Who hasn't heard the popular quote that suggests a dismissal of religion as "the opium of the people". A quote made by the coauthor of the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx. However, in a discussion of Hegel, the word "opium" is much less simplistic in it's meaning as religious leaders would have one believe. Let's take a look at this quote in it's proper context.
"Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in emrbyo the criticism of the vale of woe, the halo of which is religion.
Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers from the chain not so that man will wear the chain without any fantasy or consolation but so that he will shake off the chain and cull the living flower."
For those that have not yet shaken off the chain, return to first principles. Why do you believe what you believe? Is your holy book moral? Is consolation enough to justify such beliefs? If your god is good...based on the lack of evidence for his existence, why would he care whether you believe or not? I mean, if he loves you, why would he punish you for something so illogical? We criticize to help you pluck these imaginary flowers off the chain, to recognize it's cold grip upon you, weighing you down, preventing you from living life; this life. The real halo is doing good without the belief in anyone watching you; without the desire for ultimate reward for such actions.