Freud's Psychology of Religion Essay

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Sigmund Freud, born in 1856, was originally an Austrian medical doctor who would eventually continue on to become the Father of Psychoanalysis. Freud remains an analogous symbol with psychology, not only because of his psychological school, but also because of the controversy surrounding many of his theories. While Freud’s proposed stages of psychosexual development are some of his most criticized concepts, his view of religion also proved to be controversial. Freud was raised Jewish, but his ideals changed by psychoanalyzing himself. Although he had a large exposure to both Christianity and Judaism during maturation, the combination of Positivism and individual work in psychoanalysis played the dominant role in shaping Sigmund Freud’s psychology of religion.
While psychoanalysis is the center of Freud’s psychology of religion, it was also influenced by the era in which he worked. Freud was active in the late 19th and early 20th century, which is apparent in his strict focus on using science to understand the unknown. With the development of both the scientific method and theory of evolution, the age of positivism was born. Aside from the influence of objective knowledge, Freud was also greatly impacted by physics. Freud developed his interpretation of human psychology while studying dynamic physiology under Ernst Brücke:
…his claim to fame is largely grounded – to the view that there is such a thing as “psychic energy,” that the human personality is also an energy-system, and that it is the function of psychology to investigate the modifications, transmissions and conversions of psychic energy within the personality which shape and determine it.
By using energy to explain the human psyche, Freud created a pseudo-tangible e...

... middle of paper ... & Psychoanalysis. Florence:
Routledge, 1999. Print.

Freud, Sigmund. The Future of an Illusion. Strachey, James. New York City: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1927. Print.

Jonte-Pace, Diane E. Speaking the Unspeakable: Religion, Misogyny, and the Uncanny
Mother in Freud’s Cultural Texts. Ewing: University of California Press, 2001.

Jung, C. G. Modern Man In Search of a Soul. Trans. W.S. Dell and Cary F. Baynes.
London: Harcourt Harvest, 1955. Print.

Mack, Michael. “The Savage Science: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, and the History
of Religion.” Journal of Religious History 30.3 (2006): 331-352. Print.

“Religion as obsessional neurosis.” Freud Museum London. n.d. Web. 29
Sept. 2011.

Thornton, Stephen P. “Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).” Internet Encyclopedia
of Philosophy. 29 Dec. 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2011

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