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Marx and Religion

The political economist and philosopher Karl Marx (1818–1883) viewed religion as the very basis of the self-conscious knowledge of oneself as a social being; thus, the criticism of religion was the required starting point of all social critique. Marx's understanding of how religion is closely coupled with political economy renders him crucial for considering how global religions and global economic forces intersect and may become interdependent on one another for their expansion. Such a critical perspective has been central to anti-globalization social movements and has informed anticapitalist religious movements such as the Base Communities of Latin America. This short entry describes the distinct functions Marx attributed to religion and then explores Marx's relevance to discussions of global religion.

First, religion functions as a consolation and ...

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