Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche Attacks on Religion
Religion, belief in God, and Christianity has received sharp critics by some of the well-known philosophers in history. This made them come with their own view of human nature, value, and origin. Their argument has stimulated research in the field of religion and philosophy to enable researchers to come up with a comprehensive insight into their schools of thought. This paper is going to discuss these attacks by Karl Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, as well as Marx’s attack as the most significant among the three.
To start with, Marx considered religion as any other social institution that relies on the social and economic realities of a given social setting. It lacks a distinct history and, therefore, is just a creation of a productive process. According to him, religion is understandable along other socio-economic structures of the society, and relies on economics so much that the actual religious doctrines are non-existent (Wood, 2004). Wood (2004) agrees that religion is one of the functions of the society that keeps it going. He says that religion is one of the methods the capitalist used to alienate us of our resources.
Marx further came up with three reasons to substantiate his negative feelings against religion. First, it is unreasonable and delusionary in that it emphasizes the worship of appearances devoid of the fundamental reality. Secondly, it opposes all that has dignity in human beings rendering them weak and more susceptible to accepting the current situations. He further gave a comment that he hates all gods since they do not consider man’s self-consciousness and his divine nature (Wood, 2004). The third reason is that religion is hypocritical irrespective of its valuable philosophies. It is used in the process of oppression as seen in the Roman Empire where the church collaborated with the state in oppressing people for centuries, but amassing wealth while Jesus advocated for helping the poor. The introduction of Protestants was just a new way of doing things according to the new economic order. Religion, therefore, created illusory fantasies for the poor by making them believe that happiness comes in the next life. It does not help humankind solve their pains, but encourages them to forget it and focus on an imaginary future where there will be no pain (Wood, 2004).
Nietzsche, on his part, examines the place of religion through his writings as it matches the tasks of a new philosopher. He goes against the monotheistic religious practices, but he does not recommend polytheism or atheism as a substitute. He proposes a vital part of a healthy culture that would fashion gods with the natural hierarchy that will meet the aims of humankind (Young, 2006). He argues that modernity is not a positive progress, but a destructive event since it destroys the traditional beliefs to set up new things. He further turns to the greatness of ancient times in arguing, for instance, that religion follows the traditions by confirming the power of political philosophy (Young, 2006).
Nietzsche’s new philosophy of religion was, therefore, based on the ability to govern religion, science, and politics for the benefits of human beings through the creation of a higher culture. He comments that the death of god is an unfortunate event that makes it necessary for nature to come up with new gods, as opposed to going against modernity and embracing traditions (Young, 2006). Modernity comes with something new and greater than antiquity. His statements in support of religion are overcome by those in the contrary making it easy to identify his religious claim that nature should create more gods with a higher culture (Young, 2006).
According to Freud, the belief of God is a fallacy resulting from human projections. It is only an illusion or projection of our desire for an all knowing and ever powerful father who