Religion Conflict

Subject: Famous Person
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 389
Topics: Karl Marx, Capitalism, Ethics, Marxism

Karl Marx (1970) famous phrase “Religion is the Opiate of the Masses” indicates the religion as well as the Marxist perspective of religion. According to him religion only serves the interest of the elite or bourgeoisie through pacifying the proletariat who were oppressed. Therefore religion is seen as encouraging the underprivileged persons in the society to accept their social conditions through provision of hope for better life. 

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Marx, therefore, described religion as “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition” (Marx, 1970). His perspective on conflict is different from mainstream ideologies (Durkheim, 1965) because he believed that believers adhering to particular religious ideas could create a considerable social change. Marx focused on the protestant ethic attributes of the Christianity period of reformation. This ethic which is faith based advocated for a lifestyle committed to hard work as well as frugal living which was considered a sign of commitment to God (Marx, 1970).  

This Protestant ethic is characteristic of the religious values which are related to reformation theology. It is also influenced by the Calvinistic theological tenet concerning predestination. This perspective asserts that every human’s eternal fate is predetermined by God before birth. Some are elected for eternal glory while others are destined for eternal condemned, and a person is not able to know their fate before time (Weber, 1930).  

The uncertainty which is connected with the doctrine of predestination when joint with the Protestant ethic creates the socioeconomic conditions which are essential for the development of modern capitalism. The dedication to hard work as well as economical lifestyle leads to the wealth accumulation. This showed a sign of blessing from God for the elect and further accumulation of wealth and reinvestment is viewed as an assurance of salvation. On the other hand, the condition of the poor was seen as a sign of condemnation. Though Weber and Marx give dissimilar views of religion from the conflict perspective, they both assert that religion is used to justify and/or support inequality in the society.

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  1. Durkheim, E. (1965). The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Free Press
  2. Marx, K. (1970). Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Weber, M. (1930). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Routledge.
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