Saturday, July 22, 2006

Carl Jung: Beware

[This was published some years ago in Christian Counseling Today. The message is still pertinent, given the lack of discernment of so many Christians regarding psychology and the occult.]


Several years ago after giving a message on New Age spirituality at a church in Berkeley, California, I was approached by a distraught middle-aged women. She asked if I was familiar with Jungian therapy. After I said that I was, she spoke briefly of her mental problems, which were being treated by a Jungian analyst. Looking at me intensely, she asked, “As a Christian, should I be treated by someone like this?” I answered that although Jung provided a few helpful psychological insights, his overall world view was Gnostic and anti-Christian. Therefore, a Jungian analyst would not be able to help her work through her difficulties in accord with her own Christian beliefs. In fact, such a view could do much harm to her soul.

Although I am not a trained counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, I did not offer this advice lightly. I warned of the dangers of Jungian analysis not because I reject all psychotherapy as unnecessary or dangerous, as do certain incautious and unsophisticated Christian critics. I accept the legitimacy and importance of integrating a thoroughly Christian world view with psychological insights. However, as a student of new religious movements, I have repeatedly found Carl Jung to be a fountainhead of all manner of spiritual aberrations, whether in non-Christian movements or in Christianity itself.

Christian counselors and other Christians, however, may be drawn to the fascinating figure of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) for a number of reasons. Before summarizing some of the hazards of Jung’s thinking, we need to understand something of his strange magnetism.

Over thirty-five years after his death, Jung’s influence is on the rise. While Freud’s star is waning, Jung’s is waxing. Much of the recent interest in “the new spirituality” (a term that has largely replaced “the New Age”) draws deeply from the Jungian well. For instance, the immensely popular television series and book The Power of Myth featured the ruminations of Joseph Campbell (d. 1987), a professor of literature and a follower of Jungian thought, who edited The Portable Jung. Campbell’s treatment of mythology, religion, and Christianity reflects Jungian themes, as when Campbell praises the Gnostics and criticizes Christians for being too literal in their dogmas. More recently, Thomas Moore has produced several best-selling books, including Care of the Soul and Soul Mates, which resonate deeply with Jungian themes on the deity of the self, the hazards of orthodox Christianity, and an interest in occult practices such as alchemy and astrology. Jung’s influence has reached far and wide, even popping up in beer commercials and episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which invoke the Jungian notion of “the collective unconscious.”

As many men and women seek out their own gendered and individualized forms of non-Christian spirituality, Jungian ideas propel them along the way. The secular men’s movement looks for the masculine warrior archetype within, while many pagan feminists search for the goddess or the wild woman buried somewhere in their psyches, as discussed in Clarissa Pinloola Estes’s best-selling book Women Who Run with Wolves.

Jung was a key player in the origin of the psychoanalytic movement in Europe in the earlier part of this century. The young Swiss psychiatrist was mentored by Sigmund Freud and accompanied him on his short but influential visit to America in 1909. Their intense friendship--initiated by a thirteen-hour discussion--ended in a bitter break in 1914 and a life-long estrangement. Jung could not accept Freud’s views on the psychological centrality of sexuality or his rejection of religious impulses as neurotic. Jung, always the spiritual explorer, sought to fathom the spiritual needs of the soul while presenting his brand of psychoanalysis (analytical psychology) as a burgeoning science.

Despite Jung’s ambitions, Freud’s theories proved far more influential in the coming decades and became a kind of orthodoxy in their own right. Richard Noll’s fine scholarly study of Jung’s intellectual history and influence, The Jung Cult, notes that “Jung and his theories have remained well outside the established worlds of science and medicine, as they have been regarded, with justification, as inconsistent with the greater scientific paradigms of the twentieth century.”[i] Nevertheless, “in sheer numbers alone, it is Jung, who has won the cultural war and whose works are more widely read and discussed in the popular culture of our age.”[ii]

Many Christians are attracted to Jung because of his recognition of the spiritual nature of the human condition. While atheists such as Freud, B.F. Skinner, and Albert Ellis offer no solace for a soul they do not believe exists, Jung delves deeply and sympathetically into a variety of spiritual topics. When asked in a BBC interview if he believed in God, Jung replied, “I don’t believe--I know.” Many Christians hope that Jung may provide a fruitful model for the elusive integration of psychology and spirituality. A raft of books written by Morton Kelsey, John Sanford, and others attempt to effect such an integration. Despite these efforts, I such a project is ill-fated, for the Jungian world view is because of deeply non-Christian and even anti-Christian.

In order to show that a particular psychological theory cannot be integrated with a biblical world view and a Christian theory of counseling, it is not sufficient to show the non-Christian character of a particular thinker. Unbelievers may have legitimate psychological insights that do not violate Christian truth and which bear good fruit in the counseling situation. Just as God gives rain to the righteous and righteous (Matthew 5:45) through his common (non-saving) grace, so God allows non-Christian thinkers insights into human psychology. However, when a theorist’s views are incorrigibly enmeshed in a world view that radically opposed Christianity, these views are incompatible with Christian thought--whether in psychology, psychiatry, or any other discipline.

In The Jung Cult (1994), clinical psychologist Richard Noll amply documents Jung’s immersion in the paganism and occultism of German culture near the turn of the last century. Although raised in a Christian environment, Jung’s passion focused on the rediscovery of ancient mystery religions that emphasized occultic initiations and sun worship. He immersed himself in the study of mythology and archeology in the hope of finding a primordial wisdom that had been obscured and rejected by the Christian conquest of paganism. Jung resolutely rejected the Christian view that God transcends the creation. Instead, he embraced pantheism, with its god within. Moreover, Jung deemed himself a kind of liberator who would lead his followers out of the dead ends of Christianity and atheism into a richer spirituality. He viewed his version of psychoanalysis as something of new religion. This is why Noll entitled his study, The Jung Cult. Jung was a highly intelligent and mesmerizing personality who was believed by his followers to have a charismatic authority and rare insights.

Mystical paganism was not mere history or theory to Jung. Noll reports Jung’s claim that in 1913 he himself became a god through an extended visualization exercise based on the elements of the initiation rituals of the ancient mystery religions, especially Mithraism. Noll comments that it “is clear that Jung believed he had undergone a direct initiation into the ancient Hellenistic mysteries and had even experienced deification in doing so.”[iii] This was not an isolated event in Jung’s life.

Jung also claims to have contacted various spirit entities through his process of “active imagination,” or directed visualization. By 1916, an entity called Philemon had become Jung’s spiritual guru, and functioned much like the “ascended masters” of the Theosophical movement in Jung’s day. These entities were not occasional visitors with little influence on Jung’s work. According to Noll, these encounters helped shape the whole pattern of Jung’s theoretical work.[iv] According to Jung, they had “their own life. Philemon represented a force which was not myself.”[v] Jung’s autobiography, Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, records a haunting of the Jung house, which, he claims, involved paranormal phenomena.[vi]

Through the profound influence of this haunting, Jung wrote a short essay called the Septem Sermones ad Mortuous (the Seven Sermons to the Dead) , under the pseudonym Basilides (a second Century Gnostic writer). In his autobiography, Jung says that “I was compelled from within, as it were, to formulate and express what might have been said by Philemon. This was how the Septem Sermones ad Mortuous with its peculiar [Gnostic] language came into being.”[vii] The sermons are directed at deceased Christian souls who arrive at the Jung household because they have failed to find liberation through the church. The first six sermons present a Gnostic world view, and prepare the dead for the final sermon. Here, Jung tells them to stop seeking salvation outside of themselves, but to look inward toward the “innermost infinity,” which is also referred to as the inner “Star” or the “one guiding god.” Having received this revelation, the restless dead disappear and rise into the night sky, apparently to find their own inner stars. Jung’s sun worship and Gnostic predilections appear in full force in this essay.[viii]

Much more could be documented to establish Jung’s deeply anti-Christian world view. Surely, the burden of proof lies on anyone who would attempt to draw healing waters from such a polluted well. Out of Jung’s occult experiences came the substance of all of his work. In his autobiography, he wrote: “I can say that I have never lost touch with my initial experiences. All of my works, all my creative activity, has come from those initial fantasies and dreams which began in 1912.”[ix] He also clamed that “these conversations with the dead formed a kind of prelude to what I had to communicate to the world about the unconscious.”[x] Jung never dismissed these occult, mystical experiences as psychotic or delusional, although some of his defenders have done so.

Given Jung’s background, it is not surprising that his major theoretical claims have little if anything to contribute to a Christian model for psychology and counseling. At the root of the problem is Jung’s highly subjective orientation. He rejects the Christian view that God is outside of us and has the authority both to redeem us and command us. Stanton Jones and Richard Butman highlight this fact: “The experiential nature of analytic psychology resists an external, authoritative understanding of truth, emphasizing, in contrast, the personal myth and story of the individual.”[xi] This influence is abundantly evident in the work of Jungian thinker Thomas Moore, who, in Care of the Soul, rejects the idea of objective spiritual truth as damaging to the soul.[xii] Because of this inner focus, Jones and Butman warn that “the Christian reader of Jung and Jungian psychology must be extremely cautious when encountering phrases and concepts borrowed from Christian theology.”[xiii]

Jung’s subjective approach, with its exploration of the unconscious, lacks clear ethical guidelines or a reliable spiritual orientation. This is evident in the Jungian notion of the shadow, or the dark and submerged side of our personalities, which we typically deny or explain away in favor of cultivating our public face (or persona). According to Jung, the shadow lacks the moral dimension; it is an unintegrated and immature aspect of the self that must be brought to consciousness and integrated with the whole personality. Because Jung rejects the authority of a personal God outside of the individual, he can only look within for redemption. Therefore, the shadow cannot be rejected on the basis of a higher standard above the person. It must be accepted.

Jung also claimed that the Christian doctrine of God was psychologically inadequate because “the dogmatic aspect of the evil principle is absent from the Trinity.”[xiv] In equating the unconscious with the divine, he advocated instead a quaternity as “the formula of the unconscious mind,” which ought to include the devil.[xv] The notion of fusing good and evil appears in the works of many Jungians, including Joseph Campbell, who counseled that “one of the great challenges of life is to say ‘yea’ to that person or act or that condition which in your mind is the most abominable.”[xvi] Thomas Moore blasphemously claims that Christ’s death on a cross between two criminals sanctifies evil as holy.[xvii] Jungian therapist and author John Sanford believes that evil is necessary for the development of personality and that the apostle Paul was psychologically imbalanced because he counseled Christians to put away the flesh when he should have told them to integrate their shadow side.[xviii] These remarks all flow from the Jungian perspective.

The incorporation of evil into the Godhead and the refusal to take seriously the reality of evil is both theologically absurd and practically dangerous for counseling. Responsible Christian therapy sensitively challenges the conscience of the client according to scriptural realities. Christ challenges us to get to the root of our sin and uproot it if we are to be his disciples (Matthew 5:29-30). Jesus also offers pardon for those who confess their sins and trust in his loving forgiveness (1 John 1:8-10). Those flirting with Jungian themes should remember the warning of the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:29).

In addition to the individual unconscious, Jung advanced the idea of a hidden storehouse of racial memories that manifest themselves in dreams and fantasies. Jung’s celebrated notion of the collective unconscious and its archetypes adds a mystical dimension to psychotherapy not admitted by Freud. The collective unconscious is a “psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals” and is inherited, not acquired.[xix] Jung believed that similarities in the world’s religions and myths could be accounted for by this construct, and it assumes a privileged place in the Jungian understanding of the soul and the practice of analytic psychology. In the collective unconscious, Jungianism offers its initiates access to an esoteric resource largely hidden from the masses.

Richard Noll has documented that, despite its romantic allure, this notion is pantheistic in nature and rooted in occult doctrines that were rife during Jung’s day. Furthermore, it lacks scientific corroboration. Pivotal cases cited by Jung to prove that patients were calling up archetypal images can be explained simply in terms of previous personal knowledge.[xx] Jungians often take the collective unconscious as an item of faith instead of arguing cogently for its existence. Christians need not look to a collective unconscious as a source of revelation and redemption. Finite and sinful beings need a revelation from a personal God in order to find the truth that will set us free (John 8:31-32).

Jung advocated “active imagination” as means of connecting with the personal and collective unconscious in order to find greater personal wholeness. Much of modern visualization methods are rooted in Jung’s approach, which is itself based on spiritistic and occult methods for gaining access to the world of the spirits (see Isaiah 8:19-20).[xxi] Jung’s deification experience was occasioned by a visionary exercise. Jungian visualization requires the suspension of rational judgment to facilitate the formation of inner images. Such occult and irrational elements in Jungian therapy should give pause to any Christian counselor who believes that Jungian visualization practices can be healing to the soul.

Of course, not everything Jung advocated was occult or dangerous; some ideas were probably relatively harmless, such as his theories of introversion and extroversion. Nevertheless, a careful consideration of the sources and nature of Jungian thought reveals a world view utterly and inexorably alien to biblical faith. Having rejected the Christian God, Jung admitted that he could find no “Archimedean point” (transcendent standpoint) from which to judge the soul.[xxii] In Paul’s words, since Jung neither glorified God, nor gave him thanks, his thinking became futile and his heart was darkened. Claiming to be wise he became a fool, and exchanged the glory of God for the poverty of the fallen self without Christ (Romans 1:21-22).

Douglas Groothuis, Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary and author of Jesus in an Age of Controversy.
[i]. Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 8.
[ii]. Ibid., 6.
[iii]. Ibid., 213.
[iv]. Ibid., 210; see also Carl G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, and Reflections (New York: Vintage Books, 1965), 182-85
[v]. Jung, 183.
[vi]. Ibid., 190-191.
[vii]. Ibid., 190.
[viii]. See Ibid., 378-390, and Noll, 242-246.
[ix]. Jung, 192. Jung viewed “dreams” and “fantasies” as being as real as every day life.
[x]. Ibid., 192.
[xi]. Stanton L. Jones and Richard E Butman, Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Approach (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991), 122
[xii]. Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life (New York: HarperPerennial, 1992), 246-247.
[xiii]. Jones and Butman, 122.
[xiv]. C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1938) 73.
[xv]. Ibid., 73-74.
[xvi]. Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 66.
[xvii]. Moore, 133.
[xviii]. John A. Sanford, Evil: The Shadow Side of Reality (New York: Crossroad, 1981), 10, 67-84.
[xix]. Carl G. Jung, “The Concept of the Collective Unconscious,” in The Portable Jung, ed. Joseph Campbell (New York: Viking, 1971), 60.
[xx]. Noll, 181-84.
[xxi]. Ibid., 202-204, 215.
[xxii]. Jung, Psychology and Religion, 12, 62.


James said...

I agree with Jung that the Devil completes the Quaternity. It was Christ who said,"I have come to bring fire on earth" (Luke 12.49).
The Hindu Trimurti includes the Devil in its Trinity, in the form of Shiva the Destroyer; but, unfortunately, leaves out the Son, Krishna. Humanity is still stuck in 3 dimensional duality, and needs to move towards wholeness, Oneness, or completion, i.e. Quaternity.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this short but in depth analysis on this (unseen to the naked eye) pervasive attack on Christianity and our culture. I went to a Christian retreat recently with Sabbath as the theme and something didn't "smell" right. I later complained of what I called the New Age feel to the program. I was told that my ideas were unfounded. In the response to my complaint I was told that the retreat was based in part on a "wonderful" book called The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life. This led to my research on the author, Thomas Moore and eventually
to your Blog. As a new pastor I was critisized for not having enough experience. After all, it was all scriptual. As a new pastor, I am wondering why the long time pastors didn't have more spiritual discernment. I knew absolutely nothing about Jungian philosophy, but explained that I would not take New Age concepts and wrap them in paper that said Jesus. I do know Deuteronomy 18 and you (as well as other sites) have enlightened me somewhat on Jung. I was very surprised to see the bizarre occultic influence in his life and in his work! Why didn't they tell us this in Psyche 101?! May God richly bless your work and your ministry.

Baco said...

Hello. I read your paper with interest, although I knew from the start that it would present a view point far from neutral, as you do seem to have something you must protect for yourself and your peers; so is "apostolic necessity".

I was raised a Catholic and now that I gave away all that I know how much these outer convictions belittled my inner life and thwarted my growth. That is, of course, my personal view, for my own personal use.

I regret that the lack of information on Jung, furthermore fogged by those who write about him without having understood but half of his ideas, lead people to believe that New Age and Sabbaths and etc. have to do with him. That too is simple-minded.

Definitely one of the main ideas in Jung is that in order to be religious and spiritual you don't need the little wheels of established religions (even minority, informal ones), or you will never be yourself before God, nor will you ever be responsible; or, that you can't be religious by proxy. Just be reponsibly you, that's difficult enough.

That is, in fact, the problem for which "nulla salvatione sine ecclesia" was written by political thinkers far from God, and the reason for your paper (again, in my viewpoint).

Best regards.

raven said...

the crisis between hinduism and christ as been from long time... but in these age where people are very clear about the views ... where christians are rising there is no matter of talking about this.. everybody knows...


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JarodM said...

You characterize your self through your subjective nature, Christianity should not be threatened by the thoughts of Carl Jung and to emphasize his blasphemy is a logical fallacy as it is not your job to convince or convict the ignorant. As in all cases ignorance is chosen, and true epiphany, is the only catalyst to intelligible blissfulness, and righteousness, by pressing the idea you only give rise to the other, in turn inflaming the argument. Likely someone who is characterized and clich├ęd by the masses will agree with the "new" age, as well as a man characterized by faith in Christ will give credence to the church. But remember, (as I say subjectively), who He is. If you know all of this than teach accordingly, rather than explaining. Furthermore, we also have to recognize as it has always been and always will, a few smart people rule the dumb masses. It's really a question of Soul or Ego.

Pegasus said...

On the issue of 'the God within', can I just ask what people think Christ meant when he said:

"The Kingdom of God is within you"?

Or what Paul meant when he said:

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth within you?"


"...I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God: even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is the Christ in you, the hope of glory..."

And in fact the Bible is full of so-called 'occult phenomena'. The term 'Out of Body Experience' comes from Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians, all the Prophetic Books of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelations are themselves derived from visions. If you read commentaries by figures such as Rabbi Moses Maimonides or Rabbi Chaim Vital you will find frank and open discussion about how the Prophets achieved the heightened states of Consciousness with which to Commune with God.

Similarly the phenomena of Speaking In Tongues in Acts, the instructions given to Moses and Aaron by God for how to invoke him, the rituals of Solomon in the Second Book of Samuel to commune with God and the use of the expression 'through the glass darkly' all speak of what Paul himself openly calls 'the hidden wisdom'.

Remember that the Apostles advise their followers to test all Spirits to find if they are 'of God'. 'Occult' just means 'Hidden' as in 'Esoteric'. Its negative, Satanic, Pagan connotations are recent and largely to do with the tomfoolery of people like Aleister Crowley. Meditative techniques used to commune with God are not Pagan, necessarily, unless one calls people like the Hesychast Monks of Mount Athos Pagans, for instance, or the Mevlevi Sect of Islam Pagans etc.

Jung had a very high regard for Christianity and especially Christ as the embodiment, along with Buddha, of Perfection. What concerned him, though, was the anti-holistic tendency of the Church he viewed as suppressing whole areas of the Psyche and human experience - eg the feminine, sexuality etc. His interest in other cultures and pre-Christian ones was in order to shed light on the Christian vision, what its origins were and how it had evolved. In terms of the Goddess you mention, for instance, his interest was primarily focussed on the Sophia, which is an energy found in Christianity anyway. He hoped - and I fail to see how this is a BAD thing - that through the image of the Sophia the Christian Trinity could be made whole, thus enabling femininity to be integrated into the Godhead.

As for the issue of Evil and the Devil, one has to understand quite what he meant by this. He didn't suggest that rape, murder etc should be celebrated and integrated. Jung was an anti-dualist. His hope was for an integrated vision of Christ. His concept of the Devil as Shadow was a result of what he saw as the dangerous dualism inherent in mainstream Christianity which placed a great deal of energy into a category marked 'evil' eg sexuality for instance. His warning was that, unless this suppressed reservoir of energy was not integrated it would, quite literally, express itself as Evil, whether through the Christian or post-Christian psyche.

If one looks at the history of violence committed in the name of Christ down through the centuries, one might be able to see what he was getting at. How could a religion committed to the beauty, gentleness and humanity of Christ perpretrate the Inquisition, for instance? Or justify the slave trade? Or persecute the Jews? Or found Apartheid? Or treat women as second class citizens? All these historic events which received scriptural defence and underpinning from their perpretors, Jung would have argued, were subconscious expressions of the Shadow, the denial of which meant that it could express itself in this way without troubling the Consciences of the prepetrators. All were diametrically opposed to what Christ taught, stood for and died for. And yet these people called themselves Christians. Had they looked within a little more, they may have found Christ there suggesting they weren't doing the right thing!

From an objective position, I would characterise the Inquisition as Evil, and yet it was perpretrated by people who believed they were fighting Evil and strove to have no Evil in them. Jung would have argued that this was a result of the dualism inherent in maintstream Christian thinking. Christ said 'By their fruits shall ye know them'. By any standard, things like the Inquisition and the Slave Trade were pretty bad fruits. Something was seriously wrong and, to be frank, Jung's search for what that was should be lauded and not decried.

Interestingly, the term Holy is etymologically linked to the word Holistic, meaning Wholeness. Similarly, the word Saviour is derived from the Greek Soter which also means Healer. Christ as Healer and the guide to Wholeness/Holiness is what Jung was trying to get at, it seems to me.

Since the God Within and the Oneness between Man and God was one of the main themes of Christ and finds expression in Eastern Orthodox, Franciscan and Mystical Christianity as well as in some of the greatest Christian thinkers such as Meister Eckhardt, St Augustine and Origen, I don't see how it can be described as an anti-Christian doctrine. Also, I don't agree that Jung's interest in 'the God Within' was exclusive 'the God Without'. Jung was interested in Man as the Imago Dei - ie fashioned in the Image of God of which Christ was the clearest expression. How then could his view be described as other than the God Within interacting with the God Without?

Indeed, how could a man who, as is quoted here, claimed he did not believe in God but KNEW God NOT exist in the awareness of 'the God Without'?

Watered down, New Agey, Hippie versions of Jung are one thing, Jung's ACTUAL standpoint is another. People who claim to be 'Jungian' are often not motivated by any of the goals Jung worked for. Its my belief that Jung was DEEPLY Christian, indeed he admits as much in his memoirs. What he didn't do was unquestioningly accept Institutional Christianity and its interpretations. 'Jungians' describes a variety of people and viewpoint as diverse as 'Christians'. How many Christians do you know who ACTUALLY lead a Christian life and realise what Paul's 'Christ in you'? Probably as many as actually practise a genuinely 'Jungian' interpretation to Jung's writings...

Pegasus said...

To add to the above...

Re the issue of an objective element to Jung's psychology...

If you read closely his theories of the Archetypes and their presence in the Unconscious/Collective Unconscious you will find that the objectivity lies there. In other words, our relationship to the Archtypes defines everything. Thus things are NOT subjective as the human race shares an OBJECTIVE reservoir of images which energise it and in relation to which it works itself out.

Now, if you read Jung's introduction to PSYCHOLOGY AND ALCHEMY, you will find him asking the question of where these Archetypes come from. He states that, as a psychologist, he is not qualified to say, but the implication is that they come from God - if we define God as a universal experience/energy available to all. Remember that Jung compared the Collective Unconscious to the Anima Mundi of the West and the Atman of the East - the World Soul. As anyone who knows their theology will be aware, in all these Cosmologies the World Soul/Atman/Adam Kadmon, is made in the image of God - it IS the Imago Dei and thus irrevocably linked to God...

Besides which, God is a primary element in almost every single word Jung said. Man's relationship to God, however one defines it, which he felt WAS personal to everyone, was a key issue in his psychology...

Again, I simply don't see how he can be accused of being anti-God in this context...

Yes, Jung had a syncretic/ ecumenical/ universal view of spirituality and so saw figures such as Christ, Krishna, Buddha etc as expressions or Avatars of God/the Psyche, but he held Christ to be the highest - possibly along with Buddha...

I can see how one could call him anti-Christian in the sense of anti-Church Dogma or Interpretation, but I cannot see how you could call him anti-Christ.

Unknown said...

Good to see thoughtful comments posted by folks who actually have read (and understood) Jung. It's easy to jump on Noll's "sect" bandwagon if you see Jung's ideas as pagan threats to Christianity.

Papa Giorgio said...


I quoted and linked this article at my post about New Agism and the emerging church:


M + V said...

I like Chesterton's notion that Christianity is a myth, but it is the "only true myth." This makes Jung a little less worrisome. There are archetypes, but the truest, most transcendent archetype is the Christ-figure.

There is an anima/animus, but the most satisfying is the Holy Spirit (or, in Jewish mystic traditions, the Shekinah).

A a teacher of psychology, lit, and philosophy, I don't wee my job as to "challenge" these minds, but to show how great Christ can look through the languages of the world (cf St Paul's interactions with the Athenians).

I love the idea of the Christian curmudgeon--the body is truly a whole body!