Marxist Analysis of Religion

1899 WordsJun 20, 20188 Pages
Karl Marx is fundamentally important within sociology. He is considered to be one of the key thinkers of sociological thought. Despite his death in 1883, Marxist analysis still has considerable significance and credibility within the study of society. His basic assumptions are still widely used and referred to, even in the understanding of modern phenomenon. Despite his large body of work, Marx actually wrote very little about religion. However, within some of his publications he provided the basis of his sociological analysis and interpretation of religion within society. Both Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (1954/1844) and Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 are fundamentally important for understanding…show more content…
Marx see's religious beliefs as a form of ideology that serves to prevent any revolutionary consciousness and increases levels of false consciousness In reflection of his Materialist views, he does not see God as creating man, but rather man creates God through human consciousness. Marx is a materialist historian In application to the study of religion, Marx is interested in the origins of religious ideology philosophical materialism Karl Marx was influenced by German Philosophy in terms of his views on Religion. One such philosopher is Ludwig Feuerbach. Within Feuerbach's publication entitled Essence of Christianity (1841) it explains how he believed that religion was derived from human consciousness Within Capital (1867) Marx first discusses the origins of religion. "within early stages of human devolpment, religion was the result of primitive man's helplessness in the face of natural forces. In bourgeois society, which is based on the production of commodites, Protestant Christianity and its individualism is the most appropriate form of religion. Marx concludes the religious world is but the reflex of the real world" (marx 1983:83) For Marx, religion serves the interests of the ruling class and elite within society. Religious belief is shaped according to the interests of the ruling classes. Furthermore, it allows from the 'legitimate power for the dominated class". In Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Marx argues that
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