Religion in Europe During the Life of Karl Marx

analytical Essay
1498 words
1498 words

Religion in Europe During the Life of Karl Marx

Religion as an institution has evolved throughout human history. When it began during the primitive stages of human existence, religion was concerned with society rather than the individual. Its role was to better society as a whole. At a later time religion began to take a greater interest in the individual, changing its role as a social institution.[1] This change in the role of religion led to the institution as a whole supporting personal growth and success, including wealth. In the Manifesto of the Communist Party, the authors denounce the separation of classes and the upper class in general, saying, “Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie”.[2] As a result, the authors also denounced religion because by supporting wealth and encouraging capitalism it served to promote the upper class.

Marx and other Communists felt that the evolution of religion throughout history was spurred on by changing economic and social conditions.[3] These two factors are very similar, and a change in one usually leads to a change in the other. At the time that Marx and Engels were formulating their ideas concerning Communism, radical changes were sweeping across the better part of Europe. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing with new inventions and industries growing rapidly. The demand for products increased dramatically and the entire lifestyle of many Europeans, especially the English, changed.

The Revolution led people away from the rural farm life to the mass production of the urban scene. Workers were needed in booming industries such as cotton, iron production, and coal mining. As a result, people flocked to the cities to meet the need. These industries were controlled by the bourgeoisie, the wealthy upper class. They wanted to take advantage of the new technology and the intense demand for new products, which translated into money. These owners sent the poor farmers straight to work, and exploited them from the start. The workers received low pay and worked long hours in extremely unfavorable, and even dangerous, conditions.[4] This continued and the bourgeoisie prospered at the expense of the oppressed proletariat. Once the Industrial Revolution started it became rather efficient.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that marx felt that social changes, along with changes in the economy, resulted in change in religion as an institution. the bourgeoisie recognized it as a tool through which they could maintain their authority.
  • Analyzes how the church supported the class system that marx detested. the bourgeoisie's money helped the church build bigger places of worship and update its facilities and programs.
  • Analyzes how marx's religion was influenced by the industrial revolution, which led to a clash between the working class and the bourgeoisie.
  • Explains that bociurkiw, bohdan r., and strong, john w. religion and atheism in the u.s.
  • Cites salisbury, joyce, and sherman, dennis. the west in the world.
  • Describes dennis sherman and joyce salisbury's the west in the world.
  • Cites bohdan r. bociurkiw and john w. strong, religion and atheism in the u.s.
  • Analyzes how religion evolved throughout human history. it was concerned with society rather than the individual, and supported personal growth and success.
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