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Becker, B.J. (1951). Psychoanalysis and Religion. By Erich Fromm, Ph.D. 119 pp. Yale University Press. $2.50.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 11(1):71-73.

(1951). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 11(1):71-73

Psychoanalysis and Religion. By Erich Fromm, Ph.D. 119 pp. Yale University Press. $2.50.

Review by:
Benjamin J. Becker, M.D.

In this book Erich Fromm continues the logical sequence of the ideas he has already expressed in his two previous books, Escape from Freedom and Man for Himself. The book is based on a series of lectures given at Yale University under the auspices of the Terry Foundation. This was a fund established to encourage lectures on religion studied from the viewpoint of science and philosophy. It is of some historical interest that C. G. Jung's Psychology and Religion was also published in 1938 through the Terry Foundation lectures.

Fromm starts by defining the problem. Man has came very far from the days when he was a weak, helpless, ignorant pawn at the mercy of a frequently unpredictable Nature. Our scientific discoveries and technical achievements have brought us to the point where we can produce more than enough for our needs and where we can control our environment to an amazing extent. However, Fromm asks, have we come closer to the realization of the perfection of man, that which has to do with loving his neighbor, doing justice and speaking truth?

The answer is obvious. Instead of brotherliness, happiness and contentment, there is spiritual chaos in which contact with inner reality is lost. This problem has been expressed by Horney in terms of alienation from the real self. Fromm shows the tremendous confusion and inconsistency in the values held by individuals in our culture. He sees a wide gap between the ideals professed by our culture, the principles taught in the churches and the actual practices of every day living. Humans look for meaning in life, and cannot find it in the contradictions, dishonesties and cynical resignation so much in evidence.

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