Sigmund Freud famously saw belief in God as a distorted wish fulfillment. We desire love and security and therefore imagine a heavenly father who loves and protects. He even coined the term wunscherfüllung in The Interpretation of Dreams. To become mature and psychologically healthy one would need to jettison such wish fulfillment and see the world as it really was. Freud argued for the end of any belief in God (The Future of an Illusion) in order to reach such maturity. Despite almost almost all of Freud’s ideas now being rejected as pseudo-science, this idea lingers. Belief is naive denial or the casting of our dreams up into the sky, so the critique goes.
But who exactly is the one seeking fulfillment of their wishes? The believer or the unbeliever?
The God revealed in the Bible and in Christ is certainly one who can satisfy all need for love and security. But is it more or less of a comfort to deny Him?
The God who offers love and forgiveness for all who come to Him is also the One to whom every life will be held accountable. He is also the source of all life and everything is upheld by the word of his power. Perhaps in our self-autonomy and desire to be in control a new kind of wish emerges. That there is no God to whom we ought to thank for each breath. And no God who will judge our lives.
Isn’t unbelief a greater example of wish fulfillment?