Freud and religious beliefs

  • Freud used a psychological approach to religion and seeks to explain human behaviour and religious beliefs without referencing the idea of God
  • Freud - the founder of psychoanalysis - focused on investigating the role of the unconscious mind.
  • He saw a connection between the display of neurotic behaviour (OCD) and the behaviour of some religious peope
  • Stated that what explained this behaviour was the repession of impulses that were viewed as temptations one 'ought not' to have. (LED TO SENSE OF GUILT)
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Collective Neurosis and guilt

  • Freud - influenced by Charles Darwin
  • Indetified the source of guilt in his Primal horde theory
  • Theory argued the alpha male will usually be killed by the sons, which will then lead to guilt which was later displaced by the creation of animal totems.
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Atheism and Agnosticism


  • Doesn't believe in God but doesn't assert that no God exists
  • Asks why people believe in God


  • Knows God doesn't exist
  • Gives reasons why they don't believe in God, stills ask why they believe


  • God may/ may not exist but judgement has to be witheld until evidence becomes avaiable 
  • Doesn't know if God exists


  • Impossible to know whether God exists 
  • Suggests nobody knows whether God exists or not
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