2 Freud on ReligionReligion as a collective neurosis“Universal obsessional neurosis”Links between religious behaviour and “obsessive actions in sufferers from nervous affections.” E.g. obsessive hand washingRitual not performed = guiltUnpleasant memories pushed into unconscious mindRepressed memories = neurotic actions
3 Oedipus Complex and Repressed Guilt Boys and mothersFathers – mixture of feelingsLed to ‘terrible act’ – guilt passed onto all future generationsRepressed guilt in unconscious shows itself in religious behaviour
4 The Terrible ActDescribed in Totem and TabooDarwin – primordial hordesSons – Oedipus ComplexKill father and eat bodyTotem animal – father substitute (animism)Guilt passed on to future generationsTotem animal becomes GodEucharist = remembering actReligion = illusion
5 Wish fulfilment and a reaction against helplessness Illusions = “Derived from human wishesExternal Forces of Nature (floods, earthquakes etc)Internal Forces of Nature (murder, cannibalism, incest etc)Longing for father figure (1 & 2 lead to feelings of helplessness)
6 How does Freud challenge religious belief? “Great services for human civilisation.”Negatives outweigh positivesReligion manipulated = social injusticeReligion = oppression (“overrated its necessity for mankind”)Doesn’t bring happinessPrevents maturingReject religion and progressPut energy into this life.
7 Religious ResponsesNo evidencePromotes equalityMakes people happyJung – religion is positive and leads to good mental healthIf Freud had a religious experience himself, he would understand. “If Freud had ever experienced anything of the kind himself, he might have been forced to consider some other interpretation.” (Storr)
8 Freud StrengthsIt is generally agreed that Freud was immensely intelligent. His work greatly influenced the Western understanding of the mind.The idea that people imagined gods to represent the good and bad in their own lives and personalities was not a new one. It was held by many others in Freud’s time.Example OneIn The Natural History of Religion, David Hume had argued that humans had constructed religion in order to help them to deal with the misery of life and the dread of death.Example TwoIn The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach states that religion is a childlike condition. He felt that it is an illusion which comes from feelings of separation from oneself and the world. These feelings of separation lead to the qualities which we ourselves lack being projected on to a ‘God’.
9 Freud Weaknesses“Almost all evidence that Freud presented has been discredited in some way or another.” (Michael Palmer)The Historical and Anthropological EvidenceMalinowski and the Oedipus Complex – TrobriandsNarrow Selection of EvidenceNegative bias towards religion – Winnicott (religion helps humans adapt by offering comfort and familiarity), Rizzuto (religion no more of an illusion than science)
10 Jung on ReligionReligion as an expression of the collective unconsciousAll humans have an unconscious which is made up of archetypes, which are, “identical psychic structures common to all.”Collective unconscious = oldest part of mindE. g. Common idea of God = light
11 Archetypes“Archetypes are those pre-existent forms or primordial types that have existed since the remotest times of humanity.” (Michael Palmer)A priori“Unconscious organisers of ideas.”Drawing on the work of Kant – noumenon, phenomenon and concepts
12 God as an archetypeImages and ideas of God are archetypalAll humans come up with similar ideas of God, angels etcThis idea has no bearing on arguments for God’s existence“Nothing positive or negative has thus been asserted about the possible existence of God any more than the archetype of the hero proves the actual existence of a hero.”
13 The PersonaThe mask we show the worldThe parts of our personalities which we think other people and society will likeRepressing parts of ourselves which we think are ‘bad’ has negative effects on our mental health.Persona = “a very fruitful source of neurosis.”
14 The ShadowThe parts of our characters which we repressThe things we think society will not likeCannot stay repressedReveals itself in ideas such as Satan, Mr Hyde, FrankensteinAshamed of shadow – protect it onto something else, like Satan.
15 Anima and AnimusAnima = feminine side of maleAnimus = masculine side of femaleMen put masculine characteristics into their persona and repress feminine characteristicsWe are attracted to those who have the feminine/masculine characteristics we repressImages of anima – Virgin Mary, goddessesImages of animus – hero, wise man
16 The SelfMost important part of humansSeeks integrationGuides through lifeLooks for fulfilment in religion and artSelf = ‘God within’ – the mystical part of humans, or the soulReveals itself in dreams and visions, figures of power (kings), supernatural entities (gods), outstanding religious personalities (Jesus), religious symbols (Mandala)
17 Integration / Individuation “Coming to self-hood” (Jung)All humans go through this process of becoming a unique individual.Individuation can be held back by parents, education etcConscious and unconscious mind comes togetherTwo stages of life:Up to 35/40 – Construct persona and repress parts of personality35/40+ - embrace ourselves and ask spiritual and philosophical questions
18 Is integration a religious process? Jung – archetype of self and archetype of God are not easily distinguishableBoth ‘God’ and ‘self’ belong to the nouminon – impossible to understand / describeSelf and God are not the same – the self does not replace God.Symbols of Self and God are symbols of unity, such as the mandala.Individuation is about wholeness and totality – these are the goals of religion
19 How do Jung’s ideas challenge religious belief? Jung’s ideas are not as damaging as Freud’sReligion is important – unlocks collective unconscious – therapeutic for individualReligion is not infantile – it helps humans to mature and integrate their personalitiesReligion gives life meaning.Reductionism?
20 Jung - StrengthsAs Jung provides a theory of religion and psychology which is less damaging to religion, he has been praised by religious thinkers:“[Jung has] rediscovered the religious and the sacred and got rid of an overwhelming rationalism. (Raymond Hostie – Jesuit theologian)“[Jung is] one who knows so much about the depths of the human soul …” (Paul Tillich – Theologian)“[By studying Jung] we can gain an insight into the ways by which men become aware of God.” (Charles Hanna – Jungian)However, “although Jung’s theories are perhaps less sensational than those of Freud, they have nonetheless been seriously criticised.” (Michael Palmer)
21 Jung - WeaknessesJung – we can never know whether or not God exists. However, Jung accepted scientific ideas without empirical evidenceRoheim - the theory of archetypes is unnecessary – Humans have the same ideas because they have the same experiences.Is God an archetype? If so, why are there atheists?Is individuation a religious process? For Christians, Christ is more than just a symbol of wholeness to help balance our minds - He is the Son of God.Jung’s reduction of religion to psychology could be damaging – (Father Victor White)
22 Has Freud explained religion away? Religion is an illusion which prevents humans maturing. There is no proof , so religion should be rejectedFreud’s idea of the terrible act could show that religion is simply a reaction to a guilty memory.Has Freud explained religion away?Freud doesn’t provide any proof against religionHick – Freud could be beneficial to religion. Freud may have uncovered how God reveals Himself as a father figureJung – it is not the job of psychology to comment upon God’s existence. It cannot be proven or disproven
23 Has Jung explained religion away? For Jung, religion is part of human nature which can be studied like any other.Jung does not wish to comment on the veracity of religion. He is interested only in the effects it has on individuals.Has Jung explained religion away?Religion can have positive effects on mental health, but that doesn’t mean that God does or doesn’t exist.God can exist (or not exist) even if God is an archetype
24 Religion and mental health Positive effectsNegative effectsReligion can make people happy and provides support in difficult times, when they could be prone to mental health problemsFreud – negative effects – guilt leads to behaviour linked to obsessional neuroticsJung – religion aids integration which supports good mental healthFreud – religion holds people back and stops them maturingReligious leaders support the mentally ill and joining congregations promotes a sense of belonging.