Happiness Academy Online

A Blog about Psychology (Jungian), Spirituality and Happiness, By Roberto Lima Netto.

Is God good? The problem of evil

Is God good? The Problem of Evil

Christianity teaches that God is good. How to explain evil in the world? Should we blame human beings only?

Christianity teaches that God is exclusively good and that human beings are responsible for all evil in the world. Reading the First Testament (new denomination for the Old Testament to avoid the connotation that the term old carries) we see that Yahweh was complete. He was above good and evil, what explain episodes in the Bible, when He directs his people to kill all enemies: men, women and children.

Was Yahweh bad? No! He was complete, above good and evil. For us, living in the duality, this is difficult to understand. The fact is that the demon appears only four times in the First Testament and, with the coming of Christ, the exclusively good God, the demon appears sixty six times in the Second Testament. This led Clemens, one of the first fathers of the Church, to say that God governs the world with Christ in his right hand and the demon in his left.

Psychological explanation of evil

What is the psychological explanation for evil? Jung showed that human beings think they are rational, but they are only partially so. The Ego, the conscious part of our psyche, thinks he is the “king of the mountain”, but, on several occasions, especially when subjected to a strong emotion, it loses the control, and our actions start to be dictated by a complex from our unconscious. It is as if another personality inhabited our body, controlling our actions. How many times do you remember yourself acting in ways that caused you to regret after your emotion is controlled? You can find in the newspapers several examples of cases of extreme violence resulting from small transit quarrels.

Several personalities inside our psyche

Sybil, a book by Flora Rheta Schreiber, tells the story of a young woman with sixteen active personalities, each assuming control of the body for periods. Evidently this is a rare case, but real. Joseph Campbell, the well-known mythologist and disciple of Jung, had a perfect saying to illustrate this issue: “My definition of a demon is an angel that we did not recognize. It is a power that you denied expression, and that you repressed. Like all repressed energy, it starts to grow and can become very dangerous.”

We have in our unconscious, complexes that, if not recognized, if not brought to consciousness, can produce evil, even if this was not the Ego’s intention. The only way to control evil is to increase your consciousness. If human beings want to help our world to become a better place, they have to become more and more conscious.

Would that be true? Is not humanity going backwards? Are the excesses of materialism, the fading of religiosity, the weakening of the churches, signs of the coming of the Apocalypse?

I don’t believe so. Humanity is improving. We cannot forget that in the V century BC, the golden age of Greece, the master had absolute power over his slaves´ life, that Aristotle, one of the great minds of the Occidental world, considered women to be inferior beings, that female babies were frequently exposed to die in the streets or to be taken by brothels.

It is true that in the XX century, we had a Hitler, a Stalin, and a Mao Tse Tung. This does not invalidate my reasoning. The problem is that humanity progresses with two steps forward and one backward, and that each step takes a long time, much longer than the life of any human being. This leaves the impression that humanity is not progressing.

Evolution of humanity

How can we aid the evolution of humanity? According to Jung, the collective unconscious keeps for future generations all the gains achieved by each individual. Therefore, each one of us should strive to increase our consciousness, to progress in our journey of individuation.

Do you agree? Would you like to comment on this blog? Be my guest.

Roberto Lima Netto believes that our objective in life is to be happy, and that Jungian psychology and Spirituality, his main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. He is the author of several books, including “The Little Prince for Grown-ups”  and  “The Jungian Bible”  that can be found in Amazon. His blog is www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.

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O Mal no Cristianismo e na Psicologia Junguiana 

Deus é bom?

O cristianismo ensina que Deus é exclusivamente bom e que os seres humanos são responsáveis por todo o mal no mundo. Lendo o Primeiro Testamento (nova denominação para o Antigo Testamento, para evitar a conotação de que os carrega o velho nos tempos atuais), vemos que Javé era completo. Ele estava acima do bem e do mal, o que explica episódios na Bíblia, em que Ele manda seu povo para matar todos os inimigos – homens, mulheres e crianças.

Javé era ruim? Não! Ele era completo, acima do bem e do mal. Para nós, vivendo na dualidade, isso é difícil de entender. O fato é que o demônio aparece apenas quatro vezes no Primeiro Testamento e, com a vinda de Cristo, o Deus exclusivamente bom, o demônio aparece 66 vezes no Segundo Testamento. Clemente, um dos primeiros pais da Igreja, teria dito que Deus governa o mundo com Cristo na sua mão direita e o demônio em seu esquerda.

Explicação psicológica do mal

Qual é a explicação psicológica para o mal? Jung mostrou que os seres humanos pensam que são racionais, mas isso é apenas parcialmente verdade. O Ego, a parte consciente de nossa psique, acha que é o “rei do pedaço”, mas, em várias ocasiões, especialmente quando submetido a uma forte emoção, ele perde o controle, e nossas ações começam a ser ditadas por um complexo que vive em nosso inconsciente. É como se uma outra personalidade habitasse nosso corpo, controlando as nossas ações. Quantas vezes você se lembra de agir de maneira que lamentou após sua emoção é controlada? Você pode encontrar nos jornais vários exemplos de casos de violência extrema resultantes de brigas irrelevantes no trânsito.

Várias personalidades dentro de nossa psique?

Sybil, um livro escrito por Flora Rheta Schreiber, conta a história de uma jovem mulher com 16 personalidades ativas, cada uma assumindo o controle do corpo por longos períodos. Evidentemente esse é um caso raro, mas real. Joseph Campbell, o famoso mitólogo e discípulo de Jung, tinha um ditado perfeito para ilustrar esta questão: “Minha definição de um demônio é um anjo que você não reconhece. É um poder que você negou expressão, e que você reprimiu. Toda a energia reprimida começa a crescer e pode se tornar muito perigosa.”

Temos em nosso inconsciente, complexos que, se não forem reconhecido, se não forem trazidos à consciência, podem produzir o mal, mesmo que esta não seja a intenção do Ego. A única maneira de controlar o mal é aumentar a nossa consciência. Se os seres humanos querem ajudar o mundo a se tornar um lugar melhor, eles devem se tornar mais e mais consciente.

Será que isso é verdade? Não estará a humanidade regredindo? Seriam os excessos do materialismo, o desvanecimento da religiosidade, o enfraquecimento das igrejas, sinais da vinda do Apocalipse?

Eu não acredito. A humanidade está melhorando. Não podemos esquecer que, no século V aC, a idade de ouro da Grécia, o senhor da casa tinha poder absoluto sobre a vida de seus escravos, que Aristóteles, um dos grandes mentes do mundo ocidental, considerava que as mulheres eram seres inferiores, que os bebês do sexo feminino era expostos nas ruas para morrer ou serem adotadas por donas de bordéis.

É verdade que, no século XX, tivemos um Hitler, um Stalin, e um Mao Tse Tung. Isto não invalida o meu raciocínio. O problema é que a humanidade progride através de dois passos para a frente e um para trás, e que cada passo dura muito tempo, muito mais do que a vida de qualquer ser humano. Isto deixa a impressão de que a humanidade não está progredindo.

Evolução da humanidade

Como podemos ajudar a evolução da humanidade? De acordo com Jung, o inconsciente coletivo guarda todos os ganhos obtidos por cada indivíduo para as gerações futuras. Portanto, cada um de nós deve se esforçar para aumentar a consciência, para avançar em nossa jornada de individuação.

Você concorda? Gostaria de comentar sobre este blog? Seja meu convidado.

I was involved in the business world, as an executive of large companies and university professor since recently. I was the president CSN, the largest steel-mill of Latin America and was responsible for its turn-around. My first encounter with the teachings of the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung, one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century, was during my midlife crisis. Reading "Man and his Symbols" at that time, inspired me to go into Jungian analysis and to begin devouring the writings of Jung and his disciples. Since then, I've been studying psychology, especially Jungian psychology and, after reaching my seventies, I decided to become a full time writer, specializing on books on Jungian psychology and psychological thrillers. Every masterpiece of literature can be absorbed through multiple interpretations, and yield powerful insights for our daily lives. My first Jungian book, “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, in its fourth edition in Brazil, was based on the famous book of Saint-Exupéry. The second, - “The Jungian Bible” - interprets some stories of the Old Testament and world myths. As I get older and, with a bit of luck, wiser, I want to pass on to the younger generations the lessons life has taught me. Jesus Christ taught that it was easier to sell ideas with stories. Following the Master, I published in English "The Amazon Shaman" and "In Search of Happiness", two psychological thrillers around the theme of happiness.

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  1. Greeting, Robert. I have spent far too many hours pondering the essence of evil. What I have personally concluded is that evil is a manifestation of man’s attempts of control over the collective unconscious. Historically humanity strives for control over another – be it our own personal faculties, another human, object, or beast.

    Considering your references to Biblical doctrine (or any religious text), I see the writings and ramblings of men attempting to explain what they do not fully understand. This is the primary reason I no longer have confidence in organized religion. Scholars attempt to explain evil as if it is rational; it is not. Man’s law does not equate to natural law because man attempts to control others. For example, when we consider the ‘circle of life’ in nature, we do not consider a voracious and brutal killing in the animal kingdom EVIL, only survival. When humanity witnesses the same acts of survival in man, it is deemed evil. I do not see it that way; I see it as the unconscious fighting for survival. Ignore unconscious need, and it will discover more powerful ways to be recognized.
    Man, as a conscious and aware being, attempts to rationalize evil ACTS after he realizes (perhaps unconciously) the neglect of the individual. Man is the only living thing that attempts to find fault. Awareness, therefore, is a gift and responsibility granted to man from the Creator. In retrospect of an evil act, man becomes conscious of his or her own faults but refuses to own it; instead he or she searches for excuses so he or she can claim, “It’s not my fault”. Man does not apply this type of reasoning to the natural world, only to our own because we are aware of it. For example, man accepts infancide in the animal kingdom and condemns it humanity. Nevermind the fact that those mothers who commit the horrific deed reached out prior to acting and those around them made the choice to put their own needs above hers. In my opinion, this is no different than a child acting out to get attention. When repeatedly ignored, the behavior escalates until it manifests as evil.
    Your thoughts?

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