Research Paper: Through Freud's Lens

Pages: 7 (2132 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Freud's Lens

Application of Freud's Philosophy to Religion

Different people over the years tried to explain religion and its origin. Sigmund Freud, a medical doctor made significant contribution in his view on religion. Freud believed that religion was an illusion and persistently continued to exist without evidence. In his book, he expressed that religion developed out of homicide. He continued to explain that religion arose due to people's quest to satisfy unfulfilled psychological needs. Freud asserted that religion is purely unconscious. He attributed people follow religion as a means of fulfilling neurotic response to repression.

Freud also had a strong believe that religion was an expression of underlying distress as well as psychological neuroses. In his writings, he suggested at various points that was an attempt aimed at controlling the oedipal complex. This was a mean of giving structure to various social groups, infantile delusion and wish fulfillment. In addition, it was an attempt aimed at controlling the outside world.

Religion and ritual

Every religion is associated with some sort of rituals. Majority of rituals are used to commemorate events with a theological significance (Hicks 460). Others are used to fulfill an accomplishment in the religion. Religious sects use rituals to allow an appocypitcal ideology. Though sects use rituals as some of their main pillars, majority of them eventually reach a grisly end. Other achieves martyrdom. Most sects are known for lack of consistency in performance of their ritual. Generally, rituals act as a proof of religion monopoly and as a sign of its legitimate force.

The Madhi

Every religion has its ideology on the end of the era. Eschatology is the term used to define end of time or the end of human history. Religions view the end of time as the Day of Judgment where everybody will be judged in accordance to the behavior portrayed during one's life. It is believed that good people will be rewarded for their deeds, and the evil people will be rebuked. There is no distinction between eschatology and millenarianism. Christians believe that during the Day of Judgment every person will stand before his maker and confess his actions on earth. Through the book of revelation, Christianity views it as a time when God fights Satan. Satan's defeat by the Messiah marks the opening of a new age, which is a utopian stage full of joy, peace and harmony (Keith 405). The good people will be rewarded for their deeds and will inherit the new kingdom, and the evil people will be punished for their sins and will remain in everlasting fire. All Christians believe in terrible disaster at the end of time (Berstrand 50)

The two Muslim groups Sonni and Shia share common ideologies on end of time but differ on issues of religious leaders who act on behalf of Allah here on earth. The Shia group advocate for Mohammed family member as a legitimate leader. The Sonni group holds different opinion since they believe that any member from the Mohammed tribe can be considered as a legitimate leader. The Shi largest group is known as the Twelfth Shia. Their political leaders as well as religious leaders are referred to as Imams (Kirkland 34). They are regarded as holy free from any sin. It is believed that they receive their inspirations from Allah and are rightly guided.

The Shia group in Southern Sudan and North Africa began a movement known as the Madhist in 1834 -- 1885. The movement was led by Mohammed Ahmed and was considered as a holy movement. During that time Sudan was under colonial rule a factor that made most people join the movement to rebel against the colonial government. Mohammed Ahmed proclaimed Jihad against the Muslim enemies. He continued to gain more power and he added more pillars to Islam by making his followers adore him by professing their faith to him. The idea was not well received by the rich and the wealthy class. On the contrary, the poor and people in the middle class income category gave him immerse support. He continued to preach justice and Islam doctrine (Ellens 12).

The rising of the Madhist movement forced the international community draw a lot of attention to Sudan. The British government sent its governor Charles George to curb the uprisings. His killing led to the formation of and Independent Sudanese State. In 1885, Mohammed Ahmad died and a shrine was constructed in his grave for his commemoration. The shrine was later made a pilgrimage site attracting pilgrims from all over the world. The British government arranged to avenge for George's death and it successful accomplished its mission leading to the collapse of the Madhist movement. The Madhist associate Satan with evil whereas Allah is associated with good.

Jim Joness

Most people regard cults as dirty whose primary intention is to brain wash other people. They are associated with weird rituals and activities. The founders of any new religion are treated with suspicion as they are viewed as cult leaders (William 105). This is the exact scenario Jim Jones found himself into when he begun his church. People referred to his as a fake person whereas other thought that he was crazy. A look at brief history of his life portrays kind of life he went through and the challenges he encountered in building his church. Jim Jones was born in May 13th, 19931 from a Christian family who engaged in farming as a source of their livelihood.

The young Jim was frequently isolated from the society due to his social status. Jim Jones became a leader in the Methodist Church and later he became a pastor. He too was a director of the racially marginalized community. Civil rights group were attracted to his outspokenness on issues. He received immerse support form the public. Quite often he publicly supports martin Luther ideologies. In 1956, Jim ones begun his church called Peoples Temple Full Gospel. Most of his followers were blacks. His teachings were based on Apostolic Socialism from the Acts 4:32-35 in the New Testament. He emphasized on the Marxist doctrine where one should live according to his ability and need. Jim Jones advocated for faith healing and his preaching focused on revival.

Jim proclaimed the coming of racial war and nuclear war, whereby he warned his followers about them. He predicted that on 5 July, there would be a nuclear disaster. He claimed of a forthcoming genocide and prepared his people with means of evading it. Some of his critics regard his predictions some of the ways that he used to enrich himself. Jim Jones searched for a place where members of his congregation will take cover during the predicaments ahead. Jones believed that his congregation would sustain the disasters ahead, which made him to start making plans on rebuilding a Christian society.

By 1967, he had already established significant religious roles. His participation of civil matters had grown considerably. The two factors contributed to the overwhelming growth of his congregation in California. Jones made use of media to convey the gospel, and his ideologies. He published journals that circulated in the whole of United States of America. He used radio station programs to reach out to his followers. His ministries acquired 27,000 acres in Guyana which he referred to it as an Esquire -- the place where his congregation would hide from nuclear war (Kirkland, 34).

Jim was accused of infidelity and he was said to engage with sexual activities with some of the white women from his flock. In 1972, one of his female followers known as Grace Steon gave birth to a son called Victor Steon. His husband Tim Steon publicly declared that the baby was Jim Jones' son. Bitter battles on the custody of the baby ensued, which brought about confusion and division in his church. The baby was later put to the custody of the Peoples Temple church (Pals and Daniel 17) Steon's case attracted the government to investigate the operation of the Peoples Temple Church. The investigations proved that the followers of the church suffered abuse. The investigations confirmed sexual and physical abuse allegations.

Jim Jones interpreted the government actions as ways of persecuting his church. Jim retaliated by moving away with some of his followers to the "promised land" the Guyanese jungle. Those who defected from his church together with their relatives formed a movement and later published real stories of financial and physical abuse in the People's Temple Church. Steon later filed a court case seeking to adopt Victor Steon. In his suit, he asked for damages to the tune of 56 million (Pals and Daniel 19).

The two cases of the Madhi movement as well as Jim Jones compare and contrast in many areas with regards to Freud's religion theory. When it comes to Madhi movement, Freud view on religion is an illusion seen by many as a society of brainwashed individuals. The followers of Madhi movement could go to an extent of professing his… [END OF PREVIEW]

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