Religion as “Opium” of the People
I’ve been reading N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope and am really enjoying it. Here’s one of many quoteworthy paragraphs. . .
Karl Marx famously spoke of religion as the opium of the people. He supposed that oppressive rulers would use the promise of a joyful future life to try to stop the masses from rising in revolt. That has indeed often been the case. But my impression is that religion is an ‘opium’ when the religion in question includes the Platonic downgrading of bodies and of the created order in general, regarding them as the “vain shadows” of earth, which we happily leave behind at death. Why try to improve the present prison if release is at hand? Why oil the wheels of a machine that will soon plunge over a cliff? That is precisely the effect created to this day by some devout Christians who genuinely believe that “salvation” has nothing to do with the way the way the present world is ordered.