Science vs. Religion
Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson are two psychologists who disagreed on the value of religion for human civilization. Freud argued that religion is a corrosive influence for society because it is rooted in fantasy; whereas Erikson believed that religion provides an important framework and order for life. A 2010 Pew Research study estimated that 5.9 billion people claim affiliation to an organized religious group. If Freud's theory is correct 84% of the world population engage in wishful thinking. Could it be possible that a majority of society are immature and childish?
In his book, The Future of Illusion, Freud discusses the destructive nature of human beings and the need to find a way to coerce people to overcome their laziness and impulses. His perspective on religion is built on his theory of the id, the ego and the superego. He also discusses the primal need for people to find comfort and feel the illusion of control when facing the harsh realities of life. When still a child a person first turns to his mother, then later on, his father, to solve his problems and protect him. This emotional craving for reassurance and comfort persists with a person throughout his life; and in the absence of a father, people turn to religion. Religion and its associated moral precepts can also serve as a motivation for the work and impulse control that is needed for the functioning and continued preservation of society. Religious ideas inform people on the most important issues in life. However, Freud opines that religion is merely an illusion rooted in wishful thinking. Moreover, whereas statements made in other aspects of life can be questioned and even proven, religion is often accompanied with dogmatism. Questioning the tenets of religion is often met with negative consequences. Instead, belief in religious principles rests on inherited tradition and assumptions of proof that are also passed down from previous generations.
Freud believed that human society progressed through science, not religion; and that science and religion were mortal enemies. Due to the advancements in science such as technology and medicine, religion will become less and less relevant. Instead of turning to an imaginary g-d for help with an illness or preparation for a natural disaster, practical solutions will be found in scientific discoveries. It is for this reason Freud asserts that religion can be a destructive force as it can convince someone to be lazy and avoid pursuing real solutions to his problems and taking the necessary steps to improve his life and the world he lives in.
Erik Erikson critiques Freud's beliefs of...