Religion At The Time Of The Communist Manifesto

1242 words - 5 pages

Religion at the time of the Communist Manifesto

Following the Industrial Revolution in 19th century Europe, change was in full swing and religion began to have different meanings for different people. The upper-class citizens used Religion, namely Christianity, and the power that it possessed in an attempt to keep their high status in society, while the lower class turned to faith so that their lives could possibly improve. Instead of religion being the cornerstone of faith and worship amongst all people, it was being used for power and money by the upper class. Even worse, religious leaders were using the upper class people as well, gaining money and authority from their endorsement. A man by the name of Karl Marx saw what was happening and thus spoke out about it, declaring religion as “the opium of the people.”[1] He had a vision for equality, and wrote it down in the form of the Communist Manifesto; however nowhere in this document were aspirations of religious harmony. Religion was becoming the catalyst for class separation and social mayhem in 19th century Europe, and according to Karl Marx, equality was only possible with the abolition of it as a whole.

In a time where industry was at a peak, and the wealthy citizens, or bourgeois, were getting richer and richer, religion was being used as a way to make money and ensure the power of the upper class, while the lower class proletariats could but watch their lives fade away into the horrific conditions of the working class, with little hope due to the lack of lower class education.[2] As religions spread out freely, the authoritarian peoples frequently used their power to embrace religion as a moneymaker, and prevent liberty from turning into a threat of democracy, if not anarchy.[3] Also involved with this were the religious leaders, who fed from the endorsement of the rich and powerful to keep religion as a major part of life, and a lucrative one as well. As industry was booming, the mass immigration into the cities proved to be hurtful for some parishes that did not have the space to hold many parishioners. Money from the upper class, however, erected new churches and places of worship, large enough and accommodating for most, but now discriminatory against the lower class. Religious leaders thought that lucrative churches would solve the economic problems of the time, but all it really did is widen the gap between social classes even more.[4] Religion was no longer about faith, but rather it became a business, aiding to the rich, taking from the poor. Karl Marx saw a need for equality without religious interference, and he expressed it in the Communist Manifesto, stating, “Society could no longer live under this bourgeois.”[5]

While the upper class reaped all the benefits of the industrial revolution and lucrative religious ventures, the lower class citizens were being treated like animals. The revolution into industry sent poor...

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