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Marx sees reality as a dialectical process. Marx¶s Dialectics, however, is peculiar to his
philosophy. He uses the term against the Hegelian background, where historical dialectics has
an a priori triadic structure of thesis, antithesis (both of which are opposites) and synthesis
(which is their connection between). His sense of dialectic is prompted in a special sense by
Feuerbach, even though he criticizes him. For Marx, dialectics is ³a scientific hypothesis
which does not seek to be dogmatic, but needs examining. It is a dialectic based on
observation and analysis, in which the movement of the spirit is a reflection of the movement
of reality, which for Marx is always the historical process of becoming.´ (Schillebeeckx, E.,
Christ, The Experience of Jesus as Lord, trans by Bowden, J., N.Y.: The Seabury Press, 1980,
p. 706.). Rather than the triadic character of thesis, antithesis and synthesis found in Hegel,
Marx¶s dialectics is more natural in context, it is essentially: mutual ± interdependence ±
dependence of real phenomena. That is to say that reality always consists of a process of
human history that is more of mutual dependence which extends to all aspects of reality. It is
on the basis of this interdependence that history is dialectical. (Ibid).

Furthermore, Marx argues that the dialectical is the historical process of growth of the matter
that is dependent on the interdependent transformations of reality. This means that, reality,
which for him is material, by a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of
forces moves towards a final synthesis (a classless society). Marx therefore sees the process
of growth in history as a universal dialectic in the sense that ³one phenomenon (e.g.
Capitalism) irresistibly (and not freely) calls forth a counter-movement (e.g. communism) «.
[This] is an inevitable and inexorable rational logic in history. The new elements which
emerge in it are at the same time rationally necessary.´ (Ibid., p. 707). That is to say that in
dialectics is a struggle, a conflict - one that is also inherent in history too. (Marx, k., ³The
Poverty of Philosophy,´ in McLellan, D., (ed.), Karl Marx, Selected Writings, Oxford:
Oxford Univ. press, 1977.) For example, there is the class struggle between owners and the
working class. These two refer to thesis and antithesis. The synthesis, which is a mediation is
a transposition to a higher level, that is entirely new and that takes place suddenly, often, by a
leap. According to Marx ³« the contraries balance, neutralize, paralyse each other. The
fusion of these two contradictory thoughts constitutes a new thought, which is the synthesis
of them.´ (Ibid., p. 201).
Humanity is constantly confronted with the task of overcoming or transcending its original
prehistory. A period of private interests is transcended by that of class interests, and in the
future, as Marx outlined on the basis of a scientific analysis, the reification of man (promoted
by the illusory freedom of action of individuals and group conflicts) will be transcended by
the purposeful control of human actions, and this also, subsequently, by international
unity/solidarity. This future that is achievable is often by criticism and revolution and can
also be a matter of objective scientific analysis. (Marx, K., ³The Communist Manifesto´, in
McLellan, D., (ed.), ibid.).

It is on these presuppositions that Marx builds his economic theory. He started by attempting
to analyze the problem of human suffering to discover its causes. He discovered that the
causes of human suffering lay in objective forms of society in which we live, specifically in
capitalism. He approached the problem of human suffering from the perspective of his
economic theory. For him, the problem of human suffering can be equated to the final total of
an economic system which is founded on the profit motive and competition. The suffering of
many men is the calculable result of the conditions of production, which imply an inner logic,
namely a development from barter to money and from money to capital, based on the wages
of those who by definition are not the possessors of capital. This inner logic results in the
alienation of the workers, from their work and themselves. In this economic system suffering
can be formulated in an equation: Suffering = ration of the surplus value: 

The rate of surplus value is the figure that produces the mass of human suffering, it is the
³exact expression for the degree of exploitation of labour power by capital, or of the labourer
by the capitalist.´ (Marx, K., ³Capital,´ in McLellan, D., ibid, p. 474.)

For Marx, though many have done a lot to support the suffering man and to help him, they
have left the causes untouched. Various religions, while attempting to overcome suffering
have not taken sufficient account of its social and economic causes. Hence he sought to
introduce a fundamental change in economic conditions themselves, a change that would
urge in a utopian future, which, for him, is achievable only with real effort and that will
eradicate all suffering. For him much suffering would disappear when this new social and
economic order emerges, and this is attainable only through revolution that is carried on and
propagated by the working class, who have to surrender their own interests as they have
nothing to lose but their chains. This revolution is essential, even though it will also cause
much suffering, because social change cannot happen without struggle, specifically class
struggle. This change for him, therefore, is a social political movement, but of a revolutionary
kind that is intended to be a last resort.

This Marxist ideal remained unattainable. The power of the proletariat which is the
provisional antithesis, i.e. the interim, became a permanent state as its thesis (capitalism)
remained stronger. Hence the dialectic could not be resolved in a synthesis. Marxism, thus
became a dictatorship perpetuating more inhumanity, as products of the revolution, than was
before. This interim was delayed. It is at this point that a confrontation between Marxism and
the religious traditions of man is supremely necessary.

Marxism does not imply atheism as such. It was only in its latter developments in Lenin and
consequently in Bolshevism that Marx¶s scientific hypothesis became, strictly, a
metaphysical system. It called into reality a movement that also undergoes a hermeneutical
and actualizing process in itself. Ordinarily, it was an economic theory and so cannot be
viewed under the lens of religion. Marx saw religion as a system which conceals social
injustice. For him, all religions had a correct intuition, i.e. the protest against human
suffering, but they only derailed for having sought a false solution to this problem in a
fictitious world above, in a beyond (i.e. heaven for Christians). Hence he claimed that when
the social revolution is achieved, religion of itself would die a natural death since its origin ±
human suffering ± has vanished.

By this, Marx has reduced all human suffering to social and economic factors. He forgets that
this is not the whole man such that the causes of human suffering cannot be reduced barely to
social and economic factors, neither is it is chief cause, and suffering cannot be the origin of

All religions concern themselves with the human subject while relating him to the Other (the
absolute). It also addresses what affects this human subject and how this relates to his belief
in the absolute that captures his attention. One of these concerns is human suffering. ³Marx
did the same thing, except that he also saw causes where others had not seen them.´
(Schillebeeckx, E., ibid, p.712.). It is noteworthy that Marx, in terms of religion, was a
Feuerbachian. Feuerbach was of the opinion that the absolute nature attributed to God is only
a ³reflection of µthe nature of man.¶ God is the objective nature of the genre man. The
consciousness of God is the self-consciousness of man. Religion is the solemn unveiling of
man¶s hidden treasures «. By education and a change of heart man can arrive at the insight
that he is simply projecting his own deepest nature on to man.´ (Schillebeeckx, E., ibid, p.
712 - 713.). But while unlike Feuerbach, he rejects Feuerbach¶s naïve replacement of religion
with education and his transcendental philosophy of the objectification of the self which is
not put in question. For him, the conditions why man objectifies the self is in man himself.
Man is the total of social (and economic) relationships. Religion therefore is the ³self-
consciousness and self-awareness of man who has either not yet attained to himself or has
already lost himself again.´ (Marx, K., ³Towards a Critique of Hegel¶s Philosophy of Right,
Introduction,¶ in McLellan, D., (ed.), Karl Marx, Selected Writingsj Oxford: Oxford Univ.
press, 1977, p.63)

³Religion is merely the µappearance of sanctity¶ or the spiritual aroma of the human vale of
tears, an expression of and at the same time a protest against real misery, a protest which,
however, has not been sufficiently understood. Religion is in ignorance about its own nature
and therefore in ignorance about the misery to which it owes its own existence. Therefore it is
the opium of the people. Religion is a passive reflection of the economic conflicts in society.´
(Schillebeeckx, E., Ibid, p. 713.). Marx¶s idea was not altogether a radical break with human
history, with the past (thought of the past, historical project of the past.). Marx, thus, expects
the automatic abolition of religions. For him, they are merely an epiphenomenon or a
subsidiary manifestation of real economic alienation. ³But since the existence of religion is
the existence of defect, the source of this defect can only be sought in the nature of the state
itself. Religion for us no longer has the force of a basis for secular deficiencies, but only that
that of a phenomenon. Therefore, we explain the religious prejudices of free citizens by their
secular prejudice, we do not insist that they must abolish their religious limitations in order to
abolish secular limitations. We insist that they abolish their religious limitations as soon as
they abolish their secular limitations.´ Religion, thus, stands outside Marx¶s Marxism. Real
Marxism does not imply atheism per se. But Marxism also affirms that when the socialist
society is attained, there will be no more need for religion. Religion is defined as the reflex of
non reflected, alienated conditions of life. With the illumination (scientific analysis) which
prompts revolutionary action, religion automatically disappears as a logically consistent