“The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several million human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche.”
“Religion is the universal obsessional neurosis of mankind; like the obsessional neurosis of children, arouse out of the Oedipus complex, out of the relation to the father… [It is] a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.”
“The God–Creator is openly called father. Psychoanalysis concludes that he really is the father, clothed in the grandeur in which he once appeared to the small child… The emotional strength of this memory-image and the lasting nayure of his need for protection are the two supports for [the religious man’s] belief in God.”
“Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing the personal one.”
“Think of the depressing contrast between the radiant intelligence of a healthy child and the feeble intellectual powers of the average adult. Can we be certain that it is not precisely religious education which bears a large share of the blame for this relative atrophy?”
Like other neurosis or addictions, religion can be overcome, but only by facing up to the truth:”They will have to [Step One] admit to themselves the full extent of their helplessness and their insignificance in the machinery of the universe; they can no longer be the centre of creation, no longer the object of tender care on the part of a beneficent Providence… ‘education to reality.’… It is something, at any rate, to know that one is thrown upon one’s resources. One learns then to make a proper use of them.
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