Marxist Theores


Karl Marx (Traditional Functionalist):

  • Believed that religion merely functioned to directly serve the needs of the ruling class by providing a justification for the inherent inequalities of capitalism.
  • Argued that it was a state institution that was specifically designedto create and maintain false class-consciousness (the masses do not realise they have one common enemy, the bourgeoisie, and instead splinter into small factions all fightingwith eachother) amongst the proletariat and, therefore, it only benifits the ruling classes.
  • He claimed that Christianity was the opiate of the people in that masses were taught to believe that their suffering in this world would be rewarded by a wonderful afterlife.
  • Therefore, workers accepted the inequalities associated with the capitalist system on this basis.
  • Religion is a vehicle of social control.
  • Religion functions to maintain the status quo.
  • It is a conservative force as opposed to a revolutionary force i.e. helping to perpetuate the capitalist system.

Antonio Gramsci (Neo-Marxist):

  • Claimed that the Catholic Church had its own set of hegemonic values that…


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