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Freud vs. Kierkegaard

Freudvs. Kierkegaard

Freudvs. Kierkegaard

Inhis theory, Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard discusses a biblestory of Abraham in Genesis. He explains of how Abraham was commandedby God to kill his son Isaac. Kierkegaard explains that today, peoplethink they can start with faith and go further. He insists that noone can understand Abraham. He uses the story to show the differencebetween the tragic hero and the knight of faith. According to him,tragic hero expresses the ethical or universal while knight of faithexpresses the religious. For him, faith needs passion, and thispassion has to be learned. He asserts that religious is highercompared to ethical, and thus there is something higher to universal(Kierkegaard,2013).He agrees with Hegel’s argument that universal is the humangreatest aspiration, but also asserts that human may extend beyondthe rational. In his work, The Future of Illusion, Sigmund Freudexplains that every person has destructive instincts. He goes furtherand states that people use religious ideas to console themselvesagainst nature forces. According to Freud, religious ideas are justillusions unlike science, which is the road to knowledge of realityoutside ourselves. He compares religion to children neurosis. Heexplains that people believe in religion because those people whocame before us believed in religion too, willingness to grasprealities of nature by a human mind, feelings of vulnerability, andoneness. For him, religion comes from vulnerability feelings oneexperiences at a small age, forcing one to use religion forprotection. However, religion has attained its essence and needs togive way for truth (Freud,2012).Thepaper compares Freud and Kierkegaard’s works, emphasizing more onwhy Freud has a better explanation of religion’s place in society.

Theabove scholars agree that religion exists in the society. They alsoagree that religion is complicated and proofing some of the religiousbeliefs is difficult. They both argue that something outside the lineof awareness can write a script of peoples’ conscious thoughts andfeelings. In this, I mean that they both agree that religion mayshape how people feel or behave.

SigmundFreud, however, has a better explanation of religion’s place in thesociety. He uses plain language compared to Kierkegaard who usesmetaphor to explain his theory. His writing does not go deep intoexplaining the logical structure of his argument. His focus is moreon war with Hegelianism. He fails to build a step-by-step kind ofthinking. His argument of religious being higher than ethical showsthat there is something higher to the universal, but the word“higher” is a paradox. He also leaves questions answered bysaying that human extends beyond the rational. Freud explanation ofreligion is very elaborative. He starts by showing where religionoriginated, where he gives different explanations. For example, hesays that religion originated from the need to grasp realities ofnature by the human mind, feelings of vulnerability, oneness, andothers (Freud,2012).Another reason why Freud has a better explanation is that he providesa good model, explaining the relationship between the differentsections of the self and ignorance people have about inner lives.Kierkegaard focuses on inner dialogue and importance ofself-deception. Further, Freud has an explanation of what is beyondreligion. According to him, science might have a proof or betterexplanation of phenomena than religion. In the same context,Kierkegaard explains that human beyond the rational (Kierkegaard,2013).In this, he means that there is something non-rational in human lifebut cannot explain it.


Thesimple and well-explained arguments make it easy for one to read andunderstand Freud’s views on religion. He categorically shows thestart of religion, why people use it, and what people can rely onwhen religion fails to explain a phenomenon. The categoricalexplanation makes one follow his coherent line of argument, thusclearly understanding religion`s place in society.


Freud,S. (2012).&nbspThefuture of an illusion.Broadview Press.

Kierkegaard,S. (2013). Fear and Trembling: A Dialectical Lyric and The SicknessUnto Death.