-It is in the elimination of the satanic from the Divine
that the followers of Freud have done inestimable service to religion;
though I cannot help saying that the main theory of this newer psychology
does not appear to be supported by any adequate evidence
If our vagrant impulses assert themselves in our dreams, or at other
times we are not strictly ourselves, it does not follow that they
remain imprisoned in a kind of lumber room behind the normal self.
The occasional invasion of these suppressed impulses on the region
of our normal self tends more to show the temporary disruption of
our habitual system of response rather than their perpetual presence
in some dark corner of the mind.
However, the theory is briefly this. During the process of our adjustment
tour environment we are exposed to all sorts of stimuli. Our habitual
responses to these stimuli gradually fall into a relatively fixed
system, constantly growing in complexity by absorbing some and rejecting
other impulses which do not fit in with our present system of responses.
The rejected impulses recede into what is called the 'unconscious
region' of the mind and there wait for a suitable opportunity to
assert themselves and take their revenge on the focal self. They
may disturb our plans of action, distort our thought, build our
dreams and fantasies, or carry us back to forms of primitive behavior
which the evolutionary process has left far behind.
Religion, it is said, is a pure fiction created by these repudiated
impulses of mankind with a view to find a kind of fairyland for
free unobstructed movement. Religious beliefs and dogmas, according
to the theory, are no more than merely primitive theories of Nature,
whereby mankind have tried to redeem Reality from its elemental
ugliness and to show it off as something nearer to the heart's desire
than the facts of life would warrant.
That there are religions and forms of art, which provide a kind
of cowardly escape from the facts of life, I do not deny. All that
I content is that this is not true of all religions.
Religion is not physics or chemistry seeking an explanation of nature
in terms of causation; it really aims at interpreting a totally
different region of experience-religious experience-the data of
which cannot be reduced to the data of any other science. In fact,
it must be said in justice to religion that it insisted on the necessity
of concrete experience in religious life long before science learnt
to do so.
The conflict between the two is not due to the fact that the one
is, and the other is not, based on concrete experience. Both seek
concrete experience as a point of departure. Their conflict is due
to the misappropriation that both interpret the same data of experience.
We forget that religion aims at reaching the real significance of
a special variety of human experience.