Noble Lie as taught by Plato is a lie created to keep the social order and harmony.

Are there any remarkable authors who understood religions as such?

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    Ludwig Feuerbach (1804 – 1872), as well as celebrated Karl Marx's dictum "Religion is the opium of the people". – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Oct 30 '18 at 10:58
  • Plato's 'noble lie' - gennaion pseudos - is not strictly and unqualifiedly a lie. The citizenry are to be induced to accept the myth of the metals; and in Plato's view that myth is a figurative or metaphorical representation of a literal truth, namely that there are three grades of intellect or aptitude by virtue of which some are fitted to rule, others to assist those who rule, and a remainder whose competence is in commercial, agricultural or industrial matters. Plato, Rep. III.414c-415d. – Geoffrey Thomas Oct 30 '18 at 12:13
  • Wouldn't Plato receive that credit? There was most certainly religion in his corner of the ancient world, and he was certainly insightful enough to see the workings and motives of the religious leaders who cultivated it. – elliot svensson Oct 30 '18 at 14:09
  • There is a thread of this in Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, leading in opposite directions. (Perhaps going back to their awareness of the Bogomil heresy within Orthodox Christianity?). The former lays it out in the speech of The Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov. The latter accepts Christianity as an absolute necessity, but disowns the forms built around it completely, rendering it something wholly other than a religion. One can also read Lao Tzu in this way, if one takes "The way that is a way is not the way." rather literally and let that inform the reading of the text. – user9166 Nov 29 '18 at 22:24
  • Many mystics take this view of religion. It would be not so much a lie (although it may often be) as a useful approximation for individuals and society. They would see much of what is taught by religion as akin to the miniature solar system model of the atom or the gooseberry-bush model of childbirth. At the beginning of an investigation of the world approximations are good enough if they guide our behaviour rightly and lead us towards the deeper truth. The problem is that so many arrive at a Sunday-school level religious faith and never look beyond the approximations and analogies. – user20253 Dec 30 '18 at 13:19

Well, didn't Marx make that connection, calling religion the "opiate of the masses"? Presumably, the opiate is offered by a doctor to relieve pain... but not by removing the actual source of pain.

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  • Didn't see Mauro's comment above! Still, it's a short answer for a short question. – elliot svensson Oct 30 '18 at 14:07
  • I am pretty sure he did not mean opiate in the sense of prescribed medicine, but in the context of drug abuse. – user9166 Nov 29 '18 at 22:20

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