Throughout history thinkers proclaimed their belief that God was a product of man’s imagination. Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) taught that man, due to his fear of death, wishes God into existence.
Man recognizes his limitations and fears. God is projected to calm these fears. In short, God is what man wishes to be. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) saw two separate causes for man’s belief in God. First, Freud believed that each boy desires to have sexual relations with his mother. Because of this, he becomes jealous of his father and develops a hatred for him. Second, since man could not fully understand the forces of nature, he began to fear nature. Freud concluded that due to these two factors (man’s guilt for hating his father and man’s fear of nature), mankind deified nature and personalized it into a Father God.
It should be understood that the speculation of Feuerbach and Freud was never meant to be used as an argument against God’s existence. Instead, these two thinkers believed that God’s existence had already been proven false by the advances of modern science. Their views were promoted not to disprove God’s existence. Rather, they were promoted as a desperate attempt to explain why nearly all of mankind believes in a non-existent God. Therefore, the ideas of Feuerbach and Freud should not be considered evidence against God’s existence. Instead, their theories were merely attempts to explain away some of the evidence against their views. Freud’s own theories can be used against him. For it seems more likely that atheism is caused by the desire to kill the father image, rather than theism being caused by man’s guilt for wanting to kill his father. In man’s attempt to be autonomous, he wishes God out of existence.
Whatever the case, the speculation of Feuerbach and Freud seems itself to be wishful thinking by atheists. If men were to invent a God, it is doubtful that it would be the demanding God of the Bible. Man would create a more permissive god, much like the gods of the pagan religions. In short, the theories of Feuerbach and Freud offer a more adequate explanation for atheism and idolatry than they do for Christianity.
Article taken from
by Dr. Phil Fernandes