Re-Tweets | Religion as an Opiate

Re-Tweets | Religion as an Opiate
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©2023 by Vernon Miles Kerr and

FirstCuppaJoe for Mon Jul 3 (thread)

Who said “Religion is the opiate of the people”?
I googled it. It was Karl Marx. This is from

Writing in 1843, in a relatively obscure work about the philosophy of Hegel, Marx argued that religion was being used as a drug, an “illusory” source of happiness. If mankind abandoned religion, with its illusions, then they might have a real shot at happiness. He wrote:
‘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.’

IMO, just because the purported “father of communism said it, doesn’t mean we should ignore it. Marx was addressing how vacuous religion is when it comes to producing individual happiness. It seems ironic that he didn’t address how it had already been used, at the time of his writing, as a tool for building empires and subjugating conquered peoples. It’s also ironic that during the 70+ years of the USSR’s existence, banning religion didn’t work. As soon as Communism “fell” up-sprang the Russian Orthodox Church, full-blown with a potential dictator, named Putin ready to harness, mount and ride it.

Is “religion” really an opiate, a palliative to help poor struggling humans cope with their difficult existence? Or is it a weapon in the hands of some? There is no greater image to illustrate its use as a weapon than that “staged” news-shot of Trump in front of a church, holding up a Bible. I was reminded of a guy in the fundamentalist church I used to attend calling his personal bible his “ax.”

How do we handle opiate addiction? Banning it didn’t work. Allowing the medical profession, the doctors and pharmacists to handle it was a catastrophe. As it turns out, Freud underestimated the power of religion as a negative force on Earth. The metaphor of religion being an opiate, is far too tame. But, as in treating substance abuse, one must get to the human being’s deep well of psychological and spiritual longing — and heal that — in order to effect a cure.