Nietzsche and Freud Views on Religion - Essay Example

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In Freud’s book, “Totem and Taboo”, Freud postulates the ideas regarding the nucleus of primitive religion by adopting psychological concepts This research enabled Freud to form a nexus between the genres of psychology and religion…
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Nietzsche and Freud Views on Religion
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Interestingly, though the great German philosopher Nietzsche and Freud both hold on the concept of something beyond the premises of religion, something that may or may not have the comfort of illusion., the two maestros had a difference of opinion on some basic levels. Nietzsche offers a strong criticism against religion, morality, and philosophy by using a blend of Enlightenment-inspired criticism and anti-Enlightenment attack on the life-negating aspects of modern culture.
In Freud’s study of the idea of Positivist origin, he broadly defines the causes and purpose of religion in three works, “Future of an Illusion”, “Civilization and Its Discontents” and “Moses and Monotheism”. He analyses the origin of the religions and flaunts the psychological debate regarding its cultural significance to mankind. To Freud, religion is a vital par of the processes of traditional civilization. He emphasizes on the premises of man’s latent and primordial feelings and tries giving voices to those socially unsanctified wishes by trying to provide solutions to these repressed instinctual desires. Thus, religion is held as an illusion that can be compared to the definition of illusion provided by Marx (Communist Manifesto2, in his idea of false consciousness guiding the proletariats) that makes him remark that religion is the opium of the people3.
Similar to Marx's assertion, Freud4 shows that religion is a function of the believers' inherent conviction of his faith and cannot be empirically or rationally justified. In his book, "The Future of an Illusion", he says that God is the paternalistic Christian God formed by the primitive human mind, in an effort to explain things beyond its ken and to rebuff the horrors that may arise due to ignorancy
Freud also believes that from childhood, a traditional version of Christianity is infused within individuals, and which leads to an easy process of assimilation into our social and national consciousness of a culture. He also points out that this inculcation is so deep-rooted that things are never questioned and carry on as traditional knowledge. This hegemony, or social conditioning, continues even upon attaining maturity from where the religious illusions becomes prone to asserting a kind of social and psychological dogmatism, that suppresses questioning and doubt, and we retain that childish version of religion, even in becoming adults with acute powers of reasoning of rationality. Freud's answer does not lie in renouncing God, but rather, to grow up and switch to Logos, the god of Reason. In scientific terms, he only suggests a form of displacement reaction, only for what he considers a replacement of the bad by the better. Similar to Sartre's bad faith, and in line to the existentialist philosophists, renunciation, as according to Freud is impossible. Freud's explains Christianity from the loci of a patriarchal and phallic society, in which the father is a central figure (hence, his analysis of the subconscious as creating a father/protector god, someone to be both loved and feared). Thus, he propounds that the idea of religion emanates from the ardent wishes that lie latent within our subconscious and our neurotic selves:
"Religion would thus be the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity; like the obsessional neurosis of children, it arose out of the Oedipus complex, out of the relation to the father. [Consequently] a turning-away from religion is bound to occur with the fatal inevitability of a process of growth" (Freud, 1927, chapter-VIII)
In his analysis of religion in Chapter IV, Freud positions the human subjectivity at the centre of his theory. He analyses the urges of a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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