“Religion is the opium of the masses.” – Karl Marx

Weltschmerz is a literary concept describing the feeling experienced by an individual who believes that reality can never satisfy the expectations of the mind, resulting in “a mood of weariness or sadness about life arising from the acute awareness of evil and suffering.”

The term was coined by the German Romantic author Jean Paul in his 1827 novel Selina, and in its original definition in the Deutsches Wörterbuch by the Brothers Grimm, it denotes a deep sadness about the insufficiency of the world (“tiefe Traurigkeit über die Unzulänglichkeit der Welt”).

The translation can differ depending on context; in reference to the self it can mean “world-weariness”, while in reference to the world it can mean “the pain of the world”.

The modern meaning of Weltschmerz in the German language is the psychological pain caused by sadness that can occur when realizing that someone’s own weaknesses are caused by the inappropriateness and cruelty of the world and (physical and social) circumstances.

“Religion ist das Opium des Volkes.” – Karl Marx

This statement was translated from the German original, “Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes” and is often rendered as “religion … is the opiate of the masses.”

The full sentence from Marx translates as: “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.”


It’s time to dust off the word weltschmerz. Unlike angst or ennui, weltschmerz springs precisely from seeing that things could and should be better.

-The Guardian

If you’re feeling world-wearied, you may have ‘Weltschmerz’ – The disillusionment we feel when the world falls short of our expectations.

-Psychology Today

Weltschmerz: There’s a German word people use in times of despair, and it’s as apt today as it was in the 19th century.


Believing in God can trigger the same reward regions of the brain as taking drugs.


Religion can have same effect on the brain as taking drugs, study finds.

-The Independent

Brain scans on Mormons show religion has a similar effect to taking drugs.

-Science Alert

What religion does to your brain.

-Medical News Today

The God drug: When religion becomes an addiction. In recent decades, the idea of recovery from addiction to religion has taken root, particularly in Christian America.

-Pacific Standard

Religion is like drugs, it destroys the thinking mind.

George Carlin

Author: Oliver
I'm an introvert. I spend a lot of time inside my head, just thinking about random stuff. Introverts think about more than just being introverts. :) I make comics about those thoughts.

1 thought on ““Religion is the opium of the masses.” – Karl Marx

  1. You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read a single thing like that before. So great to find someone with some original thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

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