by Adelia from Indonesia,

Theology student Adelia from Indonesia supposed to start her volunteer service in April 2020 in Dortmund – due to Covid-19, she was not yet able to travel to Dortmund, but she is actively involved in some digital projects with us. One of her whatsapp-Status lately has been “Religion das Opium des Volkes” made us curious and we have asked her, what is behind this sentence, which she has posted in German language. Here is her answer:

““Religion das Opium des Volkes” is an idiom from Karl Marx in his book with the title “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegels’ Philosophy of Right”. I have read a translation version that had been critic by some Theologians from Indonesia. This idiom that I shows a little piece, it mostly often using some people to attack Marx. It seems like this idiom hostile the religion for push the people who has religion.

This idiom oftentimes receive some bad critics, wrong perception and sometime some people that has read it then give a jokes and change it be “God is Opium”. Properly, Marx not focus or emphasize “God”, but the Religion. This idiom has cuts, so made some people have wrong perception when they read it. Complete sentence is like this: “Religion is the sight of the oppressed creature, the heart of heartless world, and the soul of the soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.

I like this idiom when I have learned about Cross-Religion in my school. I will talk about it and focus with society perspective and not Theology. That will be easier when we read and sees the reality now. I writing this with aim we all could receive some learning as the member of a religion community to create a healthy friendship inter-religion and stay positive thinking in this pandemic Covid-19.

This idiom may be rarely to heard but often to felt in my country Indonesia. It is increasingly felt in the pandemic. Honestly, I write this because I feel uneasy as a people with religion. I was angry and finally thought, “that they were thirsty for religous matters but poor of rationality” on this situation.

Reality speaks now. Some churches are still open in this pandemic. Some Muslims give their protest and doing demonstration to government because they are cannot celebrate their religious celebration (we called it “Idul Fitri”) and they are cannot worship and prayer in Mosque. This reality proves that religion is like an opium. That makes religious people not think clearly. Religious people are addicted to religious thing. So they do not think about the effects. I thought the effect not only impact on themselves but also to the others.

Actually to solve this problem, that is, do not make religion as an opium/problems/addiction for us. Because this idiom actually makes this, a religion has a certain function in society. It has similar function with the opium to whom that is sick. It reduces the pain and give pleasant illusions who is consuming it. In the other side, religions such as opium also reduce their energy and desire to oppose oppressive realities. When religious people start to be addicted with religions the same thing will happen like the reality in Indonesia now.

This topic just my opinion as a young student that should and always thing this all very ironic for people with religions in Indonesia. Because they forgot beside their religions, they have corona virus. It could attack whoever, whenever and everywhere.”