This is the first 1,000 characters of 394 words (1.58 pages) in the essay titled Karl Marx
According to Karl Marx, religion is like other social institutions in that it is dependent upon the material and economic realities in a given society. It has no independent history; instead it is the creature of productive forces. As Marx wrote, “The religious world is but the reflex of the real world.”
Religion can only be understood in relation to other social systems and the economic structures of society. In fact, religion is only dependent upon economics, nothing else — so much so that the actual religious doctrines are almost irrelevant. This is a functionalist interpretation of religion: understanding religion is dependent upon what social purpose religion itself serves, not the content of its beliefs.
Marx’s opinion is that religion is an illusion that provides reasons and excuses to keep society functioning just as it is. Much as capitalism takes our productive labor and alienates us from its value, religion takes our highest ideals and aspirations a...
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