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Religion as Wishful thinking Sigmund Freud Hui Ka Yu 06013996.

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Presentation on theme: "Religion as Wishful thinking Sigmund Freud Hui Ka Yu 06013996."— Presentation transcript:

1 Religion as Wishful thinking Sigmund Freud Hui Ka Yu 06013996

2 Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939)  is commonly referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis"  is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind  some of his theories remain widely disputed

3 The presentation is about…… “ The future of an illusion ”  the projection theory of belief in God  the similar theory of other expects  criticism “ Totem and Taboo ”  the unacknowledged theory of unbelief  the similar theory of other expects  criticism

4 “The future of an illusion” The projection theory of belief in God

5 The projection theory of belief in God The most definitive statement of Freud ’ s views: “ The future of an illusion ”  Published in 1927

6 “The future of an illusion”  ‘ Religious ideas have arisen from the same need as have all the other achievements of civilization: from the necessity of defending oneself against the crushing superior force of nature. ”

7  Religious beliefs are “ illusion, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest and most urgent wishes of mankind …. As we already know, the terrifying impression of helplessness in childhood aroused the need for protection, for protection through love, which was provided by the father …. Thus the benevolent rule of a divine Providence allays our fear of the dangers of life. ” “The future of an illusion”

8 Freud’s thinking  Atheism  Religion = projection of our own unconscious desire  No reality in the idea of God = one of the assumptions = his personal opinion

9 Freud’s thinking  God = father-figure = a child-like "longing for father"  Afraid & trust his protection  Protection = religious beliefs  Religion = fantastic structure → a man must be set free if he is to grow to maturity

10 Freud’s “structural theory” Three areas of the personality: Id  the area of the human genetic endowment  the repository of the biologically determined instincts

11 Freud’s “structural theory” Ego  the conscious mind → attempts to reconcile the instinctual demands of the id with the realities of the external environment

12 Freud’s “structural theory” Super ego  part of the ego → develop during childhood as a sort of policeman → controls some harmful products of the id

13 Freud’s “structural theory”  Superego stays around into adulthood as some sort of god or authority image → limits the person ’ s freedom and filling life with guilt → prevent the person to be a real adult

14 Freud’s thinking  Person → faces the ultimate fate of death, the struggle of civilization, and the forces of nature → feels painful and helpless → returns unconsciously to his own childhood

15 Freud’s thinking → invents an all-powerful father → the father fulfills his most insistent need and desires → emerges belief in a personal God

16 Freud’s thinking  Religion = projection of one ’ s psychology = the wishful thinking of person when he is helpless and seeks for protection

17 The projection theory of belief in God the similar theory of other expects

18 Relative approaches to religion  Feuerbach & Marx  Alfred Adler  Carl Gustav Jung (Sigmund Freud) Triple Star

19 Feuerbach & Marx  Feuerbach: anthropological atheism ( 人本主義無神 論 ) - whishes, fantasies, or the power of imagination are responsible for the projection of the idea of God and of the whole religious pseudo or dream world.  Max: Sociopololitical atheism ( 社會政治無神論 ) - religion is opium, a means of social assuagement and consolation (repression), a tool for government to govern people. (Freud: psychoanalytical atheism ( 心理分析無神論 ) )

20 Alfred Adler 1870-1937

21  Background: - practicing physician - Jewish descent - convinced socialist - once collaborated with Freud but end in departure

22 Alfred Adler 1870-1937  Approach: - distressed humanity & eternally complete God constant inferiority feeling of distressed humanity; God is eternally complete, is the most brilliant manifestation of the goal of perfection. - man is the center of reality ; God is an idea The ultimate reality is man, man is the center of reality, it is the function of individual psychology “ to make him the center. ” ; God is the gift of faith.

23 Carl Gustav Jung 1875-1961

24  Background: - A psychiatrst - Christian - Once collaborated with Freud but end in departure

25 Carl Gustav Jung 1875-1961  Approach: - dissociates from Freud Jung dissociates himself from the Freud ’ s work on religion as illusion, says Freud ’ s standpoint is based on the rationalistic materialism of the scientific views current in the late 19th century. - psychological-phenomenological He is asking not about historical but psychological truth; only concerned with the fact that there is such an idea, but not the question whether it is true, the idea is psychological truth.

26 comments  Adler and Jung, in their view of relativized Freud ’ s critique of religion in important points.  Even Jung ’ s more friendly approach to religion still leaves unanswered question: is not religion nevertheless merely wishful thinking? Dose God exit independently of our consciousness?

27 “Totem and Taboo” The unacknowledged theory of unbelief

28 “Totem and Taboo”  First published in German in 1913  The symptoms of savage religion, which means religion in its origin, and mental illness are similar  Mental illness and religion can both be viewed in terms of failure to cope with unconscious forces

29  Freud accepted the theory that Totemism was the simplest and earliest form of religion  Two taboos: “ savages “ were prohibited from killing their totem,and also from marring within the same totem clan  Then, two further anthropological theories were marshalled to complete the picture Freud’s thinking

30  The first theory was that originally the totem animal was sarcally killed and eaten in a solemn annual festival.  The second was that primitive human beings, as they emerged from the pre-human stage of evolution, were organized into hordes under the domination of one male Freud’s thinking

31 Oedipus complex( 戀母情意結 )  The central concept in Freud ’ s work.  The cause of the Totemism  Male personality development, the essential features of this complex are the following: Around age 3  the boy develop a strong sexual desire for his mother  intense hatred and fear of his father  supplant him

32  Around age 5  The resolution of the complex is supposed to occur  he can ’ t replace his father and through fear of castration  identify with his father  repress the complex  The Oedipus Complex is never truly resolved  The powerful ingredients of murderous hate and of incestuous sexual desire within the family are never in fact removed Oedipus complex( 戀母情意結 )

33 Details of Totem and taboo  The dominant father kept all the females to himself and either drove away or killed his sons when they become old enough to challenge him  Inevitably, in due course his strength waned, and some of his sons were able to rise in revolt against him

34  They killed and ate their father and so made an end to the patriarchal horde.  After their dreadful deed, their remorse and rivalry hindered them from entering into sexual heritage that they had craved. Details of Totem and taboo

35  The end result of their deed was the founding of totemism  The renegade sons instituted a totem feast, in which they periodically ate the totem  In order to make atonement for their patricide. Details of Totem and taboo

36  They also instituted the practice of exogamy( 異族結婚 ), whereby they were forbidden to marry within the totem clan, which originally was a prohibition against marrying their sisters. Details of Totem and taboo

37  The totem meal, which is perhaps mankind ’ s earliest festival  a repetition and commemoration of this memorable and criminal deed  was the beginning of social organization, of moral restrictions and of religion Freud explains the eating of the murdered father by assuming that:

38 Freud concludes his argument with a reference to the Oedipus complex:  Brothers filled with the contradictory feelings  they hated their father but they loved and admired him too  remorse  A sense of guilt  The dead father become stronger than the living one

39 What Freud did in Totem and Taboo  Was not just an attempt to explain “ savage ” religion  explain the origin and meaning of religion  Present a theory  explain the origin of the divine-father image and guilt in human history

40 “Totem and Taboo” Varieties of atheistic humanism

41 Freud’s main points of religion  Religion as a cultural phenomenon which can be best understood in term of its origins which was been recognized as Oedipus Complex  In 1907, “ an universal obsessional neurosis ”  Psychologically nothing but a magnified father

42 Oedipus and Religion  Oedipus complex Freud believed that the sourced of religion,morality, society is Oedipus complex. Totem and Taboo Freud finds the Oedipus Complex also the origin of religious belief.

43 The source of religious belief  The totem religion had issued from the sense of guilt of the sons as an attempt to palliate this feeling and to conciliate the injured father through subsequent obedience.( 後來的服從)  All later religions prove to be attempts to solve the same problem, varying only in accordance with the stage of culture in which they are attempted

44 The origin of religious belief God is at bottom nothing but an exalted father Psycho-analysis and Religious Origins  An unexpectedly precise result: namely that God the Father once walked upon the earth in bodily form and exercised his sovereignty as chieftain of the primal human horde until his sons united to slay him.  It emerges further that this crime of liberation and the reactions to it had as their result the appearance of the first social ties, the basic moral restrictions and the oldest form of religion, totemism. But the later religions too have the same content

45 The origin of religious belief Mose and Monotheism(1937-1939)  Hebrew religion Mose was an Egyptian rather than a Jew Mose was killed by his followers The murder  sense guilt  character of Hebrew religion murder of the prophet  similar  the murder of father in totemism.

46 The origin of religious belief Mose and Monotheism Return of the repressed Four main stages  Totem animal  Human hero  Gods  One god

47 The origin of religious belief Thus the grandeur of the primeval father is restored in the Law-giver on Mt.Sinai who requires absolute subjection to his holy will. sin against  replace  primordial murder The result is ethical monotheism, which combines belief in one sole God with the moral asceticism implied in the duty to obey his righteous will.

48 The origin of religion Mose and Monotheism  Christianity The reconciliation with God the Father, the expiation of the crime committed against him; but the other side of the relationship manifested itself in the Son, who had taken the guilt on his shoulders, becoming God himself beside the Father religion, Christianity became a Son religion. The fate of having to displace the Father it could not escape

49 The origin of religious belief Moses and Monotheism  Christianity Christianity doctrines of original sin and salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The connection between the delusion and historical truth is further established by the belief that the sacrificial victim was the Son of God.

50 The origin of religious belief Example in Totem and Taboo  Christianity  Eucharist (聖餐) as a revival of the old totem feast.  At bottom, however,it is a new setting aside of the father, a repetition of the crime that must be expiated.

51 The evalution on Totemic Theory “Totem and Taboo”

52 Criticism 1) Authropologists  reject Freud ’ s view on origions of religion  Because there is not enough evidences to supported Freud 2) Wilhelm Schmidt  puts a great challenge to Freud ’ s Totemic Theory about the origin of religion

53 Criticism Reasons  Many cultures have not yet reached totemic stage (pretotemic cultures)  These pre-totemic cultures have their own religion  Some cultures do not exist to totemic stage → No Totemic Theory can explain for the origin of religion

54 Criticism 3) A scholar : Frazer  Had done a research on totemic tribes  Only four have the rituals of killing & eating animals  Proved that totemism does not occur in the oldest cultures  do nothing on the origin of sacrifice

55 Criticism 4 )Other scholars  General development of religion: Magic → ideas of taboo → belief in spirits → belief in God  Belief in souls/spirits is not found in all nations  It is not the oldest cultures  Animistic ideas are not the original of religion

56 Criticism 5 )Feuerbach and Marx  Psychological factors affected the ideal of religion  Psychological influences draws no conclusion to the existence or nonexistence of God  No need to make a further explanation

57 Criticism 6) The writer : Paul C.  Tometic Theory is an not universal explanation on unconscious motivation  Need to establish a comprehend theory, to give a wider understanding of aheism  Hence, he is working on a new model to replace it now

58 Merits  Described God as a psychological equivalent to our father  Developed a strightforward understanding on the rejection of God & our wish-fulfillment  Explain the unconscious motivation of human

59 Merits  Explain the relationship between children, their fathers and God  If a child loses respect to his father, belief in God becomes impossible  The theory contributes much to a number of psychologists

60 Merits  A good explanation of lack of religious belief between human  Oedipus ’ s desire to abolish his father = do not belief his own religion


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