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Michael Löwy (born 1938) is a French-Brazilian Marxist sociologist and philosopher.
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The War of Gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America (1996)
- Gramsci's remarks are rich and stimulating, but in the last analysis they follow the classical Marxist pattern of analysing religion. Ernst Bloch was the first Marxist author who radically changed the theoretical framework—without abandoning the Marxist and revolutionary perspective. In a similar way to Engels, he distinguished two socially opposed currents: on one side the theocratic religion of the official churches, opium of the people, a mystifying apparatus at the service of the powerful; on the other the underground, subversive and heretical religion of the Albigensians, the Hussites, Joachim di Fiori, Thomas Münzer, Franz von Baader, Wilhelm Weitling and Leo Tolstoy.
- p. 15
- Ernst Bloch ... recognized the dual character of the religious phenomenon, its oppressive aspect as well as its potential for revolt. The first requires the use of what he called 'the cold stream of Marxism': the relentless materialist analysis of ideologies, idols and idolatries. The second, however, requires 'the warm stream of Marxism', seeking to rescue religion's utopian cultural surplus, its critical and anticipatory force.
- p. 16
- The most surprising and original part of [Lucien Goldmann's] work is, however, the attempt to compare—without assimilating one to another—religious faith and Marxist faith: both have in common the refusal of pure individualism (rationalist or empiricist) and the belief in trans-individual values—God for religion, the human community for socialism. In both cases the faith is based on a wager—the Pascalian wager on the existence of God and the Marxist wager on the liberation of humanity—that presupposes risk, the danger of failure and the hope of success.
- p. 17
- For centuries, Catholic theology and popular tradition saw the poor as the earthly image of Christ's sufferings. As the theologian A. Bonnefous wrote in his book Le Chrestian charitable (1637), 'the poor man one helps is perhaps Jesus Christ himself'.
- p. 23