What is the oedipus complex and are there any examples of it in scripture?


Clarify Share Report Asked March 02 2018 Img 0321 Gary Howell

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
‚ÄčThe Oedipus complex (as I understand it) was a concept developed by Sigmund Freud (the founder of modern psychiatry, which blends the studies of psychology and medicine) based on his interviews with patients and his analysis of their dreams.

Freud posited the development of a subconscious sexual attraction on the part of very young children toward their parent of the opposite sex, and an accompanying subconscious hostility of those children toward their parent of the same sex, whom the children perceived as rivals for the affection of the parent of the opposite sex.

Freud named this concept (with respect to male children and their mothers) after the character Oedipus in ancient Greek mythology and drama. (The corresponding attraction of female children for their fathers is referred to as the Electra complex -- Electra being Oedipus' daughter.)

(Oedipus' father (Laius) was the king of the ancient Greek city-state of Thebes. Before Oedipus was born, an oracle (who communicated messages from the Greek gods) had told Laius that his own son would someday kill him. Laius sought to avoid this fate by abandoning Oedipus as an infant on a mountain, and leaving him to die. However, the abandoned baby was found by a shepherd, who turned him over to Polybus, king of the Greek city-state of Corinth, who raised Oedipus as his own son. Oedipus grew up not knowing his true parentage.

(After Oedipus had grown to adulthood, he encountered Laius at a crossroads (with neither of them who the other was), and got into an argument and fight with him. During this encounter, Oedipus killed Laius.

(Oedipus subsequently went to Thebes, which had been without a king since the death of Laius, and which was being terrorized by the monstrous Sphinx, who killed all those who could not answer a riddle that the Sphinx posed to them (What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?). Oedipus succeeded in answering the riddle (man, who crawls as an infant, walks upright as an adult, and uses a cane in old age), whereupon the Sphinx killed itself.

(The grateful citizens of Thebes then made Oedipus their king, and he married Jocasta, the widow of the previous king (unaware that she was his own mother), and fathered children with her. When the truth of the situation emerged years later, Jocasta hanged herself, and Oedipus used the brooches that Jocasta had been wearing to gouge out his own eyes.)

As the child matures, this subconscious complex (which the child represses because it is not socially acceptable, and which the child is thus not consciously aware of) is normally resolved by the substitution by the child of an identification with the parent of the same sex in place of the former Oedipal rivalry. However, if this identification does not occur as the child matures, psychological problems (which Freud termed castration anxiety in males and penis envy in females) can result later in life.

Some commentators (who, like Freud, do not believe in God or objective standards of good or evil, and who thus do not regard the Bible as either a historical document or an inspired source of divine moral guidance) claim to see in the pages of the Bible parallels to the Oedipus account and its dynamics or effects, such as Abraham's attempted sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19), or Lot unknowingly becoming the father of his daughters' children after the destruction or Sodom (Genesis 19:30-38).

As might be expected from a Judeo-Christian standpoint, these claims are inaccurate or fall short to the extent that they ignore God's role in Biblical events, or exclude God from any rightful position of authority or judgment with respect to human conduct.

However, the Bible certainly does discuss the full range of human sin, including the possibility of relationships such as are contained in the Oedipus account, which God expressly prohibited in the Law given to Israel through Moses (Leviticus 18:6-18).

March 15 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
The Oedipus complex is part of the supposed contribution to psychiatry by Sigmund Freud. Although Freud had an enormous early influence on the field of psychology in the last century, his work has not been scientifically validated, and today is largely shoved aside by academia.

The Oedipus Complex is readily explained by Brother Tim above as a subconscious disorder occurring in boys. There exists no reason to think that children coming from a loving Christian family would necessarily exhibit signs of either an Oedipus or Electra complex. Freud developed these concepts through extended contact with mentally or emotionally disturbed individuals who were his patients. There are no examples of these so-called complexes in the bible.

For an revealing article on the current opinion of Freud's work go to https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-freud-still-matters-when-he-was-wrong-about-almost-1055800815.

March 15 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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