Religion as Childhood Repression

peppermint's picture
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Religion as Childhood Repression

Alright, so I just had this thought occur to me and it's boggling my mind. I had to see if I could get it down in some understandable way. I can't come up with exact terms for my thoughts but I hope you can follow! Sticking out tongue

Religion is essentially founded in repression, not just wondering about how the world works. To thrive, it must create a fantasy world for its followers that insists upon restriction of ideas and actions.

We know that. But I was just thinking of  how this might give leverage to religious thought, especially in terms of children. We typically encourage more imaginative play in children simply because it's essential for their cognitive development and ability to reason abstractly. When this is restricted and controlled to the extent that it prevents healthy "imaginative excursions", something bad tends to happen....

...the desire for imaginative and "delusional" thinking is extended into adulthood. (I'm not saying it's unhealthy for adults to be imaginative, but SOMETHING IS cognitively different about the way children view the world)  Religion often seems to me to mirror a kind of psychological regression back to the rigid, comfortable definitions of authority that children so seek paired with fantastical elements.

Thus, religion/spiritually/delusion could partly be the result of repressed childhood thought/behavior. One similar concept that springs to mind is the very emotionally restrictive Japanese culture that is recently being "rebelled against" by an extremely colorful, taboo new generation that delves into extravagant role & costume play. (Not to mention the often overtly, sometimes shockingly, graphic and sexual cartoons that serious businessmen read on the subways and everyone pretends they don't see)

Of course religiously-raised children may very be raised in an environment that encourages imaginative play, HOWEVER, because of their religious indoctrination there IS part of their mind that seems to be held back.

I hope that makes sense!

*Our world is far more complex than the rigid structure we want to assign to it, and we will probably never fully understand it.*

"Those believers who are sophisticated enough to understand the paradox have found exciting ways to bend logic into pretzel shapes in order to defend the indefensible." - Hamby

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It's not just religions. I

It's not just religions. I remember being reprimanded for daydreaming in school. They try to beat that imagination and wondering out of you at an early age, religion or not. I had some awesome daydreams, too. I wish I could get that deep in imagination still, but alas, I think it diminishes with age. As you accumulate more understanding of reality, it becomes harder to blend reality and fantasy. But I still daydream. It's one of the best ways I know to come up with new ideas. I use it often in my job as a software developer, as I imagine new solutions to problems. I also use it when 'philosophizing'.

I think, yes, religion is based on repression. I guess my point is that our society today is also based on repression, even if it's not religion.

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 I think religion screws up

 I think religion screws up childrens' brains because of a fundamental cognitive dissonance -- Repress your imagination, because a snake told a woman to eat an apple and an invisible man in the sky watches you while you masturbate.

I can see how that could cause some difficulty in separating reality from fiction.


Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin
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get the facts straight

Religion per se is not an instrument of repression.

When there are a dozen or more gods you find one you can work with and to hell with the rest.

When there is one primary god it is still not that bad as Athens had Athena to no particular detriment.

When all the gods are more or less equal as in Rome no problem.

But when you get to the abomination of Judaism and its offshoots you get a melding of civil and religious authority. The arbitrary rules of the god become the civil law and the punishments of that god become the civil law.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.