Marxist Thoughts and Its Application to Society Essay example

Marxist thought and its application to society has shone much light on Man’s understanding of the role of religion within his society. The roots of Marxism finds its birth from the writings of Karl Marx (1818-83) and Fredrick Engels (1820-95). The publication and writings of Marx and Engels are “highly influential both on the political and theoretical understanding of society and the role of religion within society” (Kunin, 2003: 3). It is important to first underline (briefly and simply) Marx’s main theories which he used to critique religion as a product of Man. Marx (ultimately) did not see religion as central to Man’s oppression, but as a symptom of a cause which was much more detrimental, creating and feeding his alienation instead of advancing his journey to true happiness because of illusory factors that Man himself created;To abolish religion as the illusory happiness of the people is to demand their real happiness. The demand to give up illusions about the existing state of affairs is the demand to give up a state of affairs that needs illusions (MECW, 1975 (3): 175).The relationships between Man’s society and the institutions within it (such as religion, science and law) are described and perpetuated in Marx’s ‘Structure (or infrastructure) and Superstructure’ model. Marx places responsibility for the continued oppression of Mankind on the structure that underlies modern Capitalist societies namely, economy. All other elements of Man’s society to include institutions mentioned above are born out of, and made up by, the economic structure of society. Marx’s contribution to the study of religion highlights the negative aspects and means of Man’s self creation of religion, as an illusionary oppression, “the abolition of…

…otal happiness. Marx gave us a way of expressing more than just a negative attack on religion by trying to show humanity that taking control of your means of existence and moving away from the illusory word Man creates in order to cope with all the negative aspects modern capitalist societies place on the Proletarian Man. Marx’s connection of religion to economy is integral to the importance of his rhetoric, religion is not the cause but a symptom, which in turn reflects the oppressive state of the society. Marx’s distinctions on class and how the powerful (or Capitalist) can dictate the society through institutional mediums such as religion is also very important to how (after Marxism) the debate of Religion can be approached. How important he was to the debate of religion is exemplified in the amount theorising, criticism and sheer renown Marx still holds today.

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