Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes

One of the most famous quotes that people take from the German philosopher, and economist Karl Marx, is:

“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes” – Karl Marx

Translated into English this means:

“Religion … is the opiate of the people” – Karl Marx

The phrase was taken from two works of Marx, firstly ‘Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie | Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right), and secondly ‘Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher | German–French Annals‘ which was a journal he published with Arnold Ruge.

The full wording is as follows:

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” – Karl Marx

Sigmund Freud’s view of religion isn’t too different to Marx’s, but with Freud being a neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, he looked at it from a mental psychology view point:

“Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.” – Sigmund Freud

As you can see, Freud compares religion to the ignorant childhood days. In other words, religion is for people who know no better, and the following quote summarises religious belief perfectly:

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud

The psychology of religion is a strange concept, and it’s literally about people passing their responsibly away, and putting God’s will in its place. Due to God taking responsibility, humans who have faith have sacrificed their freedom for indoctrination and control:

“Immorality, no less than morality, has at all times found support in religion” – Sigmund Freud

From a theistic perspective, something morally good happens, then theists praise and thank their loving God; whichever one their parents decided to brainwash them with, and something immoral happens, then they have the most perfect scapegoat – ‘Satan’.

Theists believe that God gave free will, but if they are doing something that’s considered righteous they thank God, but if someone does something against God, or the words of the Bible then they are consumed and controlled by Satan. This takes away responsibility for people’s actions. How fucking convenient.

Religion accounts for approximately 85% of the world’s population which still leaves over a billion non-believers. Can 17/20 of the world’s population be wrong? Of course they can, and you have to give accountability to the people that created every religion. Religion is about controlling the masses.

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Whilst this does seem quite accurate, I think there’s more to it than that. Religion is an answer for what some humans can’t explain, and rather than just admitting that not everything is known, and not everything can be answered, theists just claim:

‘God did it!’

When asked how they could possibly know this, you’re told that the ‘Bible, Qur’an or Torah’ is God’s word, and God doesn’t lie. What hope have you got attempting to reason with that mindset?

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