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Rempel, M.H. (1998). In Fairness to Freud: A Response to Carveth. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 6(1):149-152.

(1998). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 6(1):149-152

In Fairness to Freud: A Response to Carveth

Morgan H. Rempel

In “Freud's Flawed Philosophy of Religion: A Reply to Rempel” (this journal), Donald Carveth raises a number of thought-provoking questions about what he considers several weak links in both Freud's philosophy of religion and my attempt to defend Freud's general position in the paper “Understanding Freud's Philosophy of Religion” (1997). While I am grateful for Carveth's reflections on these matters, particularly his detailed observations about Freud's general failure to “distinguish different manifestations of religious faith and practice” according to “levels of drive. structural… [and] object-relational” (p. 142) organization, I must take issue with his characterization of my overall approach to the matter of religious belief and reality-testing. On page 145, for example, Carveth writes,

Let us be clear about the form of Rempel's (Freud's) argument: religion is a primary process affair that impairs reality-testing and any “religion” that is significantly a secondary process affair and that does not impair reality testing is, by definition, not really religion and therefore doesn't count against the theory. Aside from the tautological and self-confirming circularity of this argument, it is worth noting that it relies upon the very distinction between “authentic” and “inauthentic” religion that Freud and Rempel reject in the hands of religion's friends, but rather self-servingly employ freely as its enemies.

While I agree with Carveth that an argument presented in the form he describes would certainly appear to rely “upon the very distinction between ‘authentic’ and ‘inauthentic’ religion that Freud and Rempel reject” and could well be described as “tautological” and “self-confirming” (Carveth, p.

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