by Bill Nugent
The eighteenth century gave us the Enlightenment, age of reasonin which Hume, Voltaire and Kant theorized that absolute truth could be discovered by human thought unaided by revelation from God.
The nineteenth century gave us Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud who did prodigious work to apply rationalism to try to find answers to social, political and scientific problems apart from any reliance on God. They sent western civilization on a course toward atheism and lawlessness.
The twentieth century gave us Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro who applied nineteenth century theories to impose rationalistic, modernist solutions on a national and international scale with mass murderous results.
The twenty first century has so far given us a Muslim rebellion against modernism coupled with the western societal embrace of postmodernism in the form of social permissiveness and political correctness which also has had mass murderous results in the form of millions of abortions annually. Postmodernism rejects absolute truth and claims that truth and morals are relative. Absolute truth is ultimate meaning, ultimate values and ultimate unchanging morals.
Sigmund Freud was a major player in the centuries long decline of western civilization. So profound was the work of Freud that his name appears on many, if not most, lists of men who rule the world from the grave. (You’ve all seen those articles that explain how the world is ruled by prominent philosophers and theorists who died long ago.)
Freud was born in 1856 in what is now the Czech Republic. His family moved to Vienna when he was four years old and that’s where he would spend almost all of the remainder of his life. A brilliant student and fluent in several languages, he went on to study at the University of Vienna and graduated as a medical doctor in 1881. He started practice as a neurologist but just a few years later changed course after he traveled to Paris and observed the work of French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. Charcot used hypnosis to treat hysteria. Freud turned his practice to what was then called medical psychopathology.
Freud was deeply influenced by Darwin and kept a collection of Darwin’s major works on evolution. He was also influenced by Nietzsche and bought a complete collection of Nietzsche’s books when he learned of Nietzsche’s death in 1900. Darwin and Nietzsche were probably major influences in Freud’s atheism and hostility towards God. Freud was Jewish by heritage but lived as a secular Jew.
Freud developed seduction theory in the 1890s in which he claimed neurosis was caused by sexual molestation early in life. After his father’s death in 1896, Freud entered a time of deep introspection and self analysis. He formulated the bizarre and dangerous “Oedipus complex” theory at this juncture. It was the claim that a male child is jealous of his father over his mother’s sexual affection. Freud shifted his theory to claim that it was not necessarily actual molestation that caused disorders but rather infantile sexual fantasies and repression of those fantasies that was the cause of much neurosis. This opened the door to all kinds of sexual theoretical elaborations. Many of his colleagues, including long time collaborator, Josef Breuer, parted company with him over this.
Freud sought to explain human motivation and neurosis by postulating that the sex drive is the principle force in determining behavior. Freud’s theories were complicated, academic and did little to cure his patients. Freud’s major impact was on the succeeding generations because many of his followers used his theories to promote the idea that sexual repression (sexual abstinence, self control) was the root of neurosis. Freud’s sexual theories therefore, ultimately helped give rise to the sexual permissiveness, out-of-wedlock births and single motherhood of our time. In short, Freud was a founding father of the new sexuality which is really just the old immorality with its tragic social consequences.
Freud pushed the idea of sexual determinism. Karl Marx, a contemporary of Freud, spent his life pushing economic determinism which is the idea that economic motives are the principle driver of human behavior. Marx claimed that economic justice (equal distribution of wealth) would save the earth. Darwin explained human behavior in the most basic animalistic terms, that survival of the fittest means that people compete to survive to produce offspring that survive. Friedrich Nietzsche claimed that the principle human motive is the desire to rule over others and he labeled it “the will to power.”
These nineteenth century men, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud, and their small bands of elite academic followers were like cancerous tumors in the body of western civilization. By the twentieth century the cancer had metastasized to become systemic and produce communism, fascism, atheism, sexual revolution and postmodernism. In twenty-first century America, some states have gone so far as to outlaw gay reparative therapy. These laws are anti-conversion laws, forbidding counseling people to go from gay to straight! This is all part of the end-time falling away from the faith that the New Testament prophetically predicted in the first epistle of Timothy, chapter four, verse one.
Social science, including psychology is not objective science. Objective, experimental sciences such as physics and chemistry are able to control their variables in scientific studies and their theories are falsifiable. Social enquiry, by contrast, has too many subjective behavioral variables that can’t be held constant in studies. Social theories can’t be rigorously falsified or affirmed. Many observers maintain that social and psychological researchers apply the term ‘science’ to their work to give it credibility when really their endeavors are liberal arts, not science.
Freud’s theories were highly influenced by anecdotal observations of patients in his clinics. His theories are held by faith and have little or no scientific underpinning. Freud was really an artist, not a scientist. He formed the International Psychological Association in 1910. The group had very little cohesion and was plagued by resignations, including those of Adler, Stekel and Jung. The fact that brilliant minds in the field of psychology broke with Freud so early points to the fact that psychology is highly subjective and is art, not science. Freud greatly impacted psychology in spite of the fact that most of his theories are considered obsolete today. In my psychology class in college the instructor said that modern psychotherapy has a very low success rate in actually curing patients.
In 1909, Freud went on a lecture tour of the United States and later published a book based on the lectures. For this and his other books, his fame rocketed and he became the best known psychologist worldwide. Unfortunately, toward the end of his life, Freud became hostile to religion and God. His 1927 book, “The Future of an Illusion” is openly blasphemous against God.
In 1938 he escaped from Vienna with the help of associates and, ironically, helped by a sympathetic Nazi commissar who shielded Freud’s bank accounts and secured the Int’l Psychological Association library. Freud continued to suffer from painful cancer of the jaw while living in London. Freud committed suicide with the assistance of his personal physician who provided a lethal dose of morphine in September of 1939. It was an assisted suicide.
What can we learn from the tragic life and legacy of Sigmund Freud? His sex motive based theories of neurosis gave great momentum to the free sex, cast off repression attitude that became rampant in the generations after him. We see the evidence all around us that rejection of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality brings a cascade of social problems. By one count there are over thirty sexually transmitted diseases wreaking havoc on human health. One STD, called HPV causes cancer of the uterus and cervix. Out of wedlock births result in single motherhood and absent fathers. Most of the men in our prisons are from broken homes.
God has offered a way back and it’s called salvation. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, came in fulfillment of over three hundred messianic prophecies written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. The prophecies foretold that Christ would suffer and die, taking upon Himself the punishment we deserved because of our sins and that He would rise from the dead to offer forgiveness and eternal life to all who call upon Him. Turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins!
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