How Far and How Successfully Might Marx’s Critique of Religion Be Extended to Include Hinduism and Buddhism?

In: Religion Topics

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You may recall that in his chapter detailing Freud’s theory of religion, Pals reports the common allegation that Freud’s theory of religion might be better thought to be a theory of Western religion. He makes a similar claim in his chapter detailing Marx’s theory of religion, suggesting that Marx’s account of religion might better be thought a replay of “the essence of Christianity.”

How far and how successfully might Marx’s critique of religion be extended to include Hinduism and Buddhism? Pals maintained that Marx’s account of religion might be thought a replay of the essence of Christianity. Marx is not actually presenting an account of religion. Instead, as Pals explains, Marx has given us a “…analysis of Christianity and similar faiths, who stress belief in God and an afterlife” (Pals, 140). Pals also asserts that we can also conceive a likewise Marxist explanation of the Hindu doctrine of rebirth, or the teachings of some Buddhists who stress the joys of sheer nihility over the distresses of the present world and life (Pals, 141). Marx insists that religion is a condition that requires illusions. He also ascertained that the elimination of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. Marx in reference to illusions stated that, “To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions” (Marx). Both Hindus and Buddhists have illusions that they believe will be responsible for their salvation and Enlightenment. According to Marx, religion stems from the unhappiness that one feels. The pain that is felt by the poor can be eased by their fantasies of a supernatural world, where sorrows end, and oppression vanishes (Pals, 135). Christians are not the only religious sect that has a belief in a supernatural…...

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