“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes”
So said the nineteenth-century German thinker Karl Marx. You may be more familiar with it as “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” You may also be familiar with it as an insult for religious belief.
For Marx, religion was a false hope, “the opium of the people” used by the ruling class to oppress the working class. His rejection of religion therefore sees today’s Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China enforcing state atheism as they have in part been founded on Marxist principles.
Put this together with Sigmund Freud’s take on religion that…
“We tell ourselves that it would be very nice if there was a God who created the world and was a benevolent Providence and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; “
…and you’d be tempted to think that belief in God is simply wishful thinking used to enslave us.
Here’s a quote from Czeslaw Milosz which tells us who really is the one with the wishful thinking..
“A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death—the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.”
So the next time you are accused of partaking in a mass delusion only because you can’t cope with the realities of life, point out which thought is really the wishful thinking one.