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...