Happiness Academy Online

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

The Erosion of the Christian Myth

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Jung, Spirituality and the erosion of the Christian myth

Cover The Jungian Bible 110x110The Christian myth is suffering an erosion, and, in this age of extreme materialism, new gods are entering the world arena. Human beings yearn for happiness. In past centuries, this objective was assured, at least to Westerners, by joining a Christian church. After two thousand years dominating the Western minds, the Christian myth is losing its radiance. This should concern us since every civilization needs a sustaining myth to support it.

Edward Edinger, a well-known writer and Jungian analyst, opens his book, The Creation of Consciousness, saying: “History and anthropology teach us that human society cannot long survive unless its members are psychologically contained in a central living myth. Such myth provides the individual with a reason for being.”

Jung was worried about this wearing of the Christian myth and tried to approach the Catholic Church offering some suggestions to revert this trend. He had several conversations with his friend Father White, but his efforts failed.

Could Jung have any chances of succeeding? I doubt it. Jung was a scientist that approached psychology from an empirical standing. He posited that human beings bring inside their unconscious an archetype – the Self – that he also called the Image of God. Jung knew that the Great Force we call God cannot be known by the human psyche. Maybe the mystics could have direct access to this Intelligent Force, but their experience cannot be transmitted to us due to the shortcomings of human language. Our only possibility of talking to God is through the Self.

Human beings yearn for the divine

Why was Jung worried with religion? Because he was convinced that human beings carry inside their psyche a yearning for the divine. He once mentioned that he did not know of any person living a psychological crisis in the second half of life that could solve the problem without some kind of spiritual work.

In my view, the chances of Jung’s success in helping the revival of the Christian myth were null. How could he convince the Vatican to change his entrenched position, based on old dogmas that were consolidated in the fourth century?

Christian dogmas and the Gnostics

Dogmas such as the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, the body resurrection of Christ were established in the fourth century A.D., in the Council of Nicaea. Until that time, there were different views that were branded, in this council, heretic or Gnostics

There is not one unique opinion among the Gnostics, but it may be safe to say that they generally accepted the dogmas but interpreted them metaphorically. The resurrection, for instance: the orthodox Christians stated that Christ relived in a body while the Gnostics saw it as a resurrection in spirit.

The Image of God

Despite Jung repeated statements that he was not dealing with religion, but with the human psyche, that what he called God was the Image of God inside the psyche, that he was not a theologian or a philosopher, the Vatican rejected his ideas. To act differently, they would have to review their sacred dogmas; they would have to create a new religion.

Spirituality and Religion

In my view, Jungian psychology, as well as any psychology, is incompatible with religion. But religion and spirituality are not the same thing. Religion is a particular case of spirituality, but spirituality encompass more than religion. You can live a spiritual life without joining any established church or religion.

There are many paths that take you to the top of a mountain. You can choose to climb through the South, or the North, or the East. Likewise, to live a spiritual life you have many alternatives: prayer, meditation, dream work, active imagination, etc..

Active Imagination

Jung developed a method – Active Imagination – that allow us to talk to the personalities inside our psyches, including the Self, our interior God. This he called living a symbolic life. If you want to learn more, I suggest you read a precious books: Inner Work, by Robert Johnson.

My crusade

My daughter uses to caution me, saying I am too repetitive with this idea that we need to live a spiritual life. She says that I may be boring my readers. It is true. I keep repeating this idea in my books, articles and posts. The traditional Gods are dying, and the new gods – money, power, status, fame – are dominating the Western World; This worries me, and I see myself as a crusader, trying to awake our fellow human beings to the need of living a spiritual life.

In Search of happiness

If we are in search of happiness, and we all are, we should worry about this issue. Maybe we have to find our personal myth.

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I’m Roberto Lima Netto, a Jungian. I write Jungian books –  The Jungian BibleThe Little Prince for Grownups — and Psychological thrillers – The Amazon Shaman, – In Search of Happiness.

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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