Religoius Belief Essay

Submitted By Nat-Marshall
Words: 3067
Pages: 13

1) Examine the Key ideas of two critiques of religious belief (18)
2) Evaluate the view that one of these critiques demonstrates that there is no God. (12)

There are many critiques of religious belief out there and I have chosen Sigmund Freud's and Richard Dawkins. Freud's believed that religion is created by the mind to help us Overcome Inner psychological conflict, stress, which stems from the structure of society and fear of the dangers of the natural world.
Freud believes that religion has been created as an aid to help humans to help inner psychological guild. This was Freud main focus in his critiques against religious belief and he argued that religion is a form of neurotic illness arising out of the unconscious mind. Neuroses arouse repressed memories that re-emerge into the conscious mind. Freud Believed that these neuroses are sexual, he therefore concluded that religion is an illusion associated with repressed sexual memories. According to Freud religion is wishful thinking and that human minds create the illusion to combat psychological turmoil, this turmoil stems either from stress which originates from the way that society functions, or from fear of the natural world. The human mind creates images and beliefs to fulfil basic needs and desires. Freud described religion as an illusion – not necessarily false, but something that answers inner needs. Freud's work on religion centres on it function as a means of overcoming inner fears and turmoil’s. this process was closely associated with the way that the human mind develops into adulthood. Throughout childhood there are different experiences, some of which are traumatic. If he traumatic experiences are not resolved, hey are locked way in the mind. When the brain is unable to hide the memories traumas appear and Freud arrived at this conclusion from his work with his patients as he practised as a doctor in Vienna. This is a key critique as it shows that adults feel unclean about their past and they look towards religion as as a way of hiding these memories, Freud demonstrates that Religion is the creation from one’s mind. To further back up this point a person would try to cope with this un-ordered world by projecting the image of the farther on to world who provided a world of order and regularity while they were a child.
Freud's treatment for these neuroses was to allow the patient to investigate their repressed memories, and to see their obsessions for what they truly were.
The Oedipus Complex was a key critique that helped demonstrate that there was no God based on the fact that it shows the making and the theory behind the idea that Religion is created by the mind. It uses the example of a suckling child who is used to having its mothers attention; when the libido is transferred to sexual organ, there is a present rival in the form of the Farther. The feelings of jealousy, Hatred as well as respect and fear are felt towards the father and because of this the farther is viewed with ambivalence. The childs desire to possess the mother and the ambivalence towards the farther is the Oedipus complex, and the reason it is so key is that it is the evidence or the example that Freud uses to back up his claims about how religion is just an illusion created by the mind. Without an example there would be less respectability and effectiveness towards his argument against religious belief. Because of the childs trauma he tries to repress this conflict into the unconscious mind but this is only partially effective. The mind tries to prevent the events from ever re-emerging into conscious. The conflict caused results in the event being channelled out into the form of neurotic symptoms – one of which is religion. So all the Oedipus complex does is give an example to his theory, even if in a very bizarre fashion.
Freud goes on to say that Religion is an illusion which stems from the structure of society, he argues this by stating that the nature of society is in conflict