Marxism: Religion and change: Introduction

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  • Marxism, Religion and Change: Introduction
    • Marxists are normally seen as viewing religion as an entirely conservative ideology (A set of ruling class ideas that are shaped by and legitimate the class inequalities in society's economic base), although this is isn't always the case.
    • Marxists recognise that religion can have "relative autonomy" (They can be partly independent of the economic base of society.)
    • Religion has a "dual character," that can sometimes be a force for change as well as stability.
      • Engels: Religion inhibits change by disguising inequality, it can also challenge the status quo and encourage social change.
        • For example: Religion sometimes preaches liberation from slavery and misery. However, senior clergy usually supported the status quo.
    • Marx did not see religion in a completely negative way.
      • Described it as "the heart of a heartless world."
      • Saw religion as capable of humanising a world made inhuman by exploitation, even if the comfort that it offers was an illusion.

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