Of Gods and Godmen

One might trace the conception of god and divine beings to the history of religions and beliefs, and view that as a result of habituation – or upbringing – people believe in god and have particular conceptions of divinity or god. But in my opinion, this is one-sided historicism that cannot explain the perpetual reproduction of such conceptions and their varieties (which also entail ruptures in the habituated or “passed on” concepts). In order to explain the existence of particular conceptions we need to trace their genesis or the necessity of their existence in the subject’s being and its relationship with other ‘beings’, i.e., in the process of its own objectification. The history or even story of ideas/conceptions can broadly guide us through the possible markets of variations, but it cannot explain their reproduction and choice.

Within this framework, along with all the commonsensical accusations on components or history of a particular belief system for ‘its’ modern/post-modern character – violent or otherwise, any defense of the ‘belief community’ by drawing alternative components or history is nonsensical. What suffices is to expose the character in terms of the necessities of the conjuncture. This is what Marx did, when he said:

“Religion is, in fact, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who either has not yet gained himself or has lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, society. This state, this society, produce religion, which is an inverted world-consciousness, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realisation of the human being because the human being has attained no true actuality. Thus, the struggle against religion is indirectly the struggle against that world of which religion is the spiritual aroma.

“The wretchedness of religion is at once an expression of and a protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”


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