Freud explanation of religion

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  • Created on: 02-05-19 19:26
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  • Sigman Freud Revision : Background  Information: He was born in 1856 to Jewish  parents, he studied medicine and was the founder of psychoanalysis.
    • Religion as a collective neurosis
      • Developed ideas about the psyche, its divided into three parts; The ID - its in our unconscious and relates to basic needs and desires., its primitive an impulsive responding to desires. The EGO - in our conscious and reality-orientated it is created by dynamic tension between our id and superego, its our design making part and experiences morals conflicts. SUPEREGO - is part of our unconscious mind and is our moral part.  All of these develop at different stages of our lives.
        • Freud thought all of these moral conflicts in the ego were reflected in our dreams or in neurotic symptoms like OCD
      • He said there was one difference between the two. as he thought that ON did not understand meaning of their actions but religious people did.
        • But through his work of Psychoanalysis he found that ON did have meaning - caused by unconscious motives from past events and these repressed insitincial impulses (sex urge) = guilt, so the repeated actions were a unconscious protective measure against the temptation to give in to the urges.
          • For a religious person this II included self-seeking which gave a sense of guilt form was like a displacement to stop temptation of doing something God disapproves of to religious prayer and ritual - so they becomes essential. = why 'religion as a universal obsessional neurosis' = collective neurosis.
    • Religion as a primal horde
      • 1913 wrote TOTEM AND TABOO - based on Darwins THEORY OF CONJECTION - where humans used to live in hordes where there was an alpha male who took control over all the women in his horde and killed any rivals including his children. - prehistorically brothers were expelled from the alpha male group and then returned to kill their father whom they eared and respected = them to become dominant over the horde and gin the women for themselves.
        • As a result of this event the men felt guilty of the death of someone whom they loved and feared - as a result of the death they became rivals themselves for the women = with the guilt and face collapse of social order they formed a tribe and a totem who took the place of their father = a united tribe.
          • F was interested in social anthropology he studied totemism in Australian Aborigines = found that every clan had a totem and people were not allowed to marry those with the same totem preventing incest. this totem influenced them into norm behaviours and going against would be taboo.
      • He found a correlation between the primitive horde theory and totemism. His Psychoanalysis of totem ceremony found the totem animal was substituted for the father who they loved and feared. = the killing of the father grew into divine proportions.
        • The totem became worshiped and became the God. The ritual killings and eating off the totem killing. Eating and drinking = fellowship and mutual obligations. Through psychonanalyis he said this ritual explains the inherited sense of guilt we all have. It's from the memory from 100 years of killing the father or idea of.
          • This explained the christian ritual of HOLY COMMUNION as cHRIST NOW REPLACED THE FATHER AS CENTRE OF RELIGIOUS DEVOTION through his ATONEMENT - the meal in totemism replaced by HC  and identified with son than a totem
    • Reilgion as a neurosis; OEDIPUS COMPLEX
      • He thought that guilt was a fundamental role in the psyche and operated unconsciously. and the libido can cause serious psychological issues. Libido is the desire to have sex but for F it is also represents the bodies desire to for satisfaction which comes from the ID.
        • In his PH, he realised the sons power of bitterness towards the father form the fact his father was preventing his sexual desires form being fulfilled. This sexual frustration, conflict with father and feelings of guilt were hidden in the unconscious but are identified in the kids sexual development between 3-6yrs old. = oedipus complex - this is when the child recognises themselves as sexual beings, creating a sexual identity and recognises the difference between men and women = change between child and parent.
          • Odeipus complex comes from Greek Tragedy of ODEIPUS REX - where he unwittingly kills his dad and commits insect with mum when finding our he gouges his eyes out. Freud felt the plays popularity through ages form existence underlying OEDIPUS COMPLEX in adults - unconscious anxiety they experienced one - proven from his patients.
        • In freuds opinion boys 3-6 have a love affair with their mums which is why they see their dads as rival for his mums love and so wants to replace him but fears the consequences. So the kids experiences unconscious anxiety of even castration complex, f says three reasons to explain this fear.
          • the boy has already been deprived his mums breast which he thought were part of him. when his parents had discovered him exploring his penis and appeared upset he felt the threat of losing it. He would have discovered that some humans don't have a penis and intrepets as it was due to punishment not aware they are women.
            • If it goes unresolved and repressed then it's expressed neurotic behaviour - he had already said that religion was an expression of neurotic behaviour.
              • Both the PH and OC show the desire to kill the father and posses the mother - explanations of guilt and anguish which is often repressed and hidden = neurotic behaviour and expresses through religious belief and practices.
    • Religion as an illusion; wish fulfilment
      • In THE FUTURE OF AN ILLUSION, freud said religion was an illusion due to wish of fulfilment of the ideal-ego aspect of the super ego. his idea was influenced by Feuerbach who saw god as a project of the human mind based on desires.
      • The origin of religion is in our deepest wishes such as desire for justice and desire to escape death, religion emerged for this. Each attribute of God can be interpreted to be an expression of an aspect of the hope humans have to be free from limitations
      • Freud said that the individual who invited religious doctrines did so because they fulfil their wishes. And those who embrace religious views do so worth of wish fulfilment. - desire for justice and  escape of death, botha re common across all cultures. So its met by the claim of an eternal, omnipotent, benevolent God who will resurrect the dead, punish the unjust and reward the worthy with heaven.
    • Challeneges
      • There is no psychological evidence of the Oedipus complex - in some cultures the mother is the dominant force and the father role is limited and is to bring up children. In other cultures there is no male god figure or even any figure at all.
        • It doesn't cause religion and rather the oedipus is caused by religion - as with strict rule on sexual behaviour, and relationships lease to this neurosis of OC
      • Stengths
        • Instinictive desires form evolutionary basis is seen from Darwinian.All behaviour is a result of basic animal drives from natural selection for survival which as passes on to generations
    • Religion as an illusion; against helplessness
      • It is a reaction to a persons helplessness in the face of a force of nature. We face natural forces which we feel defenceless against and so we need a sense of security which religion gives
      • Religion gives us that sense of security as we are able to have control as we can control our own worship and our devotion of religion as well as this we are able to control internal instincts like aggression which is a basic human instinct which religion helps us with - it wants for us to limit war and love enemies and introduced the idea of protecttng the weak
      • Sexual drives can also be controlled though strict religious laws as those who obey will be rewarded which is why Freud thinks religion is a childish delusion with atheism as a grown up realisation.


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