Source: Huffington Post
By Frank Fredericks
I had the esteemed privilege of opening the Proposition in the Oxford Union debate: This House Believes that Religion Remains an Opiate of the Masses. Debating at the Oxford Union, a debating society with over 170 years of tradition, is a rare honor that few people may ever get in their lifetime.
I’ll instruct you with the wise words of Jalaluddin al-Balkhi, known as Rumi:
“Sit, be still, and be silent. For you’re drunk, and this, this is the edge of the roof.”
It is a profound privilege to serve in the proposition of tonight’s debate. This House Believes Religion Remains the Opiate of The Masses. A debate commenced by Karl Marx in 1843; he wrote in A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right:
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soul-less conditions. It is the opium of the people”.
Perhaps one of the most quoted and misquoted postulations on religion, together tonight, we wish to further an old argument for a new generation of skeptics and faithful alike.
It is a profound privilege to be addressing you today. My fellow teammates have my veneration and admiration. Veneration for one, being the same age as my grandfather, and admiration for the other as a leading activist in tumultuous times.
Furthermore, it is my divine duty to introduce the Opposition:
Gabe Rusk: A Masters student in Religion, he is both the LGBTQIA+ Officer at the Union and as well as the International Grad Officer for the Oxford Student Union. He also has actual debate experience, so I expect nothing but utter brilliance from you this evening.