Christ and Freud: A Study of Religious Experience and by Arthur Guirdham

By Arthur Guirdham

Originally released in 1959, this e-book is essentially curious about the query of psychiatric elements in faith, and, conversely, with that of spiritual components in psychiatry. It rejects the Freudian idea that faith is a kind of obsessional neurosis. even though this latter speculation may perhaps clarify a few of the phenomena of non secular observance, it can't clarify the truth of spiritual event. Dr Guirdham believes that orthodox Christianity is a perversion of the psychologically irrefutable instructing of Christ and that its belief of God as a excellent being endowed with splendid strength, its educating at the resurrection, and its infection with a feeling of guilt, are particularly conducive to psychiatric sickness. He indicates how theology may very well be inimical to non secular adventure and the way religion differs from trust and is a reaction of the total guy. The publication explains additionally the mental origins of clericalism and demonstrates the function performed by way of the latter in stifling non secular experience.

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Extra info for Christ and Freud: A Study of Religious Experience and Observance

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The real answerto Freud is three-fold. Firstly the recorded experienceof the mystics is against the theory that religion is an illusion based on psychological abnormality. Thirdly, while Freud'stheoriesexplain ingeniously man's need of God, they do not offer us any explanation of God's need of man. VI THE PHENOMENA OF MYSTICISM We will deal first with the experienceof the mystics. By this latter term I mean those whose religious approach is not c CHRIST AND FREUD 34 through creedsand systemsof belief but who either receive direct enlightenmentor seek,by different means,suchasprayer, fasting andmeditation,direct experienceof the presenceof God.

The difference is that Freud insists that man's needsare an insecureguide and that what he erects from them is an illusion. But what if religion were basedpartly on God's need of man? If this were so religion. even conceived of in terms of psychoanalytictheory, would not be dependenton father-figures nor its ritual on a senseof guilt and the desire to atone. We cannot conceiveof God as afflicted with a senseof guilt in relation to man. If we regard God as a snpremebeing, with some of the attributesof personality, we are endowing Him with the attributesof power.

Again, is essen- CHRIST AND FREUD 47 tially somethingsent by God. He is, in fact, the supremegift of the SupremeBeing. Where the identification is complete the result will be the same in the case of the Western Christian absorbedin Christ and in that of the Easternmergedwith the Infinite. But for the lessardentand less successfulaspirantseeking to be mergedin Christ the problem is much more difficult becausehe is essentiallyseekingidentification with something secondaryto, and dependenton, the love and mercy of a SupremeBeing conceivedof as a person.

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