Posted at 10.05.2018
"Faith is the opium of the folks". Critically examine this Marxian view of religious beliefs and say to what religions your conclusions apply. "Religion is the opium of folks" - Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel's School of thought of Right, 1844
The construct of two uniquely different terms used together often increases the "eyes" of folks who focus on strategies to affect the thinking and activities of many persons. In cases like this, religion signifies those persons around the globe who hold highly held beliefs. Opium, conversely, often symbolizes an addictive material that shifts the ability of individuals to maintain control of their own faculties, skills, or actions. Each term provides numerous images in the thoughts of individuals who "value" either faith or the utilization of substances. In this case, however, the conditions are being used in a statement of emphasis that demands that one see the critical route that Karl Marx was approaching in 1844.
According to Oxford Dictionaries (2009), Religious beliefs is the "belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling electric power, especially a personal God or gods". Opium is a "reddish -brown heavy-scented addictive drug prepared from the juice of the opium poppy, used illicitly as a narcotic and sometimes in medicine as an analgesic". The opium of individuals is "a thought and action-reaction regarded as inducing a wrong and unrealistic sense of contentment among people". In this case, it is Religious beliefs, relating to Marx. History reports that the majority of people believe that Marx criticizes faith as being a comfort for the masses, in the manner that it creates an illusory dream to the indegent, assuring them that even if they're moving into misery in this life, they will find true happiness in the afterlife, thus only masking the condition and not handling it. However, based on the unexpected change in the 19th century (period in which Marx resided) of how opium is perceived, the price can be assessed in two ways; favorably and negatively. This makes it interesting for us to analyze it since background plays a major part on how it ought to be understood.
Since prehistoric times, opium has been used worldwide. From Egypt to China, it was respectable and used for most things, such concerning relieve pain, to bring courage and strength to soldiers, to reach a sense of ecstasy or even to speak to the divine. These techniques continued and spread, until the 19th century, when its negative effects were being discovered. At this point, opium was found to be addictive, sometimes lethal and experienced began to be governed. The impact and harm that was done through the use of opium brought on societies to consider changing the perspective held on the use of the medication. Eventually, the use of opium became unlawful because its damage was significant to the participants of every population where it was used. Parenthetically, it was and sometimes still is being used for medical experiments and pain-reduction, delusional procedures to this day and remains the most effective pain-killer. However, regardless of the illegalization of opium and its own derivatives, it was and is still being employed by a wide variety of people in every parts of the planet, most commonly in the form of heroin, to be able to achieve a feeling of pleasure and also to escape from certainty.
In the 19th century, opium was accountable for two wars that took place between the UK and China. The "Opium Wars" happened because China illegalized the drug though the UK continued to traffic it in China, through India.
After having had a synopsis on the annals of opium, we can now deduce the several possible meanings that Marx conveys in his quote.
In a first perspective, Marx could imply that "religion is the opium of the people" in a confident manner. This being the case, Marx recommended that opium provides comfort and comfort. Since Marx was a large supporter of the proletarian movements, which in his time was working in unpleasant conditions and leading unpleasant lives in towns, Marx may have insinuated that religion's purpose was to create illusory fantasies for the poor as opium have for drug abusers and addicts. Economical realities often prevented the poor also to a large extent, even the aristocrats, from finding true happiness in this life; so religion tells them that is Fine because by using a opinion in God, through acknowledging the energy and expert of God; through dying and heading to heaven, one will see true happiness in the next life. Additionally, religious beliefs might bring comfort to the people in crisis, for example during times of war, when people would pray for God to protect them, or following the death of a loved one, pondering this person would go to heaven and be at serenity.
Another discussion would be that religious beliefs and opium give courage to people. Christians and Muslims believe God Allah is always with them, guarding them and caring them, that could boost their self confidence and make them feel they can do anything with "God on their side". Lastly, religion can give, for a lot of, a purpose to life - predicated on the principles and tenets of God suggesting that God has a plan for each individual. Moreover, it clarifies all that science is unable to explain, including the creation of the People. Effectually, what is not scientific is established by faith -- often unchallengeable in the sight of logical thought. To conclude, Marx could be saying by his offer that individuals are in distress and religion provides solace, just like folks who are physically harmed receive rest from opiate-based drugs.
On the other hand, Marx could very well be criticizing religion. To begin with, opiates do not fix a physical injury, they merely make you ignore pain for a restricted time; this is a good thing only if you work on solving the actual root base of the pain. Equivalently, faith doesn't fix people's pain, it simply conceals their reasons of fighting and causes those to look forward to an illusory future when the pain will stop, instead of focusing on changing their present condition. Quite simply, Religion as opium creates an imaginary world that helps prevent people from being accountable for their own lives and their own futures given that they believe their course is followed and controlled by way of a certain "God". They are thus led to let things happen rather than be accountable for the situation in which they are. In addition, religion is employed as a control system that gives power and specialist of some within the public. The desire to create a collective unconscious that diminishes the power of man to an acquiescing to the energy and power of an increased ability - often unseen and unknown. Because of the unknown mother nature -there is a concern that the higher power is infinite; man is finite, and for the reason that finite nature, man can never be in control of his own future. Thus, man must acquiesce to the power of the higher authority, and its own emissary on the planet - the Chapel. However, the cathedral is the task of man and will be flawed. For instance, regarding Christianity, Jesus advocated supporting the poor, however the Christian chapel merged with the oppressive Roman talk about, taking part in the enslavement of individuals for centuries. Within the Middle-Ages the Catholic Chapel preached about heaven, but attained as much property and electric power as you can.
Finally, religion, just like opium, is a reason behind war. Opium caused the two wars between your United Kingdom and China in the 19th century. Similarly, religion caused the the crusades, a warfare between Christians and Muslims that lasted practically two centuries. This may be one of why Marx associated the word opium with religious beliefs.
The price "Religion is the opium of the individuals" can connect with the two major religions: Christianity and Islam. Both religions have confidence in one God, and both believe in a final wisdom, where a person is judged relating to their activities on earth, and then delivered to either Heaven, host to enjoyment and bliss where they'll be happy, either in Hell where they'll spend a long time of misery. On the other hand, other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation of the soul, which means the person might or might not be happy in his new life, which excludes Marx's theory of faith being a comfort to the people.