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Flashcards in Marxist Theory Deck (17)
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What is the Marxist theory of religion?

A conflict theory


How do Marxists view religion?

They view religion as a tool used by the BOURGEOISIE to oppress the PROLETARIAT. Marxists believe that the proletariat will one day revolt leading to a communist society with no need for religion. They largely view religion as a feature of a class divided society used to justify inequality in society.


What two factors do Marxists divide their theory into?

Religion as ideology and Religion and alienation.


What do Marxists argue about religion as an ideology?

They believe that religion distorts people’s perception of reality in the interests of the bourgeoisie, they believe that the class who own the means of production also control the media and religion.


How does Karl Marx view religion as an ideology?

He argues that religion is an ideological weapon used to legitimate the suffering of the poor, religion convinces people that their subordinate position in society is god given as they will receive rewards in the afterlife for their current struggling.


What do Marxists argue that religion as an ideology creates in society?

False conscience, a distorted view of reality that prevents the poor from acting to change their situation.


What is an evaluative point for Marx’s views?

+ Case Study

Marxism ignores positive functions of religion and some forms of religion assist rather than hinder the development of CLASS CONSCIENCE.
E.g Islam in the Arab spring


What does L........ add to the Religion as ideology points?

Lenin describes religion as a spiritual gin that confuses the working class and prevents any attempt to overthrow capitalism.


What is an application point for religion as an ideology?

The Castes system in Hinduism convinces people that their position is god given, and hence taking part in social mobility is going against god.


What do Marxists argue about Religion and alienation?

Marx also sees religion as alienating in addition to an ideology.


What does Marx argue about OOTP?

Marx also argues that under capitalism workers don’t own what they produce and are told to endlessly repeat monotonous tasks, therefore religion is the OPIUM OF THE PEOPLE which proletariat use to mask the pain of exploitation.
Marx argues that the upper class control religion to legitimate the working class subordinate position.


What do Marxists argue that the upper class do to legitimate working class positions?

They argue that having the proletariat believe in rewards in the afterlife, benefiting the middle class through reduced working class resistance.


What can be added to Marx’s OOTP theory?

Religion acts as an opiate to dull the pain of exploitation, it distracts from capitalism suffering.


Who rejects Marx’s OOTP theory?

Marxist Althusser argues that the concept of alienation is unscientific and an inadequate basis for a religious theory.


What is an evaluation point for religion as ideology?

Despite the Marxist believe that religion would become obsolete under communism, religion continues to thrive in Russia, a country that was under communism for over 7 decades suggesting that religion is more than indoctrination and controlling.


What are 9 keywords from the Marxist religious theories?

Consensus theory
Conflict theory
Opium of the people
False consciousness
Spiritual gin
Ideological State apparatus


Who are the 3 Marxist sociologists in Religion?

Karl Marx