The Study of Man: Freud, Religion, and Social Reality
Freud’s impact on the 20th century has been immense, and so far at least incalculable. No field of intellectual or cultural life has been left untouched by the new and radical mode of analysis he initiated. Religion, in particular, has been deeply affected, not only because Freud possessed an interest in religious problems that grew with the years, but also because he was always probing into matters that are of genuine religious concern, such as human nature and destiny, the meaning of life and death, the relation of man to his fellow men in society. Theologians have for some time acknowledged the power and relevance of Freud’s thinking for their field of concern. What is it that they have found so significant in the work of this avowed, even militant, atheist? Why is it that they have tended to prefer Freud’s views to the more conciliatory attitudes of the post-Freudian revisionists? An attempt to answer these questions may cast light on the elements of enduring value in Freud’s wrestling with the basic problems of human life.
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