Marxist Theory of Religion

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  • Marxist Theories of Religion
    • Religion as an IDEOLOGY
      • Religion serves to reflect the ruling class ideas and interests.
      • Legitimate the power & privileged of the dominant class by making their position appear to be divinely ordinary.
      • Disobedience - illegal + sinful challenge to God's authority.
      • Lenin - describes religion as "SPIRITUAL GIN" which confuses the W/C & keeps them in place.
        • Manipulates them from attempting to overthrow capitalism by creating a "mystical fog" that obscures reality.
      • Creates FALSE Consciousness - distorts view of reality which prevents the poor from changing their situation.
      • Controls economic production and distribution of ideas through institutions such as religion and media.
    • Religion & ALIENATION
      • Fellerbach saw the characteristics of God as nothing & the characteristics of man are projected beyond man into fatalism realm whom are thought to lead an independent existance.
      • ENGLES said that religion is nothing but the fatalistic reflection in men's mind of those external forces which control their daily life.
      • Marx sees religion as a product of alienation. (being seperated from or loosing control over something that one has produced or created.)
      • The nature of work in a capitalisy society cuts the worker off from themselves, others, their work and what they produce.
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    • CRITISISMS
      • Ignores positive functions of religion such as psychological adjustment to misfortune.
      • Some Marxists like Aluthesser reject the concept of alienation as unscientific. Makes the concept as inadequate basis of theory of religion
      • Ideological manipulation can only explain why it takes certain emphasis and interpretations.
        • It is not a comprehensive analysis of religion.
    • Aluthesser stated that religion is an ideological state apparatus which spreads hegemony.

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