I'm afraid i'll have to disagree, as after all Opium is surely the "Opiate of the People".
Drugs, Greed, Hatred, Petty Interests - surely, these are the "opiates" of the people?
It's simple to look at an organised structure and look at it as the problem, but what if the problem is deeper?
What if, the problem is so insignificantly placed and yet so critical that it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack?
The 'idea' that one can find a problem that has eluded human civilisation for countless centuries is an architectual ideal - that our great
civilisation is like a building that has foundations, and requires a constant upkeep in order to stop that building from falling into dis-repair.
Well, now i'm going to expand it a little bit - the problem of Human society can be compared to that of being in a place with little over-all
desirability; The people in our society can't see how our building is going to be made bigger.
How can we go further?
How can we reach beyond the walls of this world as a sentient race?
These questions are asked by people all over the world, and it's because we don't have an answer that no one is willing to ask the question.
It is because we cannot see a future for humanity as a whole that we squabble amongst ourselves with petty dreams of temporary power.
To the OP:
Sure, The Church can be seen as an Opiate of the People, but then, so can Videogames, Television, Sports, Wars, Philosophy, Politics and many other
The Church is one of those things that has provided society with a corner-stone, a guideline
for how our society can operate effectively, much
like Philosophy and Politics can.
It is the focus of the society that decrees it's main interest, not those things that contribute towards it - if western society were to focus on
Religion, then Religious matters may receive some progress, and would probably hit the news quite often, and similarly, if we were to Focus on
, then we might stand a chance of progressing Philosophically.
Similarly, if we were to focus on Wars, then we might be able to stop or cause them (like with 9/11, but the latter unfortunately).
If we were to focus on Inter-planatary migration, i'd imagine we might make some progress in getting off this rock.
[edit on 26-5-2008 by Anti-Tyrant]