Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thinker Profile: Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): Austrian physician and psychological theorizer, founder of psychoanalysis. In philosophy of religion, Freud is known for his theory that belief in God is an illusion that arises out of the Oedipal complex, in which a child has a relation to what appears to the child to be an all-powerful father, on whom the child is dependent and whose good will the child desires. Freud does not appear to have noticed that his psychological theory, which holds that the child also resents and envies the powerful father, could provide an equally reductionistic explanation of anti-religious beliefs. Nor did he consider the possibility that the child’s relation to the parents, rather than being a mechanism for the formation of an illusion, could be a divinely ordained model whereby God provides a conception of himself.1
1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 47.