Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes

One of the most famous quotes that people take from the German philosopher, and economist Karl Marx, is:

“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes” – Karl Marx

Translated into English this means:

“Religion … is the opiate of the people” – Karl Marx

The phrase was taken from two works of Marx, firstly ‘Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie | Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right), and secondly ‘Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher | German–French Annals‘ which was a journal he published with Arnold Ruge.

The full wording is as follows:

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” – Karl Marx

Sigmund Freud’s view of religion isn’t too different to Marx’s, but with Freud being a neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, he looked at it from a mental psychology view point:

“Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.” – Sigmund Freud

As you can see, Freud compares religion to the ignorant childhood days. In other words, religion is for people who know no better, and the following quote summarises religious belief perfectly:

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud

The psychology of religion is a strange concept, and it’s literally about people passing their responsibly away, and putting God’s will in its place. Due to God taking responsibility, humans who have faith have sacrificed their freedom for indoctrination and control:

“Immorality, no less than morality, has at all times found support in religion” – Sigmund Freud

From a theistic perspective, something morally good happens, then theists praise and thank their loving God; whichever one their parents decided to brainwash them with, and something immoral happens, then they have the most perfect scapegoat – ‘Satan’.

Theists believe that God gave free will, but if they are doing something that’s considered righteous they thank God, but if someone does something against God, or the words of the Bible then they are consumed and controlled by Satan. This takes away responsibility for people’s actions. How fucking convenient.

Religion accounts for approximately 85% of the world’s population which still leaves over a billion non-believers. Can 17/20 of the world’s population be wrong? Of course they can, and you have to give accountability to the people that created every religion. Religion is about controlling the masses.

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Whilst this does seem quite accurate, I think there’s more to it than that. Religion is an answer for what some humans can’t explain, and rather than just admitting that not everything is known, and not everything can be answered, theists just claim:

‘God did it!’

When asked how they could possibly know this, you’re told that the ‘Bible, Qur’an or Torah’ is God’s word, and God doesn’t lie. What hope have you got attempting to reason with that mindset?

Where’s the evidence?

If someone makes an assertion then evidence is expected to support it, or it can simply be dismissed. Evidence can come in several forms, be it observational or proven by experiment and inductive reasoning. The conclusion reached is considered establishing a theory and using logic, reason and deductive reasoning to attempt to test and confirm the theory as the general truth.

Epistemology is the philosophical basis for studying and confirming knowledge, but extreme scepticism must be adhered to, and the knowledge must be questioned to warrant its validity. Science is essentially the search for knowledge and it’s taken from the Latin word ‘scientia’ (epistēmē) which means demonstrable and repeatable by adhering to the scrupulous expectations required by the scientific method.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.” – Galileo

Scientia est potentia

Knowledge is power, and is about the ability to understand and present facts. Facts can be found by reasoning, human perception, experiences and interpretations the difference between fact and fiction. We have to know what we know, and how we know it, and the scientific method is a basis of enquiry that was coined by Sir Francis Bacon which done strictly is a fool proof way to the truth as it’s not influenced by personal beliefs, opinions or bias.

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” – Francis Bacon

Is there evidence for gods?

A skeptheist is someone who claims that knowledge of god is impossible and we have good reason to reject the existence of gods as there’s no empirical evidence ‘.ἐμπειρία’ (empeiría). There’s nothing to observe, study or examine other than scripture.

Is scripture enough to justify the belief in gods?

Of course it isn’t. Has it ever been validated? Do we know if god actually spoke to Moses or if it was just a story born from folklore? It’s so convenient that all of the events that happened thousands of years ago were allegedly recorded in a collection of books which was then compiled into the Bible and after the Bible was complete nothing from the metaphysical ever emerged since.

“Atheists say no one can prove the existence of God but I say no one can disprove that God exists I see God in everything I feel his presence everywhere to me I know that he exists.” – Shane Harper

The above quote is your typical, standard theist’s attempt at justifying belief in gods. They feel his presence. Thinking something isn’t the same as knowing. They can no more prove a god than I can disprove a god, but attempting to disprove any god is a futile exercise, as there’s nothing to work with. Believing in a book, feeling a presence or assuming that the universe must have a creator is not evidence.

In atheism everything is permissible

This is what the theists think is their victory call as they genuinely believe that without moral guidance you can do whatever you like, as much as you like as you’ve no one to answer to. I’ve read some disturbing claims by theists recently that atheism not only doesn’t condemn, but actively encourages and promotes rape, incest and even acts of bestiality. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but that’s an extremely insensitive accusation. Just because someone has taken the decision to walk alone and face what life delivers without faith in a divine being doesn’t for one moment mean that they have no emotional or moral boundaries. Some things are intrinsically wrong and it’s rational to feel that it’s not normal on every level.

“Compassion is the basis of morality.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

I’ve started suspecting that it’s the theist’s way of talking about taboo subjects without the guilt of committing them, as more often than not they involve some form of perverted sexual activity, murder or hedonistic lifestyle. They tend to focus on the most inhumane actions and it’s quite disturbing to think that they’re willing to attack whatever it is you define atheism as. It’s not a philosophy, or an ideology, it’s not a cult or part of the occult , it’s also not a world view or a religion. It’s rejecting belief in gods. It’s no more than that and to generalise in such a despicable way shows that it’s the theists that struggle with urges and they need their faith to retain the walk along the tightrope between SIN/GLORY.

Before you call yourself a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or any other theology, learn to be human first.” – Shannon L. Alder

What disturbs me the most about this ever-growing mindset is that my only interest in gods is the history of theology. I’m well read of various Eastern philosophies that focus on virtuosity, that’s often being one with nature and embracing all sentient life as we are here just once. Or many times in some philosophies, but somehow they all understand the structure of ethics, and how to determine what’s moral and what isn’t. They mostly do this without any faith in gods. If they have faith in anything it’s that humanity will learn to cohabitate without confrontation for difference of opinions. It’s a person’s own self-interest to question everything, and I mean everything. Just because someone tells you something is good, it may be very bad for someone else. We don’t live in a black and white world where this preset is right and that preset is wrong

“… what you think is right isn’t the same as knowing what is right.” – E.A. Bucchianeri

This notion that theists somehow think that their god who’s existence cannot be ascertained is somehow a universal and objective provider of morality is absolutely nonsensical? Take Yahweh as an example. The levels of brutality he’s responsible for in the Old Testament depicts him as a savage god of its time not someone who you can look up to for guidance. If worshipping a monster gives you a sense of righteousness and purpose then you need to step back and re-evaluate being human.