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Describe and explain the main features of Freud and Jung 's teachings about the function of religion

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Introduction

> Describe and explain the main features of Freud and Jung 's teachings about the function of religion? Most of the theories about the existence of God are based on the idea that his presence can be proven by logical or empirical means. The God of classical theism is understood to be the creator of the world, who stands apart from it yet, is able to intervene in it. Psychological study of religion, however, leads to a very different conclusion that says that God is a construction of the human mind. Psychologists ask 'what makes a person religious?' By examining the mental process involved in religion they have concluded that certain circumstances cause the brain to be stimulated into a religious outlook. Psychologists believe that religious beliefs can be explained without the need for a God. They believe that the reason many people believe in a God is because their psychological structure encourages them to. The two most famous names in this field of psychology are Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Freud argued simply that religion was an illusion of the mind. He believed there were a number of reasons why humans created the image of a God in their minds. ...read more.

Middle

Eventually they would group together a kill the dominant male. This resulted in ambivalent feelings about him, Hatred on one hand and respect and guilt on the other. As a result the dominant male or father figure became idolised by the group. This is sometimes referred to as the projection of a super-ego that was greater than the father himself. Freud believed that when the mind suffers from guilt it creates idols. By praying or making sacrifices to these idols the mind can control the feelings of guilt by redirecting them onto the idol. He believed that as a longing for he idol grew so did its reputation eventually it took on a divine significance and became transformed into the God s of religion. An example would be of the Christian God who is held with the same ambivalence as the original father figure. Freud found that the nature of society often conflicted with our most basic desires. Society depends upon structure and order; those who have responsibility to govern us must also have authority. The rules often conflict with the desires of each individual. His point was that religion gave people a reason to submit to authority. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jung claimed that our images of God were archetypal. In other words we are all born with the ability to generate images in our minds of God and of angels. The images we create of God are created because of our experiences; the disposition to create them is, however, innate. Freud thought that religion was a form of neurotic illness and was dangerous. Jung however argued that it maintained the balance of the mind preventing neurosis from occurring. Jung believed that as we grow older we become more preoccupied with our selves, thanks to the archetype known as self. He believed we strive to be as perfect as our image of God and therefore religion was an important part of society. Freud and Jung both agree that it very possible that no God exists outside our minds. Since there is no empirical evidence to suggest otherwise the theories remain true. A point, however, that would disprove Jung's theory is that there are many people that do not believe in a God therefore the idea of archetypes will not work. Whatever your personal feelings there is no proof either way that God either exists or does not exist. However, psychology leads us to believe that it is possible for the idea of God to exist within our minds. Sam Armstrong Page 1 5/9/2007 ...read more.

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