Sample Religious Studies Essays on Lewis vs. Freud’s Worldview

Who is God?

Lewis believes that God is infinitely powerful while Freud believes that God is a result of individuals need for wish fulfillment. Lewis observes that for one thing to exist an opposite for it must exist. Lewis understanding about God is based on his argument of just and unjust society. In his quest to find out if God really exists he had to debate about the injustice he had encountered in his life such as the loss of his mother at a tender age (Lewis 23). Prior to turning back to Christianity, Lewis believed that there is no God since if God existed then so much injustice could not have occurred in his life. However, he evaluated his concept of God not being in existence due to injustice in the world and came to the conclusion that for injustice to exist then justice must also exist (Nicholi 22). Lewis, therefore, viewed God as a just being. God is a being that is beyond human understanding. He is a being that allows individuals to choose between right and wrong. The freedom to choose between right and wrong is the path to knowing God. Lewis argues that it is only after an individual understands and repents for their wrong doings that they can truly understand the concept of God. On the other hand, Freud argues that God is an illusion and a result of the need for wish fulfillment in mankind. Individuals who believe in God do so because they want to feel validated and accepted. God too many is a powerful father figure who forgives man their sins. Moreover, according to Freud God’s existence is as a result of mankind wishes to deal with Oedipus complex (Nicholi 30). Man cling to the idea of God to help them with the taboo of siblings having feelings for the opposite sex parent. Freud, therefore, views God and religion as the highest form of neurosis.

What’s the problem with this world and what is the solution

Lewis and Freud agree that human nature is the problem in the world and the solution is adopting moral values. Lewis states that human beings are born evil and selfish but it is morals that act as a compass on how to live life in a community. The concept of right or wrong as Lewis puts it was not devised by man but it is something that naturally exists. He argues that every individual is aware that they are supposed to behave in a given manner and they cannot get rid of the law of right and wrong (Lewis 78). He also observes that many humans do not behave in a manner that respects the law of nature. The solution to this problem is to have belief in something greater than oneself. Since humans did not create the concept of right or wrong it is only by placing their beliefs in God that they can overcome the temptations to break the law of nature. Freud also agrees with Lewis that human beings are generally born evil. According to Freud individual behavior is as a result of three components of the mind; ego; Id and superego (Nicholi 56). Right from childhood individuals have to deal with internal conflicts which shape their behavior and attitude. In many instances humans believe that they are right and fail to compromise. Human nature is, therefore, what is wrong with the world and Freud through his psychoanalysis theory indicates that the solution lies in the upbringing.

How do I make Moral Decisions?

Lewis observes that morality is something stops individuals from having a good time while Freud views morality as the result of a struggle between individual and society needs. Lewis observes that for individuals to make moral decisions they have to observe three things. First individuals should ensure that there is fairness and harmony with everyone else. Second, there should be harmony within oneself. Third, there is a purpose for morality. Lewis urges people that when making a moral decision all the three aspects must be observed (Lewis 87). Many times when people are making a decision they emphasize on the impact it will have on other members of the society forgetting about the impact it will have on their lives and the purpose for that action which is wrong. Freud on the other hand believes that to make a moral decision one needs to defeat the selfishness that is within them and put society’s needs first (Nicholi 76). Moral development occurs when individuals can repress their id and replace it with the values accepted by the community (Peters 34). Freud, therefore, states that a moral decision is guided by societal values.

Where are we going?

Lewis observes that death is a passage to a home which people long for while Freud deems death as a final end to human life. Death is inevitable and Lewis acknowledges that death was a result of mankind’s sin. However, he also notes that as much as death is a punishment for sin it is also a gateway to a realm where pain or sin does not exist. Individuals who lead their lives according to the rules and laws of God should not fear death for it is an occurrence which gets them to a peaceful realm where they will suffer no more (Lewis 98). According to Lewis there is a heaven which awaits all those who believe in God and live according to his will. Freud talks about death but does not talk about life after death. In his analysis he states that death is an inevitable occurrence and people should not fear it (Nicoli 98). He argues that for many in their unconscious they are immortal and that is why it is hard for many to think about their death. Freud, therefore, stipulates that we are headed to death.

 

Works Cited

Nicholi, Armand. The question of God: CS Lewis and Sigmund Freud debate God, love, sex, and the meaning of life. Simon and Schuster, 2003.

Lewis, Clive Staples. Mere christianity. Zondervan, 2001.

Peters, Richard Stanley. Moral development and moral education (Routledge revivals). Routledge, 2015.