Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, May 26, 2012

An atheist defends liberal religion

Dale McGowan offers more context for Karl Marx's notorious "opium" quote. Marx:
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo. 

For most of the people on the planet, for a hundred reasons, life is more painful than it is for me. Before I demand that they give up their pain reliever cold turkey, I need to do something about the pain itself. That’s why I think improving the human condition is THE great humanist project.
In the meantime, I think of liberal religion as the methadone of the people — oh so much better than the original addiction, and a therapeutic step toward the cure.

The Meming of Life » The methadone of the people Parenting Beyond Belief on secular parenting and other natural wonders


  1. I feel like this is very much true. I've been reading some wonderful books this summer (now that I'm properly moved to GA) for my research, and lately I have been thinking about this. Tolerance, whether religious or otherwise, just can NOT be the simple bare tolerance of the existence of opposing viewpoints, it must be an active and empathetic search for what admittedly little common ground their may be, in the name of improving the human condition.

  2. Welcome, Jamie! Even though you're neither "in Tennessee" nor entirely "God-free" (or are you?), you bring a uniquely valuable perspective to this forum. On the question of tolerance and pluralism you and I do find solid common ground.