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How do we account for religion - its origin its development and even its persistence in modern society This is a question which has occupied many people in a variety of fields for quite a long time At one point the answers were framed in purely theological and religious terms assuming the truth of Christian revelations and proceeding from there In the 18th and 19th centuries a more naturalistic approach developed Instead of needing to believe in the truth of the religion what was required was just the opposite intellectual detachment and a suspension of belief Three people who ended up doing just that were Karl Marx Emile Durkheim and Max Weber Marx studied philosophy in Berlin under William Hegel Hegels philosophy had a decisive influence upon Marxs own thinking and theories According to Marx religion is an expression of material realities and economic injustice Thus problems in religion are ultimately problems in society Religion is not the disease but merely a symptom It is used by oppressors to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being poor and exploited This is the origin of his comment that religion is the opium of the people People do not have an objective view of the world they see it from the restricted point of view of their own positionsp35 At times I may seem to be focusing more on economic rather than religious theory but that is because Marxs basic stance is that everything is always about economics According to Marx humans - even from their earliest beginnings - are not motivated by grand ideas but instead by material concerns like the need to eat and survive This is the basic premise of a materialist view of history At the beginning people worked together in unity and it wasnt so bad But eventually humans developed agriculture and the concept of private property These two facts created a division of labor
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