Digging Deeper

Unearthing the surpassing riches of Christ

What is the Real Opiate of the People?

From Tim Keller’s book, The Reason for God, page 75

“Czeslaw Milosz, the Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, wrote the remarkable essay, “The Discreet Charms of Nihilism.”  In it he remembers how Marx had called religion “the opiate of the people” because the promise of an afterlife (Marx said) led the poor and the working class to put up with unjust social conditions.  But, Milosz continued:

An now we are witnessing a transformation.  A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death—the huge solace of thinking that our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders are not going to be judged . . . [but] all religions recognize that our deeds are imperishable.

Many people complain that belief in a God of judgment will lead to a more brutal society.  Milosz had personally seen, in both Nazism and Communism, that a loss of belief in a God of judgment can lead to brutality.  If we are free to shape life and morals any way we choose without ulitmate accountability, it can lead to violence. . . . Milosz argue[s] that the doctrine of God’s final judgment is a necessary undergirding for human practices of love and peacemaking.”

Keller, Timothy J. The reason for God : belief in an age of skepticism. New York: Dutton, 2008.


February 20, 2013 - Posted by | Apologetics, Communism, Eternal Perspective, Hell, Sociology

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