Religion as an opiate

Other Names:
Utilitarian religion
Harmonial religion

Harmonial religion is the popular reinforcement of the divorce of fact from value that makes public moral discourse almost impossible. In harmonial religion the seemingly conservative call for a return to objective values is supported by an argument that is relativistic to the core. As such it constitutes an opiate for the masses, providing a welcome escape from the need to engage questions of moral truth, whether personal or public – thus becoming the disease of which it claims to be the cure.


In harmonial religion, religion is reduced to ethics which in turn is reduced to everything that makes a person feel good about himself or other people. Feeling good is perceived as a consequence of being good which follows from doing good. Religious traditions are viewed as carrying the communal experiences of what makes people do, be and feel good. Civil peace (and market viability) are secured by avoiding rival claims to truth. If any particular belief enables a person to cope more effectively with misfortune and disappointment, then that is true belief, whether historically true or not. The true is thus the useful and "God" is the sum of the human community's useful truths. The religions of the Roman Empire, prior to its fall, have been described as being considered equally true by the populace, equally false by the philosophers and equally useful by the rulers.

Broader Problems:
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
16.01.2018 – 18:11 CET