Exploratory Essay on Sigmund Freud’s Views on Religion
Sigmund Freud (1850-1939) was an Austrian psychologist and neurologist. Many people regard him as the forefather of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a hybrid of therapeutic systems and psychological theories combined.
According to psychoanalysis, the mind is a system comprised of three elements. These systems are ID, ego, and superego. Psychoanalysis focuses on how these elements interact. It includes key concepts such as repression, transference, infantile sexuality, and latency.
In this article, we try to guide students on how to write a stellar exploratory essay on Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion. We acknowledge the evolution of Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion from 1913 to 1939. Some of his works that paint a bigger picture of this evolution include;
- The Future of an Illusion (1927)
- Civilization and Its Discontents (1930)
- Moses and Monotheism (1939).
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How Do You Start an Exploratory Essay?
Exploratory essays are an excellent way of approaching specific subjects in an unbiased angle. These essays aim to analyze the topic comprehensively. Rather than solving a problem, exploratory essays examine different viewpoints on a single issue in a bid to clarify the different perspectives.
When writing an exploratory essay assignment, students have to analyze differing beliefs and opinions on a specific subject and highlight all the similarities and differences. To begin writing exploratory essays, students can follow these recommended steps:
- Develop a summarized outline for all the major arguments to be used in the paper.
- Carefully read and comprehend material from credible sources such as peer-reviewed articles.
- Decide how all the information gathered during research can help strengthen specific points of view on the paper’s subject.
- Create a draft that will form the basis of your final paper.
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What Is a Good Exploratory Essay Topic?
Good exploratory essay topics enable the students to provide unbiased points of view on a specific subject. At My Homework Writers, there are many exploratory essay topics, such as an exploratory essay on Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion. Kindly head over to myhomeworkwriters.com to access many more good examples of exploratory essays.
What Are Exploratory Writing Techniques?
Exploratory essays are very different from conventional argumentative essays. Essentially, exploratory essays aim to bring various points of view on a specific topic to light. Some excellent techniques of sprucing up exploratory writing essays include:
Similar to other kinds of writing, we cannot downplay the importance of an attention-grabbing opening. Your choice of opening in an exploratory essay can pique interest in potential readers or make them resent your work.
Providing Interesting Details on the Paper’s Setting
A great technique to always pique readers interests is providing juicy details about the topic’s setting. Interesting details help bring an essay to life significantly. Focusing entirely on the academic aspect of your paper can make it too dry for your audience to enjoy.
For instance, when writing an exploratory essay on Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion, you can include details on his background and key findings.
Very few or arguably, no writers at all get their writing right the first time. After writing your first draft, thoroughly go through it and contemplate on the order of your main points. Determine whether what you have written makes sense. Ideally, you should put yourself in the shoes of your audience when doing this.
What Did Sigmund Freud Believe in?
An exploratory essay on Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion can start off by explaining his beliefs. Arguably, Sigmund’s thoughts on Religion can be viewed as complex and ambivalent. Sigmund Freud had a strong affiliation to Jewish religious thoughts. Throughout his life, we can see his deep fascination for matters of religious impulse.
However, we cannot ignore his round skepticism and occasional hostile character towards Religion. The Sigmund Freud theory on Religion can be viewed through his life’s works. For instance, his work, the Future of an Illusion (1927), paints a clear picture of ‘Fred religion illusion.’ According to Sigmund Freud, God was only a mere illusion. His beliefs suggest that worshippers were going back to their childhood needs of forgiveness and security.
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What Does Psychology Say About Religion?
According to psychology, Religion is the end result of various social and cognitive adaptations that have played a significant role in human development. The short answer to why religions exist according to psychology is that people believe in God.
Whichever form people believe God takes, people believe in its realness because of their communications with it. Another reason to believe is the evidence they perceive from God’s involvement with the world.
Approximately 16% of the global population does not affiliate themselves with any religion. This equates to about 1.2 billion people who fail to reconcile any religious ideas with how they view the world. The psychological theory of Religion explains that human evolution created a metaphorical “God-shaped hole” that drove us to believe in deities.
When writing about a topic such as an exploratory essay on Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion, you can try and establish a link between psychology and Religion. This, of course, according to Freud’s point of view.
What Does Marx Say about Religion?
The reasons why people believe in Religion was a source of mystery and fascination for many history’s great thinkers. Among such great thinkers as Karl Marx. Karl Marx was a German-Jewish philosopher. Often, his examinations of Religion from a scientific perspective of objectivity are evident throughout his works. His critics of Religion are arguably the most famous among theists and atheists.
According to him, Religion is the “opium of the people.” Additionally, Marx viewed Religion as a protest by the working class against their alienation and wanting economic conditions. We can contrast his views with those of other great thinkers such as Carl Jung. When examining Jung on Religion, we realize that he was a firm believer in psychology’s ability to provide a language for handling moral ambiguities during times of spiritual crisis.
The roles of other great thinkers such as Marx can have a significant place when working on assignments like an exploratory essay on Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion. We, therefore, can contrast the views of other great thinkers to those of Freud.
Is Religion a Defense Mechanism?
To dive into this, we first have to answer ‘What is Religion.’ Religion is a theological virtue based on firm beliefs in a God, and complete acceptance of God’s will. A defense mechanism is a psychological strategy used by different entities to maintain self-image and to cope with reality.
As postulated by Sigmund Freud, denial is a common defense mechanism. Whenever people face facts they are not comfortable accepting, they often reject them and insist that they are not true despite the evidence provided.
Denial is considered a level I or a basic defense mechanism. According to Sigmund Freud, Religion is perhaps a defense mechanism due to its pathological nature. Worshippers in Freud’s point of view use Religion to effectively rearrange their external reality and destroy the need to deal with reality.
Religion, as a defense mechanism, is objectively analyzable in an exploratory essay on Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion. In the exploratory essay, students can present different points of view that support or go against this topic.
Exploratory Essay on Sigmund Freud’s Views on Religion
Sigmund Freud’s views on Religion are arguably strikingly complex and ambivalent. While we cannot doubt his habitually hostile character and overall skepticism, it is evident that he had firm grounding in Jewish religious thoughts. Throughout his entire life, he had an eternal fascination towards the religious impulse.
His works focused on drawing parallels between neurosis and religious belief. They also detail his account of the purpose a father complex plays in the birth of religious belief.
Psychoanalysis and Religion
Sigmund Freud’s account of Religion deploys a hermeneutic of suspicion. His style of interpretation was reductive and demystifying, repudiating what he viewed as a façade of conventional meanings. According to Freud, the conventional meanings were working at a level of common discourse. The common discourse he describes favours deeper, less traditional truths that relate to human psychology.
Using his methods, Sigmund aimed to demonstrate the real significance and origins of Religion to human life. In effect, he chose various techniques of psychotherapy to reach his goal. The general position Freud took on Religion has its roots firmly in naturalistic projectionism traditions.
The naturalistic projectionism traditions span all the way from 570 BCE during Xenophanes’ era, to 1872 during Ludwig Feuerbach’s era. These traditions essentially hold a common concept that God is the result of unconscious, anthropomorphic constructs.
Freud views this as a direct result of the existing father complex present in social groups. In Totem and Taboo, he boldly states this is a ‘psychoanalysis of individual human beings.’ In his explanations, he specially insists that the gods of different social groups imitate the likeness of the father figure.
Therefore, according to Freud, people’s relation to God depends on how they relate with their fathers in the flesh. This relation changes and oscillates along with the relation with the fathers in flesh. On this basis, Sigmund Freud argues that ultimately, God is only an exalted father.
Sigmund Freud’s Critique of Religion
Freud’s concept of the Oedipal conflict seeks to conceptualize the relation between a child’s desire for its mother and an intervening father with libidinal investments in the mother. The father, in this sense, becomes a figure representing prohibition and conflict for the child.
This principle presented by Freud always merges with a father figure. Upholding this principle has always been a critical interest of most powers that are the face of civilization.
By creating a Father-God, all the major religions of the West glorify submitting to the father. In doing so, they normalize the reality principle and accepting prohibition. The primary function, therefore, is bridging the law and desire.
In relation to Religion, the fundamental question that Freud poses revolves around the extent and nature of prohibition. He ponders on questions such as:
- The origin of the father figure’s authority.
- The causes of drive renunciation.
- Why drive renunciation occurs originally.
- Whether access to enjoyment is finite and if it is limited for everyone.
- Whether the limitations on access to enjoyment apply to the father who is representative of the law.
One frequent observation that Freud makes is that guilt plays a key role in the human psyche. In addition, guilt often operates unconsciously. Regarding psychic causality, guilt is the major force that causes drive renunciation. Guilt also leads people to develop intellectuality.
In Sigmund Freud’s school of thought, guilt perhaps had an original reason. At some point in the past, he believes that there was a violation of laws. Hence the genesis of the sense of guilt. In answering this mystery, Sigmund takes recourse in prevailing anthropological theories of his time. The theories claim that in the beginning, the primal father was murdered.
According to Freud, the primal father’s murder is a missing link in explaining how prohibition functions in an economy of drives. In a sense, therefore, the death of the father leads to the initiation of laws. Hence, this functions as the birth of all father religions.
The Truth in Religion
Particularly towards reaching his eventual demise, Sigmund Freud believed that there exists some truth in Religion. The truth he was referring to is neither the truth of the believers nor the material truth, but historical truth.
This historical truth exists as a repressed memory in our unconscious minds. According to Freud, repetition manifests this historical truth. For him, however, this raises the implication that indeed the murder of the primal religious father occurred. At some point, there was definitely a corpse.
The parricide is often subject to repression or forgotten altogether. Religion, in this sense, is the symptom formation responsible for preserving the memory of the primal father’s murder in an encoded manner. Abrahamic religions, i.e., Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, all have a similar truth. While this similar truth is commonly understandable as historical truth, it differs among the three religions in how their respective symptoms form.
Analyzing Sigmund Freud’s thought development concerning Religion we notice a decisive shift. The shift is notable between 1927 (The Future of an Illusion) and 1939 (Moses and Monotheism). In the former, Freud categorically rejects Religion citing it as a mere illusion. The latter, however, sees him attempting to explain how the concept of a monotheistic God emerges.
During his final 15 years of living, Sigmund devoted plenty of effort in attempting to analyze culture and Religion through a psychoanalytic lens. Several times, it appears as though the drive behind Freud’s theoretical development is his interest in understanding Religion as a phenomenon.
Convinced that his psychoanalytic discoveries actual, Sigmund proceeds with testing and application. The discoveries were paired with questions that were of central concern to theologians and philosophers of the Western world.
Freud’s Explanation of Religion and Culture
Empiricist materialism is the basis for Sigmund’s philosophical background in explaining Religion and culture. In this view, God is an indefensible hypothesis. Civilization’s history constantly reflects on an endless strife to control nature both internally and externally.
The belief in God is arguably humanity’s attempt to reconcile with its state of embeddedness into nature. Through experience, this nature is often traumatic to its subjects. Freud interprets religion formation according to its roles in the conflict between culture and nature or between drive and ego.
Religions in this sense are an excellent basis for compromise. While they allow humans to admit their extraordinary vulnerability, they simultaneously enable humans to retain their sense of superiority over their surrounding reality. The price to pay for this apparent compromise is submitting to an “illusion.”
Religious dogmas, according to Freud, therefore, are not products of thinking or experience. Instead, they come across as pure fantasies. They are wish fulfilments made in reaction to humanity’s most rudimentary needs. Therefore, how strong the illusion is has a directly proportional relation to how strong a specific set of needs is.
The Father-God, which is the major religious fantasy, draws material and inspiration from the typical human being’s childhood experiences. As a child, an individual is helpless and has a strong need for protection. This need for protection motivates expectations and love towards the father figure. Hence suppressing the hostility of the father figure towards the child as a rival to the mother’s attention.
However, a more powerful further is eventually required. This is because the real father is not entirely capable of providing a remedy for the fragile human life. Also, because human fragility does not necessarily end in childhood. This way, the idealization and projection of the father above create the image of a God.