Marxism and Religion


Althussers view on religion

Althusser says the ruling class suppress the working class through the repressive and ideological state apparatus, religion is created and promoted by the ruling class in order to pass on their dominant ideology to the working class as well as providing the working class with false class conciousness.

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what is the repressive state apparatus?

physical control through strucutres such as the police and judicial system, these control the working class through threats and punishments of custodial sentences, fines, asbos curfews and other physical means.

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what is the ideological state apparatus?

these structures control the way the qworking class think and therefore behave in order to prevent deviant and or criminal behaviour eg the education system, the family the media and religion

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what does religion teach us about work?

it is work nothing that in chrisitan teachings jesus had a day job, even if you are a great person you still need to give back, god made you the working class for a reason.

ruling class dominant ideology essentially suggests that work is normal and that everybody has to work its a nautral part of life

marx points out that passing on this dominant ideology to the working class is only half the job complete, it is up to the ruling class to make the working class feel like they are the ones who ultimatly benefit from working, the ruling class must also create false class conciousness amongst the working class.

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how does religion help to create false class conci

marx says religion is the opium of the people, a spiritual gin that dulls the pains of oppression, religion eases the suffering of alienation.

1. religion acts as an eventual escape from suffering and oppression in this life with promises of a perfect life after death in heaven.

2. religion offers hope of super natural intervention to solve problems on eart.

3. religion provides an explanation and justification for inequality

in marxism religion is an instrument of the ruling class, used to justify class inequality and control the working class.

religion helps maintain the unequal class structure and as such keeps socieites structures balanced (unevenly), religion ensures that the working class work, that they do not complain about it.

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