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Karl marx the opium of the people

  • The critique of religion is the prerequisite of every critique;
  • Man, who has found only his own reflection in the fantastic reality of heaven, where he sought a supernatural being, will no longer be disposed to find only the semblance of himself, only a nonhuman being, here where he seeks and must seek his true reality;
  • There it is a case of solution, here as yet a case of collision;
  • The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo;
  • The struggle against the German political present is the struggle against the past of the modern nations, and they are still burdened with reminders of that past.

Opium Den Karl Marx immanentizes the eschaton. The critique of religion is the prerequisite of every critique.

  1. The foundation of irreligious criticism is. The criticism of the German philosophy of state and right, which attained its most consistent, richest, and last formulation through Hegel, is both a critical analysis of the modern state and of the reality connected with it, and the resolute negation of the whole manner of the German consciousness in politics and right as practiced hereto, the most distinguished, most universal expression of which, raised to the level of science, is the speculative philosophy of right itself.
  2. If it believed in its own essence, would it try to hide that essence under the semblance of an alien essence and seek refuge in hypocrisy and sophism?
  3. Indeed, German history prides itself on having travelled a road which no other nation in the whole of history has ever travelled before, or ever will again. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
  4. That is why its downfall was tragic.

Man, who has found only his own reflection in the fantastic reality of heaven, where he sought a supernatural being, will no longer be disposed to find only the semblance of himself, only a nonhuman being, here where he seeks and must seek his true reality. The foundation of irreligious criticism is this: Religion is, in fact, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet gained himself or has lost himself again.

Opium of the people

But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, society. This state, this society, produce religion, which is an inverted world consciousness, because they are an inverted world.

It is the fantastic realization of the human being because the human being has attained no true reality. Thus, the struggle against religion is indirectly the struggle against that world of which religion is the spiritual aroma.

The wretchedness of religion is at once an expression of and a protest against real wretchedness. 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.

  • Criticism does not need to make things clear to itself as regards this object, for it has already settled accounts with it;
  • It is the opium of the people;
  • One imagines he would get the sense that things had not gone entirely to plan;
  • Even the negation of our present political situation is a dusty fact in the historical junk room of modern nations;
  • Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions;
  • That may well be the case, but does this mean that those religions are not illusions, or rather that they are still illusions, albeit with a different relationship to the society in which they exist?

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is a demand for their true happiness. The call to abandon illusions about their condition is the call to abandon a condition which requires illusions. Thus, the critique of religion is the critique in embryo of the vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

  • December 1843-January 1844; First published;
  • The Peasant War, the most radical fact of German history, came to grief because of theology;
  • Critical towards its counterpart, it was uncritical towards itself when, proceeding from the premises of philosophy, it either stopped at the results given by philosophy or passed off demands and results from somewhere else as immediate demands and results of philosophy — although these, provided they are justified, can be obtained only by the negation of philosophy up to the present, of philosophy as such;
  • Marx himself never intended this.

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers from the chain, not so that man shall bear the chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall cast off the chain and gather the living flower. The critique of religion disillusions man so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality as a man who has lost his illusions and regained his reason, so that he will revolve about himself as his own true sun.

Religion is only the illusory sun about which man revolves so long as he does not revolve about himself.

Still an opium? Contemporary Marxists versus Karl Marx on the question of religion

It is the task of history, therefore—once the other-world of truth has vanished—to establish the truth of this world. It is above all the task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask human self-alienation in its secular forms, once its sacred form has been unmasked.

Thus, the critique of heaven is transformed into the critique of the earth, the critique of religion into the critique of law, the critique of theology into the critique of politics.