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Right, Karl Marx haters (and supporters)! LOL I was intrigued by Marx's quote "Religion is the opium of the people." And then, I found this article that says this quote is often distorted and misinterpreted; [thoughtco.com] Very interesting. Do you think he deserves a bit of affection from us all? I don't actually know much about any "-isms" beyond the general knowledge level, so perhaps you can educate me. I'll just sit back and see how the discussion goes. Thanks!

Naomi 8 Mar 27
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A great book I came across from someone's first hand personal experience with Communism ie not 'what someone has read about Communism.' 'Marx and Satan' by Richard Wurmbrand (March 24, 1909 – February 17, 2001)." Richard has also written 'Tortured for Christ.' I watched this man on google. What an amazing man with such a humilty and love, even for those his captors. He forgave them and knew it was the hateful doctrine brainwashed into them from a young age. The fruits of Marx's doctrine in current Communist countries and the over 100 million lives murdered int the 20th century is clear. What person in the world would want to be living in North Korea. Check out what happened to Otto. 'Otto Frederick Warmbier (December 12, 1994 – June 19, 2017) was an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016. In June 2017, he was released by North Korea in a vegetative state and died soon afterward.'
Horrendous. If you or I were living in North Korea, there is no way we could be having discussions about our different views.

The "like" button is not working - again!

Yes, sounds like a great book. Not sure if I can read it, though; I easily cry. LOL Some people have such big hearts that they can forgive their enemies. Not sure if I can ever do that, not that I've ever had any trauma in my life.

A debate like whether the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justifiable or not is never going to reach a conclusion. I would imaging that for many, it's still too personal to talk about it. That's where cool-headed guys like yourself come in. 🙂 Emotions, especially hate, never help. There are a handful people who have been arranging meetings between British POWs and Japanese ex-soldiers, and there have been good outcomes. I like constructive actions like that. Thinkers, including He-to-whom-I'm-Married, are brilliant at recognising and analysing problems, and they even come up with good solutions - occasionally, but they tend to remain as theories. They are not so much doers. 😛

You know, the fact that many still support communist ideas is beyond me. I read this article the other day:
"The South African Communist Party (SACP) was founded in 1921, funded by the Soviets. The Soviet backed South African Communist Party is a partner of the Tripartite Alliance with the ANC and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and through this it influences the South African Government."

Also, in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition party (the Labour Party) and his ministers show signs of favouring Marx's ideas. It was a long time ago but I was shocked when one of his ministers (Diane Abbott) said "Mao did more good than harm." Of course, she was criticised severely, but making such a statement in public is gobsmacking. The UK is in turmoil in terms of Brexit and there is a call for a general election. Jeremy Corbyn should never become the next prime minister!

Thanks again for your inputs. Take care.

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I realise (and somehow predicted) that for many, Karl Marx and Marxism are a little too much to take on - it's almost a taboo subject. I observe that while we're relaxed enough to talk about dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc., when it comes to Marx, the notion that Marx is the father of communism; he was an evil man and his philosophy is the devil's work (demonstrated to be so time and time again in the 20th century) makes us feel a little uneasy, and thus prevents us from furthering the study of Marxism purely from a theoretical point of view. Similarly, the severe criticism of Marxism, even translated to disgust, prevents us from showing simple curiosity about a relatively trivial matter such as his quote "religion is the opium of the people", one of the most famous yet most misinterpreted quotes. Basically, we cannot seem to talk about Marxism without feeling a little uncomfortable. Of course, there is always a slight fear that we may be wrongly labeled as communists by talking about Marxism, and that's understandable. (By the way, Friedrich Engels normally manages to escape heavy criticism - lucky him.) So, thank you very much for being brave enough to contribute your views and knowledge about Marx and his ideas. I feel I'm learning a lot (English is not my first language, so I learn good English from you as well. 🙂). (And if you ever felt slightly offended by my remarks, I apologise - I'm a bit of contrarian, sometimes. 😛) I'm going to give my tiny brain a little break - I've been thinking a lot and my brain is exhausted! Feel free to continue with the discussion, though; I'll come back now and then to see if I can learn more from you! Best wishes

Hello. I can't seem to reply to your last comment beginning 'the like button not working again.' ha. Thanks for those interesting insights. It is quite crazy all of this pro-Marxist theme that seems to be permeating the Universities. As politics is one of the core units I must take, and I am very green at it, I am seeing how difficult it is for a student not to be swept along with the tide of pro-Marxist rhetoric. It is made to sound so 'good, kind and caring for the people' and to question it, is to be seen as being 'an uncool, uptight conservative, capitalist who wants to overpower the poor and keep them subdued.' So polarised. No history is taught, of the millions who have died due to Communism. Karl Marx wrote the 'Communist Manifesto', so to say he is not a foundational piece makes no sense.

All the best with your study! (And hope you don't mind my following you...)

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So much for respectful debate. Marxism is a provable failed ideology, but he was right I believe when he compares man made religion to opium. I'm not a atheist, and do want to believe in something bigger than myself. But I won't use that belief to explain away all the pain and hardship life can and will throw at you in ones lifetime. There are no easy answers and my philosophy for life is you make choices every day and there are consequences for those choices.......just own your shit and take responsibility, don't become a victim.

Take responsibilities for your own actions and suffer your own consequences. I agree!

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Addiction is when a drug or activity takes control over a person's life by dulling their senses and making their body and mind weak and dependent on a feeling or rush that ultimately will hurt them. In this way I believe Marx's was on to something when it comes to organized religion.

I like that! XD

You know... I've been thinking about your comment. I took it like a joke first, then... For Marx, economic realities are what make up the social institutions like marriage, religion, education, that sort of things, and he says religion is the reflex of the economic realities (and possibly vise versa). Having established this connection between the two, maybe he was seeing the utility of religion... What do you think?

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Always great to be critical thinkers. I am recently a returned University student. I was surprised in my first unit, Introduction to Sociology, how Marx was heralded as one of 3 great sociologists. Weber and Durkhieim the other 2. I was intrigued as the little I had heard of Marx, was the little red book that was one of the founding writings of communism. I decided to read his Communist Manifesto. To me it seemed to ooze with hatred, well disguised as 'concern for the poor.' I have heard it said that 'Marx didnt care for the poor, he just hated the rich.' I am always fascinated in these people and did research on his family and wife and kids. Not pretty. A few suicides in the family and his Karl Marx's fathe'rs concern for Marx when he was a young man, about how dark his writings seemed to becoming. My interest has been piqued while studying Social Welfare that when I question about this man, I am met with such a wall. Nothing negative can be said about him. Anyway. Food for thought. I would suggest do as much research as you can about him and read the Communist Manifesto for yourself. Easily googled. It is not hard to look at the outcomes of Communism. movies such as 'The Killing Fields' etc.

Thanks for your input - much appreciated! I'm reading the Manifesto right now. "Hating the rich" definitely comes from the Labour Party, in the UK. Incidentally, I became curious about Marx's sociological view on religion; he did not make religion the primary enemy of the oppressed. Rather, he somehow interpreted religion as a social institution that helped maintain the status quo. This almost sympathetic view regarding religion coming from such an angry atheist makes it all curious.

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I found that Austin Cline, the writer of the article I posted, lectures and writes extensively about religion, atheism and agnosticism. I also found this YouTube video, in which an attempt is made to understand what Marx meant by "religion is the opium of the people"; which is one of the most misinterpreted quotes. It explains well, I think. Any thoughts?

Source:
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Marx, well may be right about " religion is the opiate of the masses" look at where the atheist of the time have congregated. I think he was generalizing about human nature to need religion, coming from a non religious person. I would enjoy a debate of this claim.

Feel free! I'm learning so much here. 🙂

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Yea opium used to be legal, but expensive so only the Bourgeoisie could afford it. Marx didn't dislike religion and if you read the Communist Manifesto you'll not get that impression. Todays communists don't like religion broadly but thats an innovation. In fact Romania is an example of a pious communist nation from history.

Wow, Thank you for your contribution! I feel I've learnt something! lol

I found the Communist Manifesto. I'll read it tomorrow. Thanks again!

So, although it is said that he was an atheist and loathed religion, Marx did not make religion the primary enemy of workers and communists. Rather, he acknowledged religion as a human social institution, which depended on economic realities to maintain the status quo... something like that, isn't it? I'm intrigued by you saying that religion is disliked by today's communists and it is an innovation. Are there any materials that support that claim and that explain a little more.?

When you say "innovation", do you mean like the adaptation of Marxism, i.e, Marxism–Leninism, Marxism–Leninism–Maoism, etc.?

@Naomi "Are there any materials that support that claim" honestly now that I think about it I haven't actually read that anywhere I just have kind of understood that from a kind of osmosis (if you know what i mean) I know the USSR didn't like religion but I don't think they got that from read the Communist Manifesto. China doesn't like certain religions like Islam and I think Christianity I know that much. I think I have to research what I think I know more lol

@Naomi "When you say "innovation", do you mean like the adaptation of Marxism, i.e, Marxism–Leninism, Marxism–Leninism–Maoism, etc.?" Yes.

@Wreath It makes perfect sense that any totalitarian regime would hate any competing institutions that it cannot control or that propagate its principles from any other source than the state and the thinking it uses to propagandize its populace. Marx didn't have to necessarily see that in its entirety to have it adopted vehemently by his followers. Without a doubt state religions have been used by the ruling class to manage the hoi poloi and as a reason for being -- they could point out that God is an absolute monarch. The Socialists would have a hard time saying God is a soviet (committee.)

Oh, thank you! I'll do more homework, too. So far, I came across the term "state-operated churches" in association with the USSR, implying that despite the anti-religious persecution against churches, some churches were run by the state and individuals continued with religious routines at the personal level.

Yeeees! That's what I'm gradually getting at now! Needless to say, religion and politics always go hand in hand. Thank you for your input!

@Lickspittle Jesus was kinda anti-rich though.

Are you talking about the possibility that that Marx's famous quote "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" took its inspiration directly from the New Testament?

@Wreath He was. That doesn't mean he was a socialist or even hated the rich. That's a pretty black and white viewpoint. I think safer to say he was against their attitude that their riches equaled favor with God while he thought their behavior displeased Him, but not wanting a theological debate here. Jesus spoke against oppression in a way that's very different from the attitudes of Marxists. He didn't teach the victims to rise up against their oppressors, but to raise themselves up morally rather than economimcally and definitely not hate their employers nor to extract their fair share thru riots and revolution but to love them that misused them. It's very easy to see how such a teaching could be used to convince the people to be compliant with God-ordained monarchs.

@Naomi Wikipedia tells me that quote originates from some French guy called Étienne-Gabriel Morelly. I've no idea who he is. I don't think it is directly inspired from the bible. I do think socialist ideas could only come from a Christians culture because of its attitude towards wealth and poverty. "It is easier for a camel to pas through the eye of a needle than for a rich-fucker to reach heaven." I may have paraphrased a bit.

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All I know of Marxism and it's philosophy are the historical outcomes of application.

Which have all ended in hundreds of thousands of dead bodies. Not sure why, but that's the way it runs in every example I can find.

There is no doubt that every time his ideology was put into practice, it led to most horrible consequences. I find this article interesting because it talks about Marx's perspective of religion and his understanding of its role in society at that time. The article concludes that:
"Marx's relationship with and ideas about religion are thus far more complex than most realize. Marx's analysis of religion has flaws, but despite them, his perspective is worth taking seriously. Specifically, he argues that religion is not so much an independent "thing" in society but, rather, a reflection or creation of other, more fundamental "things" like economic relationships. That's not the only way of looking at religion, but it can provide some interesting illumination on the social roles that religion plays."
I think that there is a moral psychological side to Marx's analysis of religion. After all, he cared about the oppressed; his mind was in the right place (I'll get in trouble by saying this!) but his economic theories were terrible when implemented.

@Naomi He cared enough to form a powerful theory. But unless every one of it's followers follows the exact same mindset with the same level of high IQ analysis he did, the real layout for such a utopian society can't come to fruition, save by dominance and tyranny.

@Naomi "After all, he cared about the oppressed; his mind was in the right place"
The road to hell is paved with good intentions? Look at the damage the welfare state has done. The noble caring for the less priveleged by taking away all of their desire to make something for themselves and of themselves and after over 50 years of the Great Society, poverty is still with us and perhaps more entrenched. All the bleeding heart in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans when coupled with a solution that increases suffering and that is hardly morality beyond any superficial definition. Maybe he didn't really care for the oppressed, but needed a selling point to peddle his hatred of the rich -- a proverbial wolf in sheeps' clothing. Maybe too many people project their good morals on this demon. He could have started a manufacturing concern and treated his employees well. He could have even turned ownship over to them. But, no, he chose to encourage them to spill their blood in an uprising against the people who provided them with some means to trade their labor for an income, to break windows with rocks instead of building a better system, to burn and loot the prosperity from their nation, to take it by theft of force until nobody had anything. It's the thinking of a spoiled brat that says if I can't have the toy I'd rather see it destroyed than to see the other kid have it and enjoy it. That's hardly a morality that produces survival of a society.

I knew I was gonna get in trouble. I'm a bit of a contrarian sometimes - sorry! 😛

@CanuckAmok How else should one qualify looking at reality itself and finding a path through it so universally sound that some 140 years after his death people are still saying it's a viable option even against a staggering amount of data that proves to the contrary?

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Read the article, and the assumption is people hear the statement and can't see the complexity of the situation. Sure, society and life is heartless - just look to animals trying to survive in the wild (which is really what we are). And yes, religion provides some escape from that oppression. But arguing that a person in extreme trauma pain is not being mistreated by getting them strung out on morphine, is riduculous. Religion is a bandaid to mask and numb the pain, but it takes no steps in being honest and teaching people how to deal with the pain w/o reliance on imaginary friends and delusions.

Thank you for getting the ball rolling!
(Apparently, in the 19th century, what they called "opium" was more like "anodyne" (a painkiller).)
The article says: "The truth is that, while Marx was very critical of religion, he was also in some ways sympathetic.", and that intrigued me. While his economic theories are much talked about, his analysis of religion is not.

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