The Marxist Use And Role Of Religion In Modern Society

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Religion has long been a key institution within society however, over the years it is clearly becoming one of the least significant institutions. A look into religion through the Marxist perspective offers the most relevant insight of the true use and role of religion in modern society. Karl Marx, the founder of Marxism, constructed several controversial theories on religion and the role it plays in modern society. The main view of a Marxist is the oppression of the bourgeoisie and lower classes; it had been theorised by Marx that religion is used as a means of oppression. Religion is used by oppressors to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being poor and exploited. (Marx) Religion is not only used as a tool…show more content…
The industrial revolution was a highly significant time of change in the late 1800’s; the demand for more labour and the resentment towards the upper class had drastically increased. "The animal machine - breakable in the best cases, subject to a thousand sources of suffering - is chained fast to the iron machine which knows no suffering and no weariness." (Quoted in Hammond 1926: 208) Of course people did not like this one bit; this is where religion comes in. According to Miller, the "chapel" produced religious and political forces which mitigated the worst effects of industrialism. (Mackenzie, 1997) In other words the religious members in society had taken on the view that this is the path god had chosen for them, and that their acceptance of this lifestyle will receive rewards in heaven. The role of religion during the industrial revolution is highly significant; this is primarily because the revolution had been one of the largest changes the world had seen. A Marxist would see the act of approaching religion at a time of need as being similar and yielding similar results to taking opium. Smoking opium will lead to a euphoric state that then quickly turns to a sleepy, sedated state for the user (Opium.org, 2015). The happiness and excitement received after…show more content…
Through the use of religion as an oppressor, the theory of religion serving as opium for the masses has arisen. Marx also critiques the hypocrisy of the Christian church in terms of abandoning morals written in the bible, in many cases the ignorance of the church has resulted in the further oppression of the lower societal classes. These several theories resulted in Karl Marx’s claim that religion will soon be extinct; his accuracy throughout his statements provides evidence that the view of a Marxist is the most applicable when investigating the exploiting role of

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