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Is God the opiate of the masses?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by tucker58, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. tucker58

    tucker58 Jesus is Lord

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    Is God the opiate of the masses?

    Some folks say that He is and some folks say that He is not.

    Who do you personally sort that question out?

    love,

    tuck
     
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  2. Tenka

    Tenka Guest

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    nah, just a placebo.
    what?
     
  3. Gishin

    Gishin Well-Known Member

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    I think it makes people feel better about things outside their control, that ended up getting twisted into a means or ruling over people once it was organized.
     
  4. Gracchus

    Gracchus Senior Veteran

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    "Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. 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. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo"

    --- Marx, K. 1976. Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Collected Works, v. 3. New York.

    :wave:
     
  5. AlexBP

    AlexBP Newbie

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    Personally, the claim makes no sense to me at all. First of all, God is not exclusively 'of the masses' (i.e. the working poor). It's obvious why some people would want to make this claim, so that they could tie it together with the stereotype that poor people are stupid and suggest that stupidity corresponds to faith. But faith in God is not now, and never has been, exclusive to poor people. There have always been plentiful Christians among the middle and upper classes, and members of other religions as well.

    Second, the idea of faith as an opiate doesn't make sense either. The term 'opiate' would here be used metaphorically to suggest something that dulls feelings and sense experiences. When I converted to Christianity the exact opposite occurred. I became much more aware of the world around me and my feelings about almost everything grew more intense.
     
  6. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    Dawkins said God is the adult version of a child's imaginary friend. A caring and understanding companion and confidante. Some who provides relief from anxiety and support during times of stress.

    I'll add in that God is the answer to questions that are unanswerable.
     
  7. variant

    variant Happy Cat

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    Television is the opiate of the masses.
     
  8. Greg1234

    Greg1234 In the beginning was El

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    Dawkins says alot of things. In the end, his and his adherents' opinons are similar to that of a guest sitting at the table complaining that the host never does anything in the house, that he never buys groceries, that he is lazy, bankrupt and incompetent. The catch is that the accuser is only able to speak in between mouthfuls from a full sized banquet worked for obtained and prepared by the accusee for the 460th night in a row. To him it is justified. To everybody else it is just a rebellion. The opiate then, is that the food, the house and the table was prepared via chance.
     
  9. The Nihilist

    The Nihilist Contributor

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    Have you tried critiqueing what Marx actually says, rather than critiqueing what people tell you he said?
     
  10. marlowe007

    marlowe007 Veteran

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    Marx was just plagiarising/paraphrasing Napoleon's "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich"; a position which the latter later renounced.

    At any rate, this idea stands refuted by the world of today. Christianity is no longer the domain of the West, yet we don't see beer-drinking proles rebelling against their betters; so if anything's preventing them, it certainly ain't religion. The near-total absence of the populace besides a scattered few from angrily defending or attacking the status quo is an indicator that the masses, for reasons of their own, no longer wish to be part of any great imposed-from-without collective.
     
  11. The Nihilist

    The Nihilist Contributor

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    christians don't like Marx. We get it.

    This is likely because European governments instituted a number of the reforms that were advocated by Marxists. Revolution became unnecessary.
     
  12. maomorethanever

    maomorethanever meow

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    First off, to the guy with the Freud picture, copy pasting a bunch of quotes doesn't help further a conversation. Also, Je ne suis pas Marxiste, one of your quotes, means "I am not a Marxist." Which is completely irrelevant and is a result of your copy pasting without knowing what you were doing.

    Marx, isn't mocking God or religion as so many people like to claim. He also isn't mocking the poor, it would be incredibly ironic if he were. Marx doesn't see religion as inherently bad other than in the sense that it is part of the structure of capitalism. Also, religion doesn't necessarily mean organized religion, it would speak to more of the religious impulse that people in a capitalist society possess. Capitalism implies religious impulse. A materialist (communist) view of society would require the casting off of illusions and eliminate the necessity of opiates.

    I would also add that I think people have an unwarranted negative reaction towards the use of the word opiate. Using an opiate doesn't mean that you're an idiot or useless or insane, etc. It means that you have real pain which you're attempting to sooth. From a communist perspective and from many other perspectives, it makes perfect sense to call religion an opiate.
     
  13. Gracchus

    Gracchus Senior Veteran

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    I pasted one quote, which was what Marx had to say about religion, in one of his works. I felt it to be relevant, since the OP and thread title was an inaccurate paraphrase.

    The other quotes are part of my signature. Perhaps your sight is impaired, and you did not notice that.

    That was the whole point of my cut and paste of Marx's quote about religion. Most people take it out of context. I was attempting to put it back into the context to correct a general misapprehension.

    That is what the man was saying. I think he said it better.
    There would still be pain if we cast off illusions, because some pain is inevitable. (The first noble truth of Buddhism: Life is suffering.) But religion is a tool of statecraft, which makes the pain of injustice bearable.

    Well, then. We agree about what Marx was saying and, in general, we both agree with him.

    Perhaps you should learn to read more carefully, and not make so many unwarranted assumptions.

    :wave:
     
  14. maomorethanever

    maomorethanever meow

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    "The other quotes are part of my signature. Perhaps your sight is impaired, and you did not notice that."

    What would that have to do with my sight being impaired? If I'm able to read all of the quotes and respond wouldn't that imply that I can see perfectly fine? Could it be that I wasn't aware that those were part of your signature since your "signature" is ridiculously long and is actually just a bunch of copy-pasted quotes? Could it also be that only my first paragraph was addressed to you and what I wrote after that was as a response to this entire thread? Could it also be that copy-pasting quotes without putting it in your own words or explaining your beliefs or interpretations is something that an arrogant high school child would do? You refer to me making unwarranted assumptions, could you provide an example? :wave:
     
  15. The Nihilist

    The Nihilist Contributor

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    Don't worry, Gracchus. I still think you're cool.


    On an unrelated note, let me tell you how wonderful the ignore list can be: super wonderful.
     
  16. AlexBP

    AlexBP Newbie

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    Where's the fun in that?

    Ok, honestly, I'm pretty tenacious about reading things before I address them, and I've read a great deal of anti-religious material from Voltaire, Nietzsche, Freud, Russell, and all the rest. Reading Marx is not high on my list, however, because there's virtually no one left who takes him seriously outside a few pockets of left-wing academics. His approaches to psychology, history, economics, government, and almost everything else turned out to be flat wrong. This is evidenced by many things, but most clearly by the utter failure of those countries that tried to build a society along the lines given in his books. I may read a bit of Marx for historical interest at some point, but certainly not for any other reason.
     
  17. grasping the after wind

    grasping the after wind That's grasping after the wind

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    The question was about God not religion.
     
  18. grasping the after wind

    grasping the after wind That's grasping after the wind

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    I think celebrity worship has replaced religion as the opiate of the masses.
     
  19. Gracchus

    Gracchus Senior Veteran

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    Can you spell, "disingenuous"?

    :doh:
     
  20. grasping the after wind

    grasping the after wind That's grasping after the wind

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    Does it start with a G?
     
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