Is religion an “opium of the people,” shifting focus from real-world concerns to the promise of eternal life, as the German philosopher Karl Marx once declared? Or does it provide a means to challenge the status quo, particularly in cases where fundamental freedoms are at stake?

The answers to these questions have been debated over centuries. Now, a new global study analyzing data from nearly 60,000 respondents in 45 countries provides important insights from the social sciences.

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