Difference between revisions of "Religion"

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[[Freud]] saw the idea of [[God]] as an expression of an [[infantile]] longing for a protective [[father]].<ref>Freud 1927b.</ref>
 
[[Freud]] saw the idea of [[God]] as an expression of an [[infantile]] longing for a protective [[father]].<ref>Freud 1927b.</ref>
  
[[Frued]] described [[religion]] as a "universal obsessional neurosis."<ref>Freud. 1907. b.</ref>
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[[Freud]] described [[religion]] as a "universal obsessional neurosis."<ref>Freud. 1907. b.</ref>
  
 
==Jacques Lacan==
 
==Jacques Lacan==

Revision as of 07:48, 29 June 2006


Sigmund Freud

Freud renounced the Jewish religion of his parents (though not his Jewish identity) and considered himself an atheist.

Freud regarded monotheistic forms of religion as the sign of a highly developed state of civilization.

Freud thought that all religions were barriers to cultural progress, and thus argued that they should be abandoned iin favor of science.

Reality and Delusion

Freud argued that religions were an attempt to protect oneself against suffering by "a delusional remoulding of reality," and thus concluded that they "must be classed among the mass-delusions" of humankind.[1]

Freud saw the idea of God as an expression of an infantile longing for a protective father.[2]

Freud described religion as a "universal obsessional neurosis."[3]

Jacques Lacan

Jacques Lacan also considers imself an atheist, having renounced the Catholic religion of his parents.

Like Freud he opposes religion to science, and aligns psychoanalysis with the latter.[4]

Lacan states that the true formula of atheism is not God is dead but God is unconscious.[5]


Lacan's discourse abounds in metaphors drawn from Christian theology.

The most obvious example is surely the phrase the Name-of-the-Father, which Lacan adopts to denote a fundamental signifier whose foreclosure leads to psychosis.

The changes wrought by the symbolic are described in creationist rather than evolutionary terms.

In the seminar of 1972-3, Lacan uses the term 'God' as a metaphor for the big Other, and compares feminine jouissance to the ecstacy experienced by Christian mystics such as St Teresa of Avila.[6]


Religion is a body of beliefs and practices shared by a given social group and connecting it to a higher agency, generally a divinity or divine human.

However, the origin of the term has, for more than two thousand years, been the object of an intense debate that is of interest to psychoanalysis.

Religion would, therefore, involve a twofold connection—among humankind and between humankind and God. 

In this case religion is said to be a gathering together, an interiority, some scruple that prevents or delays action and entails the performance of certain rites.

The topic of religion was initially examined by Freud and Breuer in the Studies on Hysteria (1895d), where hysteria could be considered a reaction to mental suffering associated with religious doubt.

Freud's first detailed examination of religion, "Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices," appeared in 1907.

The first book in which he discussed religious themes was Totem and Taboo (1912-1913a).

Freud saw religion in its collective and individual forms.

On the one hand he viewed the church as the prototype of an artificial crowd (as the army), where each individual must love his leader (Christ, for example) as a father and other men as his brothers.

Religion helped maintain the cohesion of a human group threatened with disintegration if there was a loss of faith (1921c).

On the other hand, he also saw religion, with its ceremonies and detailed rites, as a universal neurosis, where scruples were transformed into obsessive acts.

Religion would contribute to humankind's transition from a natural state to a cultured one through the sacrifice of human drives.

But the progress of civilization also implied a return to the irrational and the maintenance of illusions that maintained the individual within the confines of his infantile neuroses (1927c).

The Freudian approach to religion has more to do with anthropology than with theology: Religion is a part of civilization and the discussion of its dogmas is less important than its hold on society and the individual.

Thus the character of Moses leading the people of Israel through the desert and out of Egypt in Exodus, a figure magnified by Freud, seems in the early twenty-first century to have more to do with myth than with history.


See Also

Future of an Illusion, The; Ideology; Illusion; Judaism and psychoanalysis; Jung, Carl Gustav; Lacan, Jacques-MarieÉmile; Moses and Monotheism; Mysticism; Oceanic feeling; Philippson Bible; Rite and ritual;

References

  1. Freud. 1903s. SE XXI. p.81
  2. Freud 1927b.
  3. Freud. 1907. b.
  4. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book XI. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1977. p.265
  5. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book XI. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1977. p.59
  6. Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre XX. Encore, 1972-73. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1975. p.70-1
  1. Freud, Sigmund. (1907b). Obsessive actions and religious practices. SE, 9: 115-127.
  2. ——. (1912-1913a). Totem and taboo. SE, 13: 1-161.
  3. ——. (1921c). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego. SE, 18: 65-143.
  4. ——. (1927c). The future of an illusion. SE, 21: 1-56.
  5. ——. (1939 [1934-1938]). Moses and monotheism: Three essays. SE, 23: 1-137.
  • Freud, Sigmund. (1907b). Obsessive actions and religious practices. SE, 9: 115-127.
  • ——. (1912-1913a). Totem and taboo. SE, 13: 1-161.
  • ——. (1921c). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego. SE, 18: 65-143.
  • ——. (1927c). The future of an illusion. SE, 21: 1-56.
  • ——. (1939 [1934-1938]). Moses and monotheism: Three essays. SE, 23: 1-137.