Birth of the Living Gods? Exploring the Pre-and Perinatal Aspects of Religious Development
Publication Date:May 2008
Rizzuto and Freud consider that the origins of God representations can be traced to early parental relations, but Rizzuto postulates that Freud underestimates the ?complexities of this derivation, especially the role of the mother? (Wulff, 1997, pp. 343-344). To what extent is Rizzuto right in agreeing with Freud? Is there any evidence to support how God can be represented in pre and perinatal terms, within a psychodynamic framework? This hypothesis postulates that in parallel to postnatal findings, uterine and birth experiences possibly predispose the individual to form God representations later in life, through underpinning affective and environmental factors. The origins of our God representations are underpinned by early parental influence as advocated in the different perspectives of Rizzuto and Freud. One thinks that Rizzuto?s redress of maternal influences on our God representations can be addressed further with reference to the developmental factors relating to the mother-fetal dyad through pregnancy. There is a global proliferation of scientific and therapeutic interest in fetal life, suggesting that embryonic experiences have a lasting impact over the life span. If this is the case, then uterine experiences can colour the formation of our God representations. It is deemed important to grapple with the pre- and perinatal research available, mainly through the work of Stanislav Grof and Frank Lake, within the framework of Freud and Winnicott, in order to explore the possible impact of prenatal life for the religious development of the individual in relation to their parents and God representations.
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