This article is about Karl Marx’s statement. Religion is the opium of the people” is one of the most frequently paraphrased statements of German philosopher and economist Karl Marx. The quotation originates from the introduction of Marx’s work A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, which he started in 1843 but which was not published until after his death. The full quote from Karl I am heartless book pdf download translates as: “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”. Often quoted only in part, the interpretation of the metaphor in its context has received much less attention. The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. 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.
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Marx was making a structural functionalism argument about religion, and particularly about organized religion. Marx wrote this passage in 1843 as part of the introduction to a book that criticized philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s 1820 book, Elements of the Philosophy of Right. The introduction was published in 1844 in a small journal. Französische Jahrbücher journal had a print run of just 1,000, it had no popular effect during the 19th century. The phrase became better known during the 1930s, when Marxism was more popular.