Essay on Religious vs. Spiritual

1350 Words Feb 4th, 2013 6 Pages
Jenna Pagnotta
Professor Reklis
Faith and Critical Reason

In our modern age, it seems as though fewer and fewer individuals are describing themselves as religious, instead opting for the term “spiritual”. This shift is most apparent in the United States, as mass attendance decreases, and society places more reliance on science and technology rather than religion. Sandra Schneiders’ essay discussing the definitions of spirituality and religion and the link between the two sheds light on how much of contemporary culture identifies themselves. While Schneider firmly believes that the two work in tandem, and one cannot be had without the other, the renown psychologist Sigmund Freud would unquestionably view this move away from religion
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She writes that “What seems to mark religions in the concrete is that they are cultural systems for dealing with ultimate reality, whether or not that ultimate reality is conceptualized as God” (Schneiders 169). Sigmund Freud was an Austrian psychologist, the founder of psychoanalysis and one of the most well known names in his field of study to this day. Being a man of science, he put little credence in religion. His focal teaching on the subject was that the very notion is an illusion, and that it simply fulfills human’s primal desire to have a father figure who would protect through love. He taught that human beings believed this illusion so fiercely because we crave it to be true. Of illusions, he claimed that, “What is characteristic of illusions is that they are derived from human wishes… Illusions need not necessarily be false, that is said unrealizable or in contradiction to reality.” (Freud 148) By this he means that illusions may or may not contradict reality; consequently it may or may not be true, however it remains an illusion because yearning is what motivated it. His second concept regarding religion was that it acts as a moral regulator. This notion was based on human’s violent urges and their need to repress these desires in order for society to function. Through religion, our behavior is regulated due to the moral standards it sets for civilization. However Freud overall believes that as a whole religion does not make people content, on the

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