marxism, religion and change

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  • Created by: Gemma
  • Created on: 20-03-12 13:20

Marxists recognise that ideas, including religious ideas, can have relative autonomy (they can be partly independent of the capitalist economic base of society). Therefore, religion can have a dual character, sometimes being a force for change as well as stability

Ernst Bloch: the principle of hope

  • The Marxists, Ernst Bloch (1959), see religion as having a dual character. He accepts that religion often inhibits change, but argues that it can also inspire protest and rebellion. 
  • Religion is an expression of 'the principle of hope' - our dreams of a better life, containing images of utopia. Images of utopia can sometimes decieve people - eg promises of rewards in heaven, but they may also help people to create a vision of a better world and strive for social change. 

Liberation Theology (LT)

  • For many years, the Catholic church in Latin America has encourage acceptance of poverty and supporting wealthy elites
  • LT is a movement that emerged within the Catholic Church in 1960s with a strong commitment to the poor and opposition to the military dictatorships that then ruled most of the continent
  • It emerged because of the growth of rural poverty and slums throughout Latin America, and human rights abuses following military takeovers
  • It emphasises praxis (practical action guided by theory, eg priests leading literacy programmes and raising political awareness. Some priests actively resisted state terror. 
  • In the 1980s the…


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