Nietzsche, Marx, Freud & Religion
Nietzsche, Marx and Freud developed very explicit critiques of religion, and Paul Ricoeur famously defined them as the “masters” of the “school of suspicion”. Briefly explain the school of suspicion, and then focus more in detail on one of the three critiques of religion. Then, provide either a defence or a critique of the position discussed.
Religion in the Philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche
Religion is described as a system of ideas and behaviors that explain people’s relationships with their God. Every religion is defined by ideas and religious activities that all of its adherents follow. Each religion has particular practices that set it apart from others (Brenkert 56). The majority of religious convictions can be traced back to a spiritualist or intelligent being who developed specific life objectives. Religious convictions, taboos, creeds, and myths are examples of symbols that convey the nature of these hallowed religious conceptions, which many philosophers have begun to investigate and expand. Marx and Nietzsche are two scholars that have affected religious ideas throughout history. The two ancient philosophers made significant contributions to the formation of religious beliefs, with each researcher holding opposing perspectives on religion and its politics. This study investigates the parallels and discrepancies between Marx and Nietzsche’s perspectives on religion and politics. The study specifically contends that, while the majority of people perceive religion as the source of their peaceful coexistence and hope for a better future, Marx and Nietzsche regard it as a well-calculated plan employed by powerful people at the expense of the impoverished class.
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Comparison between Marx’s and Nietzsche’s views on religion
When it came to religion, Marx and Nietzsche had a lot in common. One of the most striking similarities between their religious perspectives is that both philosophers denied and attacked religion, claiming that it was utilized to oppress the weak (Brenkert 76). On the one hand, Marx sees religion as a “instrument used to assuage the sorrow of the masses” (Clark 34), implying that the powerful in society utilize religion to oppress the oppressed. Religion, on the other hand, is described by Nietzsche as a tool used by the weak to manipulate the upper class. As a result, the two philosophers argue that religion does not exist and that people should reject current faiths and form their own views based on their beliefs. In other words, none of the prevalent faiths are correct, and people should avoid them and establish their faith based on own beliefs.
However, while both philosophers deny the existence of religion, they disagree on the subject of virtues. According to Marx, virtues are an individual’s ability to act morally with the goal of earning happiness and a happy existence. The philosopher divides virtues into two categories: intellectual and moral inherent merit (Clark 94). Intellectual virtues are gained by a person during the course of his or her life as he or she grows into a mature adult. Moral virtues, on the other hand, are innate. They are primarily reliant on the individual’s willingness to do what is right. According to the philosopher, a virtuous person is always happy and fortunate in life. Morals, according to the philosopher, are good deeds as judged by the action’s doer. According to Marx, ethics is the knowledge of what is good or wicked. In other words, “acquiring qualities necessitates first knowing thyself” (Brenkert 87). Because one cannot do wrong deliberately, wisdom is essential. Nietzsche, like Marx, believes that virtues are goods dependent on the perception of appropriate behavior by the person in issue. Individuals, according to this school of thought, can be modeled to exhibit appropriate behavior. Human beings are inherently superior in this way, capable of learning and/or progressing through special and collective accomplishments such as self-cultivation.
However, while the two schools of thinking on virtues share some notions, they also diverge in significant ways. To begin, Marx believes that virtues are supposed to bring enjoyment to the person in question. In this regard, in the face of contradictory options, people tend to choose the deed that increases the joy of the beneficiaries. However, Nietzsche believes that virtues should be observed in order to create harmonious cooperation in society and to eradicate violence (Brenkert 67). Second, Marx claims that only philosophers are good because of their special grasp of inherent worth (Marx et al. 12). Nietzsche, on the other hand, believes that every person can be virtuous as long as he or she is aware of the line between right and wrong.
Religion’s Place in Politics
Marx and Nietzsche have opposing viewpoints on the same topic. One of the disagreements between Marx and Nietzsche’s schools of thought is their differing perspectives on the relationship between politics and religion. According to Marx, religion is an essential aspect of politics because top politicians utilize it to oppress their subordinates without being held accountable (Clark 56). The viewpoint is informed by the fact that most faiths around the world call for hierarchy because a supreme being rules in such a way that followers of a particular religion must respect and adore him or her. Leaders deserve respect from their subordinates, which is represented in politics. They can make any decision they want without being questioned, which increases the amount of oppression. In the context of the growth of self-centered leadership, Nietzsche sees religion as a political tool employed by leaders to achieve their selfish objectives. Nietzsche especially criticizes Christianity for promoting virtues that are likely to influence followers’ reactions. For example, Christianity promotes humility and love for enemies, regardless of their wrongdoing (Brenkert 106). Such requirements put citizens at risk of persecution. Aside from Christianity, the two philosophers attack other religions that are likely to encourage oppression of society’s vulnerable. Confucianism is one of the faiths that has been extensively criticized for its leadership teachings. Regardless of whether they love the young or not, the indicated religion pushes for the respect of seniors. This rule is extended to leadership, where subordinates are expected to unconditionally respect and obey their superiors’ directives.
However, despite their emphasis on the negative effects of religion on politics, the two philosophers appear to argue that faith will eventually lead to democracy. On the one hand, Nietzsche declares God’s demise, while Marx prophesies the end of capitalism (Clark 97). Marx contends that authorities can use religion to further capitalism, an oppressive economic system (Marx et al. 12). According to him, socialism is the best economic system since it fosters equality for all people, regardless of their social status. Equality is one of the most fundamental characteristics of democracy, emphasizing the importance of embracing it. A peaceful society is one in which resources are allocated equally. Because its ideas are based on the concept of equality, religion may encourage this type of society. However, in modern culture, few religions promote the principle of egalitarianism. According to Nietzsche, the death of God would finally result in the elimination of religion and the advent of democracy since leaders will no longer have a basis to legitimize their hierarchy-based ideology.
Views on Religion in General by Marx and Nietzsche
As previously indicated in this work, the two philosophers have comparable perspectives on religion. Religion, according to the two researchers, is used as a tool to build hierarchical governance, which predisposes some members of society to oppression (Clark 128). In other words, religion fosters social inequality, resulting in the creation of vulnerable groups. The weaker people are oppressed by stronger ones who justify their acts with religious beliefs. As a result, while religion is prevalent in practically every community, it brings more harm than good to its adherents. Faith may be linked to the inequality and thus oppression that exists in most communities. Religions must not be used to shape qualities in order for communities to achieve equality for all of their people. To improve societal justice, leaders must reject religion. Despite the fact that the two experts dismiss religion on the abovementioned reasons, they believe that people will eventually become aware of its flaws, causing them to avoid being linked with faith-based concerns. This will be symbolized by the death of God and the fall of dictatorial rule in favor of democratic control.
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Distinctions Between Religions
In general, Marx and Nietzsche dismiss religion entirely, viewing it as a tool designed solely to advance oppression (Clark 56). However, while the two thinkers take a similar approach to debunking religion, their approaches to different religions diverge. The existence of a supreme being who must be honored by all people, regardless of the underlying moral standards, constitutes the basis for critique in Christianity. Other ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, are used to debunk the schools of thought. For example, philosophers say that the utilitarianism theory’s reliance on the outcome of an action is ambiguous because the outcome may not reflect the interests of all individuals (Brenkert 64). Furthermore, the two theorists disagree with the deontological and virtue ethics theories since they contain predefined provisions for what morality should involve. According to the experts, morality must be founded on personal perceptions of what is right rather than predetermined standards.
Marx and Nietzsche are the two ancient Greek philosophers credited with shaping modern ethics. Religion and the importance of spiritual convictions in politics are viewed differently by the two philosophers. Their religious perspectives share many similarities. However, as disclosed in the report, their points of view are vastly different. One of the parallels between the two philosophers in terms of religion is that they both oppose and critique it, particularly Christianity. According to the two professors, faith is a tool employed by humanity to oppress the poor. In other words, it is being exploited to increase inequality. This study has thoroughly examined both researchers’ perspectives on religion and its influence in politics.
What Marx and Freud Think About Religion
Marx vs. Freud
Religion was universally criticized by Marx as the “opium of the people.” His most renowned religious declaration is a critique of Hegel’s concept of law. “Religion is the moan of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the soul of a spiritless situation,” Marx writes. It is the people’s opiate.” Thus, religion, according to Marx, serves to produce illusion or fiction for the masses. On the other hand, Freud saw religion as a psychological expression of underlying neuroses and unhappiness. In other words, whereas Marx explores religion at the social reality level, Freud investigates religion at the individual psychological level. Religion, according to Freud, is an attempt to manage the oedipal complex.
Religion, according to Marx, gives poor people false hope. It foretells that they will have difficulties in their current lives. Despite the fact that this is a critique of religion, Marx appears to unwillingly admit the utility of religion in the same way that opium dulls the experience of pain, religion provides relief to those in misery. However, religion fails to address the underlying causes of human sorrow and suffering.
Freud, like Marx, believes religion is an illusion, but for quite different reasons. He investigates the topic of transcending religion but concludes that it is impossible since religion acquires power through being buried in our primal needs. He likens religion to a child’s longing.
While referring to religion as an illusion, Marx seemed to partially affirm its validity. Religion is a sign of a greater societal malaise. It is a statement of a very basic kind of unhappiness. It’s a manifestation of repressive economic reality. In other words, religion may not be necessary in Marx’s utopian society free of economic oppression and exploitation.
Freud wrote several publications in which he emphasized his religious notions. Totem and Taboo (1913), The Future of an Illusion (1927), Civilization and its Discontents (1930), and Moses and Monotheism are among these volumes (1938). It is not difficult to discern some of the religious implications that Freud attempted to investigate. Freud compares religion to a childhood neurosis in The Future of Religion (1927). According to Freud in Moses and Monotheism, religion is an attempt to gain control over the sensory world in which we are put through the use of the wish world. This is the world we have created as a result of our biological and psychological needs. Freud is also optimistic that religion will not be a permanent possession of mankind in the same way that a civilized man puts off his neurotic as he grows from childhood to maturity. Marx, like Freud, believes that religion would finally be abolished in a classless and stateless world devoid of human exploitation and oppression. Both Marx and Freud appear to have based their analyses on the assumption of a utopian society. According to Marx, this is a classless society, whereas according to Freud, this is a mature society made up of psychologically evolved human beings. The possibility of such a society is controversial in and of itself.
In the majority of his works, Freud condemns religion. For example, Freud asserts in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921) that even a religion that claims to be built on love must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it. Perhaps his Jewish upbringing and life experiences influenced his religious critique. He declared himself an atheist. Religion essay writing service