The Inverted Mindset – Understanding How Marx Criticises Religion

In many post-1991 Communist Parties in the West, due to the low Membership and media demonisation, it is usually the case that anyone can join, with the Party being appreciative of each new recruit. This means that people who hold overtly religious views are able to join a section of the Communist Party despite Lenin stating that religionists are not allowed to join. This is to do with the separation of Church from State, and Classroom from the Church. If a religionist was able to join the Communist Party, then this might be construed as the Church being granted the potential to interfere in the State, hence its proscription. In the Communist Party of China, for instance, a huge and successful Communist Party that secured power in 1949, Lenin’s original injunction still stands.  The Western sections of the Communist Party are often disunited and compete for influence amongst the relatively small section of supporters on the hard left, and a case can be made that every Member is valuable whilst the Communist Party holds no real power, including religionists. 

I do not include the Trotskyites as ‘Communists’ as they are deceitful and cooperate with capitalism and the forces of capitalism. Furthermore, Trotskyites ‘reject’ genuine Marxist-Leninism, and have no real interest in representing the workers or in making life better for them. Trotskyites at best are nothing but treacherous followers of the Second International. Marx, however, made an ingenious observation regarding theistic religion. This is a point often lost in the general critique of religion, where a politically active Church has its many crimes, atrocities, murders and pogroms listed in chronological order, and its history expertly dissected for all to see. Who in their right mind would trust such as establishment, let alone believe in its fairy-tales peddled as literal fact? The counter-arguments often state that religion is ‘comforting’, and the original critique of Marx moves ever further out of range! 

Marx stated that every theistic religion regardless of its structure, history or belief shares a fundamental weakness. Marx explains in The German Ideology (and elsewhere) that theistic religion is premised upon an ‘inverted’ mindset – but what exactly does this mean? Marx asserts that a god-concept is a) ‘imagined’ in the mind of primitive humanity, and b) ‘projected’ outward into the physical environment and/or possibly into a sacred object such as tree, rock or totem or other structure of importance, etc. This ‘imagined’ theistic concept may take up residence in a physical object, or ‘hide’ somewhere in the universe. Marx states that this ‘inversion’ is a ‘false consciousness’ because it misrepresents material reality as it actually is. For Marx, there are no independent gods that manifest inside or outside the human mind, and certainly no gods hiding anywhere in the universe. There are no clusters of gods and no all-dominant ‘single’ god anywhere in existence, with the potency of science in the material realm should be proof enough.

Religionists, however, that is those individuals who hold literalist faith-orientated beliefs associated with theistic religions, fervently ‘deny’ that Marx is right. Their view is that ‘god’ manifests in their minds and hearts, and shows them the way forward and how to live their lives. Such people state that Marx is controlled by the ‘devil’ and is espousing his atheistic ideology to mislead humanity away from salvation. Bear in mind that religionists are of the opinion that their reward will be granted AFTER their physical death, and so they do not need any standard of proof to ‘prove’ their religion is correct. For them, faith is enough. The crux of the matter for Marx is the first appearance in the mind of the theistic construct. This is imported from cultural conditions surrounding the individual and has nothing to do with god moving in a mysterious manner (as religionists would view it). The prevailing conditions in the physical environment contain the ‘idea’ of a theistic construct which is imported into the individual through the five senses and the human mind. This is conversion through conditioning. They believe in god(s) because such a belief has been suggested. As religionists choose not to see the reality of this process, Marx describes their mentality as ‘deluded’ or ‘deceptive’.

This is why Marx and Engels demanded that the Church be separate from the State AND the Classroom separate from the Church as a means of protecting young minds from being indoctrinated by adults at a very young age. Importing ideas of non-existing gods into young minds that are too vulnerable and immature to understand what is real and what is not, does seem to be very much like a form of child abuse. If the transmission of an ‘inverted’ mindset can be delayed until an individual is strong and able to think for themselves (as an adult), then the likelihood of the survival of literalist religions in the physical environment would surely diminish. The problem is this ‘literalism’ which is sustained by a superstitious belief in a spirit which is not there! 

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