Marxism and religion

19th-century German philosopher Karl Marx, the founder and primary theorist of Marxism, viewed religion as "the soul of soulless conditions" or the "opium of the people". According to Karl Marx, religion in this world of exploitation is an expression of distress and at the same time it is also a protest against the real distress. In other words, religion continues to survive because of oppressive social conditions. When this oppressive and exploitative condition is destroyed, religion will become unnecessary. Marx denied a place for religion in his utopian world of communism. At the same time, Marx saw religion as a form of protest by the working classes against their poor economic conditions and their alienation.[1] Some Marxist scholars have classified Marx's views as adhering to Post-Theism, a philosophical position that regards worshipping deities as an eventually obsolete, but temporarily necessary, stage in humanity's historical spiritual development.[2]

In the Marxist–Leninist interpretation, all modern religions and churches are considered as "organs of bourgeois reaction" used for "the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class". A number of Marxist–Leninist governments in the 20th century such as the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenin and the People's Republic of China under Mao Zedong implemented rules introducing state atheism.