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Freud fundamentals

- beloved normal people repressed their unconscious desires as theyre socially unacceptable
- they can be substituted satisfaction in dreams (wish fulfilment)
- he was close to his mum and possibly jealous of his father, thought it was universal so named it the Oedipus complex
- believed region was a psychological obsession


Why is religion an illusion ?

Because there is no empirical evidence for the existence of God; religion can’t be proven + incomparable with what we know


Freud said all features of a religion can be explained in terms of what?

Wish fulfilment


What did Frued say in the book Totem and Taboo ?

All religious attitudes of primitives are similar to neurotic obsessions therefore concluded religion is a universal neurotic obsession

Religion is create in the mind to help us overcome; inner psychological conflict, conflict between nature and civilisation, helplessness and fear of natural forces


Freud said religion creates a blissful hallucinatory...?



Structure religion as a neurosis ?

Religions is illusion/ empirical talk

Wish fulfilment

Totem and Taboo

Blissful hallucinatory confusion

Development of the human mind and personality lead to deeper inner conflict invariably sexual in nature, minds solution to such trauma = lock it away which then re-emerges later in life as religion

Religion provides reason to submit to authority- religion explains our need for suffering (obeying omni God) which promises after life salvation (reward) and makes society seem bearable

Sublimation occurs when our most natural outlet is forbidden which forces libidos to other areas which then occurs in forms of religion and art


What is a neurosis ?

Mental illness

Symptoms = obsessions
Causes are opted in the mind


Why is religion a collective neurosis ?

Because is affects all people


Freud worked with patients with hysteria, what did Freud come to believe as a result of this ?

- the mind contains unconscious parts


Unpleasant memories are trapped in the unconscious in a form neurotic behaviour... example a condition of this ?



Why did Freud relate what he found in studying hysteria to religion? And what did he then conclude ?

Saw similarity in behaviour of his patients and religious people

Concluded religion is a neurosis caused by trauma deep in the mind which includes conscious and unconscious components


Religion is an infantile neurosis

Just a Freud quote


Explain the Oedipus complex ?

Child is used to having mother’s sole attention, when their libido is transferred to the penis there is already a rival = father = jealousy and hatred to kill father

This hatred = guilt, can’t carry out murder so represses conflict and guilt to subconscious
- desire for mother and ambivalence for father = Oedipus complex


How is Oedipus complex linked to religion ?

Belief in God is just a way of compensating for the negative feelings towards the father so religion is made up to help people come to terms with the Oedipus complex


Explain Little Hans ?

5 Year old boy who was scared of a horse biting off his Weaner

- Freud concluded Hans fear of horses was a subconscious symbol for his dad who would chemically castrate him if he knew about his incestuous desire for his mum

- Hans phobia was an expression of the Oedipus complex


What did F say about the psycho sexual stages ?

During the phallic stage 3-6 yo develops intense sexual love for mum and sees dad as threat so wants to rid of him

Father is bigger and stronger so kid creates
‘ identification with the aggressor’ and try’s to adopt their mannerisms so father sees him as similar and won’t act hostile towards him


Critical evaluation of little Hans

- supports Oedipus C

- social desirability bias (father new of friends work)

- case studies lack population validity so may prove the OC exists but not how common it it


Primal horde ?

F used Darwin’s work to speculate that in primitive societies the social unit was the ‘primal horde’

Primal horde was where
- groups of people arranged around single dominant male such as Johnnie, who has aim over all the females

Such power lead to
- feeling of ambivalence towards him
- eventually group killed the male but the ambivalent feeling was so strong he became idolised and transformed into the town of the group

Significance ?
- shows Oedipus complex isn’t just a permanent trauma but affected all societies at a historical level
- F said when suffering from extreme guilt the minds defence mechanism is to create totems to which and individual can redirect a feeling of guilt onto e.g prayer


What are 3 things we are helpless about ?

Nature - natural disasters

Humans instincts- sexual desires conflicting with society rules

Longing for father- all humans face conflict between liking society and hating it, it protects us but doesn’t let u express desires = conflict = neurosis = helplessness = religion helps by saying god is watching over u and heaven will make it pay off


Reaction agaisnt helplessness ?

- religion
- when you grow up you loose authority figure = father so make one up= God helps us believe we’re not powerless against natural forces
- desire to believe cancels out any doubt


Scholar support for Freud ?

David Hume said humans constructed religion to help us deal with the misery of life

Feuerbach- stares religion is a childlike condition


Explain redirection if guilt complexes ?

Ego uses range of defence mechanisms to deal with life’s problems

Ego is driven by Id which is confined by the superego to bring about harmony upon all the forces


Defence mechanisms from the ego are normal but when they get out of proportion neurosis develops, what are the 2 main defence mechanisms ?

- redirection of impulse onto powerless substitute target e.g frustrated by his superiors may go home and kick the dog

- same as displacement but knot constructive activity e.g maybe putting out aggression into the gym


Who supported the idea of redirection of guilt complexes ?

Carl Roger and Ellis


Challenges to Freud ?

- lack of anthropological evidence for primal horde
- been suggested there’s more variety in primitive societies then suggested
- guilt can’t be passed down through generations
- religion can’t be guilt based as this major source of guilt ‘ primal horde never occurred’

- lacks psychological evidence from Oedipus C
- Malinowski said OC can’t be universal as some societies are matrilineal meaning the father has nothing to do wit raising the children
- methodology issues
- psychoanalyst Donald Winicott said Religion is positive


Religion is a neurosis ? Arguments for

Religious rituals sometimes similar to OCD ones

No empirical proof they aren’t illusions

People turn to religion for support

Many people believing in God have bad mental health issues e.g Yorkshire Ripper


Religion isn’t a neurosis ?

Not always linked to trauma

Based on case studies

Not all religions have rituals

Some come to believe religion through logic

Malinowksi argues religion can cause neurosis and trauma, not other way around

- said religion can help maintain the balance in the mind called individuation

Jung said religion can’t be caused by repressed sexuality as SZ has no sexual component so religion can’t be a neurosis as Freud said neurosis need a sexual component


Freud’s explanation is adequate for explaining religious belief ?

f said religion is illusion and based his theories on real life studies

F said humans must reject any human belief in order to mature, there is no firm proof of religion so it should be rejected

Believe religion results from or actions of primal horde showing God could be a human creation intended to ease our lives

Backed by scholars (name them) Rogers, Darwin, Feuerbach, and Ellis

Seems logical in places e.g in primal horde and jealousy occurs


Freud’s explanation is inadequate ?

F provides no proof against God or religion and admits Gods could exist

Donald Winicott argues religion is positive

No firm psychological evidence for universal Oedipus complex (Malinoski)

Small evidence base

Religion can cause trauma not other way around

- religion is no mor elf an illusion than science

Jung rejected baby sucking was sexual so rejected Oedipus complex so explanation is inadequate


3 types of conscious suggested by Jung ?

Consciousness- ego

Personal unconscious- underlying thoughts and feelings and urges

Collective unconscious
- inherited and common to all humanity


Jung said religion was necessary for personal growth what is the conscious ?

Where we actively make descisions and choices


Personal unconscious ?

Freud called this the unsconscious
- thoughts and feelings are difficult to bring into consciousness e.g car journey u take notice of thousands of irrelevant stimuli but it’s all stored here and you can access it through hypnosis


Collective unconscious ?

Oldest part of the mind and is inherited- consists of psychological archetypes = identicle psychic structures common to all


What are archetypes ?

Comes from Greek ‘arche’ = first and type means pattern

- each one of us is born with the tendency to form basic ideas, primordial images and principles which are created by archetypes e.g parallel between God and light is found in countless religious traditions

- Jung said God is one of these archetypes

- collective unconscious explains why any of our ideas about God will be shared with other people


Why do archetypes count as religious experiences ?

Because they are ineffable


6 types of archetype ?

The persona - mask we wear to cover our true natures and desires


Animus- represent masculine side of a female

Anima- feminine side of a male

Self- guides us through life

God- ‘god within’ helps us create religious images of God as God is a psychological phenomenon

Jung therefore concluded archetype are religious as fit into Rudolph Ottos definition


Concluding archetypes

God and the whole of religion exist as a psychic reality but to those experiences my these archetypes God is real but they can’t prove it

God therefore plays the role of maintaining balance of the mind and preventing neurosis through individuation


What is individuation ?

‘ becoming ones Own self’- innate process

Associated with the self archetype

Rejected ads view about neurosis being caused by repressed sexuality


Go through the process of individuation ?

Lives split into 2 parts

1) up to 35/40 we construct a socially acceptable persona and repress parts of our personality

2) over 40, embrace ourselves, faced with declining opportunities one must find new meaning in life e.g mid life crisis, beneficial but difficult process as may not want to accept parts of our personality

- Jung describes rel exp as numinous and individuation is governed by self archetype so individuation is a religious process

- individuation is about wholeness and unity which is part of religion


Kings view on how a neurosis is formed ?

To maintain health all features f personality must be integrated, balance between conscious and unconscious and balance between archetypes, imbalance = mental disorder


How do Jung’s theories challenge religious belief ?

Said religion is a positive phenomenon = good for mental health

- doesn’t believe religion = negative neurosis

- religion is constantly evolving help develop personality

- said fried was wrong to reduce religion to sexual libido

- said God is only real to those who experience his archetype

- said religious belief was a natural expression of collective unsconscious


Supporting evidence for Jung ?

Donal Winicott a psychoanalyst said religion is positive

Religion is a necessary safety feature that helps prevent disparity between different archetypes

Can’t reject religion as main component in individuation so prevent neurosis


Challenges to Jung ?

Similar ideas sent down to innate archetypes but due to humans sharing broadly the same experiences (not surprising we develop myths)

Jung tried to provide evidence for archetypes using Miss Miller study and a male SZ so claimed widespread nature of shared ideas must be innate - not persuasive enough to argue when phenomenon is found in far ranging places it means they’re innate - cultural factors easily explain this phenomenon e.g spread of religion in pop culture and art

-Claimed archetypal images are religious as external to person-can’t be accessed - been criticised for suggesting any vision is religious, Martin Buber claims collective unconscious isn’t external to the person and experiences arriving from collective unconscious can’t be described as religion

J suggested God is a subjective phenomenon
- damages religion saying God isn’t objective reality, therefore reducing religion to wish fulfilment and delusion