Defining Religion Essay

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Defining Religion "Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves round man as long as he does not revolve round himself". Karl Marx.

Before we can look at the Marxist theory of religion we must first have some understanding of what religion is. For many in todays world religion is becoming something alien, only 3% of the population of Britain attend Church! Religion is, however, much more than simple Church attendance, something that has never been high amongst the British working-class. Religion for me involves two things: beliefs and practices, or, rituals. Roland Robertson defines religion in the
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How do you object? The only thing to do is not to go to the ritual. Imagine getting up in the middle of one of the Ministers prayers and stating your objections, you would either be ignored or thrown from the place of worship. Rituals are sacred, not to be interrupted or questioned.

What I'm concerned with here is less the ritual aspect of religion as the beliefs that form religions and the religious hierarchies that hold a measure of power, in some societies more than others, vis-à-vis the State and civil society in general.

What did Marx and Engels think of religion?

Marx had as much time for religion as the religious had for Marxism. For Marx religion is an illusion, a creation of humanity. God did not create humanity: humanity creates its Gods. The phenomenon of religion is part of what Marx refers to as alienation. Alienation is a situation in which the creations of humanity appear alien, that is, we do not recognise our own hand in their creation and assign to them powers that only we ourselves possess or could possess if only we did not assign them to superhuman beings that do not exist.

Marx was very much influenced by the work of philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. According to Feuerbach God was merely a projection of humanity's attributes, desires and potentialities. Once men

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