Marx on Religion
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
John Raines (Ed.)
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.
Few people would ever expect that Karl Marx is the writer of the above statement. He not only wrote it, but he did so in the same breath of his more famous dictum that "religion is the opiate of the masses." How can one reconcile such different perspectives on the power and ubiquity of religion?
In this compact reader of Marx's essential thought on religion, John Raines offers the full range of Marx's thoughts on religion and its relationship to the world of social relations. Through a careful selection of essays, articles, pamphlets, and letters, Raines shows that Marx had a far more complex understanding of religious belief. Equally important is how Marx's ideas on religion were intimately tied to his inquiries into political economy, revolution, social change, and the philosophical questions of the self.
Raines offers an introduction that shows the continuing importance of the Marxist perspective on religion and its implications for the way religion continues to act in and respond to the momentous changes going on in our social and environmental worlds. Marx on Religion also includes a study guide to help professors and students—as well as the general reader—continue to understand the significance of this often under-examined component of Marx.
"Marx on Religion is a thoughtfully chosen, intellectually challenging selection from the writings of Marx (and Engels) on religion. . Marx on Religion is a valuable teaching tool. Its particular merit in our polarized times is that it promotes contact across the widening abyss." Science and Society "Like the Hebrew prophets of old, Marx knew that to speak of social justice we must become socially self-critical, and that means becoming critical of the ruling powers--whether they be kings or priests or investment bankers... For Marx, all ideas are relative to the social location and interests of their production. And like the prophets before him, the most revealing perspective is not from the top down or the center outward, but the...point of view of the exploited and marginalized. Suffering can see through and unveil official explanations; it can cry out and protest against the arrogance of power." --John Raines, from the Introduction "The collection is probably a good way into the study of Marx for those who begin from a religious orientation." --Philosophy in Review
Part I: The Young Man Marx
1. "Reflections of a Youth on Choosing an Occupation" (1835)
2. Letter to His Father: On a Turning-Point in Life (1837)
3. The Leading Article of No. 179 of Kölnische Zeitung (1842)
4. "On the Jewish Question" (1843)
Part II: Consciousness and the Material World
5. "Critique of Hegel's Dialectic and General Philosophy" (1844)
6. "The German Ideology—Ideology in General" ( 1844-46)
7. Preface: "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy" (1859)
8. "The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism" (1814)
Part III: Bad Work/Good Work
9. Preface, "Early Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts" (1844)
10. "Estranged Labor" (1844)
11. "Private Property and Communism" (1844)
12. "Money" (1844)
13. The Communist Manifesto (Chapter 1) (1848)
14. "Money and Alienated Man" (1844)
15. Capital, Book 1 (extract) (1867)
words of suspicion; it is not his function to act as public prosecutor: his function is to be a concealed accuser. For the last time the wretched man thinks better of it: his function is to write liberal leading articles, to play the “loyal supporter of freedom of the press.” He therefore springs to his last position: “We could not refrain from protesting against a procedure which, if it is not a result of casual negligence, can have no other aim than to discredit a freer press movement in the
“Löwenix” (Glaubenichts—one who believes in nothing) and by the Englishman Clarke and Newton’s other followers of being an atheist; apart from the fact that Christianity, as the most capable and consistent of the Protestant theologians affirm, cannot agree with reason because “worldly” and “religious” reason contradict each other, which Tertullian classically expressed: “verum est, quia absurdum est”; apart from all this, how can the agreement of scientific research with religion be proved except
conscience, the right to practice one’s chosen religion. The privilege of faith is expressly recognized, either as one of the rights of man or as a consequence of one of these rights, namely freedom. Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1791, Article 10: “No one is to be molested on account of his convictions, even his religious convictions.” In Title 1 of the Constitution of 1791 the following is guaranteed as one of the rights of man: “the liberty of every man to practice the
major historical force for the first time in four hundred years. Everywhere, whether it is the White House or the presidential palace in Indonesia, religious leaders are being called upon for far more than ceremonial dressing. And in places like the Indian subcontinent, religious differences have become the grounds both for war and for domestic political maneuvering. But how religion should deploy its power cannot be understood without a critical analysis of how the new global “means of
property is his personal existence, his distinguishing and hence essential existence. The loss or relinquishing of private property, then, is an externalization of man as well as of private property. We are concerned here only with the latter. When I yield my private property to another person, it ceases being mine. It becomes something independent of me and outside my sphere, something external to me. I externalize my private property. So far as I am concerned, it is externalized private