Marx, Marxism, and Marxist Regimes on Religion
Theroies of Religion are Theories of Society
Two hypotheses in this class
1) A set of ideas that describe human difference
2) Any theory of religion is also a theory of society
-note theory of religion also explains the origin of religion
A theory of religion is always a theory of society. „. When asking what is religion you ask what is religion
How does Marx‟s idea of the function of religion relate to his ideas about the nature of historical
development and the human experience?
-Capital: social structure.
Marx came up with a new theory on history, religion was just part of that.
Marx was a radical thinker
Marx as a revolutionary theorist on history
-who was the human for marx? What was the human?
Marx thought humans were animals with acute thoughts and the human experience was an
evolving consciousness and set of ideas His radical thinking says consciousness occurs when interacting
with the material environment/world. Doesn‟t privilege ideas on the materials but rather our engagement
with the material that determines/produces our consciousness and ideas
We formed material but the material forms our consciousness
“Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelation, the relations
within which these individuals stand.”
VERY focused with society
-designates the view of how history changes.
-changes btw modes of production and exchange, development btw class. Everything in human
experience changes over time. Especially class formation and class struggle
-****idealism : popular idea of history that ideas cause change. Historical time itself, the
collective human experience has a “spirit” idealism is an abstract idea that drives history.
-MARX doesn‟t like this idea
-Materialism***: Marx prefers Feuerbach ideas. But says that Feuerbach doesn‟t go far enough
Since he doesn‟t include how people exist in society
The real mover in society is material changes – Marx , .‟. Need to understand how people
exist in these relationships
What it means to be human according to marx.
-humans posses a dynamic creative species being
- Wants humans to be free of class and social structures What defines us is our work work
being our interactions with the material world our species being, our core, is the way we transform the
world with the tools around us.
-the tools are used to transform ourselves -tools are our fundamental nature, when we change the world we change ourselves
-as we interact with the world with tools certain social relations and modes of products are
transformed and we are transformed this is where our morals, religion, art ect. Come from.
-insist we think about the production of human experience
Base and superstructure
The base is the basic relation and modes of production, the way we organize our environment to
survive. Looks different all around the world (Canada compared to south Africa compared to
Afghanistan, see slides & picture)
-this super structure involves religion, laws, clothing, art language, everything. Yet relates
everything to economic relations or SES
- if the base changes everything else will change. E.g what the political economy is will effect the
Class Struggle as a model for historical change
Marx imports darwins ideas about biological control
Marx is interested in thinking about class struggle and SES and in poor balance. If the SES
changes those who were dominated end up high then religion, class and human communities will change
and then evolve around the class struggle.
The end of class is the end of history. Then guys like lenin, stalin ect. Pick up from marx and