“In order to take his place”

Why Freud needed to destroy God.

Freud was famously an evangelical materialist and atheist. In that context he wrote often about the need to dethrone the “exalted father”. He was, it seems to me, speaking of his need. Intense personal need dressed in flimsy objective cloth. Do we not detect his true motivation in this piece of his writing about a boy’s relationship with his father…

“In the second half of his childhood a change sets in in the boy’s relation to his father – a change whose importance cannot be exaggerated … He finds that his father is no longer the mightiest, wisest and richest of beings; he grows dissatisfied with him, he learns to criticise him and to estimate his place in society; and then as a rule, he makes him pay heavily For the dusappojntment that has been caused by him … He becomes a model not only to imitate but also to get rid of, in order to take his place”

If you want a clearer view of what was really driving Freud note the use of the word surrendering in this letter from him as a student:

“Needless to say I am only a theist by necessity, and am honest enough to confess my helplessness in the face of his (Brantano’s) argument; however, I have no intention of surrendering so quickly or completely”

and here again, before he was anointed himself: 

“the bad part of it, especially for me, lies in the fact that the science of all things seems to demand the existence of God”