The purpose of religion in one’s life varies from person to person. To some, it may give them a reason to continue their life, and to others, it may explain things that may not be possible to explain. The functions of this complicated thing called religion are ever growing in a world where more and more people start to question the thing that they have been taught to live with. This was exceptionally true for thinkers such as Sigmund Freud and Peter Berger.
Freud had many views on the function on why we, as humans, make a big part of our lives connected to religion. One reason he gives is because humans need a defense for the nature for which we cannot control. Freud believes that nature is cruel. Since we have absolutely no power over it, he believes we need protection, which would be the higher power. An example of this would be a natural disaster. This would include Hurricane Katrina. Since people came together to help the victims of this uncontrollable event, one might say that there must be an explanation to why this horrible event happened. The explanation would be that God (or another higher power) has caused it so people would band together to help one another. I believe Freud is right when he says that religion defends against the cruel aspects of nature. People do come together when bad things happen and I believe that they think there must be an explanation for it and that’s why they’re there to help. Without religion, they may not see the benefit in helping others. On the other had, I do not believe that nature is entirely cruel. Nature also provides us with things that are essential to our survival. These things would include rain for our crops, sunlight for our bodies, and even the trees that provide us with oxygen. If nature were entirely cruel, it wouldn’t have done this.
Another view that Freud had on the purpose of religion is to abject humans to live in a civilization. He believes that individual humans are a direct threat to civilizations, but humans as a whole consider it to be a benefit. To make a civilization work, there must be a leader recognized by the mass part of it. This leader pressures people to follow the rules, laws and other institutions. This leader would be the higher power. The rest, thus keeping the custom of the civilization going, adopted this coercion to the things civilians must follow. An example of this would be baptisms. Basically everyone in the Christian church has gotten baptized, but why? This rite of passage into any Christian church has been used since the beginning of its existence. The reason is because people have a learned feeling that if they don’t or don’t have their child baptized, salvation cannot be achieved. Of course, people were not born with this idea, but rather coerced into believing it. The function of baptisms are to give people the feeling of safety and also that they are involved in civilization. This “rule” of Christian civilization is the reason that millions of people are baptized and will continue to be. Freud is definitely right with this belief. I believe this because my family is a perfect example of this. I was baptized in the Catholic Church when I was a baby, yet I never go to church. My parents fell into the civilization rule made by the leader that is religion. They were brought up to believe the same belief that millions around the world believe-that it would bring salvation. I will probably do the same to my kids one day, since I now deem it as important
A very important function of religion to Freud was that it made a moral code for humans to live by. This would include religious codes such as the Ten Commandments, the Noble Path of Buddha, the Five Pillars of Islam, or others. All of these represent a code that people should live by if they want to live a good life and be worthy enough for their higher power in the after life. Because of these codes, people don’t...
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