Customer Review

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion Explained ... Again, March 29, 2006
This review is from: The Future of an Illusion (The Standard Edition) (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud) (Paperback)
This short book is well worth the plunge. It gives a psychoanalytic answer to the questions, Why God? and Why we still need a god? The book, written late in Freud's career, remains controversial mostly because of the nature of the subject matter. However, one should not be surprised that Freud's analysis ends as it does - suggesting that the world might be better off without religion. Many reviewers attribute this conclusion to the fact that Freud himself was not a religious man. However, another point of view might be equally valid: any psychoanalytic analysis of religion -- even by a theist -- would likely have come to the same conclusion.

In fact, Freud's conclusion -- that religion is an illusion born out of a need to surmount fear of the unknown, with its central component being a "father complex" - - is not far removed from, and actually resonates with, that of other scientists -- in particular with John F. Schumaker's "The Wings of Illusion," as well as his much deeper "The Corruption of Reality," which carries these ideas much further; or even Pascal Boyer's "Religion Explained." For a refreshing opposing point of view that is also scientific, I found Peter Berger's Rumors of Angels a sensitive counterbalance to Freud's non-emotional approach.

While this was not Freud's best work, neither is it his worse. Given his Civilizations and its Discontents, it would be difficult to imagine him not having left a firm statement on the psychoanalytic nature of religion.

Because it is Freud, it deserves Five Stars.
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Location: Falls Church, VA USA

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