Freud on Religion
The following paper contains an attempt to define Sigmund Freuds perception of religion. After defining his perception, I will then attempt to point out to a couple of strengths and weaknesses contained in his definition.
Freud believed religion was a cultural product, the creation of civilization itself. Civilizations principal task was to defend humankind against nature (Freud, pg. 19). It accomplished this by generating religious ideas in response to nature and fate. By humanizing the elements of nature, nature no longer seemed like a blind force insensitive to humans, but any emotional being capable of feeling sympathy and showing mercy. Religion made the untouchable forces of nature become acts of will and not just something that happens without any rational reasoning. It gave the forces of nature the qualities of a father figure, powerful yet merciful, and turned them into gods (Freud, p. 17). Finally, religion gave civilization a sense of control over one of its greatest fears, death. Religious beliefs in all societies have some idea of the way ultimate reality should be, and how things ultimately should be in the universe. Religion gave individual life a higher purpose. It gave hope after death. Religious beliefs made death less
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