Marxist theories of religion

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Marx saw religion purely as a feature of..
...class-divided, capitalist society.
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Therefore, he believed that, in a classless society...
..there would be no need for it and it would disappear.
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How does Marx define 'ideology?'
As a belief system that distorts people's perception of reality in ways that serve the interests of the ruling class.
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He argues that, as well as the ruling class controlling the economic production..
...they also control the production and distribution of ideas in society.
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Name examples of institutions that they do this through :
Church /education system/ the media.
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In Marx's view, religion works as an ideological weapon to justify..
..the suffering of the poor as something that is inevitable/God-given.
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For example: according to Christianity, it is easier for a camel to...
...pass through the eye of a needle that it is for a rich man to enter heaven.
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What do these ideas create for the poor/working class?
A false consciousness.
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What is a 'false consciousness?'
A distorted view of reality that prevents the poor from acting to change their situation.
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What doe Lenin call religion?
'Spiritual gin.'
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Why?
Religion, like gin, confuses people and fails to allow them to stay in touch with reality.
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How does religion legitimate the rule of the dominant class?
Makes their position appear to be divinely ordained.
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For example: Explain the 16th century idea of the Divine Right of Kings:
This is the belief that the king is the presentative of God on earth and is owed total obedience. Disobedience is not just illegal but a sinful challenge to God's authority.
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What did Marx see religion as the product of?
Alienation.
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Define alienation:
Becoming seperated from or losing control over something that one has produced or created.
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Alienation exists in all classless societies but is more extreme under...
...capitalism.
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Under Capitalism, workers are alienating because...
...they do not own what they produce and have no control over the production process.
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This meansn that they have no freedom to...
...express their true nature as creative beings.
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Alienation increases further with the detailed...
...division of labour in the capitalist factory.
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The factory worker will endessly repeat the same minute task, devoid of all...
...meaning or skill.
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In these dehumanising conditions, the worker turns to religion as a form of...
...consolation.
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Just as opium masks pain rather than treating its cause...
...religion masks the problem of exploitation that creates a need for it.
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Due to the fact that religion is a distorted view of the world, it can offer no...
....solution to earthly misery.
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Instead, religion's promise of the afterlife creates an illusory...
...happiness that distracts attention from the true source of suffering (capitalism).
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Card 2

Front

Therefore, he believed that, in a classless society...

Back

..there would be no need for it and it would disappear.

Card 3

Front

How does Marx define 'ideology?'

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

He argues that, as well as the ruling class controlling the economic production..

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Name examples of institutions that they do this through :

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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