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Sigmund Freud and his Interesting but Flawed Dissection of Religion Essay

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Sigmund Freud shocked the Victorian world with his provocative discoveries of the subconscious, and what it means in determining human nature. Now referred as The Father of Psychoanalysis, Freud developed groundbreaking theories exploring the roots of neurotic symptoms and the conflict between the human Id and Super Ego. Freud also in his research looks at the concept of religion, and its effect on the human state, and what it provides for the human psye. Publishing five accounts: Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices, Totem and Taboo, The Future of and Illusion, Civilizations and its Discontents, Moses and Monotheism. Freud’s criticisms of religion are very enticing, and seem to have some truth in them. Unfortunately some of the facts seem to be lacking resulting in a underdeveloped thesis that can’t be proved, or disproved. I think Freud had some great ideas about the philosophy of religion, but the lack of evidence in his highly detailed account of its origin leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Freud’s first account of religion appears in Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices. He suggests that Religion, and neurosis, are similar products stemming from the human mind. Neurosis, with its compulsive behavior, is “an individual religiosity" , and religion, with its repetitive rituals, is a “universal obsessional neurosis” . Freud has always been fascinated with the idea of repetition and what that means for the human subconscious. He often links the idea of repetition to early stages of development in both Biolodomy and Ontogeny. When looking at religion repetition is practiced heavily. Looking at just Christianity, you go to church every Sunday; you have holidays like Christmas and Easter every year, and the rituals that fol...


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...ge of a fatherly protector. We then transfer the image into a deity and make it into something contemporary and real. The affective strength of this image and the persistence of our need for protection jointly sustain our belief in God. In order to receive this protection however, we must adapt ourselves to certain restrictions on our instinctual wishes. Our love of God and our consciousness of being loved by God are the foundation of the security with which we are armed against the dangers of the external world and of our human environment



Works Cited

Freud, Sigmund, James Strachey, and Albert Dickson. The Origins of Religion: Totem and Taboo, Moses and Monotheism and Other Works. London: Penguin, 1985. Print.

Freud, Sigmund, James Strachey, and Anna Freud. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. London: Hogarth, 1955. Print.


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