Freud's Religion As An Obsessional Neurosis

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Register to read the introduction… In comparing neurosis and religion, Freud notes “the formation of a religion, too seems to be based on the suppression, the renunciation, of certain instinctual impulses” (qtd. in “Religion as an Obsessional Neurosis”). Suppression of instinctual impulses only created further conflict within the psyche, and as a result civilization experienced continuous anxiety and found an even greater need for the guiding force of religion. Religion became a substantial part of human culture because the collective rejection of unacceptable urges was crucial in forming a society. While religion was different from a neurosis because an individual’s submission had meaning, Freud found …show more content…
By communally sharing their neuroses, humans were able to form religions that were based on emotional conflict rather than fact (qtd. in“Religion as an Obsessional Neurosis”). Religion is not just a neurosis according to Freud, but it also provides humans answers to and protection from an uncertain world. Throughout life, individuals come to realize the personal lack of control of both their surroundings and own psyche, which is yet another source of anxiety. In response to uncertainty, Freud asserts that we [humans] created a God that “allays our fear of the dangers of life…” (Freud 38). While the meteorologists of modern times have allowed humanity a bit of preparation against nature, past civilizations were subject to the violent force of Nature and had no means of protection. Religion also provided a resolution to the infamous Oedipus complex that had failed settle correctly in childhood. Author James DiCenso explains there are two parts to the relationship between the Oedipus complex and religion, noting …show more content…
They provide traces of the counterthesis from which he repeatedly turned away.
Just like the contradiction and later retraction of key elements within his other theories, Freud failed to elaborate on the contradiction between the Oedipus complex and Thanatos that was present “A Religious Experiene” (Jonte-Pace 44). By presenting contradictory theories, Freud’s psychology of religion has not is a credible scientific postulate, and only prompted further criticism. Even though Freud’s pseudo-scientific psychology of religion would not be considered valid in terms of modern-day science, the influence of positivism and his own works are what his unique theory significant. Freud was able to show that religion was an unhealthy neurosis because it formed out of an unresolved Oedipus complex and repression, and the high prevalence of both led to the creation of formal religion among humanity. While he proved unsuccessful at providing an objective observation in respect to civilization, the same failure resulted in the formation of his own psychology of

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