Archive for the ‘God as wish-fulfilment’ Category

Many skeptics frequently hurl the charge that God is just a projection of your own imagination…God is just a crutch, and Christians have psychologically projected God to fulfill their needs

January 6, 2010

Many skeptics frequently hurl the charge that God is just a projection of your own imagination…God is just a crutch, and Christians have psychologically projected God to fulfill their needs…(But) the Biblical God is not the type of God we would make up. People create a god in their own image…The average secular American creates a god who is a mellow combination of Santa Klaus, Bewitched, The Force, and Shirley McClain. The holy and awesome God, who makes men tremble, is not the type one would invent.

Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, p.150

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Religious doctrines are… illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest and most insistent wishes of mankind

October 7, 2009

Religious doctrines are… illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest and most insistent wishes of mankind. The secret of their strength is the strength of these wishes.

Sigmund Freud, Future of an Illusion, 1961, p.30

But if doctrines can be reduced to the strong wishes that lie behind them, can Freudianism be exempted from this critique. Does Freud have a strong wish that religious doctrines not be true? Is it not indeed plausible that there is a strong desire in man to run from the Holy One? Adam’s first act after the Fall was to hide…

Religion is just the imaginary sun which seems to man to revolve around him, until he realizes that he himself is the centre of his own revolution

October 7, 2009

Religion is just the imaginary sun which seems to man to revolve around him, until he realizes that he himself is the centre of his own revolution…(Humans)   look for a superhuman being in the fantasy reality of heaven, and find nothing there, but their own reflection.

Karl Marx, Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie, in  Werke, 4 vols (Berlin, 1959-1961), vol.1, p.379, 488

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

ibid. Introduction

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man.

ibid.

It is true that much of religion can be explained away as man’s wish fulfilment. But the gospel does not offer a god forn those who cannot explain everything (a god of the gaps). Nor does it offer a wish fulfilment (this is either the prosperity gospel or a mere ‘fire insurance’ Christianity). The gospel tells men what they don’t want to hear – not what they do want to hear. It assaults their pride by mocking their pretensions to self-righteousness or moral worth. It humbles men and is scoffed at as offensive to man’s sensibilities – cf. the Pharisees and all those who rejected the offence of Jesus’ cross.

Marx is attacking religion – but not the gospel.

The decline of religious belief?

September 8, 2009

The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.

Freud, Sigmund, The Future of an Illusion.

Plainly wrong – unless one is a myopic, condescending, Western intellectual

Rumours of the death of God have been greatly exagerrated.

God as wish-fulfilment

August 24, 2009

[Religious ideas] are illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind. The secret of their strength lies in the strength of those wishes. As we already know, the terrifying impression of helplessness in childhood aroused the need for protection – for protection through love – which was provided by the father; and the recognition that this helplessness lasts throughout life made it necessary to cling to the existence of a father, but this time a more powerful one. Thus the benevolent rule of a divine Providence allays our fear of the dangers of life; the establishment of a moral world-order ensures the fulfillment of the demands of justice, which have so often remained unfulfilled in human civilization; and the prolongation of earthly existence in a future life provides the local and temporal framework in which these wish-fulfillments shall take place… It is an enormous relief to the individual psyche if the conflicts of its childhood arising from the father-complex – conflicts which it has never wholly overcome – are removed from it and brought to a solution which is universally accepted.

Sigmund Freud, Future of an Illusion

Two problems for Mr Freud: 1. I didn’t want there to be a God. I was a reluctant convert. People like me don’t fit his theory. 2. His logic is this: People are weak and God (or the idea of God) is strong. God doesn’t exist just because we feel his need. Therefore God doesn’t exist.

I accept the two premises without the conclusion – it is an invalid argument; a non sequitur. Whether I feel the need for God or not does not affect whether God exists or not. Many atheists loudly proclaim they feel no need for God and are perfectly happy without Him.