• Created by: Banisha.
  • Created on: 28-05-18 11:42


  • belives religion is not an objective reality - denies a real god exists - says religion is anti realist non cognitive and non natural 
  • he questions what makes people religious? - religion as a construct -belives the brain is stimulated into a religious outlook by emotional, social, physical factors that create traumatic memories/ emotions 
  • believes religion is an illusion - helps to overcome inner pyschologial stress, conflic/ fear
  • belives religion has 3 roles 'exorcise terrors of nature' 'reconcile men to cruelty of fate' 'compenstate them from suffering' 
  • believes religion is an expression of wishfulfilment/ helplessness - it expresses a need for love, protection and purpose 
  • these feelings of helplessness come from childhood trauma - feel dependent on their father for protection, order/ regularity - traumatic experiences are locked away in subconscious = a coping mechanism - these resurface in an unhealthy way ie OCD
  • traumatic exp = oedopus complex - son feels sexual towards the mother resulting to ambivilance/ deeper inner conflict towards the dad = re -emerges as religion - sexual guilt produces religion by transferring guilt away from the self towards other objects - these objects are images of the father who eventually took on divine qualities 
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  • traumatic exp - primal hordes = dominant males pick breedings of females - the younger horde became jelous of the older ones and many plotted to kill him - after the death they idolised the father figure -seen as a totem - horde experiences traumatic guilt deflecting these feelings onto the totem - totem becomes a new religious way of controling the guilt 
  • believes religions is a neurotic OCD causes by childhood trauma - results in highly ritualised activity - ANIMNISM - with totem is followed by the second stage called RELIGIOUS - sees this in th catholic mass which resolves feelings of guilt = symbolic expression of original impluses of hatred towadrs the father which guilt kept unconscious 
  • uses the example of 'little hans' - a boy who had a fear of being bitten by a horse which freud belived to have resulted from repressed hostility towards his father 


  • religion is wishful thinking - human mind creates illusions to combat psychological turmoil which stems from stress = fear of the natural world 
  • human mind creates images and beliefs to fulfil these basic needs and desires - religion is an illusion that answers our inner needs
  • where locking away - unsuccessful the memories can re submerge = trauma
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  • He was an intelligent/ influential thinker who shaped the western view of the mind
  • argued human constructed religion in order to help them deal with fears of life and death 
  • Feuerbach also stated that religion was child like condition and an illusion 


  • His negative views on religion could reflect his own negative religious upbringing 
  • only constructs a theoy based on deistic religions and ignores religions without a god 
  • not true that all tribes had totemic representations - undermines idea that religion derives from generational gulit being handed down 
  • is accussed of trying to relpace religion with science - asserting one paradigm over another 
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  • religion promises protection from internal impluses by observance/ religious rules
  • god figures are replacements for inadequate fathers
  • religion brings social solidairy - restricts selfish impluses 
  • religion reduces the sense of helplessness, danger/ uncertainty - compensates suffering for an afterlife 

negative consequences of religion ...

  • religious rules/ civilsations oppress - based on wishes and not evidence , overdemanding morality = an illusion/ vehicle for social repression and shouold be replaced with scientific view of the world 
  • religious exp are like dreams caused by deep unconsious = wishful thinking 
  • religion is the healing process by keeping people infantile - type of thinking that produces the concept of god is not directed to truth/ reality 
  • submiliation refers to psychological ability to transform unhealthy emotions into healthy acceptable behaviour - religions provides a structure for submiliated desires to be expressed 

freud helped disturbed people to recall the past regression of wishes and desires to then realise and make conscious healings take place 

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  • his views are not accepted by theologicans 
  • views are biased because of his rejection of religious faiath 
  • fails to deal with non thesitic religions 
  • postive submiliation can be found - meets human biological needs/ frusrations 
  • does not take into account the maturing religious beliefs/ concepts of god - only child ones 
  • ignored benfits of religion - maintaining morality, developing contentment 
  • infers that religious belief in not good evidence for gods existence 
  • not all believers have infantile needs - could be psychological maturity 
  • makes reductionist generalisations 
  • ideas only work if guilt is passed down generationally 
  • based on the fallacy of ridicule - uses weak examples 
  • his view only works for catholic christianity - totemic meals are rare 
  • only discusses the origin of the idea of god - not enough to know if a belief is true by origin 
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  • Neurosis is caused by repressed emotional and secual trauma - explained by odeipus complex / primal hordes 
  • religious activity has some similarities to OCD - complusive, regular, ritualised, associated with guilt and fear 
  • religion encourages infantitle feelings 
  • supported by evidences from anthropology and evolutionairy science 


  • neurosis cannot be empiracally verified/ falsified = meaningless
  • ignores postive effects of religion 
  • need for god could be a reflect of realist, transcendental correspondence 
  • religious people are pyschologically mature 
  • too reductionists - oversimplifies a complex idea 
  • based on unrepresentative case studies 
  • idea of generational guilt is difficlut to prove 
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  • Hume said religion was created to overcome fears 
  • reasonable that neurosis is caused by repressed emotional/ sexual trauma
  • encourages infantile feelings
  • helped develop counselling and pscho theapy that are widely accepted 


  • neurosis cannot be empiracally verified/ falsified = meaningless
  • ignores postive effects of religion 
  • need for god could be a reflect of realist, transcendental correspondence 
  • religious people are pyschologically mature 
  • too reductionists - oversimplifies a complex idea 
  • based on unrepresentative case studies 
  • idea of generational guilt is difficlut to prove 
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  • experienced church because he was a pastors son but felt church goers had no conviction to their faith - interested in knowing god/ having an awareness - believed in intellectual faith - focused on internal subjective beliefs not external practise 
  • believes religion can be a positive transforming experience 
  • believes religion is a product of the mind - projections of humankinds deepest fears/ emotions 
  • focuses on the naturalistic functions of religion - analysed the idea of god in the mind of the believer - pyschological role 
  • states that religion is non cognitive - psychology can neither prove/ disprove the existence of god neither religious exp - accepted that god is real to those who belive it - reduces god and religion to a psychic - not an objective reality - believed nothing can be proved about the existenece of god outside of the mind 
  • believes the mind is divided into the unconsious/ conscious
  • unconscious - greater insight/ knowledge expressed in dreams + religious visions , RB is an ancient/ universal expression analysing unconsious dreams reveal archetypes 'original impressions' = primal ideas common to all humans in psychic exp - provide rich source of religious imagery 
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  • archetypes are priori - we all have an in born tendency to come up with religious ideas about god 
  • persona - a mask we show the world - we hide parts of us that we think the world would reject and show the parts that are acceptable 
  • shadow - the parts of personality that we do not believe are acceptable in society 
  • anima - feminine side of the male - men repress their feminine characteristics 
  • aminus - the masculine side of the female - women repress masculine characteristics 
  • self - part of the pysche which integrates all parts of our charcter 'god within'and mystical 
  • believe we are pyschically hermaphroditic - more we try to repress our hidden self more it will create psychological conflicts - believed people need to balance the male and female aspects of our self - come to terms with our different sides 
  • up to 40 yrs we are we grow by repressing aspects of our self that we consider unacceptable 
  • after 40 yrs we come to terms with those ideas we had previously repressed to seek to intergrate them into a whole self 
  • religion is important through process of integration - helps us deal with the shadow - the parts of our self we repress because we find them unacceptable through pursuit of deep spiritual and philisophicsl questions about life and existence 
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  • collective unconsious - the oldest part of the mind that contains ideas/ images, inherits collective experiences/ impressions of incestral humanity - all humans share a common idea of god as part of their collective unconscious - religious archetype
  • the god within - god is an iner psychological exp of the collective unconsious which comes from the mind about nothing concrete can be known - the self integrates us in a healthy way through god within - religion integrates the parts we repress and enables a deeper awareness of self fallen nature, confession 
  • individuation - process of becoming a separate individual by balancing archetypes into a consious personality - ********* away masks to uncover true selves - this is a religious process because it is hard to distinguish between archetype of self and god - need to recognise higher authority - sex, power, reason - the self aids individuation generating images of wholeness
  • believes religion is postive - religious images are tools of the mind to help individuate personality - if you reject religion you reject a substantial part of individuastion mechanism because religion harmonises the psyche in a benefical way to the extent that the removal of religion would lead to psychological problems 
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  • less damaging to religion and has been affirmed by many believers
  • highlights how religion can have a positive effect on a persons health/ well being 
  • claims religion is a universal archetype regardless of culture - supported by widespread belief
  • ideas affirm faith leads to happiness/ fulfillment - recognises that people are less likely to suffer from a mental illness and religion helps people manage various stages of life 


  • theory of archetypes is unneccessary - religious ideas come from socialisation in society
  • struggles to explain why everyone does not believe in god 
  • theory is not open to falsification - regarded as a philosophy 
  • treats all visions as being religious - fails to understand the uniqueness of religious exp
  • reduced religion to a simple idea - the archetypal projections of the internal mind - too reductionist 
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  • noticed that his schizophrenic patients were preoccupied with idea/ images - this was more than the effects of repressed sexuality
  • established a school of pyschology which emphasises human quest for wholeness through individuation - through studying dreams of his patients he identified components of the psyche as expressions of instinctual patterns 


  • idea of collective unconsious is unscientific/ fatalistic and difficult to test 
  • methodology rests on the kantian assumption that we cannot know anything outside of our minds
  • view is too reductionist
  • universal archetype of religion could infer a universal transcendental reality - an objective god - rather than a universal human psychology 
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  • believe in the value of therapeutic counsellng based on therapeutic case studies 
  • believe in the idea of psychological subconscious
  • see god as subjective, internal belief, anti real, non cognitive 
  • reject a correspondence theory of religious truth 
  • see religion as a projection of fears 
  • accused of being reductionists
  • see religion having universal features ie universal obession neurosis/ archetypes as universal
  • focus on western judeo christians religion and ignore pluralism problem 


  • jung believes religion is a positive mechanism for a healthy mental life 
  • freud sees religion as an infantile belief that is repressive/ damaging - that hinders psychological development 
  • freuds theories focus on sexual trauma - jungs shadow is more generalised 
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  • freud believed religion is an illusion - human construct created in the mind to help us overcome fears about the natural world/ own internal psychological conflicts 
  • freud believed humans must reject religious belief in order to mature - damaging to mental health like an OCD - unhealthy because it fosters guilt and sin awareness - lacks any firm factual prood so should be rejected - religion results from actions of primal horde - construct idea of god to help us to ease our guilt/ prevent feelings of helplessness 
  • jung sees god as a shared archetype that only exists in the mind - interal construct


  • freud does not provide any proof against god/ religion = assertion 
  • freud admitted god could objectively exist 
  • natural/ reasonable that god is a psychological coping mechanism for humans 
  • jung believed it was not the role of psychology to explain away the idea of god - able to understand the effects that belief in god has upon us 
  • existence of god is not an answerablel question 
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  • god to jung is not an intellectual concept but a word used for experience - a call to wholeness - god is part of every psyche, a voice in our unconscious calling us to wholeness
  • interested in human healing than metaphysical speculation 

positive side ... religions are 'great psychotherapeutic symbol systems' - rationalism, technology, materialism has produced an illness, a split between our conscious/ unconscious worlds = world of matter and world of spirit  -   we live with great devices, medicine, vacations - but we are empty - how do we heal? -symbols help us connect with the side of life religion provides  religions are symbol systems that can help us relate to non material themes in life 

negative side... symbols encased in dogma lose power  - intellectual concepts in theology - uhelpful = become overbalanced in intellectual side of life

religion often sidelines personal exp = mystery of life  -dogma rituals against doubt, mass thinking leads to conformity, collectivities tend to lower consciousness - religion should promote indivudal religious exp 

christian images of god lack wholeness - two elements are missing - feminine/ devil trinity - too male and too good 

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  • ATHEIST - a person who believes that God does not exist
  • STRONG ATHEISM - NAGEL - positive assertion that god does not exist, also known as POSTIVE ATHEISM, ontology, a conscious rejection 
  • WEAK ATHEISM - SMITH - lack/ absence of belief in god without direct claim that god does not exist, also known as IMPLICIT ATHEISM and has no conscious rejection of belief 
  • AGNOSTICISM - HUXLEY - question of whether a higher power existed was unsolved/ insouble, someone who believes that we do not know for sure whether god exists 
  • STRICT AGNOSTICISM - HUXLEY - belief that we cannot know whether god exists 
  • EMPIRICAL AGNOSTICISM - HUXLEY - belief that we merely do not know yet 
  • ANTI THEISM - TINKER - an aggressive form of atheism that wants to stop people believing 
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  • PSYCHOLOGY- delusion/ wishful thinking 
  • SCIENCE- empiricism, evolution 
  • ORGANISED RELIGION corruption, sexual abuse, wealth, power, wars, prevent progress in science and morality 
  • UPBRINGING - non religous family, religious family 
  • RELIGIOUS PEOPLE- hypocrisy, intolerance, holier than thou attitude 
  • PROBLEM OF EVIL - INCONSISTENT TRIAD -either god cannot abolish evil, or he will not 
  • LOGICAL POSITIVISM - unverifiable, no proof 
  • TEACHINGS FOUND OFFENSIVE/ OUT DATED - fall of man - total depravity, requirement of humility, sexuality 
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  • HUXLEY refers to agnosticism as 'not know' asserts the questions of whether god exists is unknown/ unknowable 
  • strict agnosticism claims we can never know
  • empirical agnosticism says we do not have sufficient evidence yet 
  • MORGAN argues agnosticism is self contradictory/ self defeating = indefensible , uses example of rain and an umbrella 
  • argues agnosticism rests on the principle of rationalism - belief or assumption that cannot be proved - agnosticsim fails because it does inolve theism, involve a faith in rationalism and it also does like atheism not believe 
  • we must therefore choose either to be a theist/ atheist and reject agnosticsim as it is philisophically weak 
  • there is no difference between agnostics suspended belief and the atheists non belief, agnostics fail to compel us to suspend belief and fail to show how non belief differs from disbelief 
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  • Darwinian view makes god unnecessary, dismisses any mystical/ transcendent purpose and believes all complexity can be explained by biology 
  • religion offers impoverished world view - supernatural things rely on mystery which prevents discovery/ investigation - closes the mind to logic 
  • beliefs about creation are faith claims that lack evidence based claims of truth, sees faith as 'cop out' an excuse to evade the need to think 
  • refers religion to a malingnant virus that infects the human mind, encourages irrationality/ extremism
  • immoral behaviour by religion people ie war makes the moral claims of religion weak 
  • religion is an ideological tool of social control - restricts freedom and new ideas 
  • 'god hypothesis' is hypothesis therefore falsifiable by evidence 
  • god presented in the old testament = cruel/ unpleasant - not worthy of worship 


1. strong theism, 2. defacto theism, 3, leaning towards theism, 4. impartical, 5. leaning towards atheism, 6. defacto atheism, 7. strong atheism - cannot commit 100% to 7th position (6.9)

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  • known as anti thesism, fundamentalist atheism - view that supersistion,religion,irrationalisam should not be tolerated but be criticised and exposed by rational argument - do no restrict themselves to a passive disbelief - rather actively engaged in admonishing others to declare non belief in god = necessary steps to rid the world of religious belief/ practised argued by the 4 horsemen 
  • metaphysical component - new atheist authors share central belief that there is no supernatural/ divine reality - metaphysical claims are beyond empirical verification through science and philosophy 
  • empistemological component - this is about what we know, faith is a lack of knowing, they share a common claim the religious belief is irrational and blind trust without evidence, dawkins claims that faith is an evil because it does not require justification 'unjustified belief'
  • moral component - affirm assumption that there is no universal/ objective secular moral standard, possible to live a statisying non religious life on basis of secular morals/ science 
  • political component- politically enagaged to reduce the influence of religion in the public sphere to promote mainstream acceptance an 'atheist idenitity' 
  • scientific component - use natural sciences in their explanation/ belief about evolution = best knowledge for the world which can be epistemically justified based on adequate evidence, science fails to show there is a god - naturalism is sufficient to explain everything 
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  • a scientist/ writer on the debate between religion and science 
  • he is an atheist - understood negatively - aggressive/ provocative in his critique of religion 
  • wants to actively stop people from believing 
  • TINKER criticises - this is pseudo-religious and fundamentalist - argues dawkins uses mythological language/ displays extremism and intolerance that he idenitfies with religion by making unintelligent sweeping generalisation 
  • dawkins arguments for atheism are scientifc and philsophical - presented darwinian evolution as an alternative explanation for god hypothesis- dismisses the creation story as a symbolic story that should be mythologised 
  • argues the religious world view is impoverished because faith claims to override the needs for evidence 
  • compares religious belief to a virus that infects human minds and nourishes extremism
  • argued that catholic priests have committed child abuse is proof that religion cannot make moral claims upon us - faith is irrational - been grouped together with 'fairies and giants'
  • idea of god 'most unpleasant character of all fiction' 
  • supported the sociological argument that religious belief is an oppressive tool used by the powerful as a form of social control
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  • Supports idea of fundamentalis atheism - absurd to be a moderate atheist 
  • argues that belivers called fundamentalist atheists 'deny people the comforts of their faith'
  • argues christianity has reinvented itself as soft/ tolerant and its way too easy to forget crusades and burnings and use of fear as a form of control - regards reinvention as hypocrisy 
  • argues religion only survives because they brainwash young/ faith decisions should not be made until adulthood where there can be 'mature consideration'
  • rejects the term 'atheist' because it invites debate on theists terms - advocates the term 'naturalist' implies there is nothing supernatural in the universe 
  • argues theists should be called 'supernaturalists' / should be required to refute findings of science to justify their alternative claims 
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  • CONTRADICTS THE HISTORY OF PHILOSPHY- assumption that religious faith is irrational is at odds, the west characterised faith as rational and religious thinkers having intelligent and brilliant minds 
  • FROM WITHIN ATHEISM - demonises religious faith and holding it responsile for the great crimes against humanity, uncritical to their devotion to science/ islamophobia, intolerant of cultural diversity 'mean spirited'
  • FALLACY OF RIDICULE - misrepresent religion - using extreme but weak/ irrational ancedoal evidence against faith - fails to present arguements in their strongest form
  • SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS ARE JUST ASSERTIONS OF FAITH - atheism/ materialism are not facts but assertions/ paradigms that require much faith as theism - concept of 'scientism' is not iself subject to any scientific exp, distils a faith = self rufuting as a critique of faith 
  • FUNDAMENTALIST/ MILITANT - militant/ aggressive nature of new atheism is comparable to fundamentalism religion - dawkins refused to debate behe over the intelligent design - behe calls this irreducible complexity
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  • TINKER argues dawkins exhibits all the hallmarks of fundamentalism = narrow mindedness/ intolerance 
  • disanalogy - religion is not like a mental virus - arguement is self defeating - maybe atheism is a mental virus that is passed through infection of the mind 
  • dawkins uses mythological language and anthropomorphises genes to convey his ideas - regards genes as selfish - however particles cannot be given moral qualities 
  • ontological reductionism - reduces everything to scientific terms - cannot prove that the universe has no purpose 
  • makes sweeping generalisations and applies what he says about religion to all religions - however each religion must be judged on their own terms 
  • his examples appeals to ridicules - uses the weakest examples of religious faith to strengthen his case - refuses to present views in their strongest form
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  • he is a secularist bigot - obstinate - unwilling to change - intolerant 
  • he is insincere in his actions - not seeking truth - only discredits his opponents 
  • makes sweeping reductionist generalisations 
  • he refuses to present the views he criticises in their strongest form 
  • his writing are insincere - not intrested in the truth 
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  • atheistic darwinism supported by empirical, scientific evidence 
  • theres an epistemistic distance/ universe is religiously ambiguous - no overwhelming evidence for faith/ theism 
  • many elements of religion are objectionable, believers would accept some ie war, terrorism, hatred 
  • problem of evil is difficult to solve philisophically = inconsistent triad 
  • ockhams razor - atheism is simpler than theism - god attributes is complex 
  • science - epistemological model is better than faith as science is open to falsification 
  • popularity - dawkins has been given awards for being a significant thinker - new mass audience 
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  • every paradigm involves an assertion - science cannot explain everything, atheism is not scientifically provable 
  • dawkins criticised for only wanting to spread his own convictions to discredit his ideological opponents 
  • many philosophers call this 'mean spirited and aggressive' 
  • collins - argues atheism requires more faith than theism because it demands ones limited store of knowledge is sufficient to exclude the possibilty of god 
  • dawkins uses the straw man fallacy + fallacy of ridicule - weak
  • dawkins fails to acknowledge how faith is supported by evidence - historical
  • swinburne argues that theism cannot be scientifically proven and science cannot explain everything 'god of the gaps'
  • tinker - argues atheism is ontologically reductionist 
  • dawkins claims are selfish and religion is a malignant virus are disanalogous 
  • dawkins supports the very thing in atheists that he opposes among the religious - atheistic parents teach their children to be atheists 
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  • all claims to some extent are fiedeistic - faith based - all rely on some assertions that cannot be proven including scientism/ theism 
  • all claims make inductive leaps - all are inductive arguments
  • neither atheism/ theism is verifibale/ convincingly falsified 
  • new atheism and theism share many characteristics 
  • agnosticism is not a better option - self rufuting/ contradictory 
  • world is religiously ambiguous - epistemic distance 
  • william james 'go with your passional nature, make a judgement and go with your feelings and accept that it is acceptable to believe in something without evidence' 
  • find a way to hold deep convictions while still being tolerant of differences - atheism is better than anti theism , tolerant faith is better than fundamentalism
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