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Lander, J. (1950). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 19:621-622.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:621-622

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Joseph Lander

March 28, 1950. MONOTHEISM AND THE SENSE OF REALITY. Leonard R. Sillman, M.D.

The idea of a single God has a powerful influence in restricting magical thinking and enhancing intelligence. It exalts the reality principle over the pleasure principle since the hidden atheism of monotheism (if you worship a God you cannot see, you worship a God who is not there, or no God at all) gives monotheistic peoples a training in reality testing unknown to other religious groups. By denying the existence of a variety of gods, demons, and spirits who had jurisdiction over various natural phenomena, monotheism paved the way for the acknowledgment of ignorance, and thus for the investigation of natural phenomena, with the subsequent discovery of truth. Thus, monotheism greatly enhances the power of objective thought, with important consequences. Consciousness becomes greatly empowered because conscious memory grows, with more realities being brought to bear on problems and decisions. Preconscious thinking gains increasing control over the emotional life and behavior of the individual, in this way decreasing the influence of prejudice and myth. Although monotheistic religion propagates delusions, it has performed great services for humanity: it has civilized the father, repressed narcissism, furthered the development of conscience, and fostered the growth of man's preconscious and his intelligence. Dr.

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