Religion as the "Opiate of the People"
The view of Karl Marx is based on his basic premise that the economic forces are dominant in society and everything else is secondary. Religion is seen as "false consciousness" [Wood, 1981, pp. 12-·15], since it deals with what is either trivial or nonexistent and really reflects the economic interests of the dominant social class. Religion is the "opiate of the people" because it offers them a "pie in the sky" to divert them from the class struggle and prolong their exploitation. Thus all communist governrnents have been hostile to religion. Some scholars, however, would argue that Marxism is a competing religion.formalized, and viewed by virtually all. the
society's members. as. necessary and important. But very simple societies generally have no religious organizations. Reijgious practices and rituals are conducted often by family members but with no. organized system of bishops, priests, etc. Many simple societies have a recognized. religious specialist in ,the Village, usually called a "medicine man" by. Europeans but no organizational structure. The Christian religion is highly organized with the main forms being the ecclesia, cult, sect, and domination.