consciousness
      • Dulls the pain of oppression
        • Makes life more bearable and dilutes demand for change
        • 1. It promises a paradise of eternal bliss after death
          • Engles - Promise of salvation from misery in the afterlife is what makes religion appealing
          • Something to look forward to after death
        • 2. Religions make a virtue of the suffering produced by oppression
          • Virtue = Good Characteristic
          • Poverty is made tolerable as you will be rewarded in the afterlife
        • 3. Religion can offer the hope of supernatural intervention to solve problems on earth
          • Jehovah's Witnesses live in anticipation of the day heaven descends on earth
          • Prayers make you think you control your own situation a little more
    • Social Order
      • Religion justifies social order and peoples position within it
      • God creates the social order
        • Hymn 'All things bright and beautiful' says; "God made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate"
        • In this ways social arrangements are inevitable
    • Religion is an instrument of oppression
      • By making unsatisfactory lives bearable, people are discouraged from attempting to change their situation
      • Offers the illusion of hope in a hopeless situation
      • Keeps people in their place
        • Ruling class use religion to justfiy their position
      • False class conciousness
        • Definition: The state of not being aware of our true identity s exploited workers
        • Religion diverts attention from the real source of oppression
    • Evidence to support Marxism
      • Caste system
        • In India this was justifies by Hindu beliefs
      • Medieval Europe
        • Kings and Queens ruled by divine right
      • Hook (1990)
        • Pope has a traditional opinion on contraception, women preists and homosexuality
          • This causes problems in less developed countries
      • Criticisms
        • Fails to consider seculariasation
        • The power of religion is surely undermined by the fact that less than 10% attend church regularly
        • There are examples of religious movements which have brought social change and removed the ruling class
        • Oscar Romero
          • Tried to help the poor, asked American gov. not to send money to El Salvadors corrupt gov.
          • Was a Cardinal in El Salvador and campaigned for a better life for the poor
    • Neo-Marxism
      • Maduro (1982)
        • Places emphasis on the idea that religion has some independence from the bourgeoisie
        • Claims religion can be revolutionary
          • In Latin America Catholicism is supported by the bourgeoisie but recently catholic priests have demonstrated their freedom and criticized the bourgeoisie, whilst also acting against their interests


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