Religion and Theology

Sigmund Freud

Viewed religion as a psychological control tool for the males over the female, it served to give social structure to a society, give a false illusion of fulfilment of wishes and bring forth delusion. An atheist, Sigmund believed that religion should be overcome by intellect and reason. Letting religion flourish was handing power to a few to control a vast majority by neurosis, taking advantage of the human instincts and fear of unknown and manipulating it to serve an illusive purpose. This, he believed, robbed people of their senses, creating a wish-world, only applicable to children. Religion should thus be overcome as one moves from childhood to adult maturity.

Sigmund coitized the harsh tones of religious aspects, its alienation of those deemed sinful and its hate for those who ascribed to a different belief. Religion thrived on threats, selling faith and n total submission at the rewards of an illusive heaven and giving torment and hell fire to those who didn’t tore. Sigmund auctioned scientific reasoning and intellect at the place of oppressive religious dogmas. Religion dummied the views of the mortals, stumping on their wills and robbing them the chance to be themselves. Religion claims to save humankind from guilt, an illusion it calls sin.

Sigmund argued that those who choose to believe in god do so only to seek a sense of security and to absolve themselves of guilt. They have wishes that can only be masked by a false hope, but never realized. God, a father figure thus provided an escape from reality and safety from an imaginary evil.

Karl Max argued that humans should be guided by reason. He believed that religion was misguiding and oppressive, especially to the poor. Max argued that religion was invented to dissuade the suffering from the realities of their life. To mask their suffering and provide them with a false hope of giving up their hard-earned wages at the promise of a heavenly rewards. An economist, Max was critical of the religious propagation of the idea that those who gather much wealth in the earthly beings, will not be rewarded in the heavenly life. His disgust for blind faith rather than reason led to his famous quote ‘religion is the opium of the poor’. It soothes the poor and dulls their pains to oppression. This summarizes his belief that religion was invented by the wiser, to sublimate the little wealth that the poor have, in exchange for unproven heavenly riches. He argued that people should be presented with the truth, and offered a choice between scientific reason and faith. Despite his diabolical views, he however never thought that religion should be abolished.

Emile Durkheim analyzed religion as a social phenomenon, attributing its origin and development to a byproduct of communal living and the necessity for an emotional security. In totemic societies, he believed that each society, ascribes human sentiments and superhuman abilities to totems they closely relate to. These totems thus become the symbol of god. God is a unifying factor. Unifying all believers through practices and adorations, bringing all who subscribe under one umbrella called a church.

Emile summarized that a society will always attribute batters beyond their control to a supernatural. The group association then amplifies the perception giving rise to a symbolic power. Thus, expression he argued is an expression of collective consciousness creating a new virtual reality. The more complex a society is, the more complex the religion it will create. Emile argued that, as societies interacted, the dominant societies seemed to amplify their faith as more universal, urging the less vocal to assimilate. To Emile, religion was humanly created for the purpose of uniting the people, and what is sacred is a perception, not an absolute. Thus, every society had a sacred totem, but their sacred totem would not hold the same sentimental value to a different society.

And how their theories differ from each other.

Sigmund, Max and Emile, though critical of religion, their views differed, though not so much. Both max believed that religion is a yoke of oppression, preying on the poor, using their lack of material possession as a trap to pull them in a common pool, robbing them then offering them hopes in return, in a later life. This he called an opium, robbing the poor while soothing them with a virtual reality and promise of a better life in heaven. Sigmund, although agreeing with max, he viewed religion as mind colonization. Dumbing of wits and oppression at a psychological level. He believed that both poor and rich fell victim at the expression of guilt and offered themselves for purification from a higher force, god, the father. Sigmund agreed with Max on the sense of oppression, but was more leaned on the psychological perspective while max relied on the economic and social perspective.

Emile on the other hand sought to understand the tidbits that make religion as powerful. His analysis was scientific and logically summarized. He believed that although religion sought strong commitments, mass association, belief on material and unseen forces, religion served a positive aspect, unity. It gave people a sense of belonging, bringing them together and helping them identify as one. The totems provided a tangible object that those lost of hope could fuel their disappointments in the vicissitudes of life and draw inspiration. Emile, though argued that, all these were humanly created and were illusions, robbing people of the will to act on the problems at hand but rather mask them in prayers to totems and belief in unforeseen hopes.

Their views that religion is a form of false consciousness, a psychological and sociological product that alienates man from reality are all echoed through their strong critiques.

In conclusion, Both Max, Emile and Sigmund challenge the mortals to reason. They ask the common man to indulge their scientific logical minds and question every decision before diving deep. If one does not involve religion with reason, they may end up being economic slaves to the faith, psychologically colonized by the faith or dumbed to oblivion by their own faith. Their arguments are however not absolute and still leave chance for further introspection and making a decision, based on one’s own conclusions, to follow religion, or to abstain fully.

Reference. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, Emile Durkheim1915,

New introductory lectures, Sigmund Freud.

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