While many of Freud’s theories about psychoanalysis are no longer believed to be fact by most modern psychologists, he often had very profound things to say, both about his field of psychology and about other subjects.
On the subject of religion, he had the following things to say:
- A religion, even if it calls itself a religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it.
- Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
- Our knowledge of the historical worth of certain religious doctrines increases our respect for them, but does not invalidate our proposal that they should cease to be put forward as the reasons for the precepts of civilization. On the contrary! Those historical residues have helped us to view religious teachings, as it were, as neurotic relics, and we may now argue that the time has probably come, as it does in an analytic treatment, for replacing the effects of repression by the results of the rational operation of the intellect.
- The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life. It is still more humiliating to discover how a large number of people living today, who cannot but see that this religion is not tenable, nevertheless try to defend it piece by piece in a series of pitiful rearguard actions.