Home > Uncategorized > Cornel West on Marx and Engels on Religion.

Cornel West on Marx and Engels on Religion.

The classical Marxist understanding of religion is more subtle than is generally acknowledged. Crude Marxist formulations of religion as the opium of the people in which the religious masses are viewed as passive and ignorant objects upon which monolithic religious institutions impose fantasies of other-worldly fulfillment reveal more about Englightenment prejudices and arrogant self-images of petty bourgeois intellectuals than the nature of religion. Contrary to such widespread crypto-Marxist myths about religion, Marx and Engels understood religion as a profound human response to, and protest against, intolerable conditions. For Marx and Engels, religion constituted alienated forms of human cultural practice under circumstances not of people’s own choosing. On this view, religion as an opium of the people is not a mere political pacification imposed from above but rather a historically circumscribed existential and experiential assertion of being (or somebodiness) by dehumanized historical agents under unexamined socioeconomic conditions.

– Cornel West. Religion and the Left

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Tyler Scott Anderson
    November 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I wish Dr. West did more work on strict philosophy.

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