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Full Access Beyond Freud in Psychoanalytic Psychology of Religion? On the Discussion of Religion as Projection

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Beyond Freud in Psychoanalytic Psychology of Religion? On the Discussion of Religion as Projection

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In 1907, Sigmund Freud initiated the psychoanalytic psychology of religion, until the present day the most important contributor to the psychology of religion literature in general, and the branch of psychological critique of religion best known outside of psychology circles (having drawn attention from a multitude of philosophers, theologians and scholars on religion). One often reads that of the remarks made by Freud about religion would be, that it is a 'projection.' While not being original (the claim had been earlier articulated many times, from Greek philosophy until Feuerbach), it has been regarded as Freud's major contribution to the (psychological) critique of religion, especially in vulgarized psychoanalytic parlance. This paper reviews what has been stated about religion as projection by psychoanalysts and other scholars. Also correcting some common misreadings of Freud, the paper is especially inquiring whether and in which sense progress has been booked in the psychology of religion, touching briefly on some contemporary contributions to the field from neurobiology, cognitive science and evolutionary psychology.


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