This work should be also understood in context of contemporary events: World War I undoubtedly influenced Freud and had an impact on his central observation about the tension between the individual and civilization. Amidst a nation still recovering from a brutally violent war, Freud developed thoughts published two years earlier in The Future of an Illusion (1927), wherein he criticized organized religion as a collective neurosis. Freud, an avowed atheist, argued that religion has tamed asocial instincts and created a sense of community around a shared set of beliefs, thus helping a civilization. Yet at the same time organized religion also exacts an enormous psychological cost to the individual by making him perpetually subordinate to the primal father figure embodied by God.
This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.