Marxist views of religion

Marxist views of religion

Religion in a Capitalist society only benefits the RC.
Conflict theory- focuses on the conflict of interest between the ruling class and subject class. conservative force as it prevents the SC from overthrowing the RC.

Helps the SC deal with their alienation. Expressed + exploited by RC.
Religion= 'opium of the people'- dulls the pain of oppression experienced by the SC.
Religion appears to offer hope- illusion created by RC ideology: beliefs that distort the true nature of reality to benefit RC. Leaves SC with a false class consciousness.

Religion supports RC. events are controlled by supernatural powers- little people can do. Supports existing social order by implying monarchs have a Divine right to rule- to challenge monarchs you're challenging God. Also promises an afterlife if SC accept their suffering. Religion is a conservative force-encourage the SC to accept their situation and not challenge RC.

Ideal society- Communist society. Religion wouldn't be needed as everyone would equal=no oppression, alienation or exploitation. Religion would eventually die out.

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Evaluation on Marxism and neo-marxism

:( ignores positive functions of religion (functionalism)
:( ignores secularisation- why would people be bothered about an afterlife?
:( religious diversity may make it difficult for false class consciousness.
Religion remained in many communist societies- Poland.

Neo-marxist views of religion
Marxist views are too deterministic- overlook the social change religion can bring for SC.
Radical force that can lead to social change.
religion could maintain the hegemony of RC. Hegemony- dominant set of beliefs+values held by the RC. Hegemony- never complete. 1) RC are the minority. 2) SC have a dual consciousness- aware of their exploitation but also their own experiences of exploitation.To overthrow the RC the SC need to produce their own intellectuals- make the SC aware of their exploitation+oppression. Religion can provide these.

Maduro- Liberation theology. Religion can produce the intellectuals needed for the SC. Liberation theology focuses mainly on the actions of individual Roman Catholic priests in Latin America (topic 4)

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