Curing Sigmund Freud’s Atheism

· Health, Psychology

By Zia H Shah MD

According to a BBC survey, in 2007, one billion people world wide are suffering from anxiety and depression. Which world view will give you contentment and peace, Sigmund Freud’s or Carl Jung’s? This is the question, the answer of which you owe to yourself! The answer may predict your sanity and your future peace of mind or lack there of!

It is in remembrance of Allah that hearts can find comfort.   (Al Quran 13:29)

Did you imagine that Allah had created you without purpose, and that you would not be brought back to Us? (Al Quran 23:116)

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his colleagues defined man as a purely ‘Psychological man’ driven by his past experiences and memories as opposed to ‘Religious man’ who has a constant attraction and a drive towards his Creator and Protector, the God of monotheism. Freud theorized that personality is developed by the person’s childhood experiences. He was not vague about his claims for atheism. He actually predicted that as the masses of people become more educated, they would ‘turn away’ from the ‘fairy tales of religion.’ We will examine how his views were shaped by the anti-Semitism of his time.

Carl Jung, a contemporary of Freud took an exception, he wrote, “Freud has unfor­tunately overlooked the fact that man has never yet been able single‑handed to hold his own against the powers of darkness — that is, of the unconscious. Man has always stood in need of the spiritual help which each individual’s own religion held out to him.”

Totally on the opposite pole of Freud in matter of religion, Carl Jung explained at length, in the chapter, ‘Psychotherapists or clergy’ of his book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul:

During the past thirty years, people from all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me. I have treated many hundreds of patients.  …  Among all my patients in the second half of life — to say, over thirty‑five — there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.  It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.

Sigmund Freud wrote in a letter to Carl Jung, dated January 17, 1909, “The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.” In his essay on war & death, he wrote, “Religion is an illusion, and it derives its strength from its readiness to fit in with our instinctual wishful impulses.”

Both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung were psychologists of great repute. So, are we to believe in ‘Psychological man” of Freud or the “Religious man’ of Carl Jung?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica:
“As a boy Jung had remarkably striking dreams and powerful fantasies that had developed with unusual intensity. After his break with Freud, he deliberately allowed this aspect of himself to function again and gave the irrational side of his nature free expression. At the same time, he studied it scientifically by keeping detailed notes of his strange experiences. He later developed the theory that these experiences came from an area of the mind that he called the collective unconscious, which he held was shared by everyone. This much-contested conception was combined with a theory of archetypes that Jung held as fundamental to the study of the psychology of religion. In Jung’s terms, archetypes are instinctive patterns, have a universal character, and are expressed in behavior and images.
… Jung devoted the rest of his life to developing his ideas, especially those on the relation between psychology and religion. In his view, obscure and often neglected texts of writers in the past shed unexpected light not only on Jung’s own dreams and fantasies but also on those of his patients; he thought it necessary for the successful practice of their art that psychotherapists become familiar with writings of the old masters.”[1]
His advice has been largely ignored in the last century to the detriment of humanity. He wanted to take a more holistic view of human personality. For example he said, “In therapy the problem is that it is less a question of treatment than of developing always the whole person, the patient’s own latent creative possibilities never the symptom alone.”
January 2009 volume of Alislam-eGazette with all the links in there explore these age old questions:


  1. “Carl Jung.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 Nov. 2008>.


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  1. Zia H. Shah

    Will Japan face a mental health crisis?
    (CNN) — The frightening disasters in Japan are mounting. Despite workers’ Herculean efforts to prevent a complete meltdown at the country’s earthquake-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the situation appears to be growing more serious.

    In fact, each of the catastrophes that have struck Japan since last Friday–the earthquake, the tsunami and now the potential of nuclear calamity–would have been singularly perilous to the Japanese public’s psychological well-being. Their collective impact on mental health is unimaginable.

    And mental health is just as important as physical health. We know from years of research that poor mental health leads to physical health problems, diminished quality of life, work-related problems, social and family dysfunction, and even early death.

    When the partial core meltdown happened at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in March 1979, people in the surrounding communities were frightened and bewildered by the confusing and contradictory information being disseminated about what exactly was occurring at the reactor and whether their health was at risk. Moreover, the population nearby was advised to evacuate and evacuation discussions were also held as far away as Philadelphia.

  2. Zia H. Shah

    Collecting different testimonies on the issue
    In an interview for the New Scientist (August 26, 1976) Dr Abdus Salam said: “Every human being needs religion, as Jung has so firmly argued; this deeper religious feeling is one of the primary urges of mankind.” (Salam 1976).

  3. Zia H. Shah

    God is In Charge
    Ibn Abbas relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad said:

    I was riding behind the Holy Prophet (saw) one day when he said: Boy, I would instruct thee in some matters. Be watchful of Allah, He will be watchful of thee. Safeguard His commandments; He will be ever with thee. When thou must ask, as of Allah alone; and when thou must seek help, implore Allah alone for help. Remember that if all the people were to combine to bestow some benefit upon thee, they would not be able to bestow anything upon thee except that which Allah has appointed for thee, and that if all of them were to combine to harm thee, they would not be able to afflict thee with anything except that which Allah has decreed against thee. …

    Safeguard the commandments of Allah, you will find Him before you; remember Him in prosperity, He will remember you in adversity. Be sure that that which has led you into error will not lead you aright, and that which has guided you to good will not lead you astray. Remember that help comes with steadfastness, there is prosperity after adversity and that hardship is followed by ease.

    Click to access 2010_winter.pdf

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