Marx, Atheism and Revolutionary Action

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):309 - 331 (1981)
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Prima facie there is confusion in that part of Marx's theory which deals with religion and revolution. On the basis of Marx's scattered statements on religion one can construct two views of the relationship between revolutionary action and the abolition of the religious mentality. One view is that the exploited class can come to atheism prior to the creation of communist society, and, indeed, must attain a secular consciousness if it is to be the agency of revolution. The other view is that the power of religion cannot be broken until after the communist revolution because only a new economic order can remove the material conditions which sustain religion as a mass phenomenon.In the face of these conflicting views we are left with two alternatives. Either we can take one of the constructions as the authentic one, or, we can conclude that Marx's position is incoherent. Seeking the best in both worlds, my approach involves showing why the charge of incoherence appears plausible while arguing for a resolution in the direction of the first construction.



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Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence.G. A. COHEN - 1978 - Philosophy 55 (213):416-418.
Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence. [REVIEW]Joshua Cohen - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):253-273.

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