This place matters

This place matters

Monday, April 19, 2010

And the word was God

Kurt Vonnegut talked in his speeches about the fact that Karl Marx called religion "the opiate of the masses." Vonnegut explained that when Marx wrote those words, opiates were the only options that a lot of people had to deal with illness. Some people abused opiates, but opiates also allowed some people to function despite debilitating pain. So, Vonnegut contends, Marx wasn't saying that religion was a bad thing, he was saying that religion is like medicine for people who are oppressed and suffering. Religion did not cure the problem of oppression, but it helped oppressed people cope with their suffering.

Think of all the damage done, all the rights crushed, over a mistranslation. Not that the communist regimes that oppress religious folks are otherwise the fuzzy, permissive sort.

1 comment:

disheah said...

This is interesting. It reminds me of how often Darwin gets misquoted by all the social-darwinists as "only the fittest survive".