Modern Eleusis: Religion and Factory

Science and Society 72 (3):266 - 294 (2008)

Marx's reflections on Christianity depend on Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind, and this was the context in which he conceived the idea of treating the critique of religion as a starting-point for the critique of bourgeois society in general. There are three different political-economic connections in which Marx employs the concept of religion to shed light on capitalist society in general: the relation between bourgeois and citizen in capitalist society; the phenomena of commodity circulation; and, finally, the production process. The close relation between Christianity and the alienating nature of capitalist production may well explain why Marx did not follow up his critique of religion in the form of a specific work — a question recently brought forward by Alexander Saxton. Analysis of some general features of the relation between capital and religion leads to the conclusion that Protestantism prevails as the true religious form in capitalist society. The capitalismreligion connection sheds light on the Marxian concept of workers' subsumption under capital at the global level
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