• Created by: Katie
  • Created on: 04-06-15 13:04


Freud – intro

·         Religion is a universal neurosis which should be disregarded in its relation to reality.

·         Creation of the mind as means of overcoming inner psychological conflict, pressure of society and fears of natural world.

·         “Illusion based on simple human wishes”.

Freud argument 1.

·         Firstly put forth his own observation “at the bottom of every case of hysteria there is one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience, occurrences that belong to the earliest years of your childhood”

·         Freud likened the rituals associated with religion to those his patients too practices

·         He noticed that both his psychologically unstable patients and religious believers are both involved in highly specific ritual behaviour – filled with symbolic meaning for those involved while to others appearing completely meaningless.

·         Libido body’s most basic urge – most capable of causing psychological conflict.

·         Trauma stemmed from Oedipus complex (Electra complex) no longer getting sole attention if mother – hatred and jealous towards father – ambivalent feelings.

·         Society doesn’t condone repress into unconscious mind.

·         May appear to be forgotten – fighting under the surface to emerge into the conscious mind.

·         Event channelled out in the form of neurotic symptoms.

·         One of which is religion “the universal obsessional neurosis of mankind”.

·         Guilt for ever having such feelings of anguish redirected into a totem – unload guilt through prayer and sacrifice.

·         Needed to make universal – Primal Hordes.

·         One dominant male – first choice over all the females.

·         Young males = ambivalent feelings – so strong that you kill him.

·         Once deceased immense amount of guilt – begin to worship – becomes a totem for them to offload their guilt upon through prayer/sacrifice.

·         Proved for Freud how religion was an illusion created by humans to help them overcome the guilt and ambivalent emotions developed during sexual development.

Freud argument 2.

·         Society is at conflict with our basic human desires.

·         Oedipus complex – represses desire to kill father and possess mother.

·         Oedipus complex was to be acted upon society would fail – depends on structure and order.

·         Religion offers a reason to submit to authority.

·         Justifies out temporary pain, suffering and repression with the promise of something greater in the form of an afterlife – makes society bearable.

·         Thus provides the necessary motivation for sublimation to occur – redirects our libido into other areas such as religious art, music and charity work.

Freud argument 3.

·         As humans are response to be confronted with the worlds natural uncontrollable forces (including death) is one of panic and helplessness.

·         Religion helps us by making such occurrences less personal – whilst also offering comfort and reassurance.

·         Religion creates the perfect father figure who will protect us from the world.


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