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Freud AO2 handout

Freud AO2

Using the lines click on the argument and the quotations to create your own essay within 35 minutes ensuring you include your own intermediate summaries. Be careful, the bullets are not necessarily in the correct order and not all of them will be needed to complete your essay. Make sure you only choose relevant quotes. When complete, compare with others in the class and discuss any significant differences and ways it could have been improved. Start the timer when you are ready.


“Freud’s explanations of religion are a successful challenge to religion.” Evaluate this view.

Lines of argument

• Freud’s theories can also be used to explain his atheism.
• Freud’s theories are not a challenge as the evidence is flawed – lack of evidence.
• Freud’s explanations are a challenge -Religion is a neurosis – a mental illness and is therefore harmful.
• Freud’s explanations are a challenge - Religion is explained away by wish fulfilment and by the Oedipus complex.
• Freud’s explanations do not account for Buddhism and belief in Nirvana.
• Freud does convincingly explain how religious beliefs and rituals can be clearly traced back to a collective neurosis, the Oedipus Complex, wish fulfilment and a reaction against helplessness.
• Freud’s explanations of religion are unsuccessful as the evidence has a basis that is too narrow.
• Freud’s understanding of religion is a challenge because it means that religion will eventually die out.
• Freud’s explanations are not a challenge since religion in the 21st century is thriving.
• Other explanations are far more successful in challenging religion than those of Freud.
“Almost all the evidence that Freud presents has been discredited in one way or another.” (Michael Palmer)
“It seems that the verdict must be ‘not proven’; …the Freudian theory of religion may be true but it has not been shown to be so.” (John Hick)
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.” (Freud)
“The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.” (Freud)
“From a scientific point of view, classical Freudian psychoanalysis is dead as both a theory of the mind and a mode of therapy.” (Crews)
“Freud's theories are archaic and obsolete.” (Drew Western)
“The unconscious mind revealed in laboratory studies of automaticity and implicit memory bears no resemblance to the unconscious mind of psychoanalytic theory.” (Kihlstrom)