Yeltsin's lifetime spanned an interruption in world history, an era that left everything changed, including religious dogmas that claim to be unchanging. The rituals with which the Russian leader was buried last week may be ancient, but for the dogmas they represent, another god has failed. Beginning, perhaps, with Karl Marx's 1844 broadside that religion is “the sigh of the oppressed creature . . . the opium of the people,” secular critiques have challenged believers to see how faith, too, can be yoked to injustice.
If Carroll is correct that such secular criticism really began with Marx, I would be surprised. But even omitting the entire Old Testament, I recall non-secular yet harsh critiques directed to religious believers concerning this subject.