Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Humanistic Psychology

By Brannon S. Howse

"To demolish religion with psychoanalytic weapons,” Freud biographer Peter Gay reported, “had been on Freud's agenda for many years.” 


Sigmund Freud, like Friedrich Nietzsche (Chapter 7) who strongly influenced him, hated God and Christianity. In his own book, The Future of an Illusion, Freud describes his “absolutely negative attitude toward religion, in every form and dilution.”


As Dr. Benjamin Wiker points out in Ten Books that Screwed up the World:

"We cannot forget Nietzsche's assumption that religion was an entirely human creation. Since Freud read Nietzsche, this may have done as much as anything to help form his presentation of religion in The Future of an Illusion."


With that viewpoint at the core of Freud’s thinking, Wiker goes on to describe the psychoanalyst’s resultant, perverted worldview:


"His rebellion took the form of baptizing as natural the most hideously unnatural sins, sins condemned by every society as the most unholy and unthinkable… Freud damned as unnatural the Christian-based morality of Western society."


Freud himself points out several of these “unholy and unthinkable” inclinations:


"Among these instinctual wishes are those of incest, cannibalism, and lust for killing."


Freud believed that it is the people who reject a Biblical worldview and follow their "natural" desires that are truly sane. As Dr. Wicker explains:


[quote] He [Freud] claimed that psychological disorders were the result of the unnatural repression of our naturally unholy and anti-social desires, and that some people just couldn't handle the repression…Therefore, neurotics are the only sane people because they react to unnatural frustration by training to reclaim their original, natural, asocial and amoral state. The result: the anti-social psychopath who kills without conscience is the most natural of all. The interesting effect of Freud's proclamation that evil is natural was the seemingly unintended consequence of making psychopathic insanity natural. [end quote] 


The Soul of a Soul-less Discipline:


The word “psychology” derives from the Greek word "psyche," the study of the soul—which, ironically, should be impossible for Secular Humanistic psychologists who deny the spiritual world and the soul. Author Alan Bloom notes that for the Secular Humanists "the self is the modern substitute for the soul." And when humanists refer to the mind, they really mean the brain. 


Contrast the significance the Christian worldview places on this realm which Freud insists doesn’t even exist. The Biblical worldview, of course, acknowledges both the spiritual and natural worlds. The brain is part of the natural world, but the mind and heart, as described in the Bible, are connected to the soul—the spiritual side of man. 


Scripture mentions the heart 826 times, where “heart” refers to the core of a person’s being. Proverbs 4:23 says the heart is “the source of life.” From the heart proceed our good and bad thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The Bible admonishes us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. 


In Scripture, the words “heart” and “mind” are often interchangeable, and other times they complement one another. Jeremiah 17:9, for instance, describes the heart as “more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick,” so the mind must moderate the heart. The Bible also describes the nature of those who ignore God as it tells us how to practice godliness:


• Psalm 14:1—“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” 


• Proverbs 23:19—“Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way.” 


• Proverbs 23:7—“For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.” 


Your heart and mind are part of your soul, the core of who you are that will still be after you die. They will live forever and be judged by God (Romans 2:5; Revelation 2:23). The person who repents of sin and surrenders his or her will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the person who has received mercy and grace. That person has been saved by God on the basis of Christ’s complete payment for sin at Calvary.

According to Romans, the moral law is written on the heart and mind of every person—thus the conscience. “Con” means with and “science” means knowledge. So, every time people sin or rebel against God, they know it is wrong.  


We come to understand that we don’t murder fellow human beings because murder goes against the character of God. We are not to lie, steal, or break any of the other Ten Commandments because doing so would go against who God is. Romans 1:21 reminds us, “although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” And Romans 2:15 points out that people “show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.” 


The Bondage of Being Guilt-Free:


People can either accept the guilty feeling of the law that accuses them of their transgression when they sin, or they can excuse the guilty feeling and learn to ignore it. If they ignore the guilt long enough or often enough, they will become people “speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). 


You can see, then, that people who listen to Freud and his devotees—believing that sinful thoughts and impulses are natural instead of understanding that their guilt is a sign they have violated the character and nature of God—are headed in a seriously wrong direction. The end result can be true insanity if their rebellion against God goes too far. Norm Geisler explains how this works out in a person’s life:


[quote] [T]he root cause of the character disorders (moral corruption) … is directly associated with a person’s refusal to acknowledge and act upon what is morally right and reject what is morally wrong. It becomes harder and harder for the individual to get help with his character disorder because of the increased moral depravity. This increase is associated with greater levels of insensitivity in that person’s conscience. For example, during the progressive moral deterioration in the life of the person who uses pornography, his sequence of feeling-to-thought-to-deed proceeds with less and less intervention of the inhibitory mechanism of conscience and guilt. [quote] 


This is the effect of having a “seared” conscience, yet no one will have an excuse at Judgment for rejecting God. Romans 3:19–20 warns: 

"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."


Everyone has broken the law. No one can justify their entry into heaven by claiming they have “lived a good enough life” because God’s standard is to keep the complete moral law, and no one has done that. 

To further underscore that committing sin is breaking the moral law, 1 John 3:4 says, “Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.” And Romans 3:10 explains, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Finally, Romans 3:23 concludes: “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 


Becoming a Real You:


Throughout this book we have seen how one's worldview impacts not only a person’s public life but also his or her personal life. Freud’s impact as “the father of psychoanalytic theory” has rippled through psychological thinking and into the general population, leaving bizarre thoughts and actions in its wake. David Noebel cites the book, The Road to Malpsychia: Humanistic Psychology and Our Discontent, which reports: 


"Milton reveals that Harvard's Timothy Leary routinely had sex with his patients, took psilocybin and LSD, pushed drugs on his own students, and entertained the goal of having four million Americans turned on to LSD."


Humanist, psychologist, and member of The Frankfurt School (Chapter 9) Erich Fromm greatly respected Freud. And while disagreeing in some areas, Fromm and Freud were united in their attack on Christianity. Fromm declared, “man challenges the supreme power of God, and he is able to challenge it because he is potentially God.”

Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed the idea of self-actualization—which means a person’s innate goodness has evolved. As David Noebel describes:

[quote] Abraham Maslow refers to those in touch with their inherent goodness as self-actualized. He categorizes this drive to get in touch with our inherent goodness as a need that can be attended to only after we have satisfied our lower needs—namely, physiological, safety, social, and ego needs. We must satisfy these needs as well as our need for self-actualization before we can truly be declared mentally healthy. [end quote] 


Maslow claimed that very few people ever reach the state of being self-actualized. Among those that he said had reached this state include two individuals discussed in this book: William James (Chapter 11) and Aldous Huxley (Chapter 13).


Dr. Noebel explains why self-actualized people are the ones humanists look to as leaders:  


[quote] Humanists embrace self-centeredness in an effort to create a better world. The call for individuals to be true to their feelings and innermost nature allows for experimentation. If we feel our innermost nature is calling us to act in a certain way, who has the authority to tell us we are misinterpreting our feelings? Humanism affirms our freedom to experiment with values and to test the aspects of morality that truly mesh with our inner nature.  Self-actualized people are the final authority for Humanist ethics, regardless of the amount of scientific experimentation required to discover the good. However, the good discovered by one person is the good only for that person. Another person may decide something else is the good or that neither good nor rules exist. Humanist psychologists discourage this line of thinking, however, by arguing that few people are self-actualized and the non-self-actualized must turn to the self-actualized for guidance. According to Maslow, people not yet self-actualized can learn what is right by watching those who are. Thus, Humanists must look to mentally healthy (self-actualized) people to determine scientifically, for example, if pedophilia (man/boy sex) is moral or not. [end quote] 


Maslow evidences this propensity when he suggests, "I propose that we explore the consequences of observing whatever our best specimens choose, and then assuming that these are the highest values for all mankind."  


Does this mean that when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an attorney for the ACLU in 1977 and argued for lowering the sex age limit to twelve she was following the leadership of someone that was self-actualized? I suggest that the reality is humanists look to perverts to set the standards because they’re the ones who do not reject their "natural instincts" and are humanistically the “truly sane.” 


Humanistic psychologists deny our sinful nature that results from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Thus they believe man is simply a product of his environment. When they apply Darwinian evolution to their worldview, they contend that society is evolving along with nature and that things will get better and better as we become more enlightened—or as Maslow claimed, self-actualized. In truth, the twentieth century was the bloodiest of all centuries; things are not getting better. 


The Bible declares that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It also holds that the days will become increasingly wicked, with people doing what is right in their own eyes, calling evil good and good evil. Indeed Freud, Maslow, Fromm, and others in their line of psychologists prove that this has come true. Calling “evil good and good evil,” they declare Christians insane and those who act out compulsions such as child-molestation and murder sane. 


David Noebel summarizes the contrast between the Biblical worldview and humanistic psychology:

[quote] Secular Humanists make three assumptions about the self, mind, and mental processes: 1) we are good by nature and are therefore perfectible; 2) society and its social institutions are responsible for the evil we do; and 3) mental health can be restored to those who get in touch with their inner (good) self. While other worldviews may agree with some or all of these premises, Christians disagree with all three. Christians insist that we must admit our own sinful nature and take responsibility for our immoral acts instead of blaming someone or something else. Humanist psychology, however, allows us to intellectually deny responsibility for our behavior and moral choices. [quote] 

As Benjamin Wiker points out, "the greatest crimes in the history of mankind came not from those in thrall to the ‘illusion’ [as Freud called Christianity] of Judaism and Christianity, but from those who claimed to be atheistic, scientific socialists."

Tyrannical, atheistic, socialist governments down through the ages have waged war against the Christians within their own countries because Bible-minded Christians stand directly opposed to their evil schemes against life and liberty. Thus humanistic governments join Freud in labeling Christians as mentally unstable. In Modern Times, Paul Johnson explains that "…the notion of regarding dissent as a form of mental sickness, suitable for compulsory hospitalization, was to blossom in the Soviet Union into a new form of political repression."


The Descent of Dissent:


These techniques are disturbingly present in America today. In early 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a report that labeled as "extremists" those opposed to abortion, the unconstitutional increase in the size and scope of the federal government, the weakening of America's national sovereignty, infringement of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (right to keep and bear arms), and even those who simply show interest in "end times prophecies.”  


It is not a great leap for a government to go from labeling opposition as "extremists" to labeling them "terrorists" and taking punitive action against them. In June 2009, Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) cited e-mails in which an attorney with President Obama’s auto task force called an attorney representing the senior bondholders of Chrysler a "terrorist.” 


That same month, the Speaker of the California State Assembly referred to conservative talk show hosts as terrorists when asked, “How do you think conservative talk radio has affected the Legislature's work?" Her answer:

[quote] The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now [some] are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: "You vote for revenue and your career is over." I don't know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it's about free speech, but it's extremely unfair. [end quote] 

Even now members of the U.S. Congress and high-ranking federal government officials are calling for some sort of "fairness doctrine" or "diversity doctrine" that would eliminate most conservative radio programs from the airwaves—or at the very least require equal time to be given to opposing views. Such a federal law would require even Christian radio programs to give equal time to groups in favor of homosexuality.  


The Government's Solution for the Mentally Disturbed:


On June 17, 2009, reported that the Pentagon uses a personnel exam that asks: 

Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism?
— Attacking the Pentagon
— IEDs
— Hate crimes against racial groups
— Protests


According to the report, the correct answer is “Protests.” After this exam was made public, the Pentagon claims to have discontinued its use. 


 In August 2009, Americans that dared to publicly dissent at town hall meetings regarding President Obama's socialized healthcare bill were characterized and marginalized as not being mentally stable. U. S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi went so far as to say that those who expressed their disapproval were essentially “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.”

Would it surprise you to know that one of the 21 people we looked at in this book, William James, is the man behind the idea of mandatory national service for America's youth and founder of the first American psychological laboratory? What better way to "cure" America's young people from their mental illness derived from the influence of parents and churches than to be subjected to the social justice curriculum written by the likes of Bill Ayers.

If you harbor any doubt that there are psychologists, educational elite, elected and government officials who see America's parents as the threat to their worldview, then consider the following:

Dr. Pierce, professor of Education and Psychology at Harvard University, has said, "Every child who enters school at the age of five is mentally ill because he enters school with an allegiance toward our elected officials, our founding fathers, our institutions, the preservation of this form of government that we have, patriotism, nationalism, sovereignty. All this proves that the children are sick, because a truly well individual is one who has rejected all of those things, and is what I would call the true international child of the future."

In concert with Pierce’s notion, Hillary Clinton has for years been advocating for the U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. If ever ratified by the U.S. Senate, parental authority will be put in the place Pierce and other such Freudians would have it: nowhere. It would be eliminated. Several years ago, Harper's magazine revealed Clinton’s radical, anti-family agenda in “Child Saver: What She Values Will Not Help the Family”:


[quote] The traditional family is, for the most part, an institution in need of therapy, an institution that stands in the way of children's rights—an obstacle to enlightened adults…She condemns the State's assumption of parental responsibilities, not because she has any faith in parents themselves but because she is opposed to the principle of parental authority in any form…Her writings leave the unmistakable impression that it is the family that holds children back; it is the state that sets them free. [End quote, Emphases mine]


Freud's hatred of Christianity and the Christian philosophy of family, parental authority, and freedom of religion lives on. 

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