Napoleon's Religion and Belief

Erez Levanon, L.L.B, F.I.N.S
Prof. Eliezer Witztum, F.I.N.S

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Division of Psychiatry,
Mental Health Center, Israel




As a Corsican, Napoleon was born into the Roman Catholic church, but even as young boy he inclined to secular thinking rather than to religious observance.

His secular bent deepened while he was young officer in France but he came to understand that religion was essential for most people. At the same time Napoleon reached the conclusion that religion maybe harnessed for political rule and control.

In the paper we compare Napoleon's conception of religion to modern thinking as expressed in Marx's and Freud's writings about religion.

We conclude that although Napoleon was not religious himself; and was quite modern in his outlook about religion, he conceived of religion as an essential part of human life, however it needs to be under the control of the state.