A true Eden could bloom
Beneath their feet
From the soil on which they tread.
No fallacious blossoms these,
If only they cared to see them.
But not the droves:
Beneath their heavy gait
Roots long to crack the earth
In an affirmation of
The living flower—
An amelioration of the vale
If only the yoke were tossed off
And the chain seen without its wreath:
A blinding iron shackling these masses
To their false glory;
Keeping them interned in a cave,
Cowering at the shadows dancing on the wall
By the light of their invented candle.
The sun gleams beyond the cave’s walls,
Beyond the yoke,
On the soil of the living garden
Trampled by this flock.
But they plant only poppies
Grown in a halo:
Sealing us in the vale,
Blocking out the sun.
"Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and cull the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself."
-Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1844)