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May 1, 2018 / C H Thompson

Marxism and religion

  • Marxists would see religion as a conservative force as according to Marx religion justifies the dominance of the ruling class and disguises inequality
  • Marx argued that religion acted as an “opium of the people” by acting as a drug that distorts reality and helps individuals deal with pain, the pain of oppression
  • An example of where religion provides a explanation end justification for inequality is in the Hindu religion, where the inequalities of the Indian caste system are justified
  • Marx suggested religion legitimized and maintained the power of the ruling class
  • creating a false class consciousness and preventing social change for the benefit of capitalism


  • Doesn’t consider secularisation
  • It only concentrates on one possible role of religion in society and ignores all of the positive functions that religion provides
  • Religion doesn’t always support the preservation of ruling class power

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