Is Freud's Religious Belief of the "Father-Figure" Sound?

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Atheism, Religion Pages: 4 (1480 words) Published: October 26, 2006
Is Freud's Religious Belief of the "Father-Figure" Sound?

In the May 2002 edition of the National Review, James Como states, "throughout Freud's life, his God-denial existed alongside a preoccupation with what he called the "infantile fairy tale" of God's existence. He protested too much on this latter point; he also constantly quoted the Bible, favored religious reading (for example, Heine's Lazarus), and had an enduringly respectful fascination with Easter. Often he does seem on the verge of despair: "As an unbelieving fatalist I can only let my arms sink before the terrors of death." Yet on the central issue he remained immutable: Religion was "the enemy." At times he seems a genuinely tragic figure. Considering Freud has place high regards on religion and how it affects us, this shows total contradiction for his religion beliefs/theories. Freud uses childhood fantasies, and the "Oedipus Complex" to try and convince us that our reasoning for the need for religion is not sound. However, evidence has not been found for Freud's theory of religion. Not even a published case in which Freud psychoanalyzed a patient who was a believer at the time of the psychoanalysis. Further, there is no published case showing how such a belief in a client was supposed to be the result of early childhood fantasies. Ironically, we do find that Freud's fascination with religion and the father-figure may be a result of his relations with his own father.

We have learned from writings on Freud, that religion is nothing more than security and moral codes in society and serves as a repressor to natural human feelings. However, Freud does not have anything good to say about religion. He regarded religious beliefs as "...illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest and most insistent wishes of mankind". (The Future of an Illusion; the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. and ed. by James Strachey) Religion, he believed was a mental defense...
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