Reflections from My Local Bucks (Coffee, Books, and Father Figures)

Freud took this psychological argument and made it a very popular and influential one. He didn’t argue the truth value of the belief; he just argued that you couldn’t trust most thoroughly in a short book, The Future of an Illusion. Of course, the illusion was religion. He didn’t consider religion true or false, he just considered it a psychological illusion that arose from our primitive needs for protection. Our basic infantile unconscious desires a father who would look after us and to satisfy these needs we create the illusion of God.

Freud claimed that one of the oldest psychological needs of the human race is that for a loving, protecting, all-powerful father, or divine providence.

Paul Vitz, Paul Copan and Charles Taliaferro [editors], The Naturalness of Belief: New Essays on Theism’s Rationality (New York, NY: Lexington Books, 2019), p.177.

(See my previous excerpt from this book, HERE)

𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗧𝗢𝗥’𝗦 𝗡𝗢𝗧𝗘: This is true regarding secularism more so than religious belief… although it runs through all mankind in general. C.S. Lewis noted that “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction of those desires exist…”. This particular desire is one that cannot be fulfilled in total, or completeness in this realm. We look towards the finish line in heavenly hope…. what Blaise Pascal in his Pensees (10.148) mentions as a “God shaped vacuum or void”:

  • What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.

A friend noted the following:
  • In Healing the Masculine Soul: God’s Restoration of Men to Real Manhood, by Gordon Dalbey, the author speaks of Christ addressing the disciples’ father hunger.

When secularism tries to fill this void, we often end up with death on a grand scale. Take for instance Stalin, who, was often referred to as “Papa.” Here is one recollection fitting the Freudian narrative of the human need for “loving, protecting, all-powerful father, or divine providence” – the State is the “all-powerful aspect” here:

My first impressions of Stalin came when I was little. I listened to stories my Dad told of his life. They were always short, just a few compressed sentences, and never judgmental. Never did he say a word against the Soviet rule. Many times, when he mentioned Stalin, he called him otéts rodnói (“caring father”). And every time, a steely caustic smile flashed on his face.

Now, pushing 60, I know smiles. I’m sure my Dad would have put a bullet between his eyes if he had a smallest chance.

The poster below says: “Hail our teacher, our father, our leader Comrade Stalin!”

Similar stories are told of Mao, Lenin, Pol-Pot, and the like. Persons seeking power by manipulation take advantage of this void. (Likewise, a political Party’s – or jaundiced religions overly promising health and wealth Think of the televangelist TBN types or Buddhist/new age offerings expecting wealth in return. Alternatively, those promising “universal” health care and student loans paid as well as housing. Etc)

We often refer to this “need” in varying ways, like: “she is looking for a father figure” to describe the emotionally harmed woman/girl from a broken home. We all suffer from a distorted need[s] that in our fallen nature we imperfectly try to fill on our own (male or female).

God, fellowship with his Word, and the Christian worldview — as well as relationships in His Body are the best prescribed medicines to begin to fill this void well, only having it complete when we see how He sees us (reunion in Heaven).

Just some thoughts via my local Bucks’ coffee, and reading contemplatively.