Sigmund Freud published The Future of an Illusion in 1927 for the purpose of enlightening readers on with his analysis of the psychological operation of religious belief on society. The underlying, overarching thrust of this analysis is one of Freud’s most deeply despondent summations of the inherent qualities applicable to the entire human race: homo sapiens stubbornly and steadfastly commit to a pattern of rejecting attempts to penetrate down to the core of harsh truth about themselves.
Naturally enough, the Father of Psychoanalysis applies that discipline to the analytical of getting to the root cause of a problem that Freud terms mankind’s obsessive neurosis. Freud engages the ancient philosophical literary conceit of a Socratic dialogue as the structure for this extended psychoanalysis. A fiction character is invented as the personification of society’s skeptical criticism of Freud’s theories to which he become the voice of authority exploring flaws in societal thinking.
The fundamental outline that Freud explore in penetrating to the root cause of religious belief ascending to the level of collective neurosis is essentially threefold
The creation of a religion is recognized as a universal need for protection against the inexorable presence and unexplained mystery of death and the attendant anxiety of daily life.
Religious iconography and dogma become projections of a father figure into the heavens capable of providing protection from those anxieties and answers to that mystery.
Ultimately this projection can essentially be withered down to the backbone of all Freudian psychoanalysis: religion is another example of unconscious wish-fulfillment transforming into symbolism when apprehended by the conscious mind.
Just as a human manifesting symptoms of a neurosis may revel in the comfort of the symbolic illusions produced by untapped unconscious explanations rather than seek help in understanding, facing and overcoming those repressed drives, so does mankind prefer living with his illusions rather than own up to Freud’s assertion that all religious belief and everything associated with it is merely a manifestation of mankind’s persistent pattern of rejecting attempts to understand and overcome the danger wrought upon the social fabric by adhering to illusory religious convictions.