Happiness Academy Online

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

Do you think you are a Christian? Are you sure?

Do you think you are a Christian?
art by Nicole Lanza

(Versão em português abaixo)

Are you a Christian? To be a Christian, you have to believe in some dogmas of the Church? The virgin birth, the bodily resurrection? Do you believe?

I do not believe in these dogmas of Christianity. I believe in Jesus as a great prophet, the greatest of all, that resurrected in spirit, not in body. I also believe that He is not God. I believe in his miracles because illuminated people have a force that modern science cannot explain. I also believe in the existence of other enlightened beings who came to earth to help mankind to grow, to improve. Just to name two – Buddha and Paramahansa Yogananda – but there are others, many others.

What is your religion? I’ll talk about mine, to see if I can find an echo in your mind.

A numinous experience

I want to emphasize that I believe in God. For me, God is an Intelligent Force that created the universe, not in six days as said by Genesis because I believe that there is not a temporal dimension to God.

This God is unknowable to us normal humans. Perhaps only the great mystics may have direct contact with him, but the limitations of language prevent that they explain the divine to us.

Let me mention a Sufi concept. Sufism is the esoteric branch of Islam and has important mystics in its history. They preach that God does not exist, only the experience of God. I disagree that God does not exist, but I accept that we can only access the experience of God through our mind.

Probably most of us have gone through episodes we felt touched by a higher power, episodes, what Rudolf Otto, in his book, The Idea of the Holy, called the numinous. These episodes can be simple: they may even go unnoticed.

One day I was walking through the trees and looked up at a mountain in the distance. Then, I had the sensation of living a charmed instant that I cannot describe. It was an enjoyable moment that, unfortunately, I could not repeat, even going to the same place and looking in the same direction.

The fact is that our limited intellect cannot understand God, this Force Majeure. However, this same Force put into our minds an archetype that reflects God although not being God.

The God Image

Carl Jung, the great sage and psychologist, says that we humans carry within our psyches the archetype of God, which he called the Self. He also referred to it as the Image of God.

In this archetype that we carry within our psyche we keep the divine, but also the demonic because in this high level, there is no duality, and the divine and the demonic are together in oneness, are components of the same energy.

Faith

Some people have faith. These are happy; they do not need to confront the meaning of life, trying to understand why we are here on earth living with our spirit imprisoned in matter.

I cannot forget the episode that happened with the mother of a friend. His grandson was suspected of a serious illness. His desperate parents were awaiting the diagnosis that seemed to point to the worst. Only she was serene. To comfort the parents, she said: “God knows what He does.”

As I am not one of the lucky ones that have faith, and since faith cannot be bought in a supermarket, I have to face life thinking about its objective, trying to get closer to God, a God who is unknown, described by Christianity, but also by other religions that cannot and should not be neglected, for they are all manifestations of the Self.

I wish I had faith. So much more convenient! However, the problem of faith comes when you lose it. Faith implies doubt. To avoid doubt, you must not think, and this, I cannot do.

Why do you go to a religious service?

How many attend the religious services out of habit because our families expect us to; because we want to set an example to our children and grandchildren; because we feel guilty for not going; because the churches recalls to us the nostalgia of gone childhood?

Do we confound the wisdom of a priest or pastor, a good friend, a good counselor, with the Church?

Today, after many doubts, unable to have faith, I am actively seeking to live a spiritual life without a church. And also trying to help others who might have my same questions and doubts.

The author.

I am Roberto Lima Netto, and I believe that our objective in life is to be happy and that Spirituality and Jungian psychology, my main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. I am a writer. Some of my books are “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, “The Jungian Bible“, “The Amazon Shaman” and “In Search of Happiness“. I invite you to visit my blog and leave your comments at:  www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.

Você acha que é cristão? Tem certeza?

Você acredita nos dogmas do Cristianismo? Nascimento virginal, ressurreição corporal?

Eu acredito em Jesus como um grande profeta, o maior de todos, mas não que ele é Deus. Acredito em seus milagres, pois pessoas iluminadas tem uma força que a ciência moderna não consegue explicar. Acredito também na existência de outros seres iluminados que vieram ao mundo para ajudar a humanidade a crescer, a se aperfeiçoar. Só para citar dois exemplos além de Jesus: Buda e Paramahansa Yoganada. Mas existem ou existiram muitos mais.

Qual é a sua religião? Vou lhe falar da minha, para ver se encontro eco em sua mente.

Quero ressaltar que acredito em Deus. Para mim Deus é uma Força Inteligente que criou o universo, não em seis dias como preconiza o Genesis, até porque acredito que não existe a dimensão temporal para Deus.

Este Deus é incognoscível para nós, seres humanos normais. Talvez só os grandes místicos possam ter um contato direto com Ele, mas as limitações da linguagem impedem que eles nos expliquem o divino.

Gostaria de mencionar um conceito Sufistas. O Sufismo é o ramo esotérico do Islamismo, e tem místicos importantes em sua história. Eles pregam que Deus não existe, somente a experiência de Deus. Discordo que Deus não exista, mas aceito que só podemos ter acesso à experiência de Deus através de nossa mente.

Provavelmente quase todos nós já passamos por episódios em que nos sentimos tocados por uma força maior, episódios que Rudolf Otto, em seu livro, A Idéia do Sagrado, chamou de numinoso. Podem ser episódios simples que possam até passar despercebidos.

Um dia, andando no meio das árvores, olhei para uma montanha ao longe. Naquele instante, tive a sensação de estar vivendo um momento encantado que não sei descrever. Foi um episódio prazeroso que, infelizmente, não consegui repetir, mesmo indo ao mesmo lugar e olhando na mesma direção.

O fato é que nosso limitado intelecto não pode entender Deus, esta Força Maior. Porém, esta mesma Força colocou dentro da nossa mente um arquétipo que reflete Deus, mesmo não sendo Deus.

Carl Jung, o grande sábio e psicólogo, afirma que nós, seres humanos, carregamos dentro se nossas psiques o arquétipo de Deus, que ele chamou de Self. Também se referiu a ele como a Imagem de Deus.

Neste arquétipo que trazemos dentro de nossa psique guardamos o divino, mas também o demoníaco, pois neste elevado nível não existe a dualidade, e, na unicidade, o divino e o demoníaco se juntam, são componentes da mesma energia.

Algumas pessoas tem fé. Estes são felizes, não precisam se confrontar com o sentido da vida, tentar entender a razão de estarmos aqui na terra vivendo com nosso espírito aprisionado na matéria.

Não posso esquecer o episódio que se passou com a mãe de um amigo. Seu neto estava com suspeita de uma grave doença; os pais desesperados, aguardando o diagnóstico que parecia apontar para o pior. Só ela estava serena. Para os desesperados dizia: “Deus sabe o que faz.”

Como não sou um destes felizardos, e como fé não se compra em supermercado, tenho que enfrentar a vida, pensando sobre qual seu objetivo, tentando me aproximar de Deus, um Deus desconhecido que é descrito pelo Cristianismo, mas também por outras religiões que não podem e não devem ser desprezadas, pois todas são manifestações de Deus.

Eu gostaria de ter fé. Tão mais cômodo! Porém, o problema da fé vem quando você a perde. A fé implica dúvida. Para evitar a dúvida, você não deve pensar, e isso não consigo.

Quantos vão às missas por hábito, porque nossas famílias esperam que o façamos. porque queremos dar o exemplo aos filhos e netos, porque nos sentimos culpados de não ir, porque a igreja nos trás a nostalgia da infância que se foi?

Quantos confundem a sabedoria de um padre ou pastor, um bom amigo, um bom conselheiro, com a da Igreja?

Hoje, depois de muitas dúvidas, sem conseguir ter fé, estou ativamente procurando viver uma vida espiritual sem uma Igreja. E também tentando ajudar outras pessoas que possam ter as mesmas dúvidas que tenho.

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.

3 Comments

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  1. I am a humanist and not a Christian in the strict sense. I accept most religious practices as they are expressions of spirituality. I take the word of Jesus as a crucial reference for my day-to-day living though. Sometimes I go to a religious service as a way to connect to the community of men and in particular to the two beings who loved me the most, i.e., my parents. I also feel I belong to a continuous flow of finite beings who have passed a significant part of their lives thinking about and quarreling with the notion of the infinite.

  2. If we accept that Jesus’ teaching comes from God, then everything he taught is the truth and therefore what is attested in the Bible by him is also true. Jesus, however, said that he is the only way to go to his father. The Bible describes Lucifer as an angel who wanted to be like God, so he was dropped. Christianity tends to block the possibility of other “enlightened”. So it’s very difficult for me to compare Budha and Jesus. Of course God has given us wisdom and we can make use of faith, scientific knowledge and study to better understand these words. I’m still learning to get discernment. Here you will find anothes description of the creation and everything in a too different way. At first view sounds like a fairytale, but once this world is no mora than an illusion maybe we can give a little credit. This description says our Gods where scientists from other cosmic dimmensions. Creative , funny, but some thing more to think: http://www.echoesofenoch.com/Port_grays.htm. These kind of thinking have been entered in colective imagination these last days.

    1. You are not considering that the Bible may not be the correct Jesus words. Biblical studies prove that many distortions occured, some by mistake and others to support discussions among dissenting Christian groups. If you are interested in learning more, I suggest the book Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman, translated in Portuguese as O que jesus disse? O que jesus não disse.

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