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Karl Marx quotation
Religion as the opium of the people

Karl Marx
Religion is the opium of the people

One of the more frequently quoted statements of Karl Marx is Religion is the opium of the people this being a translation of the German statement "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes".
This statement appears in Karl Marx' - "A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" which appeared in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, as published in Paris on the 7 & 10 February 1844.

Many people, however, take Karl Marx' Religion is the opium of the people statement to be a plain and simple condemnation of religion but what Marx actually meant by saying about Religion and about it being the Opium of the People is somewhat more subtle than this:-

... Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. 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.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun". . .

People are inclined to be somewhat spiritual !!!
This could well mean that Religion is more than
the Opium of the People as Karl Marx would have it !!!

Human Being seems
to be rather "Tripartite"

Diagram suggesting that Human Nature demonstrates a Spiritual, Materialistic and Tribal or Group-related 'Tripartism'


Explore Human Nature on our insightful
Human Nature - Tripartite Soul page