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Malev, M. (1974). Discussion of the Paper by John Klauber on 'Psychical Roots of Religion'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:257-259.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:257-259

Discussion of the Paper by John Klauber on 'Psychical Roots of Religion'

Milton Malev

Comment on this paper can best be introduced by quoting from the discussion by Freud (1933) in 'A Philosophy of Life', of the genesis of religion among men and the functions that it serves for them. I quote this because it identifies the psychic base for the conflicts which later become externalized as religious credos, particularly as they pertain to the attainment of salvation. 'If one wishes to form a true estimate of the full grandeur of religion, one must keep in mind what it undertakes to do for men. It gives them information about the source and origin of the universe; it assures them of protection amid the changing vicissitudes of life, and it guides their thoughts and actions by means of precepts which are backed by the whole force of its authority. It fulfils, therefore, three functions.'

Let us put aside the first, the origins of the universe and/or each individual personally, and note the other two. They have this in common—that the benefits they offer, i.e. protection and security—in short, life—are administered by a Deity, omnipotent and omniscient who is, as we know, the exalted image of the parents. But these offered benefits are offered twice, the two occasions differing from each other in the terms and conditions under which they are provided. In the one system, the one applicable to the very young child, they are provided out of the parents' goodwill wholly at their option, without the child's participation or influence, and regardless of his worth, with no claims upon them by the child, nor any duties as condition.

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