Religion

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French: religion

Sigmund Freud[edit | edit source]

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 in favor of science.

Reality and Delusion[edit | edit source]

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.<ref>Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. 1930. SE XXI. p. 81</ref> Freud saw the idea of God as an expression of an infantile longing for a protective father.<ref>Freud, Sigmund. The Future of an Illusion. 1927. SE XXI, 3.</ref> Freud described religion as a "universal obsessional neurosis."<ref>Freud, Sigmund. "Obsessiove Actions and Religious Practices." 1907. SE IX, 116.</ref>

Jacques Lacan[edit | edit source]

Jacques Lacan also considers himself an atheist, having renounced the Catholic religion of his parents. Like Freud he opposes religion to science, and aligns psychoanalysis with the latter.<ref>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</ref> Lacan states that the true formula of atheism is not God is dead but God is unconscious.<ref>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</ref>

Examples[edit | edit source]

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.<ref>Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre XX. Encore, 1972-73. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1975. p.70-1</ref>

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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