Evaluate the Marxist Perspective of Religion

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Evaluate the Marxist perspective of religion Marxists are a group of sociologists that believe “religion is the opium of the people”, therefore it acts as a drug to dull the pain of oppression for the working class and makes life seem more bearable. However, sociologists have long been divided on the function of religion, so Marxists can be criticised in a number of ways. Marxists argue that religion benefits the ruling class in a number of ways. Firstly, it promises life after death which makes our suffering in this life more acceptable. Secondly, it makes social inequality seem fair and just, justifying social hierarchy. For example, the monarchy used the notion of “divine right”. To challenge the monarch was seen as an act of treason but also as a blasphemous rejection of God. Furthermore, religion prevents social change and maintains capitalism. Therefore, religion is a conservative force. For example, religion prevents a false class conscience which prevents the working class from realising their true potential and keeps them oppressed. As a result, religion prevents a true class conscience where the working class realise they are being exploited. Moreover, religion acts a form of “compensation” for the working class as the belief in God and heaven offers the working class compensation for the misery the experience through capitalism. Marxists argue that religion promises us happiness, but this is an illusion hiding the truth; true happiness can only be found in a revolution. Finally, early capitalists used religion as a means of keeping their workers sober and willing to work. However, Marxism can be criticised as religion is no longer used to justify the status of powerful leaders, for example PMs and Monarchs. Also, Marxism ignores secularisation and it can be argued that religion is not a conservative force as it can cause social change. A
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