In The Future of an Illusion (1927) Freud refers to religion as an illusion which is “perhaps the most important item in the psychical inventory of a civilization”. In his estimation, religion provides for defense against “the crushingly superior force of nature” and “the urge to rectify the shortcomings of civilization which made themselves painfully felt”. He concludes that all religious beliefs are “illusions and insusceptible of proof.Freud made the same mistake that the irrational atheists of today still make. They think that because they are influenced by centuries of Christendom's social inertia, that they possess a variant morality that is, if not necessarily better than Christian morality, at least equally valid.
Freud then examines the issue of whether, without religion, people will feel “exempt from all obligation to obey the precepts of civilization”. He notes that “civilization has little to fear from educated people and brain-workers” in whom secular motives for morality replace religious ones; but he acknowledges the existence of “the great mass of the uneducated and oppressed” who may commit murder if not told that God forbids it, and who must be “held down most severely” unless “the relationship between civilization and religion” undergoes “a fundamental revision”
Freud, like many 19th century men were so steeped in custom they could never conceive of the possibility that “educated men and brain-workers” would free themselves, not only of God, but all fixed taboos — of everything. He himself never imagined the Nazis were possible. At the end of his life, sick and old in Vienna — a Vienna he never thought could come to pass — he was saved, as David Cohen writes, not by the harsh logic of supermen, but by bourgeois sentimentality: the kindness of friends, the intervention of admirers and the secret intervention of a Nazi admirer.
The trouble with 19th century atheism is that it had not completely freed itself from the sentiments of Christianity: in many subtle ways they assumed that man after God would still have limits. They failed to understand until the middle 20th century that man’s need for power did not necessarily contain limits. They learned, too late, that like the Bill of Rights understands, it is in the “won’ts” on men’s actions that earthly freedom lives.
They don't. They possess the increasingly tattered remnants of Christian morality, that is all, and as it fades with each post-Christian generation, the Men of the West devolve into paganism, and not the high paganism that was so virtuous as to compete with early Christianity, but the low paganism of the Celt, the Viking, the Mongol, the Aztec, and the African cannibal.
A young Basongo chief came to our Commandant while at dinner in his tent and asked for the loan of his knife, which, without thinking, the Commandant gave him. He immediately disappeared behind the tent and cut the throat of a little slave-girl belonging to him, and was in the act of cooking her when one of our soldiers saw him. This cannibal was immediately put in irons, but almost immediately after his liberation he was brought in by some of our soldiers who said he was eating children in and about our cantonment. He had a bag slung round his neck which, on examining it, we found contained an arm and leg of a young child.We're not eating little girls yet, but we're already parting them out and selling them for profit. The post-Christian trend is clear. The abomination of Planned Parenthood is the sin and the horror of American society. It is the proof that God has turned His face away from the once-Christian America and ceased to bless her.