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Religion and Psychology

Autor:   •  March 16, 2014  •  Essay  •  2,374 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,254 Views

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From the moment we are born, our families begin to instill the beliefs of our ancestors in our minds and from then on we spend our lives learning and practicing a specific moral and religious value system. Although we all have the choice of conversion, our community does not necessarily support it. In the Amish religion, however, it is believed that "only an adult can freely choose Christ and be baptized" (Devil's Playground). As shown in the movie Devil's Playground, the Amish are raised in an isolated society without televisions, cell phones, or other unnecessary modes of communication to the outside world because they feel that life is supposed to be lived the way G-d made it, without making it easy for ourselves. Although this way of thinking is inculcated into their mind from an early age, they are still not a part of the Amish church until they decide to join it themselves. In order to make that decision, "when Amish children reach age sixteen, they begin a period known in Pennsylvania Dutch as "Rumspringa." They are released from Amish restrictions and can explore the "English" world" (Devil's Playground) and once they feel that they have fully experienced living without limitations, only then are they able to make the decision of whether they would like to go back to the community in which they were raised and join the Amish church or stay in the English world and live their life without Amish restrictions.

Along with not being able to participate in communication with the outside world, the people of the Amish community must also take a pledge of abstinence from alcohol, drugs, violence, and any sexual activity. Sigmund Freud, a psychologist that focused on psychoanalysis and brought up the idea of the subconscious, would explain this pledge as a way that civilization pursues its goal of Eros, or the life instinct. In being forced to repress their aggressive instincts, they have created a welcome community where no one feels threatened. Freud mentions that "civilization imposes on the individual a certain degree of renunciation of his or her natural sexual and aggressive instincts" (Forsythe) which the film has proven to be true in the Amish community. The Amish are meant to be conservative and they must repress many of their instincts, even more so than any other community of the English world.

Although their lives are difficult because they refuse to use technological developments to help make their lives easier, the knowledge that what they are doing will eventually bring them to Heaven alleviates their potential suffering and unhappiness which is what Freud believes civilization has the power to do. He states that although civilization has the tendency to inflict renunciation of natural impulses and the power to ease human suffering. Also, in response to the suffering that we experience, he believes that we "try to control and regulate human relationships


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