17 27

"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."

Karl Marx 1818 -1883

People usually know the last sentence, but not the entire quote.

I'm not a Marxist, as such, but Marxian analyis has influenced me all my adult life.

David1955 8 Sep 5

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


what better way, really, to keep a "lost" person in line? Ppl are bloodthirsty, and would even sacrifice their children if they could i guess

@MissKathleen fwiw the Bible very clearly states No son of man may die for another's sins, No one has ever gone up to heaven, etc

@MissKathleen ha well if one reads it literally, prolly not
also, imo most English versions are hopelessly corrupted, "Lord" is an Englyshe title, "hell" is the invention of Norse/Angle scribes, etc

@MissKathleen but if you read it right, you can walk on water too πŸ˜‰


Karl was exactly correct.

Yeah, one of the few things he got right.

@SCal oh he got a lot right about the essence of capitalism, analysis that percolates to today. His revolutionary idealism proved wrong, but that's another issue.

@David1955 I understand why you might say such a thing. Most people incorrectly claim that the cronyism we enjoy is actually Capitalism.

@SCal the capitalism that Marx described, 19th century in his case, is the real essence of the socio-economic forces that propels it, not the theoretical free-market ideology of Adam Smith and others, which is pure theory. It's no longer the 19th century but the essential driving dynamics Marx described still apply. Beyond just crony capitalism. Capitalism's relentless globalism exploiting cheaper labor, leaving destruction behind and vanquishing in front of it, is one example.


Capitalism is the private ownership of property and the free exchange thereof. Your labor is included in that property.

Everything else you stated was pure, maniacal nonsense.

Seriously, how does the free and voluntary exchange of privately owned goods lead to any of what you just described?


Great quote!!


Appreciate you posting the whole quote.
It's one of those frequently misquoted, and misunderstood, quotes.

Marx was no different from most philosophers, He had some good ideas, and some not so good ideas. He's also been misunderstood, and had many of his philosophies twisted to
support the agendas of assholes.


I never knew the whole sentence, very good one, thank you!


Great post. This is the insight into religion that liberal atheists don't understand. Instead of trying to empathize with the oppressed who desperately turn to religion, they prefer to feel superior by casting disdain on the religious working class. (And by the latter, I don't mean privileged, US evangelical fanatics.)


The vast majority of Liberals (in the U.S.) claim that religion is very important or somewhat important in their lives.

Most disdain is directed at conservative Christianity which is impacting legislation and has been used as a political weapon.

"More than 80 percent of Republicans and right-leaning voters said religion is very important or somewhat important in their lives, according to Pew. But so do a large majority β€” more than 70 percent β€” of Democrats and left-leaning voters." []

I agree that empathy is important in understanding faith, especially due to death anxiety.

β€œDeath anxiety is the mother of all religions, which, in one way or another, attempt to temper the anguish of our finitude.”

-- Irvin Yalom

@VictoriaNotes Thanks, Victoria. I changed that to liberal atheists.

@Krish55 While it is true that the majority of atheists tend to be on the liberal spectrum, not all liberal atheists lack empathy, and not all conservative atheists empathize.

Many liberal atheists understand the power of indoctrination and death anxiety because they were once believers.

@VictoriaNotes Oh, I agree with you that conservative atheists don't empathize. But my alternative to liberalism is radical socialism. It was that perspective that enabled Marx to empathize with the indoctrinated working class


I never knew the whole quote before. It is definitely germane to the situation of believing. Thank you.


Another one, religion is the opiate of the masses

Yours is taken from the one above. It is a summary that leaves out Marx's explanation.


Religion gives people hope. The oppressed can hope for a better "life" in heaven; they can also hope that their oppressors are punished.

Theocracies, in particular, used religion as a tool because they decided who went to heaven and who did not. People toed the line or they would go to hell. If they protested, then they went to hell earlier.


Quoting Marx? How about this great Marx quote?

SCal Level 7 Sep 5, 2020

What a silly thing to say. I'm not a marxist but your interpretation of marxism is completely wrong.

Both the reference to Elon Musk and the name in the pic, Hungry Santa, suggest the quote is not fom Marx. Even the allegedly Musk's quote is wrong. Communism strips everybody (the wealthy and the poor) of their property thru a bloody revolution. After that, those in power in communist regimes have to work to keep wealth in their hands. A more precise quote would say "Gib me dat or else."


What gave it away???


Marx was a great and insightful person. Too bad Lenin and Mao misused his philosophy to accumulate power as egotistical men always do.

Totally agree. Marx was a philosopher, an economist and in part an idealist. Lenin was a political opportunist, pure and simple. Mao was a dictator who practised mass murder.


I actually not only knew the whole quote but had to read the entire Das Kapital, a required read for my MBA in Economics.

Ah, our university days. I like the young Marx, myself.

@David1955 although I also prefer Groucho's quotes!


Believe it or not I knew the whole quote, but I still prefer Groucho. 😁


The problem you face David is that many Yanks will have a knee jerk reaction to Marx, not realising that he was a working class man who had some thoughtful philosophies and that the communism they fear is nothing like he predicted or proposed. I suspect that few will have read the communist manifesto.

True. They lump Marx and communism and socialism and a whole lot more into a mess of ignorance.

The knee jerk is because many of his theories have been disproved, cough, cough, labor theory anyone?

@SCal Yes they have, the formation of the state prevented the catastrophe he predicted but that doesn't make him bad, heinous or any less insightful

No. Marx was a lazy, self-absorbed asshole that justifies the seizing of people’s private property through coercion, theft, and resentment.

The state is an outdated and archaic stopgap as well. It's time has run it's course. Most people simply don't realize it.

@Heavykevy1985 Yep. Knee jerk reaction.

@Cyklone nope. Succinct and to the truth. Only a moron and an economic dullard would want to live under Communism

@Heavykevy1985 I don't disagree with you. None of us disagree with you. Read the posts. Your failure to do that is why I say knee jerk reaction.

@Cyklone no. I have read it. Marx has a point somewhat about religion being β€œopiate of the masses” but he has no substitute for the value system being supplanted.


True, I've only heard that last sentence. The first sentence is beautiful and quite apt.


Great quote. And it is quite useful to cite it in its entirety from time to time.
Often the quote is also incorrectly reproduced: "Opium for the people" (as if it had been invented by priests to oppress the people)


Whatever, I didn't need Marx to know religion was a lie.
You don't need a validating authority to see how useless it all is.

Marx does not say that religion is a lie. It is like a cheap drug for people who have nothing else to ease their pain. Drugs may be useful or harmful, but they are not lies

@Matias Horse apples, it's all a lie. Screw Marx.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:531137
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.