Religion and Communism
Karl Marx was one of the founders of Communism, which changed the face of Europe and caused a major rift between its eastern and western portions. In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto, a pamphlet outlining their philosophy. It was not a religious philosophy, but a political one that emphasized a societal structure different than the one they felt existed in Europe.
The basis of communist ideology was that society was built on a class system of the rich and poor (or the employers and workers). Communists claimed the capitalists suppressed the workers by keeping them in a “no-win” situation, not unlike the feudal system that you read about before. History, Marx said, was based on a series of clashes between the classes, and religion was nothing more than an “opium” to suppress the masses and keep them in their place.
Marx's vision was a worldwide class revolution to crush the class system and put everyone on equal footing with equal chances. He wanted to see everyone as the worker and eliminate the upper class. The goal would be to crush existing classes, traditions, and definitely, religions.
Here are just a few of the principles of communism and religion as described by Marx and Engels:
Life is material and there is no God.
The current state of law, moral values, and religion is a “bourgeois” (or upper class) concept designed to keep the wealthy rich while the poor stay poor.
Religion is used for nothing more than spiritual subjugation, while the government is used for economic exploitation.
Dreams of Utopia
The Communist Manifesto was the tool used by the Russians during the Revolution of 1919, at which time the Soviet Union was formed. It then conquered several Eastern European countries, bringing them under the communist umbrella as well. While communism was a theory of idealism—of a Utopian society—it proved a failure, as witnessed by the poverty and corruption that ensued.
Communism suppressed the workers, rather than lifting them from a life of poverty. That's not to say that communism itself is a failure as an ideal, but when put into practice, it seems to defy the laws of human nature.