Opiate of the Masses

Karl Marx famously noted that “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”  O’Bama had this notion in mind four years ago when he was unwittingly heard referring to some people who “cling to their guns and religion.”

Well, I agree but with qualification.  First, re the gun issue, yes there are some whose identity is too wrapped up in gun ownership and they make things look bad for men who own guns but have a life outside of gun ownership.  The latter aren’t nuts. Likewise with religion, there are those who use religion obsessively to cover up an impoverished identity and often they end up as certifiable nuts.

But the problem here is not guns or religion.  The problem is an impoverished identity which often does cross over into mental illness.

But my main focus here is religion.  There is so much insanity that surfaces in religion and it is so easy to throw the baby out with the bath water.  I do think religious people should give Marx’s observation attention for religion…yes, even yours and mine…does have an opiate dimension.  And that is not the fault, necessarily, of the religion we practice or believe in.  It is the fault of our human nature which tends to take ourselves too seriously and tends to interpret religious teachings in a self-serving manner. And when this tendency runs unchecked, lunacy will likely ensue.  Case in point—Westboro Baptist Church and Islamic Extremists.

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