Originally published in 1959, this book is primarily concerned with the question of psychiatric factors in religion, and, conversely, with that of religious factors in psychiatry. It rejects the Freudian theory that religion is a form of obsessional neurosis. Though this latter hypothesis may explain many of the phenomena of religious observance, it cannot explain the reality of religious experience. Dr Guirdham believes that orthodox Christianity is a perversion of the psychologically irrefutable teaching of Christ and that its conception of God as a supreme being endowed with supreme power, its teaching on the resurrection, and its contamination with a sense of guilt, are especially conducive to psychiatric disorder. He shows how theology may actually be inimical to religious experience and how faith differs from belief and is a response of the whole man. The book explains also the psychological origins of clericalism and demonstrates the role played by the latter in stifling religious experience.
Preface by Lawrence Durrell. Introduction. Part 1: Christ and Freud 1. The Religious Aspects of Psychiatric Illness 2. Some Psychiatric Mechanisms in Religious Observance 3. Criticism of the Psycho-Analytical Interpretation of Religion 4. Sexual Symbolism in Religion 5. Further Criticisms of the Freudian Concept of Religion 6. The Phenomena of Mysticism 7. The Distinction between Mysticism and Psychiatric Disease 8. Art and Psychiatric Disorder 9. Freudian Theory and Other World Religions 10. Neurosis and the Conception of a Personal God 11. The Persistence of Judaism in Christianity 12. Evaluation of Freud 13. Religion without Power 14. Summary of the Fallacies in the Psychoanalytic Explanation of Religion Part 2: Christianity and Neurosis 1. The Special Role of Christianity 2. The Doctrine of Resurrection 3. Limitations of the Theological Approach 4. Christianity and Time 5. Theology versus Religion 6. The Total or Partial Response Part 3: Guilt and Clericalism 1. Origins of Guilt in Clericalism 2. Christ and Clericalism 3. Psychiatric Origins of Clericalism 4. Obsessional Factors in Clericalism 5. Homosexuality in Clericalism 6. The Obsessional Element in Christianity 7. The New Faith 8. God and Power Part 4: Freedom and Captivity 1. Sex, Self-Assertion and Self-Annihilation 2. Current Errors in Psychiatric Treatment 3. The Action of Drugs 4. Priests and Doctors. Index.