The Theories of Religion

PHIL 151/RS151— INTERNET COURSE

TEXT: Daniel L. Pals: Eight Theories of Religion – “Religion as Alienation: Karl Marx”

Huston Smith: The World’s Religions – “Judaism”

Answer the following 6 questions below:

Marx And Eastern Religions

Professor Pals expresses the suspicion that Marx”s account of religion might better be understood as an account of “the essence of Christianity.” You may recall that he reported a similar standard criticism of Freud to the effect that Freud’s theory of religion seems drawn from reflection on the religions of the West. To what extent might Marx’s account of religion be open to that same critique as Freud’s?

“…To Change The World…”

Why have so many of Marx’ disciples thought that religion needed not just to be unmasked but also to be destroyed? Oh, and when religion is ‘unmasked”, what is supposed to be behind the mask?

Marx And Freud

Pals remarks that critics often claim that both Freudianism and Marxism resemble religions more than they resemble critiques of religion. This is the sort of thing you hear a lot. What leads people to say it?

Durkheim and Marx

Obviously, Durkheim and Marx have different accounts of religion. To what extent do you take those different accounts to be competing accounts? Rather than, say, benignly supplementary accounts?

Freud and Marx

Obviously, Freud and Marx have different accounts of religion. To what extent do you take those different accounts to be competing accounts? Rather than, say, benignly supplementary accounts?

The Lamentation of Job

Early in The Book of Job, what triggers the debate with the three friends – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – is an astonishing lamentation by Job in which he curses the day he was born. One would perhaps not be surprised to hear such an evaluation of the worth of a human life coming from the Buddhist tradition, but isn’t that out of step with the Judaic tradition as Smith sees it?

Solution Preview

Pals introduce his comments against the Marx account of religion as it can be taken as an essence of Christianity. He says that Marx presents us with fewer theories about religion than a matter of thought that itself…

(707 Words)

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