Freud's Future of an Illusion

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In his book Future of an Illusion, Sigmund Freud utilizes his method of psychoanalysis on religion by comparing the relationship between human and religion to that of a child and his parents. Freud effectively demonstrates that religion is a product of the human mind. After exposing religion as a an illusion, Freud concludes that humanity will be better off when it has forgone religion. This paper will argue that Freud's assertion that religion is an illusion is correct because of it's blatantly traceable evolution through the history of the human civilization and psyche.

The first argument that Freud makes in his assault on religion regards civilization. Freud argues that human civilization arose as a result of mankind's needs to protect itself from nature. "It was precisely because of these dangers with which nature threatens us that we came together and created civilization." (Freud, 19) As a result of the need for organization and manpower to prepare defenses against nature, the instincts of man had to be controlled. He furthers this argument by saying that two human traits, laziness and the unwilling nature of the masses to listen to reason, are responsible for the necessity of the rule of law. Freud then describes the various methods of oppression that can be employed by civilization to halt instinctual privation. The most important of which he points out as being religion.

The main reason that Freud ranks religion as having been the most important tool in civilization are it's ability to explain the various inequities and inexplicable phenomena that afflict human civilization. Freud illuminates with slight sarcasm how convenient religion is in it's ability to rectify all the trials and tribulations of life for us. "Everything that happens in this world is an expression of the intentions of an intelligence superior to us, which in the end, though its ways and byways are difficult to follow, orders everything for the best." (Freud, 23) The existence of...
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