Strengths and Weaknesses of Freud's theory of Religion

freud, strengths and weaknesses :)

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  • Created by: Elly
  • Created on: 15-05-10 16:39

FOR- Charles Darwin - Primal Hordes

- Groups of people, one dominant male, had authority over the group and had claim to all the females.

- Over time resentment of younger males grew, they all grouped together and killed the dominant male.

- This helps to show why religion is universal, as it shows the Oedipus complex at a historical level, not just as personal trauma.

"Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in line with our instinctual desires" - (S.F, new introductory lectures on psychoanalysis)

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Evidence to show that religion results from buried

- 5 case studies, wolfman, who had a phobia of animals, witnessed sexual acts between his parents, and developed a fear of wolves and God. (Animism)

- Redirecting guilt onto something else.

- Totem is a transformation of father.

- Case study demonstrated that people suffering from Oedipus complex transfer fear into animals

- Also gives more evidence to primal horde as they used dominant male as their totem and this became the identity of their group.

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AGAINST - No anthropoligical evidence for primal h

- Not now accepted that people were grouped in hordes

- Much wider variety

- Not all societies had totem objects, therefore there is no evidence for ambivalent attitudes.

- Idea that guilt is handed down = discredited

- Damages Freud's claim that religion is guilt bases because it removes a major source of guilt.

"Almost all the evidence Freud presents has been discredited in one way or another" - Matthew Palmer

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Psychological evidence for Oedipus complex

Major critic = Bronislow Malonwski

- Freud needed the complex to be universal for it to be the cause of all religion

- Malonwski attacked this - trobriand race, father is more of a weak nurse.

- No evidence for complex therefore religion must of existed elsewhere.

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Negative view of religion

David Winnicott- " Religion is an essential buffer between the mind and external reality"

- source of comfort

- Ana - Maria Rizzuto "Religion is no more of an illusion than science"

- Freud replaced religion with an illusion rather than removing the illusion of it.

"It seems that the verdict must be not proven" - John Hick

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A narrow selection of evidence

- Only looked at a few socities, he failed to take into account religions based upon female deities

- Too much emphasis on the male

- Generalised the results of c.s assuming o.c was everywhere

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jooles 2005


too basic no info except for headings from a book

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