Psychology of Religion Essay

679 Words Mar 30th, 2015 3 Pages
Sima & Sabah
Religion has been successful in its response to psychology’s challenges to religious belief.’ Assess this claim (15 marks) June 2011
One of the key ways religion challenges Freud’s claims successfully is due to the fact his theory was based on Darwin’s speculations and assumptions which may have not been necessarily true. This theory was written at a time where no reliable data was available and so this meant that the idea of the primal horde was not criticised at the time. For example, not all tribes had totem animals. This suggests that Freud’s idea that guilt was handed down from generation to generation is incorrect. Therefore, one could argue that Freud was wrong to suggest that religion is based on guilt. This
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The role of the father is weaker than that of the mother. It is not patriarchal in structure but Matrifocal in structure. This shows that such events will not occur on a universal basis. Furthermore, Malinowski argued that the complex is caused by the strict rules of religion not religion itself. This can be understood and relatable for religious believers as religion does confine and restrict individuals in what they can and cannot do. This demonstrates how religion successfully challenges psychology.
However, Freud argues that in ‘the natural history of religion,’ David Hume argues that humans had constructed religion in order to help them deal with the misery of life and the dread of death. Therefore implying that religion is a form of ‘wish-fulfilment’, whereby people feel safe and protected by the heavenly father figure. This can be generalise to a wide population of religious believers, as it suggests that if a person is a pious religious being, then they will in the end get a reward e.g. paradise. Many people believe this, therefore going against the statement that religion has been successful in its response to psychology.
Another way in which religion has outweighed psychologies challenges to religious belief is that Freud uses a narrow selection. For example, Freud focuses on religions with male deities such as Judaism and Christianity. He ignores religion with important female goddesses, such as Hinduism and religions which do not have a deity

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