Sigmund Freud And C. S. Lewis

Submitted By Heather1420
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The question of whether God exists or not is a very important one. Two of the most influential people of the 20th century questioned it, one until his death. These people were Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. They separated people into two categories: those who believe in the supernatural and those who do not believe. Why such a distinction? Why were these two men so intrigued with the existence of God? Perchance they spent so much time arguing their own positions on God because they realized that the existence of a supernatural higher power would indeed have an immense impact on their lives and on the world around them. Sigmund Freud was raised in the Jewish tradition but with much influence from Catholicism. This odd combination of religious rituals and tradition may help to explain his doubt towards God and why he spent nearly his whole life arguing against the existence of a supernatural higher power. Freud theorized that one’s view of God comes from the view you have of your own earthly father. When a man comes of age and is thrust into the harsh world, he desires nothing less than a refuge. A place of security and protection from the unyielding downpour of the world. Being an adult, he can no longer look to his parents for this protection but he wants someone to do this for him. Freud theorized that the man’s need to overcome his helplessness leads him to the idea of a supernatural higher power, which he then calls God. God acts as an idealized father figure for humans, providing an enemy to the harsh world and an ally in life’s troubles. God provides not only protection from nature in the world, but also from evil in the world. Needing an incentive for the suffering around him and a guide for how he should live, the man turns to God for direction. He mistakes the historical moral development of society for rules given and enforced by God. The internalized teachings of his parents and the morals accepted by his culture now become the commands of God. Some of the commandments enforce boundaries on man’s instinct, but they also provide security. Lewis was an atheist like Freud until he became convinced of the truth of God and Christianity. Many of his arguments directly answer the arguments of Freud. Lewis asserts that we do wish for a God that can fulfill our needs and provide moral order, but we wish for these things simply because we were created to desire them. Lewis, an atheist until the age of 31, was never completely happy or content until he embraced the idea of God. He describes his unhappiness as resulting from “an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction”. Lewis called this desire “Joy” and he found its fulfillment only when he surrendered to the idea of God. He argued that the innate longing one feels is a desire for a relationship with their Creator, and the desire itself suggests the existence of God. Sigmund Freud believed that this desire can be satisfied in other things but Lewis disagreed. Only in a relationship with God can humans find true and lasting contentment. Lewis would argue with these men that time and time again humans turn unsatisfied from earthly pleasures to look beyond themselves for something that might fill the void they feel. Lewis also teaches that humans are born with an instinctual set of rules that govern their actions. He uses this innate moral conscience as more evidence for the existence of a Creator God. He proclaims that if there were a higher power that gave life to humans, then that power would have left some influence on our behavior in order to sway us to act in a certain way. This moral law that the Creator has put in our minds is a sign of Gods existence. It is right that we do commonly learn the moral law from our parents or from the society around us, but that does not mean that society is the creator of that law. Both Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis offer compelling arguments for and against the existence of God. Armand Nicholi