Until a few days ago, I always interpreted Marx's famous quote "Religion is the opium of the people" as a metaphor.  

A few days ago, I changed my mind.   I was sitting at a bus stop and got into talking with the woman sitting next to me, who in less than a minute presented herself as a Jehova's witness.   Usually I avoid religious discussion as a completely futile attempt to get through the believers' delusion.   They believe, what they feel a need to believe, why should I be bothered to interfere?   But there were still 20 minutes of waiting for the bus, so I started to amuse myself by telling her about the impossibility to prove or disprove the invisible pink dragon in my garage, by talking about Persinger's helmet, about statistics and coincidence, about intermittent reinforcement and a few other things.   
She had no clue, what I was talking about, but she reacted, as religious people usually do, when they have nothing to reply to any rational reasoning.    She got more and more fervent in her declaration of her love, devotion and creed for her god.    Her eyes were shining, her voice had a sound of intensity.   Had I been deaf and only observed her visually, I would have lost a wager about her being someone under the influence of a drug. 

Her religious delusion had such a strong impact upon some of her brain chemicals.   It was amazing to watch.   Therefore, Marx was right also literally, religion really is the opium of the people.  


First published as : http://egalitarianrationalcommitmentparadigm.blogspot.com/2011/05/3...   

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Comment by Maruli Marulaki on October 31, 2011 at 1:10pm
It seems to be both, a placebo in the case of dishomeostasis, and otherwise a drug, no matter what drug would cause a state of infatuation with her god like the woman displayed at the bus stop.
Comment by Maruli Marulaki on October 23, 2011 at 6:37pm
Thanks for pointing out my misconception of the effects of opium.    Religion is obviously not only the opium, but more generally the drug of the people.
Comment by Lisa Schmidt on October 23, 2011 at 2:54pm
I think we was talking about the "pain-relieving" or sensation-dulling properties, but I get what you're saying.  Opium would have mellowed her out...seems more like religion is the PCP of the people to me.  Maybe that's why they call it "angel dust". :D



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