Karl Marx (1818-1883)
XI Thesis on Feuerbach
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
Ludwig Feuerbach had a significant impact on Marx’s critique of religion. The transformational criticism of Feuerbach emphasised the alienation of humanity from its virtuous nature and its needless effort to seek penance from an artificially constructed, perfect, supreme being. God was created by humanity as the transmogrified idol representing the antithesis of perceived human depravity. The reclaiming of human’s virtue and the process of healing required removing the phantasmagorical invention of God and the substitution of a human-centered, not God-centered world.
While Marx was steeped in the philosophic tradition, he had serious disputes with some such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. The latter wrote The Philosophy of Poverty and Marx’s critique was The Poverty of Philosophy. Proudhon was an anarchist who eschewed government and Marx’s provisional stage of socialism, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, was theoretically the penultimate epoch prior to the liberation of the human spirit and the commensurate “withering away of the state.”